At home, we do what we can to ensure safety for our family, our possessions, and ourselves but have you ever through of home invasion through the eyes of a burglar? Probably not, but as weird as it sounds, it might help you identify weaknesses or flaws in your home’s security.
Do you know what burglars look out for? Do you know what gives them an advantage? And do you know what turns them off? Read on to find out…
How visible is your home from the road?
A home’s fence can often be interpreted two different ways. In fact, the below might make you reconsider that tall, obstructive boundary.
1) Tall fences limit what a burglar can see
You’d probably think that because your home isn’t visible for the road – thanks to, let’s say, a tall fence or overgrown bushes – you’re limiting the view a would-be thief might have of your property.
That front window might be totally invisible to an outsider’s eye, and as a result, they mightn’t see the things that tell them your home is a good one to burgle. Sounds logical enough.
2) But consider this…
If a passer-by or neighbour can’t see a property from the outside, you can bet they also won’t see the intruder lurking around a home’s perimeter. Thieves are always looking for cover, and a high fence will give them just that.
Overgrown bushes allow an intruder to get up close and personal with your home as they study your movements, all while being protected from an outsider’s view. Neighbours and those driving by won’t notice someone hiding below your front window, obstructed by that dense shrub.
Without that tall fence or those hedges, an intruder is more exposed to the outside world. This is not the ideal scenario they’re searching for – they like to work unnoticed.
A fence, however, can be an additional security aspect of a home when combined with elements like sensor lighting, secure gates, and an alarm or CCTV system.
Do you even lock? Change the locks
Did you know that 34% of burglars enter through the front door? We’re basically holding the door open with a “Come in” sign hanging around our neck to 34 of every 100 burglars that invade our homes!
Securing the front door is not enough, though: remember your back door, side door, laundry door, garage door, and surrounding gates; these must all be secured too.
Moved into a new rental and wary of spare keys floating around? You absolutely have the right to ask your landlord if the locks can be changed.
The average robbery lasts just eight minutes. A thief isn’t going to waste precious time going to extreme lengths to cut through a wall or come through a skylight to get into your home. They don’t have the time, and it’s not worth the effort.
They will enter your home either through a door or a window, so it’s on you to ensure your doors and windows are equipped with secure locks. Feeling a pang of guilt at that flimsy lock on your back door? There’s no better time than right now to update or change the locks.
A lock, no matter how expensive or strong, does nothing until it is installed properly, so make sure you choose a licensed local locksmith who can provide the utmost peace of mind when it comes to window and door locks.
Is it obvious when you're not at home?
Burglars are pretty simple people: when they break into a home, they want to be met with as few disruptions as possible. Targeting empty homes is a favourite method of theirs, and the tell-tale signs are pretty obvious, like a home that’s immersed in complete darkness when you’re out at a party.
If you’re heading away for a long period of time, like on holiday, thieves will look out for:
- Bins are empty or haven’t been brought back to the house
- Letter box is overflowing
- Garden looks overgrown
- Cars do not move
Thieves will even be so sneaky as to place a flyer in your front screen door and monitor how long it takes for it to be removed. If it’s more than a day or two, that’s could be a clear sign that no-one’s home.
Got a dog?
Good. Thieves hate dogs.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a Jack Russell or a German Shepherd. The yapping or barking is one of their biggest pet peeves (pardon the pun).
(Even if you don’t have a dog, you can display a “Beware of dog” sign or even put out a bowl of water and leave a leash hanging up outside – it might help to deter them!)
Where do you leave your keys?
How many minutes have you wasted dashing around your home trying to find those darn car keys?
Whether it’s you being forgetful or the kids dropping them down the back on the couch, you might have deliberately changed your habits in order to leave your keys in the same place every time for easy retrieval, say, right by the front door on an entryway table or on a hook on the wall.
While this is beneficial to you when you’re rushing out the door on a Monday morning, the reality is that if you’re leaving car keys in a spot visible through a front door or window, you’re essentially showing them off to a would-be car thief.
A car thief probably wont bother hot-wire a car to steal it, but if they can see the exact spot you’ve left your keys in the house from the outside, they’ll jump at the change to steal the keys… and then your car.
Think about your bin
Just bought a new flat screen, computer, or other fun electrical device? Cool! But what thieves are looking for is the discarded box in your recycling bin. Conceal the bin, cut it up into smaller pieces, and don’t make it obvious that shiny, new, and expensive electrical goods are nearby.
They mightn’t necessarily be after those goods – in fact, they tend to go for smaller things than can be shoved into a backpack – but if your home has expensive electrical appliances it might tell a thief that is also has expensive jewellery, laptops, money and more.
Is your home accessible through your garage?
Convenient for you… but a golden opportunity for a thief.
This one, though, is easily combatable. Are you ready for it?
Treat this door, from the garage right into your home, like any other external door in your property.
Never mind the convenience of an unlocked door once you’ve parked in the garage. Never mind the convenience of brining in the shopping straight through an unlocked door. It’s too easy an opportunity for an intruder to gain access.
Do you have a shed?
And is it secure? Allowing an intruder to enter a shed and use your own tools – like a ladder to enter a second-storey room or a hammer or screwdriver to compromise a door – may seem absurd, but as we said, burglars are looking for a smooth operation. Don’t provide them the tools they can use to burgle your home. Ensure outbuildings are just as secure as your home.
The bottom line – start with a window and door analysis, and change the locks!
Appearances matter. Conduct an internal audit of your home, where you’ll hopefully identify weak protection against a possible home intrusion. The first step you can take it to analyse windows and doors and change the locks to more modern and secure ones.
You should also look at clearing up an unruly garden and identifying how your house looks to an outsider’s eye.