Every home is unique; unfortunately, some of the features that make your home ‘one of a kind’ also make it a prime target for would-be burglars. We spoke to home security experts and ex-burglars and they give us their hot takes on why some houses get passed over, while some get broken into.
One thing to remember: professional burglars do a lot of research before breaking into a house. They will usually have some background knowledge on security systems, know the price and value of different home features (like cars, lawn ornaments, and items they can see through your window), and, of course, have some physical fitness to climb over gates and fences. Something to keep in mind when you actually implement home security measures!
Here are some things about your home that make it an attractive piece of real estate for thieves and burglars:
Pretty Hedges Make for Bad Security
Burglars love hedges for two reasons: it gives them a great view of your house, which allows them to ascertain whether or not it makes for a good target, and because hedges provide them hiding places for when they actually do attempt a break-in.
Showing Off can Show Off Vulnerabilities
Some people use their house to show off their individual personalities, and most of the time, that’s ok: it becomes problematic, however, when it starts drawing the attention of people with bad intentions.
Burglars love it when you display something expensive in your home’s exterior, like expensive lawn ornaments or pricey cars outside a locked garage. These small, seemingly harmless things can draw the wrong kind of attention and signal to would-be burglars that there are valuable things inside your house.
Remember: good burglars do their research. They know how much things cost, how much a particular house feature might go on the black market, and whether or not it makes your house a target that will pay off after the break-in.
Invisible Security Measures Make Burglars Feel Safe
Home security measures, like flood lights, CCTV, heavy locks, or even a loyal guard dog are all burglar deterrents. There’s also a reason why lights, cameras, and locks are big and bulky: it makes them visible to anyone passing your home from the outside.
That’s because burglars are careful about their break-ins: the faster they can break in and leave, the higher their chances of success. Visible security measures, while they could be an eyesore, advertise your home as something that burglars don’t want to mess with. After all, why choose a house with all those things over a house with none of those things?
Hidden cameras, while it can capture evidence, aren’t great at stopping burglars from attempting to rob you in the first place. If you’re going to have home security features, make them visible, make them loud, and make them as indiscrete as possible.
Discreet Entrances = Great Break-In Points
Those ‘discreet’ entrances to your house that give it charm e.g. cellar doors, basement windows, barn wood back doors, aren’t so discreet to the professional burglars. In fact, just like a discerning home-buyer, those are the kind of features burglars prize.
That’s because those types of entrances allow burglars to attempt a break-in without having to worry too much about being seen. Add a lack of visible security measure like grates on windows, heavy locks on doors, CCTV, or floodlights, and you might as well keep your front door unlocked and open for people to just walk in whenever they want.
Those “Hidden” Keys Aren’t as Clever As You Think
False rocks, empty canisters, and other ‘hiding’ places for keys aren’t as clever as you think: remember that professional burglars know exactly what to look for when they’re burgling a house, which means they also know whether or not certain features can be used to hide keys.
The solution? Keep your keys on a ring with you at all times. If you need to, leave it with a neighbor or a person you trust. NEVER leave your keys outside your home, no matter how clever you think a false rock is as a hiding place.
When You’re Out of Town and It Looks It
One of the things that let burglars know you’re not in the house and haven’t been for awhile are newspapers; specifically, the pile of newspapers that get left on your porch. Dark houses are also a great way to advertise that you’re out and that your house is easy pickings.
If you’re traveling for a long period of time, arrange something with your neighbors so that your newspapers and even mail are collected and out of sight. Invest in an automatic light switch that turns lights on and off at certain intervals. Small things like these go a long way to deterring burglars away from your house.