Interviews with burglars have given researchers some insight into how
they choose the homes they’ll enter. Since it’s only common-sense,
researchers probably didn’t need to be told that burglars don’t
want to be caught and they do want to choose homes that will give them
the fastest, easiest way in and out.
For that reason, they’re apt to choose a home with an open window
– or a window that can easily be opened. They also like flimsy doors
with in-knob locks. These are the easiest to kick in. Many burglars
say the sight of a deadbolt will make them move on to choose a
The best combination: a sturdy steel or wood door with a deadbolt.
Nearly 70% of burglars report entering through a door – either a
door that was left open, or one that was easy to force. Most don’t
use lock picks or keys they had previously acquired. However, some do
enter with a key – often with the key left under a rock or a flower
pot near the door.
If you really do need to leave a key for a forgetful family member,
invest in a lock box with a combination and put it in an inconspicuous
And, since some do use keys they’ve acquired in other ways, change
your locks now and then. Do it first thing when you move into a new
home, and then every few years.
Even better: Consider using a keypad lock – you can change the
combination any time you’ve had occasion to give access to anyone
outside your family.
Locks on sliding glass doors are notoriously faulty and easy to open.
Invest in a thick wooden dowel to lay in the tracks, so the door
can’t be opened even if the lock is broken.
Burglars also tend to shy away from homes with alarms and/or security
cameras. While these devices aren’t cheap, they’re much less
expensive than a burglary, and they are effective deterrents. More
than half of the burglars interviewed said the presence of alarms or
security cameras would make them move on to a different target.
Take some basic safety precautions:
Don’t assume most break-ins occur in the dark. Daytime is when most
people are off at work or at school, so a burglar is least likely to
be discovered. Lock up tight before you leave in the morning.
But – since some do occur at night, add motion sensor lighting to your
yard. Burglars don’t want to be in the spotlight!
Trim your hedges. Remove tall hedges and shrubs close to your house,
as these are effective “cover” for a burglar. If you really want
the look of tall greenery, consider installing thorny shrubs,
especially by your windows.
Get acquainted with your neighbors. Neighbors who like each other tend
to watch out for each other’s homes and to report suspicious