Editor’s Note: This article was last updated September 10, 2015.
Every day, people come home to find their home in shambles and their valuables missing. Burglary is one of the least personal crimes, but victims feel exposed and vulnerable. You may have several point-of-entry sensors guarding your windows and doors and an IP camera watching your front door, but that may not be enough to stop someone from breaking into your home and stealing your personal possessions. This article will look at some of the common ways that thieves break into houses.
However, before getting into the details, no amount of security devices or locks will protect you if you forget to use them. Sometimes a good bolt lock is all you need to deter a burglar, but if you forget to lock the door, your home is at risk. If you use a complex security system with motion detectors and point-of-entry sensors, make sure to turn it on every time you leave the house. Like brushing your teeth, home security needs to be a regular habit.
1. Too Much Information
When a professional burglar decides to break into your home, he looks for every piece of information you provide, starting with your mailbox. If you have your name painted on the mailbox, you've given a burglar your name and home address. Using the phone book, a burglar will look up your information and call you to see if you are home. If your name is not on the mailbox, the burglar will look inside the box for any envelopes or packages, as these give away the same information. Next, a burglar looks for security signs. Although major home monitoring companies give you a sign with their services, you do not want to display these. Professional thieves know how these companies wire the devices, where they place the sensors and which wire has to be cut to disable the entire system.
First of all, make sure you give intruders as little information as possible. Remove your name from your mailbox. Next, make sure your mailbox has a lock. This won't keep all burglars away, but it will force them to spend a lot of time getting into the mailbox, making it more likely for a neighbor to spot him in the act. Finally, if you want to display security signage to keep would-be thieves away, make sure it is as generic as possible. You can buy generic security signs from home improvement stores, or you can make your own. When a burglar reads that sign, he has no idea what's behind your front door.
2. Professional Thieves Buy Ladders and Extra Clothes
When setting up your home security system, you may be tempted to only install point-of-entry sensors on the ground level. However, many broad-daylight burglars will check your second floor first. Once they are inside your home, they have little to worry about and can start looting in their preferred hunting grounds: bedrooms. Also, don't rely on thorny bushes to slow an intruder's escape. Usually, burglars wear two layers of clothing. Not only does this protect against scratches, but it also gives them a quick appearance change after they've made a getaway.
Make sure you have enough point-of-entry sensors to install at every door and window. You can also install bars on your windows, but make sure you use at least 3-inch screws to make sure the bars are securely fastened. Also, keep your hedges low to take away a potential hiding place. Make your yards as open and visible as possible to deter a thief.
3. Wire Clippers
Most security systems are connected to both a power and telephone line. Some services are moving to cellular lines, but your cords are still at risk. If a thief snips a power line, your security devices will stop sending a signal.
Many homes are now built with hidden power boxes and telephone lines. These are attached to the foundation of your house, rather than the outside. If this is too expensive for your home, we suggest using cellular services and buying a backup generator for your security devices. Also, make sure your home security company will send an alert if there is an outage in your system.
4. Vulnerable Cameras
Like the security system as a whole, your security cameras are one wire clipper away from becoming useless. If you decide to use a wireless camera, hackers will try to break into the feed and send false signals or jam the Wi-Fi signal completely.
Usually, wired security cameras are a better choice, but you'll want to make sure that your IP cameras and outdoor bullet cameras have inaccessible wires. If you decide to use a wireless camera, make sure you set up a private network for the device to prevent hacking or jamming. Also, discreet placement can keep your cameras safe by putting them out of sight from burglars.
5. Social Networking
Professional burglars are in the same class of human being as stalkers. If a thief wants something you have, he'll begin following and observing you. If you have a Facebook or Twitter account, he will subscribe to your feed and monitor your posts. One of the worst mistakes you can make is to announce that you are leaving for an extended period of time, whether to see a movie or leave the country.
Be careful about what you post online. Make sure to constantly update your privacy settings on social networking sites and ask your friends not to post about your vacation while you're away.
At the end of the day, if a burglar wants to break into your home, he will do it, but you can make his job as difficult as possible by knowing the most common methods they use. As stated above, the best defense against home invasion is habitual use of your locks and security devices.