In 2016, there were nearly eight million property crimes, resulting in $15.6 billion worth of losses. If you’ve ever wondered how burglars decide which homes to target, read on. We dive into this subject and provide you with all the information you need to reduce your risk of falling victim to property crimes.
Before breaking into a home, burglars have to come up with an effective plan. They case an area and look for particular features in houses. To find out if your place is an easy target for burglars.
Burglars Reveal What Makes Certain People Easy Targets
There are essential steps you can take to keep yourself from becoming the victim of a home burglary.
Coming home to find your house has been broken into is a nightmare no one wants to experience. The fear is in the back of our minds, but it’s still not something we like to think about. Some people approach their fear by not doing anything and hoping for the best. Others take extreme precautions to keep their homes safe.
One person did us all the favour of actually speaking to people who have robbed homes in the past to find out the best ways to keep the burglars out of our homes. Surprisingly, the burglars were pretty forthcoming. The answers reveal what makes a home an easier target for burglaries. If you’re doing any of these things, try to make some safety improvements as soon as possible!
Check out Security Systems’ range of high-end CCTV installations in Melbourne for your home or office protection needs.
Your house is empty during the day.
Most of us probably assume that robberies take place at night. In the movies, robberies always seem to happen when everyone is sound asleep in their beds. But burglars say that isn’t so. Robbing a house while someone is in it only increases a robber’s chance of getting caught; they prefer stealing home during the day when no one is home.
Burglars are more likely to target homes that are “routinely vacant during the day.” A serious thief may watch your home for a few days to confirm that you are gone for work before breaking in. Other burglars may casually knock on the front door to ensure no one is home.
Fortunately, there are other simple things you can do to keep your house safe instead of quitting your job to protect your home all day.
You leave your windows and doors unlocked.
Locking your doors might seem like the most obvious thing to do to keep yourself safe, but thieves know first-hand that many people skip this simple precaution. One robber said you wouldn’t believe the number of people that don’t lock their doors.
Many people forget to lock their back doors, and their fences can provide extra coverage for a sneaky thief. Another person admits to taking advantage of this. He said, “I often went in through an unlocked back door.”
While a locked door doesn’t guarantee your safety, it will help deter any thieves looking for an easy target. Keeping your windows locked is also essential, especially if your windows are easy to reach from the ground.
You let your mail pile up while you’re on holiday.
When preparing to go on holiday, some people forget to ask someone to take care of their mail while they’re gone. Seeing an overflowing mailbox and a pile of newspapers in front of a house is a signal to thieves that they’ve found an easy target; they’ve just figured out that the house is empty.
Luckily, there are easy remedies for this problem. You should pause your mail while on holiday and have a friend pick up your newspapers.
One burglar shared that he noticed a few other signs that a house was empty: “I often picked houses by the stupid tricks people use when they go out of town. …Tons of lights on, and an obnoxiously loud TV in the living room at 2 a.m. on a Sunday in an upper-middle-class neighbourhood?”
You may have thought you were protecting your home, but someone casing your house will be smart enough to see through a trick like this. When you go out of town, leave a few lights on and have someone care for your mail and newspapers.
You have an easily accessible garden.
Thieves will choose the most convenient way to enter your home. Many like to enter through back windows because there is less chance that someone will see them breaking into your house. If you don’t have a fenced-in garden, it will be easier for a thief to gain access to the back of your home.
Another confessed burglar suggests that you “make it a royal pain […] to get into your garden. No one likes breaking in through the front door or front windows. No one likes scaling 10 ft fences either.” The more you can do to slow down a thief, the less chance they will succeed at getting into your home.
Thou have a thief in your midst
It may surprise you to know that most homes are not burglarised by strangers. Figures recently revealed that 66 percent of burglaries are committed by someone who knows the victim.
One person described this phenomenon: Jealous neighbour. Drug addict daughter. These are the people most likely to burglarise your house. It may be tough to cut these people out of your life. Cameras and alarm systems often deter these people. Try to hide information about your whereabouts from them. Don’t post your upcoming trip on Facebook where they can see it.” It might be hard to put these protections in place, but it’s better than having to confront a person you know who stole from you.
You make it evident that you have valuables.
Thieves are looking for the most significant potential reward likely to target homes that show obvious signs of wealth. This means that you should limit the visibility of your valuables and make it hard for them to be seen from the outside.
Like one thief says, “Keep expensive stuff out of sight. Your 70″ flat-screen TV should not be visible from the street. Your Laptop shouldn’t be kept right in front of your first-floor office window.” It also helps to keep less obvious valuables in a safe place. Thieves admit to checking the master bedroom first for jewellery, cash, and other valuables. Consider putting your priced items in safer locations.
Remember, burglars do not like being in a home long. These simple precautionary steps can slow thieves down and potentially prevent more things from being taken.
Your home is in a convenient location.
