How do bur­glars choose which homes to break into? Is it ran­dom? Do they choose the first house they see on the street?

Nope — most bur­glar­ies are not ran­dom at all. That’s because savvy bur­glars know they can increase their odds of avoid­ing detec­tion and scor­ing big­ger loots by tar­get­ing suit­able homes. The ques­tion is: what exact­ly are they look­ing for, and why?

Here are 5 things that make your home a tar­get.

1) A dark house

More specif­i­cal­ly, bur­glars are look­ing for homes that appear vacant. And a house with­out lights on is often a clear sign that no one is home – espe­cial­ly if the place has been dark for sev­er­al days.

Bur­glars pre­fer vacant homes because there’s far less risk of being caught. This is why keep­ing your home well-lit at night or while you’re away is impor­tant. Con­sid­er using timers or smart lights to sched­ule your lights to turn on auto­mat­i­cal­ly dur­ing the evening.

2) Uncollected mail, packages or newspapers

This one is even more telling than an unlit house. If mail or news­pa­pers have been pil­ing up, it’s a sure­fire sign that nobody has been home for days. So even if the home­own­er left some lights on inside, it wouldn’t fool a bur­glar if there’s a mas­sive pile of uncol­lect­ed mail.

If you’re away, plan to have some­one col­lect your mail, news­pa­pers and pack­ages while you’re gone.

3) Overgrown bushes and grass

This is yet anoth­er sign that the house is vacant. If the lawn hasn’t been mowed in weeks, then bur­glars will sus­pect you’re away on vaca­tion.

But that’s not the only rea­son why bur­glars look for over­grown land­scap­ing. High shrub­bery also allows bur­glars to hide as they approach your house. If there’s a high bush close to a win­dow or door, they’ll use that as an entry spot so that neigh­bours can’t see them.

Be sure to keep shrub­bery cut low, and always plan to have your lawn mowed if you’ll be away for an extend­ed peri­od.

4) Lack of a security system

In an inter­view with State Farm, a for­mer bur­glar shared how he and his accom­plices would steer clear of any homes that appeared to have an alarm sys­tem or secu­ri­ty cam­eras. “If I saw a stick­er for a home secu­ri­ty sys­tem, that would have been enough of a deter­rent,” he said. “Once, we broke into a house, and an alarm went off. We imme­di­ate­ly turned around and just ran.”

Secu­ri­ty sys­tems and cam­eras act as pow­er­ful deter­rent that makes bur­glars think twice before tar­get­ing your home. And in the event that they decide to tar­get your house any­way, the alarm sys­tem often scares them off and ensures that author­i­ties are prompt­ly alert­ed.

5) Social posts that show you’re not home

In the social media age, it’s all too com­mon for peo­ple to share pho­tos of their fab­u­lous vaca­tions and get­aways in real-time. But you may not real­ize who is pay­ing atten­tion.

Savvy bur­glars can now eas­i­ly tar­get homes by scour­ing social media for such posts. In many cas­es, it only takes a few clicks to find the home address­es of peo­ple who are telling the world that they’re miles away from home. This is why it’s nev­er a good idea to share these types of posts until after you’ve returned, even if you think you’re only shar­ing them with a close net­work of friends.

Learn more

Con­tact PROTECTION PLUS for a no-oblig­a­tion secu­ri­ty sys­tem con­sul­ta­tion today for more infor­ma­tion on how to pro­tect your home from bur­glary.

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Allan Baum
Security Industry veteran with over 30+ years in the industry. Founded family owned and operated Protection Plus in 1994 with his wife and has overseen its growth since. In addition to working with his wife and son, Allan has assigned the role of Chief Canine Officer to his trusted dog Waub, who joins him at the office every day.