What Are Burglars Looking For? 

An easy target (i.e. no security system). Evidence that no one is home, such as:

  • multiple newspapers piling up
  • several days worth of mail
  • too-long grass
  • exterior lights on during the day
  • interior lights on an obvious schedule (turn on at the same time each night)
  • empty driveway
  • quiet house

Windows they can easily look through to see who and what is inside. Flimsy doors and/or locks. Window air-conditioner units (it’s relatively easy to remove them and gain access). A door or window where they can break in under cover of darkness or shielded from the street by trees or hedges. Burglars don’t like a spotlight. Access to the sides and/or back of your house. These are just a few of the things a burglar might look for over the course of a few visits. Take them away and transform your home from an easy mark to a hard pass:

  • Install a home security system with motion detectors, cameras, lights, and sirens (noticing a pattern with this?)
  • Have a neighbor collect your newspapers and mail, or better yet, place a temporary hold on them
  • Lock your windows and doors, and close the curtains/blinds of all ground floor windows
  • Use smart automatic light systems to vary the times when they turn on and off
  • Leave a radio or television on in the house to give the appearance that someone is home
  • For extended holidays, ask a neighbor or hire a service to cut your grass or shovel your snow
  • Trim trees and hedges and/or install lights at the most obvious points of entry
  • Keep side and backyard gates closed and locked if you have them
  • Ensure your door is solid and fits tightly in the door jamb (too much space between and a crowbar can easily be slipped in)
  • Secure window air conditioner units from the inside, or limit them to upstairs windows

Finally, you should also participate in or launch a neighborhood watch program. A recent study involving data from Canada, the UK, and the United States found that these programs reduce crime by an average of 16%.

More eyes on your house means a much lower probability you’ll be selected.

Image Source

Image Source


How to Prevent Homes Being Targeted & Burglarized

Thanks to a survey on how burglars broken into home conducted by KGW’s investigative team on 86 inmates currently serving time for burglary in the Oregon Department of Corrections, we get a better idea how and when burglars break into your house, what they are looking for and what homeowners can do to avoid houses being cased or burglarized.

Here are the breakdowns:

  • Buy security cameras for entries and make them visible
  • Make the house, front and backyard visible with good lighting
  • Trim your bushes and trees regularly
  • Put bars on your windows and door
  • Have TV or radio on when leaving home
  • Know neighbors and alerts police if anything suspicious

You might be surprised by the revelation of convicted criminals about how they approach the house and strike while it also serves a great reminder of how homeowners can do to avoid being targeted.

Step 5: Check for Footprints in the Garden

Take a moment to examine the garden or yard. Do you spot any footprints in the grass, flowerbeds, or gravel path? If it has been snowing, do you see 
any suspicious prints and marks in the snow?

Are You a Target for Burglary?

There are several factors that might increase your chances of becoming a target. The location of your home, accessibility to a large street, and the proximity to neighbors are all factors that might increase (or decrease) your chances of becoming a target. For the most part, burglars want easy targets. They look for homes that are separated from neighbors and homes that have trees and bushes blocking the house from the road. Once the burglar finds several options, the potential victims might start seeing the following ten signs:

What to do if You Think Your House is a Target

If you find any significant signs that your home is a potential burglary target, follow our steps below.


  • Take note of any details involving the suspicious person or people around your home; what they look like, vehicle information, etc.
  • Talk to your neighbors to see if they have noticed any suspicious activity and let them know of your concerns.
  • Alert local law enforcement of your concerns and provide them with the information that you have gathered so that they are aware and can keep a closer watch on your area.
  • If you haven’t already, this would be a good time to invest in a home security system. You can even grab some inexpensive security cameras online that will do the trick without putting much of a dent in your wallet.
  • Reinforce entrances and windows with additional locks and security measures.

If you think that burglars are stalking your house, another thing you should do is exercise extreme caution and let them see that you are making it difficult for them. Installing surveillance and alarm cameras is essential in this type of situation.

Facts That Will Make You Take Burglary Seriously

  • According to the FBI, a burglary happens every 13 seconds in the United States.
  • One-third of all robberies occur through the front door entrance.
  • Burglars already have key items they’re interested in when they enter your home

An empty gas tank

You could have sworn you had more than a half a tank when you got home last night, but when you left in the morning, the gas meter was on empty—and you couldn’t make it to the gas station in time. There’s a chance a determined burglar drained your tank with a hole or a tube the night before. Now the thief can watch you leave for work, then enter your home without worrying about when you’ll be back. Know these 13 signs your home is vulnerable to being robbed.

Light bulb problems

“Lights are burglars’ enemy,” says Logan. “In lights, they can be seen.” A thief who’s planning to break in might unscrew the bulbs around your house so they don’t turn on and reveal the burglar. Check the bulbs if your lights stop working suddenly. If they’re unscrewed but aren’t burnt out, a crook might be scoping your home, says Logan.

Step 8: See If the Lock Has Been Messed With

Key bumping first became popular in 2005 and had bYou are almost in. As you stand by the door, see if there are scratches or dents in the metal around the keyhole. If you spot any, these could be signs of key bumping — a relatively new practice among home burglars.

Key bumping first became popular in 2005 and had been spreading ever since, as it requires little skills and pretty much anyone can do it. Key bumpers use a tiny saw to unlock doors. That saw will often leave marks and scratches if handled in haste or by an amateur.

