Methods used by would-be intruders to assess how vulnerable your home is
Not all burglaries are opportunistic in nature, sometimes would-be intruders will choose their victims carefully by looking for certain things or even employing tactics to give them information. Here are a few things that burglars do when determining which homes to target.
Randomly knocking on the door
They may knock on the door just to see whether someone is in. If you’ve had anyone knocking and making some kind of excuse, such as they’ve got the wrong address or are looking for someone whose name you don’t know, it may be that they’re trying houses to gauge who’s in. Minimise callers by displaying a ‘No Cold Callers’ sign on the door.
Sellotape on the keyhole
This is a ploy used to see whether a property is unoccupied for periods of time, for example when you’re on holiday or even for extended breaks. By putting clear tape over the keyhole they can see whether anybody has tried to open the door with a key since it was placed. If you are away, ask a trusted friend, neighbour or relative to check the property regularly and even if they only have the key for one door, check any others and if they see tape, remove it.
Watching the house
If you notice the same person watching your house more than once, or a car that keeps appearing but doesn’t seem to belong to any of the neighbours, it may be that someone is watching the houses on the street. Be very visible in and around your home and be seen to be locking the door and setting the burglar alarm if you have one. If you have real concerns about anyone and think their behaviour is suspicious, it may be a good idea to inform the police and certainly any Neighbourhood Watch groups. Some may monitor local social media groups so posting on these can be a good way of letting them know they’ve been seen and alert your local community of your concerns.
Monitoring bin day
Seeing whether you put your bins out on bin day can be a good indication of whether you’re at home. If you are away, see if you can get a neighbour to put yours out because not only does it make it look like you’re home but you get your bins emptied as well.
Unscrewing security lights
This is a simple way of tampering with security lights so they don’t come on. This could be because they plan to break in imminently or they just want to monitor how quickly you fix them to gauge how security conscious you are. Keep an eye on your lights and check to see whether they come on at night. If not, get them repaired quickly.
Marking your property
There has been some debate about whether this is real or more myth but it’s worth taking seriously if you do notice any symbols or marks around your property. Some say these are left by would-be intruders to identify viable properties to target or give information such as whether the property has things like security measures or a dog. If you do see anything, clean them off immediately and be vigilant for anyone hanging around.
How to thwart the burglars
Of course, even if you are seeing these signs that someone may be assessing your home for a break in, the best way to thwart anyone trying to burgle your home is to make it secure so even if it is unoccupied or your lights are out, it would be a difficult job to get in anyway. Ensure you have anti-snap locks installed, if you have a burglar alarm, set it, and make sure all windows and doors are closed and locked. CCTV is also a great deterrent. If you have all this then your home will be as secure as it can be and less likely to be targeted anyway.