Have you ever wondered what your home looks like through the eyes of a burglar? What makes your household more or less inviting to sticky fingered stealers? Taking a look at past burglaries and statistics can be a simple solution to making sure your home doesn’t become an easy target. Today is the day to learn what you can do to better protect your family from uninvited guests.
What do burglars look for?
In an interview conducted by 9 News, Charlotte, NC, previous criminals were asked what they look for in a potential mark; the following responses were the most common.
Unattended Targets – “When I see a lot of mail in the box, I know that you’re gone.” A burglar is motivated by desire for material goods, not conflict. They are looking for signs of an empty house and don’t want you home when they are there.
No Security – A burglar looking for easy money. Homes with no sign of a security system can stand out.
Easy Access – Open windows and unlocked doors can make a your house easy for a burglar to enter without a struggle.
Goods – Much like any ordinary person, a burglar wants to maximize their money for their time. If you leave expensive and luxurious goods in plain sight through your windows, you are letting intruders know exactly how much they can get for the work.
How can you help?
Detective Kevin Coffey, the proclaimed, “Scholar of Thievery” has some great tips on how you can protect your home and your family.
Look Alive – If you need to go out of town for an extended period, consider hiring a house sitter or asking a friend to check in for you. Preventing your home from becoming a likely target can be as simple as taking in the mail or changing the lights that are on/off in your home to make it look occupied. Installing motion lights is also a simple way to deter a burglar from getting too close to your home. Always tell a neighbor you trust if you are going to be away for an extended period of time so that they can report any suspicious activity.
Be Secure – If you can afford one, consider a home security system. If that isn’t in your budget, remember that there are other options too. Make sure all of your doors (including your side doors) are well equipped with a deadbolt lock system. Keep particularly important information in a locked safe box. Having your jewelry stolen is devastating; having your identity stolen is life changing.
Furry Friends- Many a burglar has mentioned that a single bark was enough for them to turn away. Criminals can predict door locks and security systems, but a dog is something they have no control over. A word to the wise however, dogs can be great security systems, life time companions and keep you warm at night, but they are also living breathing creatures that need love, exercise and attention. If you aren’t interested in the commitments of a dog (or your just a cat person) then know that there are many other ways to protect your home as well…and maybe consider investing in a nice sign declaring, “I love my Pitbull.”
Take Precautions – Make sure all of your windows have locks and that you use them. Especially consider the windows you can often forget such as second story and basement windows. A burglar knows you forget about these and use that information to their advantage.
Out of sight, out of mind – Keep expensive items out of the view of your windows. Keep laptops, phones and other expensive electronics tucked away in drawers at the end of the evening. If keeping the clutter away is tough for you, consider investing in heavy blinds or drapes to keep your items out of sight and out of mind. While you are at it, keep your yard clear of tools that could assist in a break in as well. Leaving a ladder out in your yard is going to make it convenient for a burglar to get to your second story window.
Why Does a Burglar Steal?
Maybe you have been robbed before, maybe you haven’t. Either way, to keep your peace of mind it is important to understand why a burglar will enter your home. A survey conducted amongst 400 offenders at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, by researcher Joseph Kuhns, has provided some insight into why this happens to us. When asked about motive, 88% of lawbreakers interviewed indicated that their primary reason for entering a home was to acquire drugs or money to support their drug habits. In addition to this information, only 12% of those interviewed said they planned their activities in advance, showing that many break-ins are spur of the moment. What is most important to take away from this information is that when someone comes into your home and goes through your belongings you can feel violated, and rightfully so. But it most likely was not about you, personally. The intruders are not after you; they are after your belongings.
Keeping your home safe from the prying hands of a burglar only takes a little time and dedication. Take the right steps to protect yourself so that you and your family can sleep soundly through the night whether you are home or away. Once you’ve set all of your parameters, try to see your home through the eyes of a burglar. You can even try to setup a mock break in to confirm you’ve accomplished a job well done… make sure you let your neighbors know what you are up to first though.