You can find all sorts of home security tips online without trying too hard. So much so that you are familiar with the big ones: keep the doors and windows locked, put heavy-duty locks on the doors, etc. But there are a few tips everyone should know despite the fact that they don’t get much play. Here is one of them: don’t trust burglars to always be predictable.
It is true that burglars tend to have certain habits. It is also true that burglaries tend to follow certain patterns. But there is always that wise guy who doesn’t follow the norms. There is always that strange burglary that doesn’t fit the mold. Can you protect against such burglaries? Sure. There are always ways to beef up your security. But there is also the chance a creative burglar will find a workaround.
The Front Door…Most of the Time
One of the fundamental rules of home burglary is that burglars prefer entering through the front door. And if the front door isn’t doable, a back door or first-floor window will do. Why is this? Right off the bat, it is an ease-of-access issue.
The front door of most homes is fairly easily breached by a burglar who knows what they are doing. Consider the fact that burglars try to be fast and quiet. Breaking a window makes noise. So does kicking in the door, but the noise is less pronounced and not easily recognized. So if a burglar has to choose between the front door and a side window, they will take the front door.
All of this is true most of the time. But in addition to being fast and quiet, burglars also don’t want to be noticed. A burglar may happen upon an attractive house but be worried that too many people can see it from the street. So they look for another entrance.
There May Be More Than You Know
What about those other entrances? Well, a fascinating article posted by Readers Digest suggests your home might have more vulnerable entry points than you know. The article listed seven different burglary strategies that don’t fit the mold. Here is just a short sampling:
Through a Back Window
One homeowner profiled by Readers Digest was burglarized through a back window. It turns out the house backed up to a lake, making for the perfect environment for breaking in without anyone noticing. The burglar threw a log through the window and climbed in unnoticed.
In this particular case, the sound of shattering glass probably didn’t register with anyone else in the neighborhood. It might not have even been heard if the house were close enough to the water.
Through the Pet Door
Another incident reported by Readers Digest involved a burglar who went in through the pet door. As the magazine correctly points out, not all burglars are big, bulky men. Some of them are small and skinny. And yes, even women burglarize homes. Some burglars are petite enough to follow the family dog right inside.
Over the Neighbors’ Fence
Another burglary incident in Arizona involved a neighborhood that backed up to a vacant lot and cemetery. Strangely enough, owners of the bordering properties had installed fences with wood slats that burglars were able to scale with ease. Having yards fully enclosed by fencing made the perfect target because people on the outside couldn’t see what was going on inside. Unfortunately, the homeowner profiled by Readers Digest was victimized by a burglar who climbed over a neighbor’s fence.
Through the Garage
Smart burglars know that garages are not always as secure as they should be. If they can force their way in through an overhead door, the chances of finding a less secure door leading into the home are pretty good.
Unfortunately, some homeowners make it far too easy by leaving their garage doors open all the time. Vivint says this is a mistake. Not only do they recommend keeping the garage door closed, but they also recommend a smart sensor that alerts homeowners if they leave their doors open for too long.
As Creative as They Need to Be
The truth is that burglars can be as creative as they need to be to get what they want. Perhaps the main reason they prefer the front door is that they don’t have to be any more creative than that. Maybe the problem is that front doors are too susceptible to break-ins.
One way to solve that is to install several heavy-duty deadbolts that make kicking in the door a lot harder. For added security, a video doorbell or overhead security camera with built-in motion detection can cause a burglar to have second thoughts. But that does not mean they will not still strike. They may take a look at other points of entry.
A Whole Property Defense Strategy
All of this begs the question of what property owners can do if burglars will ultimately find a way. First, do not assume that all the unusual things burglars do are common. They aren’t. We refer to them as unusual because that is exactly what they are. Most burglaries still tend to fit the same patterns and modes of operation.
This indicates that a whole-property defense strategy will keep your chances of being burglarized to the absolute minimum. A whole property strategy includes home security equipment, appropriate landscaping, strategically installed lighting, and a selection of best practices that make your home less attractive.
In terms of equipment, you are looking at a home security system and strong locks for windows and doors. Where landscaping is concerned, the goal is to keep it neat and trim to maximize views from every angle. And in terms of best practices, it is simple things like remembering to close the garage door and not broadcasting to the world that you are not home.
Burglars are not always predictable. Sometimes they do things that are out of the ordinary. But with a whole-property defense strategy and some simple changes in behavior, it is possible to keep burglars away.