How to Stop Burglars from Targeting Your Home
As a home owner I am always aware that there is a possibility that my home may be burgled. My possessions could be stolen and my home could be ransacked.
What, if anything, can you do to reduce the chances of your home being targeted by burglars?
There is obviously no way of totally guaranteeing that your home will not be targeted by burglars. There are however a number of basic safeguards that you can take that will reduce the chances of your home being burgled.
If you want to know “how to stop burglars from targeting your home” I think it is important to understand a little bit about burglars and burglary in general.
Do Burglars plan their burglaries in advance?
According to information I have found most burglaries are crimes of opportunity. It is apparantly quite rare for a burglar to plan the burglary a long time in advance. He (or she) mostly simply notices that a particular property appears to be vulnerable and sees that as an invitation to break in.
In a lot of cases the burglar will live within just a few miles of the target home. If this is the case it makes it easy to learn the family’s routine and decide upon the best time to enter the house.
Statistically a burglary occurs approximately every eighteen seconds of every day in the USA.
When is a burglary most likely to occur?
Contrary to common belief the majority of burglaries occur during daylight hours. Usually between 6am and 6pm and most commonly between the hours of 10am and 3 pm.
Generally speaking this is the time when a property is most likely to be unoccupied. The householder is likely to be out at work, shopping or pursuing other activities away from home.
A burglar will also look for signs that you may be away on vacation. Fliers or newspapers left in the letterbox for days on end generally signals that the house is empty.
How long does it take to burgle your home?
Burglars target homes that they see as ‘easy targets’. They generally want to be in and out of the property in ten minutes or less. The longer they remain in the property the higher the risk of being caught.
How do Burglars Gain Access to the property?
The majority of burglars, approximately 30%, gain access to a property via the doors or windows. Ground floor windows and doors are particular favourites. It is surprising how many people go out for the day and actually leave their windows either unlocked or even open (particularly in the summer months).
These points of entry become even more appealing if there are hedges or overgrown vegetation to provide some degree of cover.
What is the most likely things that a burglar will steal?
Most burglars will steal virtually anything they can lay their hands on. The only requirement is that it can be carried away easily. The majority of burglars will arrive on foot so do not want to draw too much attention to themselves when they leave.
The most desirable item to steal from the perspective of a burglar is cash. The second most desirable items are things such as jewellery, mobile phones, and expensive watches. They fit comfortably in the pocket and are easy to sell on afterwards.
Documents such as passports and driving licences are also highly sought after.
Car keys are also regularly taken. If the car is in the driveway the burglar may decide to drive away in it. If the car is not there having the keys provides the opportunity to return at a later date and steal it then.
What is the average cost of items stolen in a burglary?
The average value of goods stolen from a residential property is in excess of $2,200 dollars.
The cost of being burgled cannot however simply be measured in terms of monetary value. There is a huge emotional and psychological cost that cannot be measured in terms of dollars.
Is it only empty properties that get burgled?
The majority of burglaries are carried out on empty properties. Statistically however it would seem that almost thirty per cent of burglaries are carried out whilst the home owner is in the house. Obviously catching someone robbing your home is a very traumatic experience. It can also result in the burglary escalating into a violent crime being committed against the home owner.
Garden Sheds and Garages are also Targets for a Burglar
Although the primary target for a burglar is likely to be the dwelling house itself garden sheds and garages may also be targeted.
Most people will have expensive tools and garden equipment stored in their sheds and garages. Although these items tend to be bulky they can often be worth several thousand dollars. Well worth stealing if the burglar does happen to have the means of transporting them.
A garden shed or garage may also contain ladders that could provide access to first storey windows that would normally be out of reach of the burglar.
How to Stop Burglars from Targeting your home – Steps you can take!
There are a number of basic steps that you can take that will help to reduce the likelihood of being a victim of a burglary.
As stated above the majority of burglaries are crimes of opportunity. If you make your property less appealing to the burglar then you will reduce the likelihood of your house being targeted.
Most of the steps you need to take are extremely simple and do not require you spend any money at all to implement them. It is simply a matter of applying a few simple checks and procedures.
If you wish to take additional security measures to improve your home security it may be necessary to spend a few dollars to make the changes you require.
Upgrading your household security can however be achieved quite inexpensively. Most of the equipment you require can be bought reasonably cheaply and most of it can be installed by anyone with basic DIY skills.
Ten Tips that will help you to Make your Home Burglarproof
1. Don’t leave doors and windows open.
Make sure that you always lock your doors and windows securely. It is essential to do so when you leave the property unattended. It is also a good idea to make sure that your home is secure even when you are in the house. Particularly if you are in the house alone.
Remember that once you have locked your doors and windows to remove the keys and put them in a safe place and out of sight.
