Thursday, December 22, 2016

Burglar-Proof Your Home #1: Tips

Photo by Lillang
Can you make your home burglar-proof? No. There’s no such thing as making your home totally burglar-proof; however, you can make it so much harder for a burglar to get into your house so that they’ll move on. Plain and simple, about every 14.6 seconds a home is broken into in the United States. Interestingly enough, they can get in through windows; they can get in through doors; but one-third of all burglaries are because they go in through an unlocked door. We forget to lock our doors sometimes and become somewhat complacent.

Our focus is to talk about how to make it a little bit harder to for someone to get into your home so they’ll go on and find a much easier target.

We want to make sure that our normal living patterns continue while we're gone, and that we don’t have something that looks unusual occur for three or four days at a time. A lot of the time these are opportunist burglaries, but it also may be people that have been watching your home for a couple of days and have figured out that you're gone.

There are a lot of things that we can do to make our houses look like we’re still there. First of all, one of things we don’t want to do is to continue to establish patterns that let other people know when we’re not home. For example:

Photo by Yew Tree House
  1. Lights: If our lights go on at night and go off in the morning, then we want to make sure they continue that pattern versus on twenty four hours a day. Use lamps with timers to turn lights on during the hours you're normally up and turn them off when you normally sleep.
  2. Television: Most of the televisions these days have programming so that you can have them turn on at certain times and off at certain times. Set your television so that it will turn on during the time that you would normally be watching and turn it off when you would normally go to bed.
  3. Yard: If it’s the season when the yard is growing pretty fast, then you want to see to it that the yard gets mowed pretty regularly. One of the signs that people look for is a yard that’s normally meticulously manicured suddenly becoming overgrown. This can be an indicator that we're gone, maybe for a few days of vacation or even a week or two.
  4. Trash Cans: We also want to consider our trash cans. Are they in the normal place? Are they out on trash days? Are they back in instead of being out two or three days at a time?
  5. Mail, newspapers, and package deliveries: We also want to think about our mail delivery. We need to make sure that: 
    1. First, the mail box isn’t full and that anything like Amazon packages that get delivered to the home is quickly put away and is out of sight, out of mind. 
    2. Second, talk to your neighbors, letting them know that you’re going to be gone.
  6. Vehicles: Another thing we want to look at its cars in the driveway. If I tend to leave my car in the driveway all the time when I’m home and it’s gone with me to work during the day, that starts to establish a pattern that people can watch. If that car is suddenly parked in the driveway for a week, they may start to sense that I'm either not going to work or I may even be out of town. 

Photo from

With holiday and vacation time coming soon, there's no better time to use these tips to protect your home and have a safe and happy getaway!

Watch the first video in our new YouTube series on How to Burglar Proof Your Home.

Kyle McNew is a Training Manager at TEEX Law and is the Instructor for courses including Police Emergency Driving, Emergency Vehicle Operations, and Traffic Accident Avoidance at TEEX.