Criminals are looking for the easiest targets to burglarize. With a little knowledge, you can take precautions and not become a victim. Here are 17 things that could be making your home a target for burglars:
1. Empty Electronics Boxes
Empty boxes of high-end electronics are an easy way for burglars to size up your belongings. Criminals generally don’t want to break into homes that have nothing worth stealing. Hide or destroy these types of boxes, especially after the holidays, to make your home a less appealing target.
2. Obvious Signs of Wealth
Do not keep your priciest possessions in clear view of your windows. If a criminal peeks into your window and sees no valuables, they might be more likely to try a different house.
3. Children’s Toys
Some burglars (mostly those without children) assume that homes that can afford toys, can afford other expensive items. Toys on the front lawn are the sign that they’re looking for. Once they’re in your home, they look for the usual loot.
4. Bogus Flyers
Delivering a flyer to your door is a great excuse to get close to your home. The flyer remaining there for some time is also a way to determine if the house is currently occupied. Make sure to ask a neighbor or friend to remove any flyers while you’re away.
5. An Overflowing Mailbox
The same way that flyers indicate a potentially empty home, so goes an overflowing mailbox. If your mailbox is literally stuffed with unclaimed mail, it’s fair to assume that you’re not at home. Make sure that a friend or neighbor can pick up your mail if you’re going to be away.
6. A Dark House
Having some sign of life inside your home is enough to scare off most intruders. A simple light on a timer may be enough for a criminal to assume that you’re at home. However, don’t set the “off” time for too late in the evening. Most people don’t stay up until the wee hours of the morning on a regular basis. A light on too late, on a regular basis, may signal that you’re not really at home.
Most burglaries happen in the middle of the day, when the owner is at work. By surveilling a home for a few days, a criminal can determine your schedule and strike when they know you’re less likely to be there. If your schedule can’t be changed, a deterrent such as a home security system, dog, or neighbor keeping an eye on your house should be enough.
8. Convenient Location
Burglars like isolated homes. Homes with only one neighbor on one side, on corners or next to alleys are tempting targets. This makes it easier to case without being noticed. Also, homes with an entrance facing away from the street also make for an easy target. Homes on busy roads or next to bus routes are also desirable to would-be criminals. This makes it much easier to escape after they’ve committed their crime. You obviously can’t physically move your house. However, if your home is an easy target, make sure to take security precautions.
9. Poor or No Outdoor Lighting
A house shrouded in darkness also makes the perfect target for crime. A criminal dressed in dark clothing and hiding in the shadows may be nearly invisible around a darkened home. Place lights with motion detector sensors around your home to scare away potential burglars.
10. Obscuring Foliage
Foliage near doors or windows make for a great hiding spot while a criminal is breaking in. Even long grass in your front yard can be a tip off to a criminal. A criminal may infer that a person who doesn’t take care of their yard, may not be the type of person who would have a security system. Or at least may be on vacation.
11. Short Privacy Fences
Privacy fences need to be high to be an effective deterrent. Shorter fences provide cover to a criminal and are easy to climb. For higher fences, make sure there’s no easy way to climb it. Trim back tree branches or other foliage that could make it easier to climb.
12. Unlocked Windows and Doors
Lock your doors and windows! If a burglar knows that you’re not at home, the first thing they’ll check is for an unlocked door or window. Always remember to double check that your doors are locked before leaving home. People often leave their windows open absent mindedly. Especially during the summer. Make sure that your windows are closed and locked before you leave the house.
13. Unlocked Garage Doors
Your garage may be filled with expensive tools and equipment that are ripe for the picking. It’s a bad habit to leave your garage door unlocked. More common than leaving the garage door unlocked is leaving the door leading from the house to the garage unlocked. This gives a criminal direct access to your home!
14. Open Second Story
Windows The fear of gravity is not always a deterrent when it comes to criminals. A nimble criminal or one with access to a ladder, can easily enter an open second floor window. They very well may use your own ladder if you leave your garage door unlocked!
15. Window Air Conditioning Units
Never leave a window air conditioning unit in your window if you will be away. They’re easy to push through the window. Allowing a criminal to crawl inside behind it.
16. No Security System
Home security systems are the ultimate deterrent when it comes to break in. Burglars are more likely to bypass a home with a security system for one without one.
17. Not Being Private
Keep your mouth shut when it comes to your vacation plans. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 2/3 of burglaries are committed by someone known to the victim. Letting people on social media know that you’ll be out of town for an extended amount of time is a bad idea. Wait until you return from your trip before posting vacation highlights and photos. Extend this rule beyond social media. Be careful with information that a burglar could use about your home. Especially when it comes to someone coming to your door unsolicited. Burglars will often pose as survey takers or sale people to gain information on a home and