If the locks on your doors and windows are quite old it may be worth investing in new replacement locks that offer a higher level of security.
2. If you do not already have one it is well worth considering installing an intruder / burglar alarm.
Make sure that either the alarm, or a notice stating that your home is fitted with an alarm system, is visible from the road in front of your property.
Burglars prefer easy targets and will usually choose properties to rob that do not have alarm systems over those that do.
If you want to buy a burglar alarm there is a huge range to choose from. You can have a specialist company come to your home and fit it for you if you wish.
Alternatively there are lots of burglar alarm kits available that can be installed by most competent DIY enthusiasts.
You can choose between wireless burglar alarm kits or the more traditional wired burglar alarm kits.
Prices for DIY Burglar Alarm Kits vary considerably depending on your exact requirement but, generally speaking, a basic system could cost you as little as $100.00.
3. Always make sure that valuables and cash are not left in plain sight.
Valuables, cash and important personal documents should always be locked away safely.
The best way to protect your valuables, and personal papers, is by placing them in a safe. The safe should be securely attached to a wall or the floor of your property and should be situated out of plain sight.
A Home Security Safe can be purchased from around about $80.00 and can be easily fitted by any home handyman.
4. Make sure that all garages and sheds are locked securely.
Outbuildings are often easy targets for burglars. Very often they have locks that are inferior to those used on the main dwelling.
Although most burglars would probably prefer to target your house there can still be a lot of valuable items worth stealing in the average garden shed.
There are also likely to be tools and ladders that could be utilised by an enterprising burglar to help him gain access to your home.
Check that the lock you are using on your garden shed. If it is not there are lots of locks for sheds and garages available that offer outstanding security features.
5. If you have trees or hedges growing at the front of your property make sure that it is not allowed to grow too thick or too high.
Hedges provide excellent cover for would be burglars wanting to gain access to your property undetected.
Side and rear boundary fences or hedges should be kept high in order to restrict access from neighbouring properties.
6. If you have gates at the front or side of your property always ensure that they remain locked if at all possible.
Simply restricting Access to your garden and the front of your house may actually be enough to deter a burglar from targeting your home.
7. Although the majority of burglaries take place during the daytime there are, nonetheless, also a large number that are committed after the hours of darkness.
Any form of low level exterior lighting helps to deter a burglar from targeting your home. Dawn to Dusk lighting that uses low wattage bulbs will not be intrusive for you but will provide sufficient light to make a burglar think twice about targeting your home.
If you really do not want your home to illuminated throughout the night then there are also loads of motion sensor exterior lighting options available.
Motion sensor lighting only operates when movement is detected by the photocell attached to the light. There are a number of options available including conventionally wired lights, battery operated, and solar powered exterior lighting.
8. If you are away in the evening try not to make it obvious that the house is unoccupied.
It is quite easy to install a programmable light switch timer that will switch your lights on and off again at pre programmed intervals. This is far more effective than simply leaving your permanently on.
Similarly there are electric timer switches available that enable you to turn on and off simply by setting a timer.
9. If the unthinkable happens and you do get burgled try to make it as easy as possible for the police and your insurance company to recognise your property if it is recovered.
Engrave any items of value with your postcode / zip code. If possible Items that cannot be engraved should be marked using a permanent marker of some description.
Items that can be easily identified as belonging to someone else are also more difficult for the burglar to sell on.
Items that have a serial number can also be registered with the National Property Register. The UK version of the service called immobilise and a USA version named immobilize.
Registering with the service can make it far easier for the police to identify you as the owner of the property and help them in returning it to you quickly.
There are of course items that, for various reasons, cannot be marked. Items such as these should be photographed from several angles and the photographs stored securely. They can then be given to the police should they need them for identification purposes if the items are recovered.
10. Many people tend to leave their car keys in a convenient place just inside the front door.
This may be convenient for the home owner when he/she is rushing to work in the morning. Unfortunately it is also highly convenient for anyone robbing your home.
Car theft is increasing year on year. It is far easier for a car thief to find the car he wants to steal on someone’s driveway and break in to the house and steal the key than it is to break into the car (and risk damaging it) on the street.
As a matter of course always make sure that all keys (including car keys) are kept in a safe place some distance away from the doorway. Anyone breaking in simply to steal the keys to your car will most likely be discouraged if they do not find the keys close to hand.
Hopefully the information above will help you to identify areas of your home where security could be improved.
Remember, simply knowing how to stop burglars for targeting your home is not enough.
You need to act on that information and make sure that you are doing all you can to keep your property safe and your home burglarproof! It is far better to make minor changes to improve your home security than it is to be a victim and suffer the financial and psychological effects it involves.