Most burglars look for predictable patterns of homeowners and easy access to front doors, garages, windows, or backdoors when people get too comfortable. Typically, burglars will take time to survey a neighborhood to see if homes have surveillance systems, kids, pets, stay-at-home parents, etc. They watch to see where you go in and out of your home the most to see if you remember to lock up or not.
How do burglars get into homes? Most often burglars get into homes through typical entry points just as we do, such as the front door, the backdoor, the sliding glass door. However, sometimes it is an unlocked window or the garage.
In this article, we will discuss when burglars most likely break into homes, how they get in, and how you can protect yourself and your loved ones.
When Do Burglars Attack the Most
Most burglars do not want to be seen so they attack during a time of day when you are at work and the kids are at school. Believe it or not, right after lunch is a high crime rate for break-ins. Summer is also a good time to be on the lookout because high school kids are out looking for things to do. Again, between that 8:00 am and 6:00 pm time frame when you are at work.
Another thing to note and be careful of is what you are posting on social media. I would consider checking how you have your account set up. If your account is public and you post that you are going on vacation for seven days, I would be highly cautious. You need to be very careful about posting when you are out of town so as to not make yourself a victim.
Top things burglars look for:
- Empty driveways
- Cluttered backyards with overgrown trees and large fences
- Blind spots
- Security Cameras
- If someone is home or not
- Sounds in the home (a radio can be a deterrent)
It is my understanding that most burglars knock on the door first, so use this to your advantage by leaving a TV or radio on so that they at least think someone may be home. Use your pets to your advantage as well.
How Do Burglars Get into Your Home?
A burglar gets into your home through common entry points in most instances; however, they also break-in or walk right through entry points that are left unlocked or open that you and I would not think about protection such as windows, balconies, and fire escapes.
You would not think that the front door is the most logical entry point for a burglar, but guess what? It is! Have you ever walked out of your house to go for a run and forgot to lock your front door or left for work in a hurry and could not remember if you locked it or not? It is the most common entry point for burglars.
Burglars also know that most homeowners leave a spare key hidden somewhere. Most burglars know where to look to find that ‘very well hidden’ spare key and they are able to walk right in undetected. Also, take note that most burglars knock on your door before breaking in. They may make up an excuse if you are home and leave without you suspecting a thing.
Most homeowners think that the backdoor is a safe haven because a fence protects it. Think again! Large fences, brush, and trees protect the burglar and not the backdoor. Just because your backdoor is enclosed does not mean you are protected. Always, always lock your backdoor. It is a prime target for a burglar. Burglars will always test back doors, especially if they are hidden from outsiders.
If it unlocked it will be used as an entry point and you will be sorry.
Windows/Other Entry Points
Windows are another entry point that most of us do not think about, but leaving windows open after a cool night’s breeze is asking for trouble. Burglars will always look for open or unlocked windows because they are easy and typically hidden by a fence and brush, making them a perfect entry point.
Trees, decks, and patios with a roof, or siding allowing a burglar to climb all provide an opportunity to a different part of your house. It is important to safeguard all parts of your house and not just the front entry points or lower level.
You need to be aware of what bump keys are. First, understand that pin-tumbler locks are the most popular locks used on homes today. Bump keys are cut in such a manner that they can be used to pick pin-tumbler locks.
This method is called ‘bumping’ because tiny pins that are spring-loaded inside the lock operate when aligned correctly causing a cylinder to turn, which allows the lock to be opened. Burglars insert the bump key and hit it hard enough to knock the pins lose.
A lot of us leave spare keys around the front of our house and we do not think about other people snooping around to find them and use them against us, but they do! Believe it or not people tend to leave their spare key under the front doormat. Terrible idea!
Think about investing in one of those key hiding alternatives to at least try and hide the key from unsuspecting burglars. Burglars are looking for soft targets, so make it difficult and hide your spare key. Do not put them under a pot, under the mat, or on top of the front door frame.
How Can You Protect Your Home and Family?
Security cameras are used everywhere today. They are used in homes, outside of homes, inside and outside office buildings, farms, stores, public areas, etc. The type of camera you use depends on where you will mount it and what you want to monitor, but first, let’s cover the different types of security cameras.
Install a Security System
It is highly suggested that you install a security system and/or a security camera(s). Security cameras come in various shapes and sizes from professional monitoring to smart monitoring, which is highly efficient. Take a look at your budget and what features you would like to determine what route you need and want to go.
Pros of installing a security system:
- Active alerts
- 24/7 recording of your home
- Video playback
- Two-way communication
- Inside and Outside video recording (with night vision)
Install Outdoor Lighting
Installing lighting outside will certainly help deter burglars from breaking in at night. Keeping your home well lit will ensure that intruders are seen at night. Install path light, garage lights, and landscape lighting with motion sensors so that the lights are turned on upon motion. For example, as an individual walks up to your front door, the front door light will automatically turn on.
I also recommend setting timers so that your yard lights turn on at dark or on a routine so that when you are on vacation, they turn on at certain times making it look like you are at home.
Always Close Your Garage
It is pertinent that you close your garage when you leave making the garage door to your home inaccessible. I also recommend closing the garage door when you are home. It is too simple for someone to walk right into your home. At least make it more difficult for them.
Always Lock Your Doors and Windows
Windows are another entry point that most of us do not think about but leaving windows open after a
Use Smart Locks
Smart locks have become fairly popular recently. Just like other smart home products, smart locks can be controlled via your phone and voice using Amazon Alexa and Google Home Hub. You can also grant people access via your phone, track who comes and goes and give guest access. It locks and unlocks automatically and has two-factor authentication.
Smart locks are probably the best feature for beating burglars when it comes to main entry points. For smart home addicts, these are a must!
Enhance Your WiFi Network
It is highly important that your WiFi network is protected. Hackers have the ability to get your bank account information, gain access to your security cameras and watch your house, etc. Some of the things you will want to do are:
- Ensure your WiFi network is locked own with a WPA or WPA2 encryption so that hackers cannot get into your network, cameras, and personal information.
- Always rename your network so that only you know what it is after setup.
- I recommend setting up a password program so that you can use extremely strong passwords for every account you own while only having to remember one.
- Last, install antivirus protection on your computer to protect against viruses.
Develop a Smart Home
Use your smart home capabilities to set up a schedule for your lights and TV so that your lights come on a soon as it gets dark outside and your TV will turn on when no one is at home. These two things can eliminate a threat. When you are out of town on business or on vacation it will help deter burglars by making it look like someone is at home.
Smart home capabilities that you can incorporate are:
- Notification of sound (barking, voices, etc.)
- Notification of people in view of your camera
- Notification of package deliveries
- Two-way communication with people in view of your cameras
- Schedule routines for lights and TVs
Use some of these capabilities to set up your smart home for protection.
Keep Your Yard Nice
One thing that I have learned is to keep your yard clean cut. Keep the shrubs short, do not let your bushes get too high, do not let any vegetation get out of control causing hidden vantage points for a burglar. Keep the limbs on your trees cut back. You do not want to create a safe space for burglars.
Other Key Pieces of Advice
There are many other things you can do to keep your home and family safe. For example:
- Leave your blinds and windows open for people to see in and out
- Leave a car in the driveway if you can
- Lock up the basement entry point
- Secure the second story
- Get a safe