Most home invasions are random acts of opportunity. You can help protect against a break-in by looking at your home from a criminal’s point of view. Below are several questions a potential intruder might ask when deciding which house to target.
Is anyone home?
The first thing a thief will do is check to see if anyone is home. Oftentimes, the intruder will simply knock on the front door and if someone answers, he or she will make up an excuse for knocking, such as being lost and asking for directions or posing as a salesperson. If no one answers, the burglar may do further reconnaissance by peering into windows or listening for the sound of someone watching television. Sometimes, if the knock goes unanswered, the thief will turn the door knob and unfortunately, three out of ten times he or she will be able to walk right in.
One step you can take to make it appear as though your home is occupied when you are away is by setting timers on your lights and televisions. Additionally, consider installing motion sensor lights in dark areas outside your home such as near the garage or backdoor to deter potential intruders.
Is your home equipped with an alarm system?
A study found that nine out of ten convicted burglars admitted that they would avoid homes with an alarm system. If a potential thief sees a security yard sign or window decal, they more than likely will think twice about going through with their crime. But signs and decals aren’t always enough to protect your home and property. Having an alarm system installed in your home is the best protection against a home invasion. It is also important to have the various components of your alarm system in the right locations in your home. For example, placing a keypad so that it is visible from the outside may deter an intruder if he sees that it is activated.
What is the easiest way to break in?
A burglar will try his or her best to get into a home undetected. A skilled thief can get through a locked door in seconds. The next favorite point of entry is through an unlocked window. On average, criminals will spend no more than 60 seconds breaking into a home. Any attempt longer than this may result in detection by a neighbor or passerby. Thus, homeowners should consider upgrading to deadbolt locks as well as reinforcing the frame of your front door to make a break in more difficult for the intruder. Also, make sure your windows are locked at all times.
Will anyone notice?
Criminals choose homes that they can get away from easily. An intruder’s ideal home would be located in a poorly lit neighborhood with numerous hiding places and escape routes, such as a home with overgrown bushes or trees in the yard. Eliminate areas for an intruder to hide by regularly taking care of your lawn. Make sure the exterior of your home is well-lit at night including areas where someone could hide. Consider starting a neighborhood watch group in your area so you can minimize the risk of home break-ins for everyone in your community.
By thinking like a criminal, you can help prevent home break-ins.