Taking a close look at ways to keep your family safe and protect what is important to you. #3 of a 5-part series.
You’ve heard the familiar saying, “Locks on doors are only there to keep the honest people honest.” There may be some truth to that. If a person really wants to break into your home or business, they will find a way. But there are also steps you can take that may discourage their efforts.
Most burglaries occur during daylight hours while people are at work or school. Statistics also show that burglars usually live within 2 miles of their targets and are familiar with patterns and schedules in these neighborhoods. Thieves watch for unoccupied houses and quiet streets, hoping they won’t be noticed. A burglar’s prime objective is to get in quickly and leave quietly. Once inside, they steal your valuable items and get out of the house. Typically, it takes less than 10-12 minutes from the time of the break in, to the time they exit the house.
The average property loss per burglary is more than $2,200, according to the FBI Crime Statistics [LINK]. However, less than 15% of burglaries result in anyone being arrested. This makes the chances of retrieving your stolen items highly unlikely.
Insight from Burglars
Researchers from the School of Law and Justice at Edith Cowan University interviewed 168 burglars, all of whom had previously been in police custody. Researchers asked the detainees, “What would keep you from targeting one home over another?”
If convicted criminals can be trusted at all, their answers provide valuable insight. Caught red-handed, the thieves cited deterrents that would send them looking for a different property to burglarize.
Things that discourage burglars from targeting a property:
1/ The home appears to be occupied
Thieves will often knock on the front door of a targeted house to see if anyone is home. If someone answers, they will create a cover story. They may ask if the homeowners need their gutters cleaned or the roof checked for hail damage.
If no one comes to the door, a burglar may believe the coast is clear and look for a way to get inside.
This is why having a radio or TV on, even while you are gone, is a good idea. The sound of voices inside can create the “Home Alone effect,” which is a clever way for property owners to create the illusion of being home.
A dog with a loud bark draws the type of attention a thief is trying to avoid.
Even without the sound of barking, though, homeowners can post “Beware of Dog” signs. Signs on porches and fences create the illusion of a dog-protected home. Leaving large dog chew toys on the front porch is another tactic that can slow a dishonest person down.
But a loud dog that barks relentlessly is a highly desirable asset in property protection.
3/ A security alarm system
Studies show that the sound of a security alarm system going off will send a burglar the other direction. A home without a security alarm system is three times more likely to experience a break-in than a home that has a system installed [source].
Be sure to arm your system each time you leave the house. Additionally, placing the control panel out of sight will make it more challenging for a burglar to decipher if the alarm is armed.
4/ Lighting up, both inside and outside the house
Managing your inside lighting is easy. Today’s home security systems offer the ability to control lighting, TV’s and other home appliances automatically, or from your mobile device.
You should illuminate the dark areas outside your home with flood lights, and wall light fixtures. Motion detectors that turn on when movement is detected are also valuable deterrents. Reducing the number of dark areas in your yard and around your home will make your property less attractive to a potential burglar who is attempting to hide criminal activity.
5/ Locked gates on fenced yards
A common misconception about 6-foot privacy fences in backyards is that no one will go inside the fence. In fact, burglars often go into fenced backyards. Unfortunately fences provide a hiding place for a thief seeking access. Installing locks on gates is a wise move.
6/ Tidy landscaping
A burglar is less likely to choose a home with a yard that is highly visible from the street and neighbor’s houses. Would-be intruders will try to go unnoticed.
Large, overgrown shrubs around windows, and dense trees with low-hanging branches can be a place for burglars to hide. Trim the greenery and maintain your home’s visibility level from the street.
7/ Yards with alarm signs
While not everyone likes how they look near front door landscaping, many thieves will avoid yards with alarm signs. And since the rear of a house is another common access location, place another alarm sign there, as well.
8/ Nosy neighbors
Get to know your neighbors. Offer to watch out for their property and don’t be afraid to ask them to do the same. Whether you form an official “Neighborhood Watch” program or just keep an eye out for each other’s properties, being aware is key.
Fortunately, you can dramatically lower your risk of being the the victim of a home burglary by “hardening the target.” By taking these few simple precautions, you can make it more difficult for criminals to access your property and hopefully send them another direction!
ProSec, serving the Colorado Front Range, from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins, is happy to provide world-class security, video, and automation systems for your home and small business. Visit the website to compare your choices. Call 1-303-835-8100 to speak to one of our security professionals about how you can upgrade your security system.