To keep your home safe from a burglar, you must think like one and look at your home from a burglar’s perspective. Learning how burglars evaluate houses can make it easier to develop useful safety measures and successfully keep them from breaking in.
First, you must ask the following questions:
- Is the house as secure as it can be?
- Are there areas on the property that tell burglars your home is a good one to break into?
How Does a Burglar Target You?
The average burglars wants an easy target to rob. They want to be in and out of the target house as quickly as possible without drawing attention to themselves. A good burglar will spend hours searching many neighborhoods for the right house(s) to rob.
Here are six things burglars will look at to determine if it is worth their time and effort to break in and rip you off.
1. Does the Home Have a Security System?
Is the home protected by a premium alarm system that is monitored by a reputable bonded company, or did the property owner buy a cheap alarm system that is missing vital components? A high quality alarm system includes the following:
- Door and window contacts that include crawl space entrance doorways.
- The use of hidden or obvious cameras both inside and out.
- Motion activated exterior lights.
- Motion activated interior alarms.
- The Security Company’s sign should be posted in the yard.
Other Alarm Oriented Assets that May Help:
- No Trespassing signs or Beware of Dog signs posted on the property.
- Homeowner’s vehicles have gun club or hunting club decals on them.
- A secondary alarm or panic button that remains active even when you are in the home.
2. Burglar-Ready Landscaping
Most burglars like plenty of tall shrubs in front of window and doorways. This gives them a chance to creep up to your home and hide while they gain information about your movements.
Tall shrubs in front of windows and doorways also make excellent hide-a-ways for burglars to work unnoticed by the neighbors or anyone driving by.
Burglars also like to see privacy fences, tall hedge fences, and stone or brick walls as boundary or secondary walls. These kinds of fences practically scream to burglars that you have valuables inside that are worth stealing.
Fences give property owners a false sense of security that is not so different from the way gun control advocates get lulled into believing that making criminals of innocent people will stop tangibly violent crimes from happening. To the burglar, fences (like gun control laws) are a blessing because they feel secure enough to enter your home to steal or do worse.
Video first seen on LBPD Media Relations.
3. Burglar’s Look for Sheds and Out Buildings
If you as the property owner get lax and do not try to keep these areas secured you are inviting a burglar to pay you a visit. Not only will they think the outer buildings are easy to rob, they will figure that other areas of your property may be easier to get into with things they find in these buildings.
For example, a burglar will use your own ladder or garden tools to enter an upper story window that may have fewer theft deterrents.
- These buildings, all entrances, and windows should be kept locked up and on the alarm system.
- All garden and hand tools must be kept out of sight and secured.
- All power mowers and tillers must be locked and secured in sheds.
- Work ladders should be kept chained down in these building and never left outside in plain sight or unlocked.
4. Can Burglar’s Easily Determine When to Strike?
Most people are creatures of habit. They set up routines in their daily life and seldom change them. By watching the neighborhood, the burglar will know when to strike and when not to.
Sadly, many people today do not really know their neighbors or do not wish to get involved with other people’s problems. This is an open invitation to robbers because they figure if you aren’t home, no one else is likely to notice someone in your yard or entering your home.
Another way to let burglars know that no one is going to be home on certain dates and times is when the homeowner posts on Facebook, Twitter, or some other social network. Once they know the family will be away on vacation, who will be going with them, how long they will be gone, and where they are going, rest assured that your home will be penciled in for a visit from a burglar.
5. Can Burglars Gain Entry to Your House?
If the house does not have an alarm system and no one is home, the burglar will enter the residence through the easiest way possible. They will aim to be as low key as possible and look/act as if they belong there just before doing the following:
- Break the window glass then open the window.
- Slide a flat piece of metal or plastic between the windows to trip the lock and then open the window.
- If the window has an air conditioner in it, push or kick the air conditioning unit into the house to gain entry.
- Use a pry bar to push door locks out of the way or rip out the door molding
- If they do not have a pry bar, kick the door in. Most door frames are not very strong and a good kick can break them open.
6. What Kind Property Are Burglars Looking For?
The average burglar wants small light items that are valuable and are easy to fence. An example of these items include cash, jewelry, electronics, prescription drugs, and firearms.
What to Do?
Here are a few things to secure your home against burglars:
Outer Perimeter Fences
Replace high privacy fences, tall hedges, or tall stone or brick walls with three to four foot wooden (not stockades) or chain link fences. Burglars have no place to hide and are in the open.
