Every 15 seconds, a home is burglarized 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 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
According to the US Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, 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 trim. 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 the front door or front, first-floor windows. 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 that are near your home and trim your bushes and shrubs.
Habit 2 – Lights Off, Nobody Home
It only takes a burglar an average of 8-12 minutes to get into a home, steal, and get out. To keep the time in the home as short as possible, burglars don’t want the risk of running into the homeowner.
No lights on around the home, even during the day, can be an easy indicator that you’re either not home or sleeping. This doesn’t mean you have to triple your electric bill by keeping your lights on 24/7, though. The best solution is motion sensor lighting.
Make sure all entrances and walkways to the home have motion sensor lighting. This includes porch and garage lights. Even during the day, if a burglar attempts to break in the front door and sees the front light turn on, he will 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 he’s looking through it beforehand to see if you’re 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.
Don’t just store your valuables, store them somewhere either extremely secure (e.g. a safe) or somewhere very unconventional (e.g. 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, he will either recognize the cheap quality and choose a different target, or go straight for the cheap jewelry and leave your valuables intake.
Habit 4 – A Daily Routine
A burglar doesn’t have to be a pro to do his research about you. The average burglar is around 25 years old and lives within 2 miles of their victims, so they likely already know when you’re going to be home and when you’ll be away on a daily basis.
This isn’t an easy thing to address, since most people’s daily routine is based on their work schedule. Here are some ways to change things up:
- 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 such as the Philips Hue System in your home. You can program the lights to turn on, turn different colors, or flash if a window or door is opened 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
According to ADT, about 20% of American homes had active home security systems in 2013. National studies and burglars alike reaffirm that home security systems are the best burglar deterrent. Does this mean that you need to go buy a $500-$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, typically for between $20-$50 dollars. Buy one alarm for each primary entrance to the house, and one additional for each front window that is not covered by the alarm for the front door.
. Your house should look protected from the outside, too. Install an outdoor security camera that is in view of 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 best thing you can do for a burglar is to leave a window or door unlocked; 30% of burglars enter a home through an unlocked door or window. Another 60% used forcible entry to break down the front door or break through a window to get inside.
To prevent this, you need to:
- Keep your doors and windows locked until in use.
- Make sure your windows and doors have strong locks and are generally difficult to force open from the outside.
At Homespire, we’re firm believers that our windows and doors are the most secure on the market today. We’ve even revolutionized window materials and construction: we created the invisible burglar bar system, making it virtually impossible to pry open our windows from the outside. Pair this with Homespire Glass, 50 times stronger than safety glass, and you can feel confidence in the security of your windows for years to come.