Burglars. They force their way into your homes and take your stuff. And, if that’s not bad enough, they place their grubby, sweaty, unwashed hands on your most personal and private items while searching for your valuables. That’s right, those filthy paws touch your unmentionables. Oh, and they touch the food in your refrigerators and pantries. Yeah, YUCK!
Picture this. You’ve just come home after a fun night of dining, dancing, and a bit of karaoke over at Dolly’s House of Pancakes and Mud Wrestling Emporium. You park the car and walk up the front steps and see that someone kicked in the door (the huge footprint next to the broken knob was a clue).
Once inside, you immediately realized that it was a thief who’d broken in. You know this because they stole your most precious belongings (another clue). You also realized how incredibly stupid it was to enter the place without first knowing if the bad guy was still inside, or not.
Yes, yes, you know. Your mother told you to always call the police and wait for them to arrive. But curiosity, the same thing that always, without fail, kills cats, pushed you across the splintered threshold.
Why, you ask yourself, did the crook target your house and not the homes of your neighbors? So, again with the curiosity, you explore the yards and houses of your nearby friends and enemies. Hmm … the Johnsons have a really big dog that barks at anything and everything. The Petersons have an alarm system. The Smiths have bars on their windows and doors. And the Joneses … They have a moat, alligators, and gun turret positioned at the top of a guard tower that’s manned 24/7. Oh, and there’s a fully tricked-out tank parked in the driveway.
Therefore, compared to your neighbors you’re a sitting duck. An open invitation to all bad guys. Your lack of, well, any sort of anti-burglar protection is a welcome mat.
So what is it that burglars look for when deciding which homes to enter and which to steer clear of? And, which deterrents actually work to keep them away?
- Open doors or windows – These are THE ultimate invitations to bad guys. LOCK your doors and windows! When thieves do force their way inside, they prefer to kick in a door over breaking windows. Their reasoning is that one loud BANG is less likely to attract attention over the sound of breaking glass.
- Preferred time to break in – Between midday (just after) and 2 p. m. is ideal for many thieves. This is the time when people have finished lunch and returned to work, and it’s prior to the time when kids arrive home from school. However, nearly all professional crooks prefer to knock or ring the bell first to see if anyone is at home. Then, if someone does come to the door they’ll explain away the intrusion by stating they’re looking for a lost dog, pretend to conduct a survey, etc. Be very suspicious of those types of unexpected visits from strangers.
- Some burglars conduct surveillance on homes prior to going in. They love to see that you have a fixed routine. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you do NOT maintain a daily standard. Switch things from time-to-time. This includes hiding a key somewhere on the outside when you leave. If a bad guy is watching when you slip the key beneath the rock, you’ve just provided easy access. Sometimes leave for work earlier, or later. Take a different route home. And do not allow anyone to see where you hide a key. In fact, use a secure lockbox if you must hide a key outside the home.
- Homes with overgrown bushes and shrubs. These provide excellent cover for thieves.
- Houses set apart from other houses. Lots of area between the two.
- Cheap doors that are easily broken.
- Older windows that are easily opened.
- Prime target – Nice home with lots of blind spots around the outside.
Favorite items to steal?
- Credit cards
- Guns. An NRA sticker, flag, etc. posted anywhere is a sign that guns are inside, somewhere. The same is true for mail received. Gun magazines and mail from gun organizations and groups is a good indication that firearms can be found inside the home. Remember, bad guys do conduct surveillance. Always use a gun safe to protect against theft, and to prevent firearms from getting into the hands of anyone who shouldn’t possess or touch them.
Where inside the home do thieves search when looking for valuables?
- The #1 location is the master bedroom. Next comes … everywhere, from the freezer to the toilet tank and everywhere between. They’ll turn over beds and empty out drawers. Whatever it takes to find the goodies. But, they do it quickly … in a period of just a few minutes. In and out!
What is it that causes burglars to think twice about breaking into a home?
- Large, barking dogs. Many incarcerated thieves say a big snarling K-9 tops the list of theft deterrents.
- Bars on windows and doors. Not worth the effort, many crooks say. Small dogs are nothing more than a minor annoyance to most bad guys, and many won’t hesitate to harm the animal to silence them.
- Vehicles in the driveway. Many bad guys say they will avoid a home if they see a car in the driveway. Unless, of course, they’v conducted surveillance and the car doesn’t move for weeks at a time.
- Radio and TV noise coming from inside. Most crooks will not go into a house if they hear these sounds, especially when combined with lights on.
- Lights on. This one receives mixed reviews. Some bad guys say the combination of lights on with blinds closed is sign that no one is at home, especially if the porch light is also on.
- Alarm systems. Not a big deal to many crooks. Those who don’t mind say they can get in and out before police can respond. Some even say they’re able to disarm most systems with very little effort.
- Cameras. Sure, they’re an obstacle, but they’re also a sign that valuables are inside.
Okay, there you have it. So put your concerns aside and go out tonight and enjoy your night on the town. First, though, don’t forget to leave on the lights, TV, and radio, and a car in the driveway. Be sure your Rottweiler is on duty and that you’ve trimmed the shrubbery, told your neighbors you’ll be out, notified the police to patrol your neighborhood, replaced the front door you purchased at Walmart last year, nailed all windows shut, and whatever you do, remove the “I LOVE and Collect AR-15s” sign from the yard. Then, just before heading out the door, hide your valuables in the secret basement safe that’s hidden behind seven layers of brick and stone. Now you’re all set.
Oh, please stop posting on Facebook that you’ll out of town, or out for a night of drinking, and that your house is empty and the dog is at the vet for a series of 10 breast reduction surgeries, and your alarm system is broken and that you hope no one sees the post because you accidentally left a zillion dollars in cash on the kitchen table.
So, enjoy your night out. I heard it’s two-for-one drink night at Dolly’s House of Pancakes and Mud Wrestling Emporium!