Protecting your home and your family from thieves is no easy task. While we may think that leaving the lights on while we're away or having a Beware of Dog sign will deter yourself from becoming a victim, it's often not the case.
A thread on Reddit of self-proclaimed burglars revealed all the mistakes people make when trying to keep themselves out of the path of thieves. How many of these mistakes do you make?
12. Your house is empty during the day.
While in the movies, most robberies take place at night while everyone is sound asleep, but in reality, buglers prefer to enter the home when no one is around. This lowers their chance of getting caught.
A serious thief may watch your home for a few days to determine when is the best time to break in. Once they know your home is routinely vacant then they can go in with confidence. Some robbers may even causally knock on the door to ensure no one is home.
11. You use a window air conditioning unit
Homes and apartments with central air conditioning don't have to worry about this, but if you use a window air conditioner you could be putting your home at risk.
“Don't use window air conditioners. This was by far the most common way to gain access by my friends. Kick in the A/C and climb on in. If nothing of value was found, the A/C could be taken in for scrap metal,” one thief advised.
If you want to make sure your home stays safe, then it may be time to invest in central air.
10. You make it obvious that you have valuables
When thieves are choosing their targets, they are looking for the best potential rewards. Homes with obvious signs of wealth, especially if it can be seen from the outside can be tempting.
“Keep expensive stuff out of sight. Your 70" flat screen TV should not be visible from the street. Your MacBook Pro shouldn't be kept right in front of your first floor office window,” one thief said.
It's also common for thieves to check the master bedroom for valuables including jewelry and cash. Instead, consider putting your prized items in a safer location like under the sink in a bathroom or linen closet.
Remember burglars don't want to spend a long time in the home, so if it's not in a very obvious place, it's unlikely they will check for it.
9. You forget to lock your windows and doors
While it may be second nature to close the door and lock it behind you when you leave, you'd be surprised how many people neglect to do this.
Robberies that spark out of pure opportunity are those when they can walk right in the front door and take easy items like laptops, cameras and game systems.
One former their admitted, “I often went in through an unlocked back door.”
While locking your door doesn't guarantee the safety of your home, it removes you as an easy target. Most thieves don't want to attract attention to themselves by kicking down a door, so this is your first protection against being robbed.
8. You garage provides an opportunity
Similar to leaving your front door unlocked, your garage door can make you an easy target as well. It not only may provide access to your home, but what you keep inside it may be of value to robbers.
“Thieves like to drive around nice neighborhoods, looking for people who left their garage open. They love a situation where someone might be mowing their backyard. Quickly hop out of the car, run into the garage, grab as many tools as they can, and run,” a burglar shared.
Keeping your garage closed and locked at all times will help deter thieves, but not always.
A lot of people are guilty of not locking the door from the garage to their home. It can be easy to get a garage door open through a remote or manually making your way in. By locking the door into your home, it's an easy way to protect yourself.
7. Location, Location, Location
It's not just important when you're buying your house, it's important when burglars are choosing their targets. Choosing a home on a major thoroughfare gives them a chance for an easy getaway, where homes in the outskirts of neighborhoods give them more privacy to complete the job.
Thieves will also look for a home that has an entrance facing an alley or street. The lack of visibility makes it easier for them to gain access without being seen. Corner houses, or homes with a neighbor on only one side make for an easier target.
Also, if the house has poor lighting or trees and architectural designs that prevent easy sight-lines to the front door it's a easier target for thieves.
Making sure your home is well lit and getting to know your neighbors is a great way to protect your home if it falls into this category.
6. Leaving your mail to pile up
Whether it's newspapers on your porch or envelopes in your mail box, this clutter is an obvious sign that you have been away.
When you're preparing for your vacation or leaving town, don't forget to ask someone to grab your mail and newspapers off your porch. You can even pause your mail with the post office while you're away if you don't have someone to pick it up for you.
Don't overdo it when you leave though.
“I often picked houses by the stupid tricks people use when they go out of town. …Tons of lights on, and an obnoxiously loud TV on in the living room at 2 a.m. on a Sunday night in an upper middle class neighborhood?” one burglar shared.
5.Your backyard is easily accessed
Thieves like to choose an entrance to your home where they won't be seen. Typically this is through the back door or windows. If your house is not fenced in it's easier for a thief to get access to the back of your home.
The more challenging you make it for a robbery to happen the less chance you will become a victim.
"make it a royal pain […] to get into your backyard. No one likes breaking in through the front door or front windows. No one likes scaling 10 ft fences either,” another thief admitted.
4. You skipped the alarm system
While they may be an extra cost, it's a great way to keep yourself from becoming a target. Alarms are a huge deterrent as they draw attention to the home when the thieves are trying to get in and out, unnoticed.
While the effectiveness of the stickers outside the home is debating, the sound of an alarm is enough to make a burglar head for the hills.
3. You don't have a dog
Like you needed another reason to add a fury companion to your family, this is a great way to prevent your home from getting broken into. Their bark draws in attention, and while some robbers will lure the canine away with treats, many don't want to go through the risk or hassle of dealing with a dog when they want an easy score.
“People think a large dog would be a good deterrent, but I generally avoided those annoying small yapping dogs that never shut up. Get a dog that doesn't like strangers. I don't care if it's big or small or threatening or friendly. As soon as one dog barks, the whole neighborhood starts barking and announcing a burglar's presence,” one burglar noted.
2. You probably know the thief
According to a report from the U.S. Department of Justice, 66 percent of robberies are committed by someone who knows their victims. Ways to deter these types of thieves is with cameras and alarm systems.
Also, it's important not to share an upcoming trip on social media where they may see the opportunity. While it can be a pain to put these protections in place, it's less awkward than having to confront someone you know for stealing from you.
1. Your cab driver may give you away
Some cab drivers are in cahoots with burglars to let them know when your house is empty at night. So if you have a cab come pick you up, get them to pick up near your house, not at it. This way you remain anonymous as to which house is left unattended.
How of these are you guilty of?