Monday, November 19, 2007

Making Your Home Unattractive To A Burglar

Usually it takes having their home get robbed before most people start to think about securing their property. Often it is only when the homeowner is standing in their looted home talking with the police that they learn about simple steps they could have taken to make their home less attractive to burglars. However, burglars are like any other criminal in that they like to victimize easy targets and avoid difficult ones.

There are many simple things that you can do to your home to make it look unattractive to a would-be burglar and make them look somewhere else. A burglar will often observe your house by walking by, driving by, or hiding and watching your home to get as much information as possible. What they see determines whether or not they will target your home.

The first thing you can do is make sure that you regularly shut and lock all your windows and doors. If the burglar sees that you're leaving your home open it can be quite inviting regardless of what other security measures you have. They know that if you're leaving your doors or windows open chances are that you're being sloppy elsewhere also.

The next thing that you can do is have a fence around your yard to make it just a little bit harder for someone to get onto your property. While this probably won't prevent someone from coming onto your property, it will put an obstacle in between the burglar and you.

A burglar will also check out your yard to see what obstacles you have there, if they can get any clues to your routine, and find out when you will be out of your home. They will look for things such as whether you have mail or newspapers piling up as this could mean that you're away from home for awhile. However, one of the main things they look for is whether you maintain your yard. Leaving your grass uncut and shrubs and trees untrimmed will make a burglar spot your house as a potential easy pick. Why is this? First of all people who don't take care of their yards usually don't take care of their house either. This means that they can expect such things as you not having an alarm system, not bothering to lock your doors or windows, and even if you do lock those, chances are it won't be too difficult to force them open.

They'll also see if you have places for them to hide while they break in such as trees, bushes, and large gardens close to your home. This being so, you want to keep all plants and other places to hide away from your house.

You also want to make sure you keep from leaving gardening and other tools around your yard. This again makes your yard look unkept and even provides tools for them to use to enter your home. A ladder left in your yard is an open invitation for a burglar to try to break into your second floor.

A burglar will also see if you have dogs in your yard. Having a dog or two in your yard has proven to be a big deterrent to burglars.

Having a well lit yard can make even the most brazen burglars pick another house. Some people choose to install lights throughout their yard to keep it lit all night, but a much more cost effective solution is to install motion lights on every side of your home. Motion lights have proven to be an effective deterrent to crime because if the lights suddenly come on while they're creeping around your yard they won't know if someone can see them and they often won't know if the lights were turned on by someone awake inside the house.

Another thing burglars look for is security systems and cameras. While I definitely suggest investing in a security system they can be pricy. If you look around you might be able to find yard signs with security company logos on them. If you put one in your yard, especially one from a large company like ADT, it can scare all but the most skilled criminals away.

Security cameras are another great tool you can use. For most people installing security cameras around their homes is not a practical expense, but the good news is that you can buy fake cameras. Many companies such as the "Johnson Smith Company",, sell them for around $10. Buying a few and putting them in visible areas around your house is a great deterrent. Some cameras even come with realistic working red lights and motion sensors that can follow people around.

With the majority of the things I've listed above in place it is very unlikely that anyone would try to break into your home. At that point chances are that the only thing that would make your home attractive to a burglar would be for you to have bad habits, and that's what well talk about now.

A very common bad habit people have is to hide a house key. Most criminals will look under the mat, around the door frame, in a garden for fake rocks, and in the areas around the door to see if they can find a hidden key before they break anything. Even if someone has no interest in robbing you, if they know you hid a key they might rob you just because an opportunity arose.

Not locking your garage or leaving your garage door open is a big invitation to a burglar, especially if your garage is attached to your house. Burglars know that the garage is often easier to break into then the house and quite often the door going from the garage to the house isn't locked or if it is it's easier to break open then the exterior door. The garage also provides someplace private to work while they break into your house. Access to your car is also very tempting because quite often people put a spare house key in their car so if the criminal gets into the garage they can get to the car and either enter the house, get a key from the car, or hide in the car and wait for you to get in in the morning. As you can see, not securing your garage is one of the biggest security mistake people make.

It doesn't take a lot to make a home unattractive to a burglar, all it takes is a bit of common sense and forming natural habits of things like locking up tools, trimming shrubs, locking all doors and windows and so forth. If you follow these rules and you have solid locks and some lighting around your house, you might not even need a professional home security system or a burglar alarm installed as they will be sufficient in preventing burglars from picking your home as a target as well as stopping them if they try anything.

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