Home Security

Best Burglar Deterrent: Most Effective Theft Prevention, Day And Night

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Here’s how it works.

Masked burglar breaking into a home with crowbar
With the right theft deterrents in place, this burglar would not have gotten as far as your front door.

We all want to keep our homes safe, that is a given. But you need to be aware of what could happen in your home in order to protect it. The good news is that there’s a lot of things you can do that will significantly reduce the change of your house being burglarized, both during the day and at night.

Burglary Statistics

How many burglaries are there in a year? A break-in occurs every 26 seconds in the US. This adds up to 2.5 million break-ins every year, with more than half of those burglaries occurring in homes. This and other burglary statistics show that break-ins happen. You need to think about how to keep thieves out of your home before it’s too late.

How Do Burglars Case A House?

First, think about how burglars case a house. Burglars want to know if your home is going to be worth their time so they are likely to check it out first. There are lots of things you can pay attention to that will help you see if someone is scoping out your house or neighborhood.

6 Signs Your House Is Being Cased For A Burglary

  1. Vehicles driving through your neighborhood you haven’t seen before
  2. Unfamiliar people walking down the street or around your neighborhood
  3. Strangers knocking on your door asking to use the phone or for help
  4. Someone taking a picture of your home
  5. Flyers being left on your door
  6. People knocking on your door to talk about a fundraiser, security system, or religious group

The big thing here is to pay attention to how you feel when these things occur. Most of these things could be harmless, but you know when something is not right. Trust your gut and take the right steps to protect your home when you are concerned. It is always better safe than sorry.

12 Easy Ways To Deter Burglars

Preventing a burglary is not as difficult as you may think. It just takes some common sense and preparation. Here’s some quick and easy changes you can make to make your home less of a target.

Brick house overgrown with trees and shrubbery
If your house is hidden by overgrown trees and shrubbery, your burglar will be too when they sneak around to break in. Trim those trees and bushes so they don’t have a place to hide.
  1. Don’t leave ladders or sharp objects (or anything that would make breaking into your home easier) lying around.
  2. You’re only as safe as your neighbor, which means if they don’t have a security yard sign, but you do, they’ll probably get hit first. Consider getting a home security yard sign and/or window decals at a minimum.
  3. Carports are more vulnerable than garages; if you must park your car outside, try to leave it in an open, well-lit area and remove any valuables.
  4. Close your garage door, leaving it open all day (even if you’re home) lets others see what valuables you have inside. See more garage security tips.
  5. Trim any bushes or shrubs and keep the access points to your home well lit.
  6. If you leave the house, leave the radio or television playing, and consider investing in a timer for your indoor lights, and security lights for outside, to create the impression that someone is home.
  7. If you’re leaving for vacation or an extended period, we’ve got extra tips to secure your home so you can enjoy your holiday with peace of mind. We also have a guide on securing your vacation home.
  8. Close your curtains so burglars can’t see what’s going on inside.
  9. Don’t mention when you’ll be away from your home to strangers or online. Keep your vacation plans to yourself until after you return.
  10. If you are away for a while, have a trusted neighbor collect any newspapers or other items that may be on your front step.
  11. If it snows and you’re away, have a neighbor walk/drive through your driveway to make it look like someone has been home recently.
  12. Use smart home devices or smart lights to create the impression that someone’s home when you’re not. Alternatively, leave the television and/or radio on.

A home security system can manage much of this checklist for you.

How To Prepare In Advance

GPS Security offers actionable advice to prepare your family for the possibility of a home invasion. They recommend that you:

  1. Create a safe-zone – an area in the home for all your family members to gather in the event of an emergency.
  2. Agree on a code-word (or safe-word) – a word that all family members will recognize in the event of an emergency, signaling it’s time to travel to the safe-zone.
  3. Safety equipment – items that are ideally stored in your safe-zone. These could include a flashlight, non-perishable food items, water, a phone to get in touch with authorities. Basically supplies to help you last through the emergency.
  4. Do not confront intruders – stay in your safe-zone until authorities arrive if possible.

7 Things That Make Your Home More Vulnerable To Burglary

There may be things you are already doing that make your home a target for burglars.

  1. Overgrown shrubs or trees near the house, or a high privacy fence – these potentially enable intruders to break in without beeing seen.
  2. Toys in the yard means kids live there, which means a mother may live there, which means jewelry.
  3. No sight of burglary alarm from the outside, which includes signs, cameras, etc. – in other words, just having an alarm company yard sign can help reduce the chances of a break-in.
  4. No lights or activity throughout the home for long periods of time.
  5. Do you announce your vacations on social media? This is especially problematic if you have a public account – it tells people you’re not home for an extended period of time. Try posting pictures and information after you return.
  6. Do you have hidden keys? Burglars are trained to look for them in common places. Avoid placing hidden keys under door mats or planters close to the door they open, or similar obvious locations.
  7. Do you always lock your doors and windows? They can’t keep burglars out if you don’t keep them secured. And while dead bolts are more effective than standard locks, door jammers are the most effective at preventing doors from being broken down.