However, if your lock has been picked rather than bumped, you are unlikely to be able to spot any telltale signs. Unlike bumping, picking uses a flat tool such as a screwdriver, which requires more precision and leaves fewer traces.


  • Consider spraying colorless paint onto the doorknob or handle. Make sure you clean the surface before applying the paint; then, close the door without touching the knob or handle. Any unwanted visitors will then leave fingerprints all over it — you will be able to see them using ultraviolet light.
  • If you suspect your lock has been tampered with, change it right away. However, don’t fall for the flashy marketing and buy a fancy electronic lock — these are easy to hack. Instead, invest in a high-quality mechanical lock.

Protecting Yourself From Property Crimes

1. Locking Your Windows and Doors

The most important step you can take to protect yourself from burglars is to lock your windows and doors. Make sure your front and back door is locked when you leave the house. Do not neglect this step. Believe it or not, many people do not do this and it results in loss of property.

Locking your doors is something you can do that will definitely impact how many burglars will be interested in your house. A deadbolt will also give you another layer of protection that makes it less likely that burglars will break-in. Many people will leave spare keys in a flowerpot or under a mat. Don’t do that– this is exactly what burglars are looking for. Cover your bases by making it as difficult as possible for burglars to get into your house as you can.

2. Get a Dog

Many people have dogs for companionship. However, a house with a dog is also less likely to be broken into. They do not want the barking to draw attention to them, and to also potentially get bitten.

If you can, get a dog to help protect yourself and your home from getting robbed.

3. Stay Safe On Social Media

Be vigilant about what you share to social media. Many times the photos we post have location information embedded in them. If you know how to remove this information, do so. Most burglars enter when the homeowner is not there. Do not make it easier for them to know that you aren’t there.

Don’t post pictures of your house on social media. This makes you an easy target for potential thieves. On the same note, don’t tell people when you are going on vacation. Refrain from posting your work schedule, or making any other indication that you are not in your house so no one can enter it. You don’t know what people are looking at your social media.

When posting on classified sites, refer to your neighborhood rather than your address. You don’t know how many people can see your address when you make it public information. An alarm system can be a good barrier to getting your house robbed. There are many good battery-powered security camera systems that you can install near your front door. Post a sign so potential burglars know they are being watched. This will be enough to deter them.

You may also want to look into a 4k burglar system. The best solar powered security system will provide you with great protection and also help you to save on electricity.

Floor Markings

Sometimes there is no telltale sign that someone has entered your apartment from the outside. When you are away and you come back home, look at the floor. You may see mud or a footprint that wasn’t there before you left. Furthermore, if you newly vacuumed your floor, you might be surprised to see footprints through the vacuum marks. 


Another thing to check for is scuff marks on tiles or laminate flooring. People who don’t carefully lift their feet can easily leave scuff marks on hardwood, tiles, or other hard flooring types. Pay close attention to the floors. 

STEP 6: Cooperate with the intruder and avoid confrontation

Ideally the previous steps will prevent you from having to interact directly with the intruder—this would be a best-case scenario for everyone. However, sometimes regardless of preparation and precaution, you’ll find yourself face to face with the intruder. At this point, an adrenaline rush may make you feel like the best plan is to start fighting, but an intruder unexpectedly confronted with a resident may panic and behave unpredictably or violently. This is not a time to be a hero.


If at all possible, allow the intruder to take whatever belongings and valuables they came for and leave, at which time you can call the police and begin a report. Regardless of how valuable and irreplaceable the items may seem, they are not worth risking your safety. Avoid staring at the intruder, and follow any instructions that are given as best you can to avoid further escalating the situation. The moment may come where confrontation is unavoidable, but you’ll know you’ve done everything possible to avoid it.

Photo: istockphoto.com

STEP 2: Have a code word that your family will know about

How can you alert your family to a home invasion emergency? A code word known to everyone in the house can work similarly to a fire alarm. Military experts in home defense tactical operations suggest simple phrases such as “ESCAPE” or “GET TO SAFETY” to alert the home’s residents that it’s time to enact the safety plan. These experts emphasize the fact that the phrase should not be cutesy or used as a joke—it should only ever be used in an actual emergency.

Photo: istockphoto.com

5. Install Barriers and Fences

Backyards without fences are easier to access than those with fences. Fences send a strong message to would-be thieves: keep out! They may enter through that way to make it more difficult for neighbors to see them. Using a fence can be a big step in helping to protect your home from potential thieves. It adds a barrier between you and them and will make it less likely that they will enter through the back.

If your home is potentially at risk for being robbed, let us know. We can help you today with an expert at home security systems. Did you enjoy learning what experts have to say about signs your home is being cased? Do you feel more prepared and ready to help make your house safer? Don’t forget to ask us to help you with your home protection needs. Installing a camera is a good base for protecting your home.

Especially if you notice that your house is being cased, you will want to change your protection methods in order to help your home and your family. Let us know what you think in the comments, and share it to help your family and friends.

About John Fox

John Fox has worked as a security consultant for over 20 years. During his time in the industry, he's learned about what it takes to ensure your home and family are always safe. With Safe Now, he's taken those two decades of experience and decided to share it with others to help them figure out how to make the right choices for their businesses and families. John writes tips and guides to prevent crimes, as well as product recommendations, and tips for what to do in case of an emergency and how to protect yourself at all times.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *