5 House Habits that Attract Burglars and What to Do Instead
Every 22.6 seconds, a burglary takes place in America.
If you could avoid becoming part of this statistic, you would, right? Then you’re in luck.
You may be wondering how robbers pick a house. We’ve compiled a safety checklist of the top 5 habits of prime target homes for burglary, all straight from the burglar’s mouth.
Habit 1 — Letting the Grass Grow
Burglary rates consistently increase during summer months, when families are most often away from home on vacation.
If you’re home, make sure your yard looks the part. Keep your lawn clean and trimmed. If you’re going on vacation, make sure you have someone available to mow for you.
Plus, consider this: 57% of burglars enter their target house through first-floor windows or the front door. You don’t want to make those entry points even more attractive by hiding them behind unkempt bushes.
Any shrubbery around your home should also be kept well-groomed. Cut back trees near your home and trim your bushes and shrubs.
Habit 2 — Lights Off, Nobody Home
It only takes a burglar a few minutes to get into a home, steal and get out. They try to keep their time in the house as short as possible so they don’t risk running into the homeowner.
No lights around the home, even during the day, can indicate that you’re either not home or sleeping. You don’t have to triple your electric bill by keeping your lights on 24/7, though. The best solution is motion sensor lighting.
Install motion detector lighting at all entrances and walkways to the home, including the porch and garage. Even during the day, if a burglar attempts to break in the front door and sees the front light turn on, they’ll likely assume there is a homeowner still inside and will leave your home unscathed.
Habit 3 — Leave Everything on the Table
If a burglar is going to break in through your window, you can bet they’re looking through it beforehand to see if your house is worth the effort.
Leaving valuables like keys and jewelry in plain sight may be convenient, but it also makes things easier for a burglar to target your home.
Store your valuables somewhere either extremely secure, like a safe, or somewhere very unconventional, like plastic containers under the bed. The longer it takes the burglar to find your valuables, the more likely he will give up and leave without them.
Also, consider leaving decoy items to avert the burglar’s attention. Keep inexpensive jewelry visible in the bedroom. If the burglar spies them before entering the home, they will either recognize the cheap quality and choose a different target or go straight for the cheap jewelry and leave your valuables behind.
Habit 4 — A Daily Routine
A burglar doesn’t have to be a pro to do their research about you. The average burglar is usually 25 years old and lives close to their victims, so they likely already know when you’re going to be home and when you’ll be away each day.
Since most people’s daily routine revolves around their work schedule, it’s not easy to change. Here are some ways to adjust your routine slightly:
- Join a carpool that can pick you up at home. With your car home, it will look like you are home, too.
- If your employer allows, change your shift by an hour or two every few months.
- If your employer offers a telecommute program, sign up. Work from home a few days a week, and choose different days each week to go into the office.
- Install ‘smart’ lights in your home. You can program the lights to turn on, turn different colors, or flash if a window or door opens unexpectedly.
The less predictable your daily schedule is to an outsider, the more likely you won’t be an easy target for an opportunistic burglar.
Habit 5 — No Sign of Security
About 38% of American homes have active home security systems to prevent property burglaries. Does this mean that you need to buy a $500 to $1,000 security system tomorrow?
Not exactly. Remember, most burglars are young opportunists and will likely avoid your home if there’s even the possibility of a security system. So instead of paying for the real thing, why not create a mock security system from scratch?
Motion sensor lighting is the first step to making your DIY security system. Next is adding a motion-activated alarm. You can purchase one from your local home improvement store for a reasonable price. Buy one unit for each primary entrance to your property and one additional for each front window that doesn’t activate the alarm for the front door.
Your house should look protected from the outside, too. Install an outdoor security camera near the front door. SafeWise offers a comprehensive list of security cameras you can buy and install yourself.
Finally, add your signs. You can buy home security system stickers and yard signs online, even for high-profile security companies like ADT. They are cheap, easy to put up around the house, and an easily visible deterrent for burglars.
Bonus Habit — “Come on in, the door is unlocked.”
The absolute worst thing you can do for a burglar is leaving a window or door unlocked. Keep your doors and windows locked until you’re using them. Make sure your windows and doors have strong locks and are generally difficult to force open from the outside.
Safety Checklist: How to Prevent Burglaries
Instead of accidentally letting burglars into your home, follow these security measures to keep you and your loved ones safe:
- Upgrade your windows and doors: Doors and windows with broken locks, missing glass or rotted framing can invite burglars into your home. Consider installing brand-new windows and doors. Remember to lock your first-floor windows and doors.
- Don’t let mail pile up: While you’re on vacation, your neighbors and those nearby will eventually notice that you’re not home if your mailbox is full or there’s a newspaper at the end of your driveway. Plan for the times you’ll be away from home by contacting your local post office and requesting that they hold your mail while you’re gone. You may also want to hire a house sitter or ask one of your trusted neighbors to collect the mail for you.
- Wait to post vacation photos: You may also reveal you’re out of the house by posting your vacation pictures on social media. When you share real-time information about where you are, burglars know that the house is empty. You may have connections with people on social media who you don’t know that well, or you have your account set to public. In those cases, it’s easy for a robber to find out if you’re away from home. Instead, wait to post your pictures and updates until you get back.
- Keep your valuables out of sight: Walk through your house to make sure someone snooping around outside wouldn’t see your prized possessions from the windows. Thieves may see dollar signs while just looking through your windows and decide to break in. Keep your TV and other electronic devices out of sight from the outside and store jewelry and family heirlooms in a safe. It also helps to watch what you throw out in your garbage or keep in your shed.
- Install motion-activated lights: Outside lighting helps keep away intruders, especially if your lights have a motion sensor. The surprise factor of having the lights turn on suddenly can frighten robbers. If you’re home, this lighting system can also alert you that someone is sneaking around outside. Install motion detector lights around your windows and doors to avoid property burglaries.
- Use a security system: Security systems keep burglars away from your home, and they come in various price points to fit your budget. A standard system plays a loud siren when activated, and higher-end ones can connect to your smartphone and offer various technological features. Consider upgrading to an advanced system that sends automated messages to your home and features emergency responses, sensors, entry keypads and security cameras.
Contact Us for Stronger Windows and Doors
At Infinity from Marvin – Homespire Windows & Doors, we’re firm believers that our windows and doors are the most secure on the market today, so you can feel confident in the security of your windows for years to come.
Since we’re local to the Central PA and Philadelphia areas, we know how to keep your home safe here. Learn more about our high-quality security products to prevent property burglaries by reaching out to us online or calling 833-684-1873.
We want you to be safe whether or not you choose Homespire, so we’re providing you with a free download of our “Home Secured” lawn sign to get your DIY home security system started. Just click the link, download, and print. [include download link here; might make it a form fill?]