When we hear of a burglary having taken place, especially when it happens to someone we know, our initial thoughts tend to be that it was just a case of bad luck, and that it’s something that will never happen to us.
With an estimated 2 million burglaries reported each year in the United States, there is cause for concern as to why some houses are targeted for intrusion, while others around them remain untouched.
Several studies in recent years have investigated this very question, and in this article we reveal a collection of the exact reasons given by convicted thieves as to what burglars look for in your home to be a potential burglary target.
The location of your home is significant
You may be of the opinion that run-down houses in open-access neighborhoods are ‘easy pickings’ for theft-related crimes. This is not the case. In fact, you are more likely to be targeted for burglary if you reside in a quiet, suburban location that is at least of middle-class stature, because the jewelry and other items that can be taken are more expensive.
Cul-de-sacs, dead-end streets and homes that back onto a park or bush land are also popular with criminals who prefer quiet neighborhoods with less traffic and limited street activity.
Upper-class residences that employ gardeners and other home improvement tradesmen are also in the line of fire, as burglars dress accordingly so that unsuspecting neighbors easily mistake them for hired workers.
Lack of an alarm means a lack of security
One of the first things intruders look for in a house is an alarm. In the 2012 University of North Carolina study, only 13 per cent of convicted thieves declared that they would continue with a burglary if they discovered an alarm during the break-in activity.
The majority of burglars stated that they would abandon the robbery attempt, while a staggering 83 per cent admitted to determining if an alarm is present prior to beginning the burglary.
The mindset of many criminals is such that they believe if a home-owner fails to adequately alarm their home, then that shows a lack of care by the owner, making it the burglar’s right to enter that premises.
Hiding places are robbery havens
If you have low-hanging trees or thick and over-grown bushes near your windows, the attraction of your house to burglars will rise dramatically. Thieves like places that they can hide and along with poorly maintained shrubbery, privacy fencing that obscures doors and windows is very popular.
Regardless of the object that provides cover for the burglar, anything that obscures their view from inside your home or from your neighbor’s house and the street becomes a prime target for hiding. Homes without outdoor lights and, in particular, without motion sensor lighting, make hiding all the more appealing.
Vacant homes are prime targets
Nothing says ‘vacant premise’ to a burglar more than long grass, uncollected mail, and newspapers in the driveway. They will very often stake out a house that they believe may show no signs of life, and along with the front yard, will look for access ladders and other tools and bins that have not been moved for days, poor lighting inside, lack of movement to and from the house, no car in the driveway, and a lack of noise from television and other appliances.
Many of these scenarios are a reality when residents are away on vacation, which is a very high risk period that burglars look for in your home to be a potential burglary target.
Lack of signs makes home entry enticing
Whilst robbers are not fooled by fake cameras, they do take notice of alarm stickers and decals which are often enough to scare them away. Even if you have an internal alarm without external monitoring, unless you have signs that advise this to people as they approach your house, burglars are much more inclined to investigate your property as a target than if they had seen some evidence of an existing alarm.
Any kind of sign indicates trouble for the burglar, so they might be more inclined to even start with.
This includes signs that you have a dog, even if you are not a dog owner. Burglars generally are not interested in any kind of confrontation, whether that confrontation is with people or canines.
New purchases are very appealing
Burglars are encouraged to target your home when they notice entertainment and electronic wrappings and large boxes lying near the curb. Whilst it is generally difficult for them to carry out large home theater items, their thinking is that if you can afford expensive equipment, then you will also have many smaller valuable pieces inside that are easy to steal.
When you do make purchases of flat screen televisions and other attractive devices, be discreet with carrying them into your house, and cut up the boxes to make it easier to ‘hide the evidence’.
Windows are the eyes and doors of the burglar
Burglars not only target windows that are not visible from the street, but they use any window to determine the feasibility of entering your house. Windows that are left unlocked provide easy points of entry, and those that have curtains or shades open or closed without change offer information about the occupancy of the property.
By having an unimpeded view through windows, burglars can identify whether you have deadlocks on your doors, unsecured cash, jewelry and other items of value that can be quickly seized. Glancing through uncovered windows often reveals the layout of much of the house so that the thief knows which rooms to target immediately upon entry.
Windows that are used to lodge air conditioners are also a target for burglars who will either push them through or pull them out of the window to get inside access.
Is your home a target?
You want to enjoy your home and think of it as a place in which you can feel safe and secure from the outside world. Whilst this should be the reality for every home-owner, you do need to take some precautions to reduce the chances that your home will be burglarized and you can start by going through some wireless security system reviews.
You cannot obviously guarantee that your home will never fall foul to intruders, however by being aware of the information provided here, the next time you are asked ‘Things Burglars Look For In Your House’ you will know that you have the main bases covered and your home is as safe as you can make it from potential invasion.