Take a moment to imagine the typical burglary:
It’s late at night, and the spouse and kids are deep asleep. There’s a gruff-looking thug clad in black clothing and a ski mask outside your window. He’s snooping around the outer walls of your home. He arms himself with a brick and smashes a window, reaching through broken glass to jimmy the lock open. The shattering jolts you awake. You rush down the stairs with 4-iron raised above your head.
This is the embellished image of burglary we’ve seen before. Unfortunately, it’s a misleading depiction that doesn’t accurately reflect the average burglary. Burglars are less rugged and more cunning. They want as little confrontation as possible, so they prey on easy targets and avoid well-guarded homes.
The following tips will make you a savvy homeowner whose home will deter crafty burglars.
Know Your Enemy
The first step in arming yourself against burglary is to understand how a burglar thinks.
According to a 2010 FBI crime report, 65 percent of residential burglaries occurred during the day. Burglars tend to strike when you’re at work or running errands, not at night when everyone is home and can be alerted.
A surprising statistic from the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association estimates nearly one-third of burglars enter through the front door. Burglars will also be looking for spare keys and unlocked windows on the ground level. According to a 2013 report by the U.S. Department of Justice, “from 1994 to 2011, the largest proportion of burglaries involved completed unlawful entries, in which someone with no legal right to be in the residence entered without use of force.”
Typically, burglars spend less than 60 seconds infiltrating your home, which means they’ll often abandon a well-guarded home. Burglars often live within a few miles of your home and tend to be young males under the age of 25, so it’s unlikely you’re dealing with a professional burglar.
Most burglaries can be avoided through simple, preventative measures. However, failing to take precautions leads to an average of $2,185 in stolen property.
Burglary rates spike during the months of June, July and August. People tend to visit family and go on vacation during these months. If you’re leaving town for an extended period of time, it’s important to make your house seem occupied. Smart burglars will notice signs of your absence, so ask neighbors to pick up your newspapers and mail. Also consider removing spare keys until you get back from your trip.
Burglars use the environment around them to their advantage. High, untrimmed shrubbery and trees might add privacy, but they’re also an invitation for burglars. Keep the exterior greens around your home trim and lean.
Hesitation is Prevention
Instead of giving burglars reason to invade your home, give them reason to hesitate.
Have a dog? Put up a “beware of dog” sign. Don’t have a dog? Put one up anyway. The same rule applies to home security systems. According to the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association, 90 percent of convicted burglars said they’d abandon a home invasion if an alarm went off. However, simply putting up an alarm system sign might deter the burglar from entering your home all together. Also consider motion-sensitive lighting for the 35 percent of burglaries that occur at night. Reduce the chance of a home invasion by creating mental obstacles for burglars to hurdle.
Smart home security is habitual and basic. Lock the doors and windows every time you go out, even if it’s a quick trip. Most burglaries only last 8-12 minutes and aren’t forced entries, so lock up.
What do you do to prevent burglary?
Photo courtesy Bravo Six Niner Delta