Protecting your home from burglary is an ongoing task. What seems innocent to you may actually be an invitation to burglars. Most home burglary occurs during the daytime when homes tend to be vacant more often. When a “professional” thief is targeting a home or a neighbourhood, they use a variety of tactics to gauge the likelihood of them breaking in undetected. Intruders have done their homework and know how to target an empty home. What do burglars look for when choosing a home to break into? What can you do to protect yourself and your property? Here are some helpful tips:
Obvious signs that no one is home. This may include newspapers piled up or mailboxes overflowing. Even if you are away for just a few days, have a neighbour remove your newspapers and mail, or contact the newspaper office to suspend delivery until you return.
Don’t announce your vacation on Facebook or your voicemail. A determined burglar can easily track down your address.
Burglars usually knock before they attempt to break in. If you answer, a skilled burglar will ask for directions. Sometimes they carry a clipboard and ask if you need an outdoor chore completed. Burglars always try to look like they belong.
If you have an alarm system, make sure you always set it. Do not let the alarm installer put the system keypad where it’s visible from a window or door. You don’t want a burglar to see if it’s set or not.
Keep your valuables in a home safe and make sure it’s bolted to the floor. Most burglars will simply carry a small home safe out with them.
Keep garden tools, saws, axes and ladders secured in a locked garage. A burglar will use what they can find to break in.
Trim hedges and trees near windows. Burglars like to have their access points blocked from the street.
Install motion detector lights.
Install anti-lift devices on windows and patio doors.
Always lock your garage and lock your car while it is in the garage.
If you are going to be away for any length of time, ask a trusted neighbour to mow the lawn, water the plants and put out a bag of garbage on trash day. This gives the appearance of someone being home.
If a burglar is targeting your home and suspects you might be away, they may leave a flyer in the door to see how long it remains there. The longer it is there, the less likely you are home. Remove all junk mail and flyers promptly.
If it snows while you’re out of town, get a neighbor to create tire and foot tracks into the house. Fresh snowdrifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway. Consider having your property plowed or shoveled.
Be careful who you let into your home. This applies to delivery and repair people. Ask for identification and check windows and doors to ensure they are properly secured after they leave. Some thieves have “regular jobs” that allow them access to people’s homes. This lets them check out what you own, what kind of security you have and the ability to scope out easy access points like windows that they can unlock for easy access later.