An average of 1 million burglaries occur in the United States every year. While these numbers seem daunting, there are telltale signs that you can spot early on, so you can keep your home safe. Most burglars survey the places they are about to strike. Here are some clues to watch out for when your gut tells you that your house may be a target.
1. Unnecessary picture-taking by strangers
With smartphone cameras, users can take pictures anywhere, at any time, which might lead to a new set of security concerns: quickly scanning an entire area. Lookout for anyone purposefully taking pictures outside your home, whether they are joggers, walkers, paperboys, or handymen. They may also be weaving from one side to the other while taking numerous pictures of each home.
2. Fake utility officers knocking on your doors to “fix something”
Thieves who want to enter a house may pretend to be service providers. They might say that they need to check your utilities. It’s better to be polite, ask for the service provider’s information, and request rescheduling if they arrive unannounced because the company didn’t notify you in advance of their arrival. There is a good likelihood that the visitor was actually a criminal trying to break into your house, which you could find out with a phone call to your provider — they might have no record of any visit.
3. If there’s an unwanted sticker or paint on your door, be wary that it could be burglars marking your property.
Burglars study potential targets for robbery to see if the homes are guarded or not. Intruders might use paint or stickers to mark the targets for a potential robbery. So if you address them right away, you might be able to prevent your property from being stamped with a bull’s eye.
4. Prank calls and doorbells can be a way for burglars to check and see if you are home or not.
A burglar can call your landline to see whether you are home. If you answer the phone, they will typically just hang up. It may indicate that a burglar is targeting your home if you frequently receive calls of this nature.
5. An unfamiliar car that keeps driving by
You don’t have to stop and question every strange car that passes, but if one keeps driving by your house, pay attention. One without a license plate or one from another state may indicate that someone is watching your neighborhood, especially if the occupants park the vehicle and remain inside. If there is a license plate, record it, get a description of the driver or the number of passengers, and notify the police if you have any reason to be concerned.
6. Avoid storing valuable items in the master bedroom. Kid’s rooms are better hiding spots.
According to ex-burglars, kid’s rooms are a no-go for most thieves. So if you want to hide something valuable in your house, it may be safe in your child’s room. On the other hand, the master bedroom is said to be one of the go-to places that burglars will look around in right away.
7. Placing keys in your home’s entryway can be an opportunity for theft
While it may be convenient to leave your house keys and other valuable items by the entrance of your house, this can also be the cause for a security concern. Strangers will have easy access to your keys and valuables if they are placed right in your entryway. Make sure to keep them in a spot that’s not easily seen or accessible.
8. Having untouched mail
When there is a collection of mail in front of your home, a vigilant thief will notice. Untouched mail is a telltale clue that the residents are not home. Ask a neighbor or a trusted person to gather your papers, pamphlets, and other items that indicate no one is home during your absence.
9. Your dogs have gone missing.
The last thing a burglar wants when trying to enter your home is a barking dog. A burglar who has been staking out your house and is determined to enter will let the dog out well before making a break-in attempt.
10. Malfunctioning outdoor lights may be the result of robbers cutting the wires.
If you reside in a private home and your yard has outdoor lights with motion sensors installed, check them right away if they seem to be broken. Frequently, burglars cut cables or unscrew light bulbs to prep for their robbery.
Have you encountered these signs before? What other suspicious elements around the home can you add to this list? Feel free to share in the comment section below.