To come home and find your home has been broken into is something no-one wants to experience.
Researchers have recently spoken to people who have burgled homes in the past to find out the best ways to keep burglars out of our homes. Surprisingly, the burglars were pretty forthcoming, revealing key points that burglars look out for when choosing which property to target. Read our top 10 points below, and if you’re doing any of these things you may want to look at your home security as soon as possible!
1 – No-one is home during the day
It’s a common misconception to assume burglaries take place in the dead of night. But burglars would rather not enter a house when people are asleep in bed, giving a greater chance of being caught. They prefer to rob when the property is empty, and confrontation is less likely.
Burglars are more likely to target homes that are routinely vacant. Some may simply knock at your door to determine whether someone is home, others may even watch your home for a few days to form a pattern of your comings and goings. Thankfully, there are a few simple things you can do to keep your home safe instead of quitting your job to stay home all day.
2 – Your windows and doors are often unlocked
This may seem an obvious thing to keep burglars out of your home, but it’s surprising just how many don’t lock up! Many people forget to lock their back doors, thinking that no-one would walk in through a back door, but gardens and fences provide extra coverage for a sneaky thief. One burglar admits: “I often went in through an unlocked back door.”
Whilst locking doors doesn’t guarantee your safety, it does help deter thieves. Keeping windows locked is also important, especially ground floor windows and those easily accessible from extension or porch roofs. Dead bolts are also recommended to make it more difficult to break and enter.
3 – You let your post pile up while you’re on holiday
When going on holiday, many of us forget to ask someone to take care of our post. An overflowing letterbox is a sure sign to a burglar that no-one’s home for a while and they have all the time in the world to take a good look round your home.
Ask a friend or neighbour to empty your letterbox regularly, or alternatively Royal Mail provide a Keepsafe service, whereby your post won’t be delivered to your home for up to 66 days.
However, you need to be careful you don’t overdo it. One burglar shared a few other signs to tell if a house was empty or not: “I often picked houses by the strange tricks people use when going on holiday…excessive lights on a slightly odd times, tv on too loudly at 2am…a sure sign that no-one’s actually home.”
4 – Your back garden is too easily accessible
Thieves will choose the most convenient way to enter your home. Back windows are an obvious choice as they have less chance of being seen by a neighbour. A fenced-in back garden will lessen the ease for a burglar to target your home.
Another burglar says: “Make it a royal pain to get into your back garden. No one likes breaking in through the front door or front windows. No one likes scaling 10ft fences either.” The more you can do to slow down or deter a thief, the less chance they will target your home.
5 – It’s obvious you have valuables
Thieves are more likely to target homes that show obvious signs of wealth. You need to keep valuables out of sight of passers-by.
One thief says, “Keep expensive stuff out of sight. Your 70″ flat screen TV should not be visible from the street. Your MacBook Pro 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. Burglars typically check the master bedroom first for jewellery, cash, and other valuables. Consider putting your precious items in a different, less obvious location. Burglars don’t like to be in a property for too long, so simply moving your most valuable possessions to a less obvious place can slow thieves down considerably.
6 – You forget to lock your garage door
As well as front and back doors, many people often forget to close their garage door when they go inside or are out in the garden. One person said: “Thieves love a situation where someone might be mowing their garden. Quickly hop out of the car, grab as many tools as they can, and run”.
Being more cautious and keeping your garage door closed will help deter many thieves.
But some burglars are a little more ambitious. Most people don’t lock the door from the garage into their home. 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 the ease of getting into a garage, locking the door from your garage into your home is imperative!
7 – You don’t have a dog
Many burglars are mixed on whether a person should have a dog. Some said if they had already cased a house, a dog wouldn’t keep them from breaking in. These thieves are the type to lure dogs away with treats—or something more heinous. Thieves that were just looking for a quick, easy hit, on the other hand, said that dogs would be more likely to stop 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, announcing a burglar’s presence.”
If you’ve been thinking about getting a furry friend, this may be the deciding factor!
8 – You have a thief in your midst
It may surprise you to know that most homes are not broken into by strangers. A U.S report revealed that 66% of burglaries are committed by someone who knows the victim.
One person commented: “Sketchy son-in-law. Jealous neighbour. Niece with undesirable friends. These are the people most likely to break into 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 holidays on Facebook where they can see it.” It can be difficult putting these measures in place, but it’s better than having to confront a person you know who stole from you.
9 – You make it too easy
Following the tips so far on this list will give you the edge on securing your home from burglars. However, many of us miss the small, more obvious things we can do.
Don’t leave your car keys by the front door – it’s all too easy for a thief to quickly enter, take the keys and drive away. It may also be wise to invest in a small safe for storing precious valuables. And finally, get rid of the spare key you keep under the plant pot or welcome mat – there’s no easier welcome into your home for a thief than that!
10 – You don’t have any security systems
Burglar alarms are the best deterrent to potential thieves. One that is also monitored 24/7 provides the best protection of all. Most burglars agree that hearing an alarm would be enough to make them leave the property. Back that up with a CCTV system, and thieves will almost certainly be put off considering targeting your home!