Not every criminal is going to plan out their crime, but it would naïve to think that nobody who burglars a house has any sense. In fact, there are so many houses that have similar vulnerabilities that some people actually make consistently good a living burgling houses. It’s all about having the right strategy and it’s important to know these tactics if you plan on defending against them.
A lot of the time someone robbing a house is just an opportunist looking for an empty house, but someone who plans on stealing from houses for an extended period of time will need to have specific strategies if they plan on getting away with it for long. So what kind of strategies should you worry about? First you’ll want to know what type of houses they will be targeting in the first place.
Where They Will Strike
There are a lot of tools that someone can use to case a house out without ever even setting foot in the neighborhood. Some websites they might use to plan a break in include sites like Zillow and Google Maps. Using these types of websites they can use pictures to see if your house has a nice secluded area where they might smash in a window without being spotted by the neighbors. They might also look for someone online that has their address on their public profile.
They might also impersonate a door-to-door salesman or something similar to case your place and make sure you don’t have security or dogs. They can also use this encounter to see if you have any security cameras or other security devices they don’t want to deal with. Generally, an active security system will beep when the door is open. So if you answer the door to an imposter and they don’t hear any beeping, they might target you next.
When Do They Strike
Almost anyone planning on breaking into a house will try to find a time when the house is empty. To accomplish this they might look for signs like multiple newspapers on the front porch or houses with not lights on. Most break-ins occur during normal business house, not at night. That’s because people are usually home and asleep at night.
There is a bunch of different ways you might alert someone that you aren’t going to be home. It’s an especially bad idea to have you address anywhere publicly on social media. You might announce that you’re on vacation and attract burglars like moths to a flame. Some other clever ways they might know you’re not home is by association to large events like weddings or funerals. Remember, not everyone who might want to rob you is going to be a complete stranger. Also, keep in mind that holidays are a very common time for spikes in break-ins, especially on Christmas. You don’t have to keep your gifts locked in a closet generally, but it’s probably not a good idea to leave them laying in plain view of the window.
How They Get Inside
95% of break-ins require some sort of forceful entry, but that doesn’t always mean they are going to break a window or kick the door in. Typically they are going to look for easy ways to get in that won’t draw a lot of attention. One not-so-obvious thing that might attract someone to break in are window AC units. Most of the time AC window units are installed on an unlock window and make for a very quiet and easy way to get in. If you do have an AC window unit, consider installing bar locks for your window. They might also look for large doggy doors. If you’re home has a doggy door, but they don’t hear any barking they may think that the dog belong to the previous home owners and crawl in through there. These are special circumstances, but it’s important to know because if you’re one of the few people who fit in this category it may make your home a very attractive target to a group of professional burglars. Most of the time however, burglars enter from more obvious places.
Common entry points include:
- 34% of burglars enter through the front door.
- 23% of burglars get access to the home through a first floor window.
- 22% of home burglars use the back door.
- 9% of burglars access homes through the garage.
What am I looking for
Typically, a burglar will be in and out of a house within 8 minutes. That means that they are going to hit the most likely places for there to be valuables as quickly as they possibly can. Usually the first place they are going to look is going to be the master bedroom. They will look in the medicine cabinets, under the mattress, inside your night stands, dressers, and in the closet. They will probably do a quick scan around the rest of the house and look for expensive electronics or jewelry lying around.
They probably are going to avoid places where they aren’t likely to find anything or anywhere that takes a lot of time to go through. Even though there might be some good stuff laying around in your attic, they probably feel like it would be too much effort and take too much time to go through it. Other places that usually don’t have very many valuables are children’s bedrooms, bathrooms, basements, and kitchens.
Who Are They?
These days a crafty burglar can come from anywhere. A kid in high school can do a few searches on the internet and find some good strategies for breaking into a house. It might be an ex-convict, but it could just as easily be a family member that has fallen on desperate times and know that you won’t be home. Your best bet is to install home security with surveillance cameras to protect yourself. If you don’t have security, odds are that someone knows about it and has considered breaking in at some point. If you’re not protected, do yourself a favor and talk to a professional about what it would take to get your home secured. It won’t cost you anything and you might thank me for it later when your alarm system scares off someone trying to break in. Get a free quote with Protect America (they will give you up to $1400 in free equipment) that way you get your whole house protected right away.