In the time it takes you to read this introduction, another home in the United States will have been burglarized. According to the FBI’s crime statistics, every 18 seconds a home in the U.S. is broken into. That’s a pretty scary thought. After all, our home is our castle and the thought of strangers gaining entry, trampling over and pawing through personal items and valuables can be very frightening for many. But there’s good news, too. Many burglaries can easily be prevented. And by following our simple tips, you can greatly reduce the chance of your home being burglarized.
Understanding a Burglar
Before we get to the “whats” let’s cover the “whys” and get a better understanding of today’s burglar and the typical break-in.
Most burglars are under the age of 25 and are not professionals at their craft. Typically, they’re looking for things that are quick and easy for them to steal so they can pawn the items for money, which is usually intended to purchase drugs and other illicit things. Considered criminals of convenience, most burglars frequently target break-ins where they are familiar with the area – near their home or where they work. And they will normally time their break-in during the hours when most homeowners are away – between 10AM and 3PM or over holidays, when people are often away from their home with friends and family. They also have a tendency to take advantage of nice weather, with many burglars committing crimes during the warm summer months in July and August, which also coincides with many family vacations.
What do these criminals look for when they’re looking for potential targets? Single family homes located in the middle of the block where there is plenty of cover and places to hide or shrubs to duck behind and a clear and easy exit path.
How They Get In
These aren’t creative types looking for a challenge in their amateur criminal proclivities. Nope, unsurprisingly, these burglars are always about the easy way and the numbers bear this out. Over 80% of all break-ins occur on the first floor of the home. With over 30% entering right through the front door. Using screwdrivers and crowbars to force their way in and a growing number getting more refined in their efforts by using key bumps. So, what other entrances do thieves like to create? 23% choose a window on the first floor with another 22% taking the time and effort to head around the home and enter through a back door. The remaining entry points include the garage, basement or other unlocked entrance. 2% of burglars actually get above the ground and spot their entry opportunities on the second floor.
Typically, these burglars move quickly, if not efficiently, with most break-ins lasting less than ten minutes.
How to Stop a Burglar
Now that we’ve gone over who a burglar is and what they’re looking for, we can cover the simple things you can do to prevent your home from burglaries.
- Install an Alarm System
If you do only one thing to improve the security of your home, make this the one.
Homeowners that have installed security systems and yard signs are 300% less likely to be faced with a break-in. Burglars aren’t looking for a challenge. So seeing a yard sign announcing the protection of a security system is often enough to change the mind of most burglars. But if your home is faced with a more headstrong criminal, having a wireless system with cellular communication, like a Frontpoint Security system, will prevent that criminal from being able to disable your security system by cutting the phone line. Which means when they do attempt to gain entry, the alarm will sound – and if the yard sign and sensors wasn’t enough to convince them to reconsider, the 90dB siren included with Frontpoint systems will dissuade them from continuing.
- Locks on doors and windows
Locks only work when they’re used. Get yourself and your family in the habit of checking ALL the door and window locks before you head out for the day or head to sleep for the night. Having wireless door and window sensors on all the entry points on your first floor can be helpful in identifying any unsecure locations by alerting you and others in your house.
- Store valuables in a secured and bolted safe
Important documents and papers, jewelry and other valuables should be kept in a safe. The safe should not be easily moved; use one that is significantly weighted and bolted or built into wall or floor to make it incredibly difficult to remove for a would-be thief.
- Outdoor motion sensing lights
Adding motion triggered lighting to your home can significantly reduce your risks. Remember, criminals like these are looking for quick and easy. They want to slip under cover of darkness with no attention on their movements. They do not want to be under the spotlight. Motion sensitive lighting will send them scurrying like rats.
- Keep shrubbery and vegetation trimmed
Don’t make it easy for these criminals. Don’t provide them with the cover they need to hide them as they look to gain entry into your home.
- Don’t let trash or mail pile up
Your neighbors will appreciate this too. By keeping debris and clutter clear and maintaining your home’s landscape not only increases its curb appeal but simultaneously reduces its attractiveness to burglars.
- Automate lights to appear home
Today’s home security systems, like those by Frontpoint, can also include and support home automation capabilities. Adding a simple light control to your system which allow you to turn lights on remotely can help create the illusion of your home being occupied.
- Keep valuables out of plain sight of the street
That brand new 4k TV may deliver an unimaginably crisp picture, but it also puts an image of easy dollar signs in the minds of would-be thieves who often search neighborhoods for homes with all their wares and valuables on display. If you can see the street, they can see you – and these burglars do “window” shop.
- Don’t announce vacations on social media
We all like to share with friends and family and our greater social media communities. Unfortunately, we often share unaware without realizing how easy it is for strangers and criminals in search of victims to view our public posts and use the information against us. If you’re planning a trip, don’t publish the actual dates or send updates while you’re away. Save the selfies and photobomb posts until you return home.
We can’t guarantee with 100% certainty that following the tips above with prevent your home from being burglarized, but by following them you will greatly reduce your chances by making your home completely unappealing to the criminal element.
Even adding a home security system won’t eliminate the risk of break-ins completely. But with the improved capabilities of today’s systems, particularly wireless cameras and image sensors like those offered by Frontpoint, should you ever be the victim of such a crime, you’ll have photographic and video evidence to help the police in identifying the perpetrators and prosecuting them.