5 Common Security Mistakes Homeowners Make, According To A Burglar
Plenty of research has been put into increasing security for the home, including among which is about understanding the burglar’s actual psyche and motivations. There are certain types of homes that are irresistible to thieves, and this leads us to the question: why is this house being targeted over to the one beside it? We spoke with some real burglars (who have already changed their ways) and found out that there are specific (seemingly minor) mistakes that homeowners make that make their houses attractive to unscrupulous individuals.
How Intruders Operate
We took advantage of the rare opportunity to talk with some convicted burglars who were willing to share what they know — and the results have been illuminating. There’s nothing like hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth, as they saying goes. And these discoveries are important for every homeowner to know because, according to recent figures, there’s a burglary happening somewhere in the US every 15 seconds. That’s equivalent to more than 2 million cases per year.
This astounding number should be enough to alert everybody of the dangers that a simple mistake as not locking the door behind you can create. If you’re not sure about setting up a security system for your home or how much extra protection it needs, this is a good place to begin. After all, if the burglars themselves say these are what you should do, everybody better take heed.
1. Get those ladders off the walls
A ladder resting against your house or wall is a welcome sign for any burglar to enter your premises. It offers them a quick and very easy way to crawl through your second-storey window. Most likely, you will be worried about having dead-bolted your front and back door to even worry about your openings on the second floor. But with a ladder easily available and in plain sight, you’re giving thieves a free pass.
What should you do? Keep all your windows and doors locked when you go out of the house — and that includes those in the upper floors. If you own a ladder, make sure to hide it in your garage or outdoor shed after use.
2. Don’t let those newspapers and mail pile up
Stacked unread mail and newspapers sitting on the front porch or yard are a dead giveaway that nobody’s home. This is a common mistake of people who go on trips. In your excitement, you will sometimes forget to tell the post office or paper delivery service to hold your mail temporary until you get back.
What should you do? Before heading going on a holiday, tell the post office to temporarily hold your mail during specific dates. You can just catch up on them on your return.
3. Secure your trash
Burglars say they often survey the trash’s contents to determine the type of people in their target house — and if they have money. Looking at your garbage is like browsing a catalog of the things you own. Did you just buy a new Smart TV? The box will most likely show up in the trash for the thieves to see.
What should you do? Never leave boxes of newly purchased items on the curb for everyone to see. It’s best that you stomp on them to make them lay flat or place them inside black trash bags. Better yet, bring them directly to a trash center.
4. Trim your hedges and move possible hiding spots
Tall hedges, overgrown bushes and life-size yard ornaments are a great place for intruders to hide while they case your home. The more bushy your plants are, the better it is for them to peek into the window to see what’s inside that’s potentially valuable, or just study the comings and goings of the people in your household. When they figure out the pattern in your schedules, it will be easier for burglars to plot a plan and escape.
What should you do? Trim your bushes and tress reuglarly so they don’t create hiding spots for thieves. Another thing that might help is to install a motion detector lighting system near windows and doors for your added peace of mind.
5. Don’t broadcast your activities on social media
So the whole family is going to Hawaii and you want everyone to know how excited you are? The burglar will be, too. When you brag about your trip on Facebook, Twitter, Instragram and similar channels, the burglar might not find value in your post but he or she will certainly love the fact that nobody’s home.
What should you do? Stop announcing where you going to go and for how long you will be away. It might be tempting to keep posting updates of where you are in real-time but that can also be signal for intruders that it’s time to start looting. While you might only be connected to friends on social media, you never really know who’s watching. Thus, it’s either you keep your trips private, or at least wait until you’ve return to upload those photos.
Make Your Home Look Alive
The more “alive” your household looks, the lower the likelihood that it will be burglars’ next target. Thieves are called so because they don’t want to be seen while they do their thing. If your home seems like somebody inside, they won’t likely attempt to enter. Burglars say they often observe houses where the lights had been off for at least two days. That’s the signal to enter.
What should you do? There are plenty of smart home security systems nowadays that will help make it look like somebody’s home. You can program it to turn the lights on and off several random times a day. Burglars know that most households do leave the lights on when they go out, but if these lights keep changing, you can actually outsmart them. Some nifty devices can also control your TV, radio and more. In fact, the fancier systems allow you to access your home in real-time through an app and control it from there, even if you’re miles away.