Keep Out: Take steps to deter burglars from targeting your home

posted March 18, 2017 12:00 a.m. (CDT)
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by / Brent Wilson, House Calls

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    29767457 - thief apartment studying security system of a new house

A home burglary occurs every 15 seconds in the U.S., but the burglary average arrest rate is only 13 percent. 

It would seem that our slippery thieves are a sophisticated bunch. The truth is burglars are always looking for the path of least resistance. 

In fact, a shocking 41 percent don’t even plan their attacks — they simply look for easy targets. Do you want to know what you're doing to encourage them? 

Here is a list of 10 things that make your home a candidate for break-ins:

1. You don’t have an alarm company sign in sight

Sixty percent of burglars said that they would pass on a house that displayed a sign from a reputable alarm company. 

Fortunately for them, only 17 percent of houses in the U.S. are equipped with a professional home alarm system.

2. You work during the day

Most burglaries happen in broad daylight. That’s because most people aren’t home during the day. 

In fact, according to the most recent FBI crime report, 65 percent of burglaries happen between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. while you are at work. 

A loud TV or radio can be a useful burglar deterrent in this case. If you’re reluctant to leave your TV on while you’re out, you can buy a “fake TV” device that works on a timer and imitates the flickering glow of a real television.

3. Your home is not well lit

It's true that most home burglaries are committed during the day when houses are likely to be vacant. 

However, burglars would much rather operate under the veil of darkness, and are always on the lookout for homes that appear vacant at night.

Lights are a deterrent to would-be intruders. The odds of being burglarized decrease when you install motion sensor lighting or turn on outside lights around entryways.

4. You drive a fancy car

Cars in the luxury or near-luxury categories point to wealth, and that suggests high-value items are inside the home, such as jewelry, cash and original artwork.

5. You keep your kids’ toys in the yard

Toys left out in the yard can mean more toys inside, such as game consoles, smartphones and laptops.

6. Your home is near an alley or surrounded by trees and bushes

These situations offer burglars easy access and the least chance of being noticed. Single-family, detached homes are the most desirable targets, as there are generally more access points and more places to hide.

7. You have extra locks on your door(s)

Extra locks on the outside tell burglars you have items worth stealing inside. Most locks can be popped with a crowbar. The exception is a dead-bolt lock. 

American National Standards Institute Grade 1 double-cylinder deadbolts are considered the best choice for exterior residential door locks.

8. You have hired help

According to burglars, oblivious household employees such as cleaners or landscapers often unknowingly provide inside information that could make a house vulnerable to a break-in. 

One way to help combat this is to instruct contractors and service companies to refrain from sharing any information with unexpected visitors, and to contact you in the event they have been approached. 

If this kind of request feels confrontational or awkward, give them a little context and mention that you want to be extra vigilant.

9. You don’t have a dog

Not a dog owner? You might reconsider, since more than 50 percent of burglars in a survey said that the presence of a dog would make them think twice about breaking in. 

Don’t put all of your chips on Fido, though. In a recent experiment, a fake burglar tested how dogs react during break-ins and found that when it comes to unknown intruders, many dogs were all bark and no bite — especially when treats were presented.

10. You or your neighbor has been burglarized before

It might seem risky, but burglars tend to return to neighborhoods they’ve successfully hit. One study showed that burglary rates are 5½ times higher for households that have already experienced a break-in. And if a neighbor has been burglarized, your house might be next.

Anyone can benefit from a home security system. Contact your local security company today to learn more.

Brent Wilson is an employee of Per Mar Security Services, 2520 South Hastings Way, Eau Claire. House Calls is submitted by members of the Chippewa Valley Home Builders Association. Email questions to