Here are the vulnerabilities burglars look for when deciding whether to rob you.
Keep a car parked in your driveway
In an anonymous survey conducted by Portland, Oregon, news station KGW, almost all burglars surveyed said they’d think twice if they saw a car in a driveway. If you’re not at home, here are some other ways to make it look like you are.
Keep your doors and windows locked
Even though it seems obvious, many people forget to lock their doors and windows. In most cases, burglars KGW surveyed “broke in” by walking through an unlocked door or climbing through an unlocked window. Diversion safes can prevent further damage if a burglar gets past this first hurdle.
Consider making your door kick-proof
The KGW survey found that some burglars would be willing to kick in a locked door. The process of kicking in a door is actually not difficult. A Family Handyman tip for reinforcing your door includes swapping out the faceplate on your door for one that uses three-inch stainless steel screws. You can spot 15 signs your home is at risk of burglary by learning how to recognize them.
Don’t ignore a knock on the door
Almost every burglar surveyed by KGW knocks on the door before breaking into a house; if someone answers, the burglar makes up an excuse and moves on. It’s not necessary for you to open the door, but it’s a good idea to let the person know you’re home-you might prevent a burglary.
Keep your radio or television on while you’re at work
The majority of burglars surveyed by KGW said they wouldn’t break into a home if they heard a radio or saw a television. Consider setting a timer to turn on the radio or television during prime burgling hours—find out what time burglars are most likely to break in.
Prune those shrubs
While breaking and entering, burglars value their privacy. In theory, a burglar would still target the house that offers the most privacy even if every house on a block appeared empty. Keep shrubs trimmed around your house to deter burglars.
Keep the outside of your home well-lit
Well-lit properties deter burglars since they value their privacy while robbing you. Despite knowing you’re at work or on vacation, burglars will prefer to target a home they can approach in the dark so they won’t draw attention to themselves. 35 other things that make your home a target for burglars (and how to fix them).
Rethink your regular routine
It is much easier to commit a burglary than you might think. Captain Keith Sulzer of Cleveland Police tells Cleveland.com that burglary victims often say, “I was just gone for ten minutes.” Even if you’re just walking the dog, a burglar will know when and for how long you leave your home if you keep to a regular routine and if he or she’s watching your home. Make it look like someone is home when you leave (turn on the TV or radio, for instance), even if you plan to return very soon.
Watch what you say on social media
In recent years, more and more burglars have been using social media to target potential victims. Don’t make it easier for them by posting from your vacation or announcing your departure. Despite setting your social media settings to “private,” your posts can still be seen by people outside your social circle. Here are 13 sneaky signs your home is being watched by a burglar.
Consider investing in a security camera
One of the burglars in the KGW survey recommends getting a camera and making it visible. According to an NBC 4 New York survey of 57 convicted burglars, 37 percent would avoid breaking into a house with a visible security camera.
Get an alarm system
Most burglars are deterred by the sound of a home alarm system going off, KGW found. A few burglars, however, said they follow a fast and efficient routine that allows them to get in and out in less than five minutes.
Hide your valuables where burglars won’t look
It is not uncommon for a determined burglar to search everywhere for valuables, including the stove, the freezer, the toilet tank, and even boxes of cereal. According to KGW, most burglars first target the master bedroom before moving on to the rest of the house. In addition to the bedroom, they also searched the living room for valuables. By storing valuables elsewhere, you can make it more difficult for burglars to steal them. You’ll probably want to avoid the 10 hiding places burglars look for valuables first.
Don’t assume your dog will deter a burglar
70 percent of burglars surveyed by Fox 5 News in Atlanta said a dog wouldn’t deter them from targeting a home. One of the burglars who spoke to NBC 4 New York said even a barking dog wouldn’t stop him: “Dollar store Beggin’ Strips work wonders.” Get to know 21 things burglars won’t tell you about how they think.