What Burglars Know that You Should Know
Professional burglars concentrate on easy targets because they know their chances of success depend on their coming and going without being noticed. So what can you do as a homeowner to make sure you are not inviting someone into your home who doesn’t belong there?.
“As silly as it sounds,” says Nigel Smithers, a retired police officer and the CEO of Watchdog Protection Industries, Inc., “the first thing you should do before you leave home for work or play, is make sure that all of your doors, including the garage door and side garage entrance, are locked. An incredibly large number of burglars don’t even have to break into a home because homeowners simply forget to lock a swinging or sliding door.”
Smithers also recommends you remember to attend to ground floor windows. “During the summer months especially, homeowners frequently open windows to take advantage of the evening air and forget to close them before they leave in the morning.”
Aside from the obvious, Smithers also recommends homeowners make sure that they are not leaving subtle messages that no one is home. “Unfortunately, many homeowners subscribe to newspapers that are dropped on the driveway or front step after they depart for work. This is an open invitation to a professional burglar who, when canvassing a neighborhood, is observant enough to recognize an opportunity when he sees it,” he said.
“A professional isn’t likely to hit a home the first time he sees a newspaper on the driveway at noon, but he may take action if it becomes a pattern,” he said.
To solve this problem Smithers recommends that homeowners either make arrangements to have their newspapers delivered to a location on the property that is not visible to the casual observer or that arrangements are made for a neighbor to pick it up when it’s delivered.
Another subtle invitation to a burglar is a security sign in the yard but no related stickers on windows. “Homeowners all too often think that the placement of a security sign in the yard will, in and off itself, convince burglars to move on.
This isn’t the case,” Smithers says. “If a professional sees that there are no window stickers accompanying that sign, he may take a closer look. It’s an easy task to view through open curtains to confirm the presence of window sensors and/or motion detectors.”
Apart from the basics, Smithers also recommends homeowners attend to the foliage adjacent to the home. “If bushes can be used to conceal the burglar’s actions, they will be used,” he said. “I don’t recommend cutting them down, but a good trimming once a year will deprive a burglar the opportunity to use them to conceal his actions.”
According to Smithers, the greatest defense lies in getting to know one’s neighbors. “The first step to home security involves neighborhood awareness. If everyone in the neighborhood is in the habit of attending to the presence of strangers, the less likely the burglar will bother to stick around,” he said.
“While I don’t recommend confrontation,” he continued, “every stranger should know when he walks or drives through a neighborhood that he is being watched.”