That TV commercial showing an angry looking burglar smashing in the back door at three o’clock in the morning is the stuff of nightmares. Many homeowners go to bed fearful of that very thing. With that in mind, home security companies market their systems as a way to prevent burglaries. But how effective are they, really?
Home security systems are actually quite effective. They act as a deterrent to all sorts of property crimes. But in the end, there really is no way to guarantee your home will never be burglarized. Perhaps that’s a hard pill to swallow. Yet you know it is true. Nothing in this life is perfect. The only two things in life that are guaranteed are death and taxes. Other than that, everything is up for grabs.
Does this mean you should not do anything to protect your home? Absolutely not. Perhaps that’s why Vivint published a great blog post earlier in 2021 discussing how to burglar-proof your home. Take the title with a grain of salt. There is no such thing as truly burglar proof, but it is possible to make your home so unattractive that burglars will pass it by.
The key to making your house unattractive is understanding how burglars think. There is a simple phrase that encapsulates the burglary mindset: get in, get out, get lost. That is really the whole thing in a nutshell. Any burglar who has ever revealed their secrets to the media has testified to it.
Burglars are no different than anyone else. They do not want to get caught. So let’s apply that to getting into your house. A burglar who doesn’t want to get caught also does not want to draw attention to themself. So what is the likelihood of them smashing in your back door in the middle of the night? Not too high.
The number one rule for getting in without being discovered is to target empty houses. Though there are exceptions to the rule, most burglars will not attempt to enter a house they know is occupied. That is why they do their best work in the middle of the day. That’s when parents are at work and kids are in school.
An experienced burglar can get into an unoccupied house fairly easily and quickly. But once they are in and has what they want, they have to get out. So ask yourself this: if you are burglar trying to get out and get away quickly, are you going to bother loading up a van with flatscreen TVs, computers, and the like? Probably not.
Your typical burglar is not interested in those sorts of things. They are interested in cash, jewelry, and small electronics. Burglars want small items they can stick in their pockets and easily sell on the street. So while there are exceptions to the rule, you’re not likely to lose your 72-inch flatscreen TV in a burglary.
The last step in the burglary equation is getting lost. In the movie Home Alone, the two burglars who antagonize McCauley Culkin’s main character are presented as a cross between experienced thieves and bumbling idiots who don’t know what they’re doing. They use a van painted to look like a plumber’s vehicle to empty out entire houses.
This makes for great Hollywood storytelling. But it is not reality. A plumber’s van would be too obvious. If someone spots the burglars doing what they do, a quick call to the police and it’s over. All they have to do is look for that van.
No, burglars try as much as possible to remain inconspicuous. They do their best to blend in with the neighborhood. If you don’t know what they’re up to, you are less likely to be alarmed by their presence. This is what they want.
You now know how burglars think. The next question is one of how you can protect yourself against them. Again, it goes back to making your home is unattractive as you possibly can. You can begin by planting the seed of doubt in a burglar’s mind. Remember, burglars prefer vacant homes.
A home automation system is a great tool for doing this very thing. With a good set up, you can program lights to go on and off. You can program your home entertainment system to play music at various times throughout the day. You can automate your window blinds. Anything you can do to present an illusion of activity forces burglars to wonder if anyone is really home.
A video doorbell is another tool. Better yet, it is a simple tool to use. A video doorbell with a built-in audio system makes it possible for you to communicate with anyone approaching your front door. And yes, burglars are known to knock on the front door to see if anyone’s home. You do not have to be home with a video doorbell. You can communicate with a burglar from a thousand miles away using your smartphone. The thing is, they will not know where you are.
Remember that burglars want to get in quickly without drawing attention to themselves. By impeding their progress, you make this task more difficult. Heavy-duty deadbolt locks and purpose-built window locks are a good start. They require more work to breach and, as a result, more noise.
Prickly shrubs around the windows help, as does providing a clear view from the street. Leave your garage door down and keep valuables out of sight from window views. And finally, equip your home with a wireless security system that includes video cameras. Burglars hate video surveillance because it represents evidence.
Burglary has existed since humanity has built homes. There is no way to completely burglar-proof your home, but you can make it too unattractive to bother with. That’s the key to avoiding becoming a victim. Hopefully, this post has provided enough information to get you started.