The most important thing to remember is that you can keep your home safe. The best way to stop burglars is to stay aware of all the different ways you can protect your home and make sure you aren’t allowing yourself to be an easy target.

5 Things Burglars Are Looking For Inside Your House

After the burglar has chosen a home and broken in, they begin searching for anything valuable and typically target these rooms for the following popular items:

  1. Master bedroom – cash, electronics, jewelry, safes
  2. Bathroom medicine cabinet – pills/narcotic prescriptions
  3. Kitchen and living room – electronics, personal information, car keys
  4. Office – credit cards, electronics, personal information, safes
  5. Garage – tools

Notice that burglars don’t target a child’s room very often. This is because valuables aren’t typically kept here. If you feel comfortable and your home’s layout allows for this, consider keeping your safe or other valuables in a secret place in your child’s room.

Ask Local Law Enforcement To Do A Home Security Check

In addition to these considerations, local police departments often offer a home security check to assess and make recommendations to secure your home better. The expert who performs the home check should be very well trained and informative, helping you feel more confident in your family’s safety. Security companies have a financial interest when they do assessments, so reaching out to your local police department may be a better option for this job.

5 Things That Help Deter Burglars, And 5 Things That Don’t (Infographic)

Best Burglar Deterrents Infographic

Frequently Asked Questions

Here’s the questions we receive the most when it comes to intrusions and what people think will help deter them. Don’t see yours? Ask us in the comments!

Does Having A Dog Deter Burglars?

Cute brown dog in dob bed indoors
Remember, pups are members of your family. While their loud bark may act as a good burglary deterrent, you don’t want to place them in actual danger should someone break in.

There is nothing like a loud dog to scare someone away that doesn’t belong. Most burglars don’t want to be bothered by dogs, but if they have already cased your house, they probably know you have a dog and are prepared to deal with that.

Having a dog already is one thing, but we don’t recommend that you get one specifically for security. Dogs, like all pets, are living beings and they need to be wanted as a member of your family, not just to act as an alarm.

Does Leaving A Light On At Night Deter Burglars?

Having an inside light on at night can make a burglar look twice. But be aware of patterns. If the living room light is on consistently every night at the same time, it can appear suspicious. You want to make sure the lights make it look like someone is home.

It is also a good idea to equip your home with smart bulbs. With these in place, you can adjust the lights in your home via your smartphone from anywhere.

Do Outside Lights Deter Burglars?

Lights are only as good as the person that uses them. Having a well-illuminated yard that makes burglars visible is definitely a deterrent. However, if you don’t use them regularly or if you leave them on at odd hours, it can also make your house an easy target. For instance, outdoor lighting should be on at night and off during the day. You can find the best outdoor security lights here.

Outdoor security cameras with motion sensors are a great right to illuminate any out of the ordinary activity in your yard, revealing any potential burglars lurking on your property.

Do Security Cameras Or Home Alarm Systems Deter Burglars?

A study by Rutgers University showed that having a residential burglar alarm system decreases crime. And even more notable, neighborhoods with multiple burglar alarms have fewer residential burglaries than those with fewer.

Burglars are smarter than you think, and it’s not just about having an alarm system, it’s about having the right alarm system. You may have cameras, an audio alert system or doorbell monitoring. All these are great, but are they right for your home? More importantly, is it really the security system that’s scaring burglars away, or is it something else?

Studies show that just putting up a sign for an alarm system can be nearly as powerful as actually installing a system in your home. Why? If you have an alarm sign in your yard and your neighbor does not, a burglar is more likely to choose the house they presume to be unprotected. Of course, smart home security systems these days offer a lot more than just burglary deterrents. Think smoke, fire, and flood alarms, cameras to catch porch pirates, and more.

Can Knowing Your Neighbors Deter Burglars?

One of the best ways to keep burglars away from your home is the most simple. Get to know your neighbors and share contact information. There may be some that work from home or are retired. They will be more likely to notice things going on when you aren’t at home. When you get to know them, they will also be more informed about who your regular visitors are and can look out for your home when you are away on vacation.

Do Cameras Deter Burglars?

Security cameras are a great way to deter burglars from your home. The last thing they want is to be seen committing a crime, and have it recorded! They are much more likely to move on to an easier target when cameras are visible. You can read our reviews of the best home security cameras, to help you determine what might work best for your home.

Get Creative: Improvised Home Security Ideas That Save Money

For burglar deterrent and intrusion prevention advice that doesn’t break the bank, check out our article on improvised home security ideas.

Julie Fritz

Julie has been writing professionally since 2012. She is an active volunteer for a local arm of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country. Everytown does comprehensive research on gun violence and makes recommendations on how we can all make our communities safer. Her involvement with this organization has given her invaluable information about how to keep our kids safe. She enjoys writing not only about gun safety, but from family-related content to informative articles about technology, events and healthcare. In her free time, you might find her hiking, trail running, biking or swimming. You might also find her in the kitchen where she loves to cook and bake.

Related Articles

Notify of
Oldest Most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Back to top button
Send this to a friend