Homeowners across the country are justifiably afraid of home invaders. People who wish to steal prized personal possessions and destroy a family’s sense of security is itself a scary thought. Over a million burglaries occurred in 2019, nearly 17% of reported property crimes. They happen much more often than most people would think, so it’s incredibly important to ensure that your home isn’t being seen as a potential target for burglars.

Burglaries account for billions of dollars in losses in the United States alone. Even if you have insurance, it’s impossible to replace family heirlooms and items with memories attached to them. In order to reduce the chance of being a victim of burglary and becoming another statistic, it’s important to think like a burglar, and ensure the home is set up to prevent burglaries before they even begin.

What Do Burglars Look For?

Burglars obviously don’t target every home. They look for homes that match the exact circumstances they’d like before breaking in. Potential burglars will keep an eye on the schedule of a home, usually striking on weekdays when schedules are more predictable. Burglars want maximum gain with minimal effort. Burglars tend to find out when nobody is home and prey on wealthier neighborhoods. The presence of an expensive car or the absence of a security system let them know this house will have great profit with minimal risk.

Burglars seek stealing expensive, big ticket items that can be easily pawned or sold. Jewelry, expensive collectibles, and electronics are the major draw for many burglars. Many burglars will even take note of any discarded trash and recyclables that may indicate good targets, such as television boxes. Not only does this inform a criminal your home has a new TV, but possibly other goodies they could grab, since there’s the perception that you have the disposable income a new TV. Items aren’t the only things stolen, however. Many criminals prefer stealing cash and credit cards that may be left in the home throughout the day.

Burglars have a preference for breaking in in the morning and early afternoon. On weekdays, this is when most people are at work and children are at school. Early afternoon has been reported by inmates as the preferred time to break in, as it also ensures people who go home for lunch aren’t home either.

How Do Burglars Get Inside?

Burglars have a slew of ways of getting inside once they decide that a house is the perfect mark for a burglary. Burglars tend to seek out unlocked doors and windows, as the lack of obvious break-in can assure their crimes aren’t detected by neighbors until the residents get home to see the house cleaned out of valuables. If doors and windows are locked up, however, there are plenty of ways burglars can get around it. Keys hidden under mats or false rocks are easily found by burglars to let themselves in discretely. Windows can easily be smashed, allowing burglars to climb through. Glass-front doors can be smashed as well, allowing burglars to reach inside and unlock the door to let themselves in. Items like crowbars and bank cards can allow for forced entry. Some burglars even knock air conditioning units out of the window to crawl through.

How to Prevent Burglaries

With so many ways for burglars to enter, it can seem insurmountable to prevent burglaries. Though it’s impossible to prevent all burglaries, there are many precautions residents can take to prevent becoming a property crime victim. The biggest deterrent to burglaries is the illusion that someone is home. Leaving on lights, as well as having a radio or television audibly playing, will often be enough to give the illusion that someone is still home, and cause burglars to back off. Unfortunately, this tactic can prove to be only temporary. Eagle eyed burglars who have been doing their research on a potential job will be able to tell when someone is actually home versus when a house is merely being made to appear like somebody is home. This is where home security comes into play.

Outdoor security cameras are one of the greatest means of deterring break-ins. Most criminals are lazy – if they see cameras on the property that would definitely catch them in the act of entering, they won’t bother, and will move onto a different house. Additionally, home security systems provide numerous ways to prevent burglars from getting any further. Motion sensors are handy for burglars striking in the dark, allowing for alarms and floodlights to be cast on them, frightening any would-be crook off your property before even entering. Door and window sensors, when armed, will set off alarms when doors and windows are opened, and won’t shut off until the owner deactivates the alarm.

Though it’s often called into question whether home security systems are worth it, it’s important to ask about the costs associated when one doesn’t have a security system. Think about the cost of your valuables, the possible repairs and cleanup required if a break-in gets messy, the potential medical costs if someone is unfortunately hurt in a home break-in. When these costs are taken into account, it becomes much easier to see the value in having a home security system of one’s own.

With the assistance of a home security system, and a little know-how into the minds of burglars, it can be easy to ensure your home isn’t made into a target. Be sure to keep doors locked and systems armed when out of the house. Making it seem like somebody is home is proven to work wonders, as easy as leaving a TV or radio on with the lights, and possibly leaving a car in the driveway. Cameras will turn smart burglars away, and the not-so-smart burglars will be caught in the act on camera, leaving you with high-quality footage to turn over to the police and submit into evidence. Peace of mind is the greatest thing your home should give you, and with these tips, having that peace of mind is only made easier.