A break-in could feasibly happen to anyone, but some homes are more vulnerable than others. If you study how most break-ins and burglaries happen, you’ll notice some common patterns emerge. Thieves tend to be opportunistic, targeting the homes that are easiest to access, and there are common fault points that could render any home vulnerable.
Understanding the common features of break-ins can help you arm your home against them, and keep your family, yourself, and your possessions secure.
Common Precipitating Causes
Burglaries and break-ins tend to occur when the following conditions are present:
- A lack of home security. Thieves are far less likely to target a home if there’s a security system present. If they see a sticker on your door or window that indicates you may have an alarm or a monitoring system, they’ll likely skip your home altogether. Home security options are becoming less expensive and more plentiful thanks to improving technology and security knowledge, so it doesn’t cost much to make the upgrade.
- Weak points at doors and windows. Windows and doors are the entry points of your home, and if they’re not secured, they’re going to be taken advantage of. For example, if you have a side door with a weak or easily picked lock, thieves will capitalize on that weakness to gain entry to your home. The same is true for old windows, windows without locks, and windows that could easily be broken. The good news is, even a basic upgrade to your windows and doors can significantly deter thieves.
- Familiar patterns. Familiar patterns are also a problem. If you always leave the house at the same time every day and come back at the same time, a dedicated burglar can easily learn your habits. Eventually, they’ll feel confident they can enter your home while you’re away, and will have the luxury of time to do so. You may not be able to change your routine significantly, but adjusting your departure and arrival times occasionally or simulating that there’s still someone home could be beneficial.
- An empty home. Burglars love to see empty houses; break-ins while a home is occupied are somewhat rare. If there are too many signs that your home is empty, like total, uninterrupted darkness, accumulating mail, or an empty driveway, burglars could take advantage of the situation. Again, this is an easy possibility to prevent if you ensure your home is taken care of while you’re away.
- Obvious entry possibilities. More than a third of burglaries occur after a thief gains access through the front door. If there’s an obvious way to access your home, they’re going to take advantage of it. For example, if you keep a spare key under your doormat or in a fake rock that’s placed too conspicuously, it won’t be hard for an experienced burglar to find. If any of your doors are unlocked, or if you leave your windows open, you’re much more likely to be the victim of a crime as well.
Preventing a Break-In
Three fundamentals will help you maximize your home security:
- Knowledge. Learn more about how burglars think and how break-ins tend to occur. The more awareness you have about the potential weak points in your home and the patterns that criminals follow, the less likely you’ll be to be victimized.
- Installations. There are many installations that can directly improve your home security, thanks to sophisticated or simple technology. A home security system is the obvious best choice since it can equip you with surveillance equipment and ongoing monitoring, but you don’t have to be a home security subscriber to get similar benefits. You could also invest in stronger, more break-in-resistant door locks or window locks, or barricades that make entries more challenging.
- Habits. Finally, you can change your habits. Simple things, like always locking the door behind you when you leave or keeping your valuables well-hidden, can make a massive difference in your home security, and they often take just a few extra minutes to accomplish.
No matter what, there’s a possibility your home will be the target of a break-in, but the more time and effort you put into protecting your home, the lower those chances will be. Even with a modest budget and a modest expenditure of time, you can radically reduce the possibilities of being the victim of a crime, so there’s no excuse not to make the investment.