- Replacement double pane windows with locking window screens.
- Use steel anchor bars to set the windows deep into the outer walls.
- Install secondary screw in window locks.
- Do not use window air conditioning units to cool your home. Instead use a central air conditioner unit.
- Use steel anchor bars to set all doors deep into the outer walls.
- Install premium lock sets and dead bolt locks in all outer doors.
- Install an armored peep hole in the door that gives a good view of porch and front walkway.
- Install a lockable heavy duty storm door on all outer doors.
- Small and low profile roof vents.
- Small reinforced dryer and bathroom vents.
How Does the Home Owner Keep His Valuables Safe?
Install good premium safes to keep valuables in.
- Safes are basically designed to take long periods of time to break into and the average burglar does not want to be in the house that long.
- Be sure that floor safes are well secured with bolts and steel plates that go through the floor to keep them from being pulled out of the house.
- Keep the floor safe out of plain sight and do not advertise to the neighbors that you have one.
- When using a wall safe to keep valuables in get a premium safe that has a long time needed to break into.
- Do not mount a wall safe on wooden studs because they are too easy to chop out of the wall. Instead mount the safe on steel studs that are well anchored in the foundation and built in a weight bearing wall.
Protecting your property and discouraging burglars can be done with a little bit of attention to what burglars will most look for. If you have a good alarm system, always use it when you are not home even for a few seconds.
Use common sense when planting trees and shrubs in front of windows and doors. Boundary line fencing should be either a wood or a chain link fence. As a home owner you must make your home look and feel to a burglars that they would be wasting their time if they try to break into your home.
daryl | January 23, 2015
I would not recommend having “gun club” decals etc. on my vehicle or home. Why would anyone advertise “hey i have guns, come get them” ?
Scott Todd | February 2, 2015
Not only that, but it would work against you in many states. The court would see it as you’ve got an itchy trigger finger.
James | January 23, 2015
Thank you Fred.
Megan | January 30, 2015
Great article with some very useful tips and advice. The info-graphics image is brilliant and very effective too.
anisinabi | February 1, 2015
My neighbor put SIG details on his pickup truck window. Two weeks later his townhouse was burglarized and all his guns stolen. Regarding safes, if you have a safe back it up against the back wall and anchor it to the floor. Biggest danger to a safe is getting a the bottom the weak spot. If it is not against the wall it can be rocked back and forth until it falls over and exposes the bottom. Safes with multiple removable handles…when you are away for a while, take the handles off and hide them elsewhere. Even if they could break the combo, they would need tools to spin the lock.
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Delores Lyon | March 25, 2015
Thanks for sharing these tips! You can never be too prepared when it comes to home security in my opinion. I would much rather spend money on a fence than have to pay to repair a broken window and missing equipment. In fact, I should probably look into fences some time soon. The fence I have now is alright, but it isn’t very high.
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Petunia Evans | February 9, 2016
This was a really interesting read! I never really thought much about how the landscaping of a property can play into a robbery, but now I’ll be sure that when I get a home, to create a more open space. Hearing about how effective safe’s are makes me want to get one. Especially because it takes a long while, even if they can, to break into a safe.
Kayla Rogers | March 11, 2016
I have always wondered what the advantage is in posting signs in your yard that you have a home security system. However, looking at it from the burglar’s perspective, I would definitely go for the house with no sign than the house with a sign. Thus, if you have a home security system, it is probably a good idea to post it in your yard so that it can do its job!
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Having read this I thought it was really informative. I
appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this information together.
I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and commenting.
But so what, it was still worthwhile!
Silas Knight | August 16, 2016
I appreciate the information here that shows how to avoid a burglar’s attention. I honestly think that getting a good alarm system is the best way to keep them out. Even just motion activated lights and some cameras would be great, I think.
Rob | August 2, 2018
This info is awesome. We just put in a new video system and synced it and it brings us peace. But adding your tips should help a TON. Thanks again
Pascal | June 7, 2019
I am nos sure about your alarm system , in France now all those companies selling you alarm & motion systems are NOT in charge of arresting burglars , they simply cannot because officially they are not the POLICE, the problem is that there are so numerous alarm systems installed nowadays than the police has NO TIME to check wether the alarm is genuine or not and they simply DON’T try to go to the place… I guess , before you start to pay 50 /100 USD every month for such system make sure your valuables are stored in a place they cannot find , at last your goal is simple … Not to let them take your belongings , that is all !