Most burglars strike during the day – that’s a fact, and you’ve read it here often. Why is that? Because intruders really don’t want to find you at home, and the odds of your home being empty during the day are much greater than at night. Yes, they may be taking more of a chance that a neighbor might spot them in daylight hours – but your neighbors may all be out, as well. If you can address any of these telltale signs that you are away, you’ll reduce the odds that a burglar will find your home a tempting target. Here’s the list, with an action plan for each one.
- Newspapers. Burglars tune in to newspapers piling up on your steps, yard, or porch. Even two papers would be an indication that the owners have been gone for a while and not yet returned. Have your newspaper delivery stopped or have a neighbor collect it and keep it for you while you’re gone.
- Mail in the Mailbox. Just like the newspapers, if burglars see mail accumulating in a mailbox, that tells them that the homeowners are out town and this is likely a good pick for them. It’s worth the trouble to have your mail held by the post office or picked up by a neighbor to keep your mailbox empty. This will also help close the door to identity theft – your mail may contain valuable information, like credit card statements.
- Overgrown Lawns. If you are going to be away from home for a week or more, your absence may become obvious by the lack of lawn care. Hiring someone to keep your lawn mowed while you are gone can be a good investment in home protection, as well as making your neighbors happy.
- No Lights in the Evening. Burglars do watch neighborhoods to see if there are any houses that are consistently without lights when the other homes are lit up. Some people leave some lights on in the house whenever they were gone. An even better idea is controlling your lights remotely to give the natural appearance of habitation. FrontPoint’s interactive monitoring levelallows you to do this from any internet connection – even your smart phone, using the free apps.
- Quiet. When a burglar suspects that a home is unoccupied he may still listen for the sound of activity once he gets close to the building itself. The sound of a television, radio or music can be an indication that someone is indeed in the house. Leaving a television or radio playing while you are gone may provide enough of a concern in the mind of a burglar to stop him from entering.
- Garage Windows. Looking through garage windows to see if there are any vehicles inside is another way burglars can determine if a home is empty. Add an empty garage to one or two of the other factors above and a burglar can feel pretty safe entering your home. Many garages don’t have windows. If your garage does, you may want to consider blocking their view from inside to eliminate this clue if all your vehicles will be gone when you are gone.
- Garage Doors. Many people leave their overhead garage door open when they are home and closed when they are gone. If a burglar is watching a neighborhood, he may watch for this telltale sign. Simply eliminating this habit from your routine can prevent this method being used by a potential burglar.
- Obituaries. This is a sad and unfortunately true source of burglary targets – and I have posted on this several times. Burglars have been known to target the homes of families that are gone for funerals. Asking someone to stay in your home while you’re gone for a funeral can provide you with some extra security.
- Pets. If you have pets that are normally seen or heard around the home, a burglar casing a neighborhood may take note when these pets are suddenly absent. My wife and I have found that using a “dog-sitter” solves this problem – and for us costs no more than boarding our pets during a vacation or weekend away.
- Phone messages and Social Media. A name on the mailbox linked to your address could be all a burglar needs to find your phone number: that’s why displaying your last name outside your home may be giving away more than you realize. A phone message should state that you simply “can’t come to the phone” vs. saying that you are away: make the potential burglar guess your absence, instead of announcing it. The same goes for social media – keep your travel plans to yourself, since we know that burglars use Facebook and other online methods to see who is away.
Of course, the best burglary deterrent is a monitored home alarm system – especially one with safer cellular monitoring and smarter interactive features. FrontPoint specializes in these systems – as the #1 ranked nationwide alarm company for interactive, wireless home security, that’s our commitment.