Think your golden retriever’s ferocious bark will protect your home while you’re away? How would you feel if a burglar tossed Fido a hamburger right before he strolled out of the house with your computer, your credit cards and your great-grandmother’s diamond ring?
On The Discovery Channel’s show “It Takes a Thief,” homeowners watch horrified as their dogs greet former thieves like welcome guests and as the “thief” shows how quickly they can find hidden treasures, including jewelry, cash and other valuables burglars go after.
Statistics on burglaries and robberies in the U.S.
Most people don’t properly hide their valuables or secure their homes against theft. Perhaps some of the stats below from “It Takes a Thief” stars, reformed ex-cons Matt Johnston and Jon Douglas Rainey, will motivate you to protect your home and personal belongings.
- Most burglaries occur between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., when no one is likely to be at home
- Thieves always look under the mat, under rocks and in crannies for spare keys
- New door openers come with factory-set codes that are meant to be changed, but many people neglect changing the code, so burglars scour neighborhoods with common brands of remote openers, looking for garage doors that will open
Other thieves have spoken to publications about common methods they have for successfully robbing homes and stashing goods.
- Thieves will look for lawn mowers, tools, hunting stuff and outdoor goods that are carelessly left outside or not locked up in storage sheds
- Cars in the driveway don’t deter potential thieves because they know they could be decoys
- Thieves often target people they know because they know what valuables are inside the house already
Some more interesting statistics from Alarms.org can help you consider the importance of protecting your family and property as well as when your home may be most vulnerable.
- Snow and cold can deter burglaries from happening with the lowest rate of burglaries occurring in February
- Burglary rates are highest in the summer
- 83% of burglars admit to looking to see if there’s a home alarm system installed
- Homes without security systems are 300% more likely to be targeted by robbers
- 30% of burglaries involve a weapon
Tips for protecting your home against burglars
Now that you know what robbers look for when they’re searching for loot, when most burglaries occur and how certain things may or may not deter burglars, you can strategically protect your home. Consider using some of the following tips to make your home less vulnerable and to ensure that your valuables are safe if a robber does break in.
- Install locks or secondary security devices on all accessible windows so they can’t be opened far enough for someone to crawl through from the outside
- Make sure exterior doors are solid-core doors installed in a sturdy frame with long screws and have heavy-duty deadbolts so they can’t be kicked open
- Place security bars over your basement windows and around your home’s removable AC units to prevent intruders from crawling inside
- Plant thorny shrubs, rosebushes or cacti around the outside of your home, especially near windows to further discourage burglars from entering your property
- Keep all points of entry to your home well lit. Consider installing motion-sensor lights on the rear and sides of your home and position them in out-of-reach places so they can’t easily be turned off by a would-be thief
- Install security cameras inside and outside your home
- Install a wireless security system and house alarm system
- Carefully choose who you tell about your vacations and don’t publicize being away from home on social media
- Lock up lawn tools and hide other valuable items in secure places
To learn more about household burglaries in the U.S., visit the Bureau of Justice. To learn more about home security and home monitoring systems that can enhance your safety, visit AllconnectⓇ.
Originally published 7/21/2011. Last updated 1/9/19.