Burglars are looking for the highest reward with the lowest risk. Burglars pick homes that are timely hits. They might look for a home with an easy getaway to a major thoroughfare, but they also like houses on the outskirts of neighbourhoods where they have less chance of being seen by neighbours.
Thieves may also prioritise a home that has an entrance within easy access of an alley or street. Lack of visibility is another critical factor burglars look for. Thieves are going to pick houses that have obscured entrances.
Corner houses with neighbours on only one side and houses that are concealed or covered by trees or architectural designs are more likely to be robbed. Houses that are hidden from the neighbours are easy targets—nobody’s there to catch them. Having poor lighting on and around your home can also make you less safe.
You forget to close (and lock) your garage door.
This falls into the same category as forgetting to lock your front and back doors. People may forget to close their garage door after they go inside or while they’re in the backyard mowing the lawn. Another individual noted that “thieves like to drive around nice neighbourhoods, looking for people who left their garage open. They love a situation where someone might be mowing their backyard. Quickly hop out of the car, run into the garage, grab as many tools as they can, and run.”
Being more cautious about keeping your garage door closed at all times will help save many thieves at bay.
But some burglars are a little more ambitious. Thieves know that most people don’t lock the door from the garage into their homes. A security system worker explained, “I have sold more security systems by demonstrating the ease of getting into a garage. Go to your garage door, and press firmly towards the top, does it open enough to see up into it? Then they can break-in. With a coat hanger, they can grab the red string and up goes the door. So cut your garage string/rope. You have a remote and don’t need it.” Locking the door from your garage to your home sounds like a better idea now.
You don’t have an alarm system.
Alarm systems may be expensive, but they are a great way to keep thieves at bay. Alarm signals are a huge deterrent. No thief wants to attract that kind of attention. While some have debated the effectiveness of just seeing an alarm sign outside the home, most burglars agree that hearing an actual alarm would be enough for them to leave home immediately.
You don’t have a dog.
Many people who have burglarised homes are mixed on whether a person should have a dog. Some serious thieves said if they had already cased a house, they wouldn’t let a dog keep them from breaking in. These are the types of thieves that lure dogs away with treats—or something more nefarious. Thieves that were looking for a quick, easy hit, on the other hand, said that dogs would keep them from breaking in.
One burglar said, “People think a large dog would be a good deterrent, but I generally avoided those annoying small yapping dogs that never shut up. Get a dog that doesn’t like strangers. I don’t care if it’s big or small or threatening or friendly. As soon as one dog barks, the whole neighbourhood starts barking and announcing a burglar’s presence.”
If you’ve been on the fence about getting a furry friend, this may be the push you need to go for it!
You make it too easy.
If you follow the tips on this list, you will be well on your way to having a safer home. Lock your doors and windows, install deadbolts, keep your home well lit, and consider installing an alarm system. You can also protect the possessions in your home by making your smaller valuables less visible. Having a safe or lockbox will discourage a thief from taking your things when they are short on time.
Security Systems provides expert home alarm system installation for your residential or commercial infrastructure.
What Items Do Burglars Look for in a Home?
Burglars don’t usually break into a house for ordinary products — they’re seeking special items. Generally, they’re looking for things they can sell for large sums of money. So, what are the items that robbers want to find in your home?
- Jewellery and Cash: These are two specific items burglars aim for. They’re also the leading items that homeowners report stolen.
- Medication: In recent years, medication has been a famous goal for robbers. They can rummage through medicine cabinets, looking for opioids and other prescription drugs to resell for a profit.
- Electronics: Electronics is another front runner in stolen goods. Smaller items are easier to transport during a job, though, so bulkier technology may get left behind.
Discreet storage areas for these items can keep you from losing money and assets. Deposit these common burglar targets in an unpredictable spot in case a break-in happens.
How Can I Stop My House From Being Robbed?
While residential break-ins are prevalent, there are plenty of ways you can set up your house to deter thieves. From incorporating visual cues to adding alerts, you can minimise the risk of burglary. Check out these tips on how to stop your home from being robbed.
Lock Your Doors
Jiggling the doorknob is one of the first things a burglar tries when they’re working on entering your place. Unfortunately, this can work because many people leave their homes unlocked. Forcible entry only makes up a portion of burglaries, leaving many successful attempts of walking through the front door. An unlocked door is a serious breach, and even if your neighbourhood has a low crime rate, it’s best to lock up when you’re going out.
The type of lock you use can also reinforce your security. Deadbolt locks are the most reliable because thieves have a more challenging time fudging their way through them. Other types are disengaged through well-known techniques, like using a wrench or credit card.
Also, don’t leave your spare key under the doormat or in a nearby planter. Burglars can quickly locate these hiding spots and gain immediate access. Carry your key with you, and put the backup in a less conspicuous area.
Don’t Leave First-Floor Windows Open.
