If there’s one misconception we’ve broken on our blog, and hope to continue dismantling, it’s the notion that burglars aren’t intelligent criminals. Though popular fiction portrays these crooks as with the common “bumbling-burglar” trope, and though some of these criminals do indeed act out of impulse without much strategy, many burglars are savvy and plan their crimes well.

This is important for homeowners to know, so they both properly defend themselves against burglars, and ensure that they aren’t doing anything that would lead to being targeted by burglars.

Here’s What you need to know:

Homes that Lack Security

Burglaries are less likely to target a home that is equipped with home security. This isn’t speculation, this has been confirmed through a study by the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at the University of North Carolina. Nearly 60% of burglars said they would avoid a home with a security system.

This makes the simple step to personal and home sovereignty rather easy—get a home security system!

Empty Home During the Day

The criminals that are savvy will scope out homes and neighborhoods before they strike. They will recognize patterns to pinpoint when homeowners are away. One of the easiest and most common pattern is striking the home during the daytime.

Most homeowners are away from their homes from the hours of 10 a.m. to 3.p.m. These are the hours homeowners are at work, picking kids up from school, or other activities.

Families that are on Vacation

Similar to the example above, burglars are most likely to target homes when they know homeowners are away. One of the best moments for this? Vacation.

Homeowners make the likelihood of a burglary even greater when they post their whereabouts on social media.

For this reason, we encourage never informing the public that you have left your home. Just because only your social media friends can view your feed, doesn’t mean the information can’t be accessed. And sometimes, burglars are people we actually know.

Unkept Properties

If a burglar sees a home that is unkept, they can make two assumptions:

  1. The homeowners don’t care to clean, so they probably don’t care about security.
  2. The unkept lawn can be used to hide, and items left outside can be used to break-in.

When a burglar wants to break into a property, they want to be concealed. They want large shrubs and unkept lawns so that they can hide while they are attempting their break-in.

And if there’s valuable items left outside? Not only can they steal these items, but these items can be used to break into the house; a hammer can be used to break a window, and ladders can be used to climb up to second floors.

Wanted Valuables Can Be Seen

Some burglars work in fencing operations. These are operations where they are asked to attain items from an exact list. These type of criminals target homes based on the items the home has. “But how would a burglar ever know?,” you might ask.

Simple. You let him know.

If you’ve ever left window curtains up or placed valuable items right in the vicinity of the front door, you’re giving a valuable clue as to what property is housed inside. Better yet, if you have decals on your vehicles that promote support of groups like the NRA, you may be signaling what type of property you have. In that example, you are proclaiming that guns are likely inside.

Crimes of Opportunity

Lastly, but extremely important, many crimes are simply crimes of opportunity. A burglar saw a door or window open. Car keys were left in the ignition. The garage door was open and there was a golf club.

In all of these examples, crime could have been avoided by simply paying attention to details. Burglars will strike if they see an opportunity present. It’s important to never give them any opportunities that can be acted upon.