How Do Burglars Pick a Home? (And How to Scare Them Off)

How Do Burglars Pick a Home? (And How to Scare Them Off)

The first step in protecting yourself and your home from burglars is to be informed on how burglars pick a home to burglarize.

The simple answer? They look for an easy target.

Burglars work hard to identify easy targets. You could say it's their full time job to find houses worth breaking into. Many burglars will stake out a home for days to identify patterns in how people come and go. And they are especially interested in homes without dogs, alarm systems, and security cameras.

Below, we'll explain exactly what we mean by an easy target, and share 4 ways you can scare off potential burglars from selecting your home as their next mark.

And if you're in a rush to stop your home from becoming a target, you can always schedule service with an Ackerman security professional.

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How to spot an easy target

As we mentioned above, burglars are looking for an easy target. They want to be able to enter and exit your home quickly, quietly and undetected. This makes their job easier and lowers the potential that they'll be caught.

So, what exactly do we mean by an "easy target?"

An easy target is a home that is uninhabited and has no indications that it's being watched or protected while residents are away.

While it depends on the situation, many times, burglars will surveil a home for days or even weeks before burglarizing it.

When looking for a target, a burglar is probably watching:

  • Your schedule: When are cars coming and going? Is your schedule predictable? This will help a burglar to determine when residents are home and when they're usually away from the house, so they can strike at the right time.
  • Signs that you're vacationing: Are the lights left on or off for long periods of time? Is the mail or trash can left out for multiple days? These are signs that residents are away from their home, which is ideal for a burglar.
  • Signs that a home isn't being watched: Do you have security cameras in place? Is there a dog in your yard or home that barks? Does your neighborhood have a neighborhood watch program/signs?

These are all red flags to a burglar that your home is being watched even while you're away. This makes your home a more difficult target than a home that has no surveillance.

If a burglar has determined that your home isn't being watched and may be a good target, they may check for:

  • A dog door- An unblocked dog door is an easy way to enter a home. Most dog doors are large enough for someone to squeeze through or to stick their arm through to unlock a door.
  • An open window or unlocked door- An unlocked window or door is the perfect opportunity for a burglar to slip into your home quietly and usually unnoticed.

Now that we've discussed how a burglar may choose a home, let's talk about ways you can ward off a potential burglar from choosing your home.

How to scare off a burglar

There are a handful of ways to ward off a potential burglar from choosing your home. Some of those include:

  • Getting a monitored security system - The most effective way to protect your home against burglars is to install a security system. There are a variety of systems available, but we would suggest a video security system with motion-activated alerts. This kind of system keeps you informed 24/7, even when you're away from your home, providing you with live and recorded video footage of your home.

In addition to providing you with peace of mind, video surveillance is normally visible from the street, sending a message to any potential burglars that you are watching your home even if you're not there.

  • Installing motion detector lights - If someone tries to break into your home in broad daylight, chances are someone will see them. At night, this may not be the case. Installing motion detector lights is a great way to scare off anyone trying to enter your home at night. A motion detector light not only makes the person visible to you and others, but also lets a burglar know that you are monitoring your home.
  • Ensure that windows & doors are locked - We know this sounds obvious, but it's important. The easier it is for someone to enter your home, the more likely they will. Don't give burglars an easy-in by letting them walk through an unlocked door or crawl through an unlocked window.

If you install a comprehensive security system, it should notify you if you leave any doors or windows open. This is just one more layer of protection for your home.

  • Join a neighborhood watch program - According to the FBI, neighborhoods with an active Neighborhood Watch program are 43% less likely to become targets of criminal activity.

If there is a neighborhood watch program in your area, you should participate in it.

You can learn more about reducing burglaries in your neighborhood by reading this blog, "3 proven ways to reduce burglaries in your neighborhood."

Ready to protect your home? Our team of experts can provide you with a free quote on installing a security system for your home.