Most thieves aren’t looking to scale your building like an iconic cat burglar, so they’ll search for a ground-level passageway. Numerous break-ins start with a first-floor window when they’re unlatched or propped open. Especially during summertime heat, you can forget to close each window on the main floor.
Some air conditioning units are positioned in windows to keep cooling and ventilation, but thieves can take advantage of this opening. They can pull the team out and force the window open. Moving these to windows on the second or third story can decrease this danger. Alternatively, you can install central air conditioning to keep the windows fully secure.
Don’t Let Mail Pile Up.
When you take a vacation, the inactivity at your house is noticeable. Envelopes and magasines that begin to accumulate in your mailbox show that you aren’t home and might not return for a while. Newspapers at the end of your driveway are even more evidence that you’re out of town.
Contact your local post office to hold your mail during the dates you’re gone to avoid tipping off thieves. You can postpone your mail service for three to 30 days; then, you’ll get the mail from that period from your mail carrier once you’re back.
A more convincing way to avert burglars is to hire a house sitter to collect your mail and subscription items. Asking a neighbour to grab your mail when they get their own is also helpful. Their movement and presence mimic your routine, which can dissuade thieves from choosing your house as a target.
Wait to Post Vacation Photos
Another indication that you’re on a trip is when you announce it on social media. As you share fun memories at the moment, you can inform robbers that your home is unoccupied.
It’s disheartening, but a considerable amount of thefts are by acquaintances. With the broad reach of social media, you probably are connected to a few people you aren’t close friends with on Facebook or Instagram. Also, you might have your accounts set to public instead of private, which means anyone could come across your profile and learn that you’re gone.
To guard your home against unwanted entry, save your vacation pictures on your phone or camera until you’ve returned. It’s wise not to post statuses about your absence or the length of your vacation, too. Filling everyone in about your trip a few days later can be well worth it.
If someone decides to snoop in your windows, can they see high-priced possessions around your house? Your level of wealth is probably easier to detect than you think, and robbers can figure out how good breaking into your home might be by just peering through the windows.
To keep your most precious belongings out of harm’s way, store them in a safe or move them to a less visible location. Without valuables within reach, there isn’t enough incentive for most robbers to burglarise your house.
Your dumpster can also reflect your financial situation, and it can communicate more than you’d like if you aren’t careful. For example, anyone who lifts the lid of your dumpster can see the box from your new flat screen. The contents of your front yard might draw robbers, too, so return any expensive tools or toys to their rightful places in the shed.
Reconsider Privacy Hedges and Fences
Tall fences and full hedges seem handy for obscuring your house and lessening your chance of becoming a thief’s target. However, robbers want to avoid exposure during the job, so privacy appeals to them.
Monitor the growth of your landscaping, so it doesn’t cover too much of your house. You can also think about forming a line of sight from the street to your entry points like the front door and first-floor windows.
The more traffic in front of your property and eyes on your home, the greater the chance a robber will get caught lurking around your house. Plus, police patrol cars can keep tabs on your home with a clear vision and give you more confidence in your safety.
Put Your Pup to Work
Dogs act as a natural sound alarm for your house, and burglars typically don’t want this annoyance and obstacle during the job. The potential that the dog could lash out and bite an intruder keeps many thieves from moving forward with the burglary.
The barking alone makes robbers think twice about committing the crime, and the racket can warn your neighbourhood that something’s not right. While the dog’s size doesn’t necessarily change the reaction of a burglar, a giant dog can provide a daunting presence and a deeper, menacing bark.
Leave some evidence of your dogs around the yard, like chew toys and a water bowl. You can even post a classic “Beware of Dog” sign on the fence to notify passersby.
Install Motion-Activated Lights
Exterior lighting is convenient for the same reason that fences and hedges are risky — direct visuals are an enemy of robbery. However, the surprise factor of motion-sensor lights is an added benefit.
The shock of an unexpected light coming on can frighten robbers. When they don’t know that their motion turned it on, they can think someone is checking outside because they heard a suspicious sound. By shining a spotlight on unwelcome visitors at night, you can trick burglars into thinking they’ve been discovered.
Set up motion-activated lights around your doors and windows to scare off criminals before they set a foot inside.
Use a Security System
Security systems discourage burglars from looting your home, and you don’t have to purchase the most sophisticated model. Basic alarm systems can feature loud horns or sirens when sensors are triggered, but higher-end ones have a range of capabilities.
With advances in technology, home security systems are now more impressive and complex than ever. They can bring sensors, security cameras, entry keypads, emergency responses and automated messages to your house.
Many security systems have a door decal or sign you can put up to advertise what burglars will walk into. The hassle of disarming a security system usually is too much trouble for the average robber, so they can turn away before considering your house for their job.
Let Security Systems get you peace of mind by installing top-quality and reliable home security cameras in Melbourne.