The best way to prevent a home robbery is to begin thinking like a robber, as strange as it sounds. Imagine breaking into your own home or a neighbor’s house—how would you go about doing this? You might not have the mindset of a thief, but there are plenty of ex-burglars that have publicly talked about what they looked for before breaking into a home and stealing all of the valuables.
Here are eight signs common burglars look for when scoping out the best homes to break into—if all 8 are present a burglar has hit the jackpot.
- The home is unoccupied. The most important sign a robber looks for is an unoccupied home. Burglars want to eliminate all possible problems, and a confrontation with homeowners who possibly own guns is something they want to avoid at all costs. But burglars do research and find out when you leave for the day to go to work, do your grocery shopping, or even when you have left on a vacation. To deter robbers when you are away, use lights that run on timers, have a car parked in driveway, and ask a neighbor you trust to check in on your home regularly.
- The home has no apparent security system. Another potential problem thieves want to avoid is a run-in with a high-tech security system that alerts the neighbors and police. Robbers always check to see if you have an alarm system, and one of the easiest ways to show them that you do is by sticking a sign in your front yard stating your home is protected. While this isn’t a guaranteed deterrent, a burglar is much more likely to look to the next house that doesn’t have a pesky alarm to deal with. Similarly with having your valuables in a safe, if it makes it more difficult for a burglar to get to your valuables, it might just be the sort of obstacle that might deter a burglar.
- It’s summertime. Oddly enough, thieves prefer the warmer months to steal your valuables. Research shows that robberies peak in the summer months and are at their lowest during the cold winter months. There is a variety of potential reasons for this, but the lesson is to make sure your home is protected during the summertime whether you’re out on vacation or not.
- It’s day time – Most people assume burglars come out at night, lurking in the shadows to hide their identity and sordid intentions. Contrary to this, thieves prefer to operate during the day while everyone’s at work or school. Don’t get lax with your security efforts just because the sun is out.
- There’s an unlocked door or window – The best-case scenario for a robber is to be practically invited in with open arms via an unlocked door or window. Don’t leave your home unlocked for the pest control guy, plumber, or other maintenance person, either. Invest in high-quality locks for all windows and doors—even the ones upstairs.
- Valuables are visible – Robbers look for homes worth their effort. They want to know for sure if the home contains valuables that are worth the risk. The best way to alert thieves of your wealth and possessions is by leaving the box to your new TV in the recycle bin, setting valuables within distance of uncovered windows, and leaving out nice kids’ toys that make robbers wonder what kind of gaming console lies within the walls.
- The key is “hidden” – You might think that hide-a-key is novel idea, but unfortunately, a lot of other people like the idea too. Robbers can sniff out a hidden key and already know the most common spots to hide extra keys—under the mat, under or in the planter, on top of the door or window seal, etc. If you have your key in one of the basic locations, a burglar will find it and walk right in and out without anyone ever knowing they were there. If you need a spare key by the door, invest in a code entry lock box that only your family knows the passcode for.
- You have no neighbors – Are your neighbors out of sight? If they are, you are out of their sight as well and a robber can get in an out without any problems from the neighborhood watch team. If you live in an area that leaves considerable distance between homes, just be sure to implement other safety precautions like motion-sensing lights and an alarm system on your home.