Burglars prefer to break into a home when no one is at home. To determine whether the owners are home or not, burglars have come up with several tricks for finding empty homes to burglarize. If homeowners can eliminate some of these telltale signs of an empty house, they may decrease the chance of being burglarized when they are gone.
- Newspapers. Burglars will look for newspapers piling up in the delivery tube or on a porch. Even two newspapers would be an indication that the owners have been gone for awhile and not yet returned. Having your newspaper delivery stopped or having a neighbor collect it and keep it for you while your gone could prevent this clue from giving your absence away.
- Mail in the mailbox. Just like the newspapers, if burglars find a couples days worth of mail in a mailbox, that tells them that the owners of this home are out town and likely a good pick for them. It is worth the trouble to have your mail held by the post office or picked up by a neighbor to keep your mailbox empty. This will also prevent possible theft of valuable information like credit card statements from the mail box.
- Overgrown lawns. If you are going to be away from home for a week or more, your absence may become obvious by the lack of lawn care. Hiring someone to keep your lawn mowed while you are gone can me a good investment in home protection as well as making your neighbors happy.
- No lights in the evening. Burglars will watch houses in a neighborhood to see if there are any houses that are consistently without lights when the other neighborhood houses are lit up. Some people leave some lights on in the house whenever they were gone. An even better idea is putting your lights on a timer to give the natural appearance of habitation where lights are turned on in the evening and then off later at night.
- Quiet. When a burglar suspects that a home may be unoccupied he will still listen for the sound of activity once he gets close to the building itself. The sound of a television, radio or music can be an indication that someone is indeed in the house. Leaving a television or radio playing while you are gone may provide enough of a concern in the mind of a burglar to stop him from entering.
- Garage windows. Looking through garage windows to see if there are any vehicles inside is another way burglars can determine if a home is empty. Add an empty garage to one or two of the other factors above and a burglar can feel pretty safe entering your home. Many garages don’t have windows. If your garage does, you may want to consider blocking their view from inside to eliminate this clue if all your vehicles will be gone when you are gone.
- Garage Doors. Many people leave their overhead garage door open when they are home and closed when they are gone. If a burglar is watching a neighborhood he may watch for this telltale sign. Simply eliminating this habit from your home can prevent this sign being used by a potential burglar.
- Obituaries. This is a sad and unfortunately true source of burglary targets. Burglars have been known to target the homes of families that are gone for funerals. Asking someone to stay in your home while you’re gone for a funeral can provide you with some extra security.
- Pets. If you have pets that are normally seen or heard around the home. Burglars casing a neighborhood may take note if these pets are suddenly absent when you board them during a vacation or weekend away.
- Phone messages. A name on a mailbox and an address may be all that a burglar needs to find your phone number as well. Having your last name displayed anywhere outside your home may be telling more than your realize. If your message states that you simply ‘can’t come to the phone’ a caller doesn’t know for sure why you haven’t answered. A burglar will be listening for a message that specifically states that you are away from home. It is best never to leave such a specific message as your recorded message when you are gone.
Burglars will seldom count on just one of these items to determine that a home is unoccupied. Do your part in deterring him by making it difficult for him to tell for sure whether you are at home or not.