Best Burglar Deterrents: What Works And What Doesn’t?

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Security camera on side of building (caption: Best Burglar Deterrents)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. According to Bureau of Justice statistics, in 2018, there were nearly one million residential burglaries in the United States. That is a rate of 1 in every 36 households.1 This and other burglary stats show that break-ins happen. You need to think about how to keep thieves out of your home before it’s too late.

Article Overview

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.

  • Vehicles driving through your neighborhood you haven’t seen before
  • Unfamiliar people walking down the street or around your neighborhood
  • Strangers knocking on your door asking to use the phone or for help
  • Someone taking a picture of your home
  • Flyers being left on your door
  • 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.

How To Stop Burglars From Targeting Your Home

When a thief is looking for a target, there are things they see that turn them away as well as things that make a house look appealing. Knowing what these things are can help you protect your home.

Does Having A Dog Deter Burglars?

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.

However, if you are thinking about getting a dog anyway, you may want to think about what type of dog would also be a good form of security. Big dogs that are physically intimidating are a good choice, but so are small yappy dogs that make a lot of noise. If you are looking for more specific breed recommendations, this list of best guard dogs for families on our sister site Canine Journal may be helpful.

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.

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.

Does Having An Alarm System Deter Burglars?

Studies show 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.2

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? Read our review of the best home security systems to learn about the different types and which one might work best for your home.

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.

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 WiFi security cameras, to help you determine what might work best for your home.

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 create a safe-zone, have a safe-word, and, if an intrusion does occur, take prescribed steps to ensure you never face the intruder one-on-one.

What Might Be Making Your House A Target Already?

There may be things you are already doing that makes your home a target for burglary.

  • Do you have an alarm system, but you forget to use it? It can’t work if you don’t turn it on.
  • Do you announce your vacations on social media? That is just an open invitation to a burglar. Post pictures and information after you return.
  • Do you have hidden keys? Burglars are trained to look for them in your most “secret” places.
  • Do you always lock your doors and windows? They can’t keep burglars out if you don’t keep them secured.
  • Do you have overgrown bushes and shrubs? These make great hiding places for burglars.

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.

Ask Your Local Police 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. Remember, 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.

How To Protect Your Home From Burglary Infographic

Best Burglar Deterrents Infographic

What is your top tip to keep homes safe from burglars?

Sources: [1] U.S. Department of Justice, [2] Rutgers

About The Author:

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.

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