Burglary: A Crime of Opportunity
Have you ever stepped back and looked at your residence from the perspective of a would-be criminal? Where do you think your vulnerabilities are?
A burglary is often a crime of opportunity. Offenders generally look for an easy target, so making their job more difficult, or more risky, reduces the appeal to most criminals. Burglars will most often try for unlocked windows and doors as a means of entry.
If you have windows and doors that create a challenge to criminals, they may move on to something easier. Burglars generally pick targets based on a number of key factors, which are listed below.
Location & Familiarity
Some burglars target homes close to where they live or revisit homes that have been previously burglarized
Burglars may target multiple homes in a specific geographic area – on a block or in a specific neighborhood
Houses near major thoroughfares or on the outskirts of a neighborhood
The majority of home burglaries occur during the day when most people are away at work or school
Signs of vacancy such as open garage doors, accumulated mail, or newspapers and overgrown lawns may indicate that no one is home or that the owner may be out of town
Houses without dogs
Houses with cover - obscured views of doors and windows, including trees and dense shrubs, walls, and fences, and architectural features such as latticed porches
Houses that are secluded - homes that are isolated from view, on large lots or next to nonresidential land
Houses with poor lighting - poor lighting, especially around entry points, reduces a burglar’s visibility to neighbors
Houses with weakened entry points - older houses may have easily compromised locks or worn and decaying window and door frames, while newer houses may be built with cheap materials
Houses whose residents are careless about security - burglarized houses often have unlocked or open windows or doors
Reduce Your Burglary Risk
Harden targets - Install sturdy doors with dead bolts, window locks rather than latches, and sliding glass door channel locks or slide bolts
Increase occupancy indicators - Leave interior and exterior lights on with timers or sensors, close curtains, and park cars in the driveway
Improve visibility - Trim trees and shrubs and modify fencing so they do not block the view of the house from neighbors or passersby
Increase exterior lighting - Install exterior lights and well placed, motion-activated perimeter lighting
Implement a Neighborhood Watch program
Install an alarm system or closed-circuit television