Every 15 seconds, a home is broken into and burglarized in the US. Thieves spend hours scoping out targets, and once they zero in on them, it takes less than 60 seconds to break in.
Locking the doors when you’re not home is only scratching the surface when it comes to keeping your home impermeable to intruders. These thieves are smart, and have an arsenal of tricks up their sleeves when it comes to pinpointing which house on the block is easiest to break into, and has the pricey goods to steal.
Here are 6 things burglars don’t want you to know.
1. Shrubbery Makes For Great Coverage
Outdoor landscaping is an excellent way to boost curb appeal and enhance the esthetics of your home’s exterior. But all those shrubs that you meticulously maintain on the weekends could be doing a lot more than just making your home look pretty.
This greenery also does double-duty by acting as coverage for ne’er do wells who are looking to make their way into your home without being spotted by passersby in the meantime. When you’re planting shrubs and hedges, make sure they’re positioned far enough away from your windows so they don’t give burglars the opportunity to crack the windows open and slip in without being spotted. And make sure they’re trimmed low too so that as much of the windows are exposed as possible.
2. Big Boxes From New Electronics Are a Tip-Off
Any big-ticket electronics or appliances typically come encased in cardboard boxes. And after you’ve taken your prized possessions out and set them up in your home, you’ve got to discard these boxes somehow.
Most likely you’ll be leaving them at the bottom of your driveway come garbage/recycling day, which is exactly what burglars are watching for. Rather than blatantly announcing to the world that you just bought a new flat-screen TV, make sure you cut the cardboard boxes up into small pieces and stack them in such a way as to hide the labels that show what came in the box. Or else, consider storing the cut-up sections inside a bin until the morning of recycling pick-up.
3. Service Technicians Might Be Doing More Than Repairs
Whether you need to call a plumber to clear a clogged drain, or an electrician to revamp your electrical panel, letting a complete stranger in your house is always a gamble. While most service technicians coming into your home are honest workers who are there simply to rectify whatever issue you have, you just never know when one of them has an ulterior motive.
Some burglars use jobs like these as a means to go into other people’s homes to scope out the goods inside, as well as the best ways to get in when you’re not home. They’ll even go so far as to unlock windows while in the bathroom to make their break-in that much more convenient.
4. Mirrors Reflect a Lot More Than Your Image
Hanging mirrors in the entrance of homes is a pretty common design practice, and for good reason. It’s helps enlarge an often tight space and brightens the area up while providing a decorative element to the entryway. But while mirrors are attractive and all, they can also be a burglar’s ally. If your home has an alarm system installed, that mirror that you use to check your makeup on the way out for work will also reflect the alarm pad.
And if you forgot to set the alarm system before leaving your home, thieves will see that. And even if it is set, they’ll know that your home has an alarm system and may be crafty enough to disarm it by finding and cutting the telephone wire that it’s hooked up to. If you’ve got a mirror in your entryway, make sure the alarm system pad doesn’t show from the outside.
5. Those Door Hangers Might Not Be From the Local Real Estate Agent or Cleaning Company
Local professionals regularly advertise their services to homeowners via paper advertisement, whether they’re flyers, mail, or door hangers. But savvy thieves often use the door-hanger tactic to see how long it takes before this piece of paper is removed from the handle.
If it sits there for a few days, odds are the homeowners are away on holidays, which means it’s prime time to break in and help themselves to your belongings. If you happen to be away for more than a couple of days, ask your neighbor or a friend to clear these door hangers – as well as newspapers and your mail – while you’re gone to thwart off thieves.
6. Facebook is a Treasure Trove For Holiday-Goer’s
When you’re on vacation, you’re probably dying to show pictures of the glorious beaches or amazing landmarks you’re experiencing. But instead of waiting until you come home to do this, you’re likely plastering these images all over your Facebook page and Instagram account, just like millions of Americans do all the time.
But in addition to your friends scoping out your pics, burglars are doing the same. Mention that you’re out of town for however long, and these invaders will target your home, knowing that they’ve got plenty of time to ransack the place before you get back. Do yourself a favor and wait until the holidays are over before bragging to the world about your amazing vacation.
The Bottom Line
Burglars these days are always upping their game when it comes to breaking into homes and making off with valuables. That means you’ve got to keep up with their game in order to protect your home and its belongings. With an estimated $4.7 billion in property losses annually according to FBI stats, it’s well worth the effort to go beyond simply locking your doors and putting in an alarm system. In essence, think like a thief in order to impede on their efforts.