How To Scare Burglars Away & Improvised Home Security Ideas

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Burglar breaking in with toolsCan you really scare burglars away and if so, how? We’ll help you make your home less appealing to burglars as well as give you some tips on how to improve your home’s security.

Article Overview

Do Outside Lights Deter Burglars?

Burglars are automatically drawn towards homes with less lighting. If you have security lights installed on your property the chances of a burglar targeting your home decrease, but they don’t diminish completely. We definitely recommend having lights outside that are motion activated or just on when it’s dark, to help you see what’s going on around your property. You can find the best outdoor security lights here.

Does Having A Dog Deter Burglars?

While having a dog does reduce your risk of being burglarized, we don’t recommend considering your dog an element of your security system. Burglars don’t want a dog to be barking at them and alert others of their presence and most will simply choose another home to burglarize. However, not all burglars think this way and unfortunately, too many dogs have been injured or worse during burglaries. Deterring intruders should not be your sole reason for owning a dog, but their barking does help.

How To Keep Thieves Off Your Property

In 2015, there were 327,374 robberies nationwide1. What’s stopping you from being the next one? Before entering a home, a burglar decides which house to target. This begins with them walking/driving throughout the neighborhood and getting an idea of your typical schedule. They may dress up as a repairman or some other type of worker to go unnoticed.

What Makes My Home More Vulnerable To Burglary?

  • High privacy fence, so others cannot see them breaking in
  • Overgrown shrubs or trees near the house, so they can’t see them break a window or inside
  • Toys in the yard means kids live there, which means a mother may live there, which means jewelry
  • No sight of burglary alarm from the outside, which includes signs, cameras, etc.
  • No lights or activity throughout the home for long periods of time

What Do Burglars Typically Look For Inside My House?

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

  • Master bedroom – cash, electronics, jewelry, safes
  • Bathroom medicine cabinet – pills/narcotic prescriptions
  • Kitchen and living room – electronics, personal information, car keys
  • Office – credit cards, electronics, personal information, safes
  • 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.

How Best To Prevent A Burglary

Find out how to deter burglars and how to make your home safe from intruders using these tips:

  • Get a home security system. Having a residential burglar alarm system is known to reduce crime.2
  • Don’t post company-specific alarm signs; this gives burglars a heads-up for how to disarm the system.
  • Lock all doors and windows — many burglars enter a home through an unlocked access point making entry into your home simple.
  • Do not hide a key around your property that is obvious. “Oh look, here’s a random rock next to the door, I wonder if there’s a key underneath.”
  • Use deadbolts on exterior doors to make them even more difficult to enter.
  • 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.
  • Close your curtains so burglars can’t see what’s going on inside.
  • 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.
  • If you are away for a while, have a trusted neighbor collect any newspapers or other items that may be on your front step.
  • 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.
  • Use home automation devices to time the lights or television inside your home to turn on and off even when you’re away.

Video: Additional Home Security Ideas

Watch this video to hear tips from real burglars on how you can avoid being their target.

How To Scare Burglars Away (Infographic)

Here’s a handy graphic you can reference on what to do (and what not to do) to attract burglars.

How to Scare Burglars Away Infographic

Protect Your Home With These Smart Devices

One of the most effective ways to protect your home is with smart home security equipment. We’ve reviewed the devices below and bring you our top picks.

How To Keep Your House Safe While On Vacation

We hope you’ve gained some valuable knowledge to help protect your valuables and home. But what if you’re not home? We’ve got you covered, check out our 10 tips to maximize home security while on vacation as well as holiday safety tips for you & your home.

What tips do you have for scaring off burglars?

Sources: [1] FBI, [2] Rutgers

About The Author:

Kimberly is our home security expert and has been writing about security and safety since 2013, covering everything from security systems and home automation to identity theft protection, home warranties, medical alert systems, and more. She has personally tested hundreds of system components and interfaced with dozens of home security companies to find out what’s happening behind the scenes. Her work has appeared in many notable brands, including The New York Times' Wirecutter, Reader's Digest, Forbes, People, Woman's World, and Huffington Post.

In 2018, she had her first child, which opened up a whole new avenue of security experience with baby gear. She wanted to purchase the safest items for her family.

Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing, and personally testing products and services.

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