How do you protect your home and keep burglars from making their way inside? You become proactive about seeing them coming and take practical steps toward outsmarting them. Keep reading to learn how you can stay one step ahead of intruders.
13. Keep Your Trees and Bushes Pruned
According to Portland, Oregon, news station KGW, burglars don’t want to be seen, so they will look for homes with overgrown trees or bushes. That’s because overgrown shade trees and privacy shrubs are good hiding places. “Theoretically, if every house on a particular block seemed empty, a burglar would still choose to target the house that offers the most privacy,” Reader’s Digest said in an article published on its website. But, if you absolutely must have overgrown trees and bushes, make sure you install motion sensor lighting and/or cameras around these areas.
TIP: Burglars look for homes with big fences, too.
12. Pick Up Your Mail
Did you know that mail carriers know when you’re out of town or on vacation? Yep, it’s true. Your chocked-full mailbox is a dead giveaway. And, if your mail carrier knows this, you can bet potential burglars know it, too. And, what better home to rob than an empty one? That being said, if you know you’re going to be out of town for an extended period of time, ask a trusted friend to drop by each day to pick up your mail. You could also ask a trusted neighbor to collect your mail and hold it for you until you return.
11. Change Up Your Routine
It’s a known fact that burglars don’t just go around breaking into random homes. After all, they can’t be sure who or what they will encounter when doing so. That’s why the watch homes — and the people who live in them — before striking. If you’re the type of person to do the same thing everyday, chances are a potential burglar knows your routine as well. That being said, you need to change things up a bit every now and then. If that’s not possible, do something to make it seem like someone’s still home when you leave. For example, you could turn on the radio or TV. Which brings us to our next point…
10. Keep Your TV or Radio on While You’re at Work
Speaking of routines, you can bet that a particular burglar not only knows what time of the day you walk your dog or go for a jog, he or she also knows when you leave for work. That being said, it’s a good idea to leave your radio or TV on when you are heading out. According to an anonymous survey of 86 inmates incarcerated for burglary in the Oregon Department of Corrections, most of them said they wouldn’t break into a home if they could see that a television was on or could hear a radio.
9. Keep the Outside of Your Home Well-Lit
As we mentioned earlier, burglars love places where they can hide. So, it makes sense that a well-lit property would deter them. “When I was a detective on a burglary unit, the accused would always say to me how much they would deviate away from lights at properties they were looking to target,” former detective Rav Wilding told the Daily Express. “A burglar will not want to be seen when up to their despicable crimes, and a decent security light will be a huge deterrent, putting them under a type of light they would not want.” This is even true when they’re certain you’re at work or on vacation. That’s because even though you might not be able to see them, other people can.
8. Get an Alarm System
A loud home alarm system going off is enough to scare anybody away — especially someone who’s sneaking around your property up to no good. In fact, the inmate survey conducted by KGW revealed that most burglars are deterred by home alarm systems. Still, not enough of us have one. According to Wilding, only 25 percent of Britons have home alarms. There’s no excuse, though. These once expensive devices are now practically affordable for everyone. Plus, they’re easy to install.
7. Cover and Lock Your Windows
Open blinds and curtains give an intruder a look at all the valuables in your home, and unlocked windows allow them to gain easy access in. That being said, the first thing you need to do is cover your windows — and not with something sheer that an intruder can see through. You also need to make sure you lock your windows. And, if there’s a chance they can still see through your windows (e.g. partially open curtains or blinds), make sure you don’t have any valuables (e.g. computers, tablets, etc.) in plain sight.
6. Conceal Your Trash
Burglars don’t even have to get inside your home to rip you off. All they have to do is rummage through your garbage to get all the personal information they need to steal your identity. And, they can also use your garbage to find out clues to what kind of personal property you have inside your home. For example, if you just recently purchased an expensive laptop, chances are you tossed the box into the garbage, right? And, if a thief sifts through your trash, he or she will know that there’s a valuable laptop waiting inside just for them.
TIP: Wait until it’s time for pickup before breaking down boxes.
5. Check Your Doors
The first thing you should do when it comes to your doors is lock them. That seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people leave home and don’t lock their doors. Or, how many of them go to sleep at night with their doors unlocked. Something else you should do is check your locks. That’s because older locks are very easy to snap. An intruder could easily enter your home that way. You’ll also want to make your doors kick-proof. Some of the burglars surveyed by KGW said that it’s pretty easy to kick in a door. To make sure your door is kick-proof, swap out the faceplate for one that uses three-inch stainless steel screws.
4. Keep a Car Parked in Your Driveway
According to the anonymous inmate survey, most of them said they’d think twice about breaking into a home if they saw a car in the driveway. So, if you have more than one vehicle, leave it parked in the driveway instead of in the garage where no one can see it. And, if you don’t have more than one vehicle, you can always ask a family member, friend or neighbor to park one of their cars in your driveway until you return home from your vacation or business trip.
3. Hide Your Fishing Rods
Now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “What on earth do fishing rods have to do with a home burglary? Should I hide them so they won’t be able to steal them?” No. But, you should hide them so they won’t be able to steal other stuff from you. We’ll explain. According to the Daily Express, Wilding said that he has “dealt with burglars whose Modus Operandi (MO) was to use fishing rods or other similar objects to enter a person’s home via sliding it through the letterbox and steal the keys to the house and/or car.”
2. Watch What You Say on Social Media
We know you want to let all your friends (and foes) know about your fabulous vacation plans, but rubbing it in their faces isn’t the only thing you’re doing when you talk about it online. You’re also setting up your home to get burglarized. Even if you’re going on a short trip that’ll last only an hour or two, keep that information off of social media. And, when you arrive at your destination, DO NOT post any status updates or pictures. Don’t use the “check-in” feature either. Instead, wait until you return home to post your pictures and talk about your trip.
1. Get More Tech Savvy
Burglars are getting more tech savvy, and that means you should, too. According to WFMY-TV in Greensboro, North Carolina, former law enforcement officer Jon Jeffries said there’s an app call KeyMe. It basically allows you to scan any key, put in an address, and ship it to wherever you want it to go. And, even though the company says there haven’t been any reported instances of KeyMe duplicates being used in any crimes, it’s not entirely impossible. In fact, it would take less than 60 seconds for a mechanic, valet, car washer or anyone else you freely hand over your keys to to make a duplicate and use it to gain entry into your home.
That being said, Jeffries also noted that there are apps you can use to monitor your doors and windows, turn on your lights, and even turn on your TV. Spending a few bucks (or a few minutes of your time for free apps) on these apps now will save you a lot in stolen, possibly unrecoverable, goods in the longrun.
Need more ways to outsmart burglars? Take a look at this article that shows ten of the most common places burglars look.