Keeping A House Safe While Away

June 10, 2015

Whether you’re going out of town for an extended vacation or just have a home that stays empty during the day, there are several ways people keep their homes safe from burglars. Some of the common tricks to deterring burglars are installing an alarm system, getting a dog or coordinating out of town trips with neighbors. All of these are actually really great ways to keep burglars away, but you may be surprised to learn that video surveillance is actually the #1 burglar deterrent. How could we possible know this? Someone asked a burglar of course!

What Are Burglars Looking For?

The University of North Carolina Charlotte interviewed 432 convicted burglars and asked what they consider to be the most effective deterrents. The top five things that encourage burglars to keep looking for a better target are cameras, alarms, people inside, dog inside and a car in the driveway. Here’s a complete list of the top 11 deterrents that will help prevent burglars from targeting your home.

Making an Empty House Look Occupied

‘People inside’ was listed as the #3 best way to deter burglars, but there are also a few great tricks to make it look like people are inside when they’re really away. Burglars drive around neighborhoods looking for telltale signs of people that are out of town. Mail on the front stoop, uncut grass or being the only house on the street that hasn’t taken out trashcans are all indicators of an unoccupied home. If a burglar picks up on one of these signs, it’ll put your house on their radar for closer inspection. They may drive by a few times to confirm you’re out of town. Upon closer inspection, they’re assumptions will likely be confirmed unless you are taking special precautions to indicate someone is home.

The best approach is to make sure your home never gets on a burglar’s radar as a potential target in the first place. But it doesn’t hurt to have a few additional precautions in place in the event someone is observing your home. Here are a few tips that will help make it look like you’re home when you're away.

  1. Install automatically timed lights inside and out.
  2. Ask a neighbor to collect mail or anything that gets dropped off on your front stoop.
  3. Hire a lawn maintenance company take care of the yard.
  4. Leave one car parked in the driveway and encourage neighbors to use your driveway or park in front of your home from time to time.
  5. Ask a neighbor to take trashcans out to the street on collection day, even if they’re empty.

Neighbors Are a Great Defense from Burglary

Criminals get away with burglaries more easily in some Richmond neighborhoods than others. On many blocks in the Fan or Church Hill, a large portion of the residents work during the day and many neighbors don’t know one another, because young renters tend to move from place to place in this area. In a neighborhood like Windsor Farms or Brandermill, most residents have known each other for years and are quick to raise the alarm to suspicious activity.

One of the best lines of defense for protecting an empty home is developing strong relationships with neighbors. Don’t feel awkward about asking neighbors to keep an eye on your home or collect mail while you’re out of town, just be very clear that you’re more than happy to return the favor. Neighborhoods in which families look out for one another create a safer environment for children and more difficult targets for burglars.

Install Dead Bolts to Deter Burglars

Although the burglars interviewed in the study mentioned above didn’t list dead bolts as a deterrent, having deadbolts makes a home entry much more challenging for the average burglar. Burglars are always looking for the easiest targets and least conspicuous entry points, which is why burglars prefer entering homes through a doorway over a window. According to an Angie’s List article, nearly 60% of burglaries were the result of forced entry, so why make it easy for them? Deadbolts are a great way to make a home intrusion more difficult, just be sure not to install twist knob locks within reach of a window, like you see in the picture here.

Installing an intrusion alarm system, adding video cameras, getting a dog and making it look like your home when you’re really away are all great ways to deter burglars from targeting your home. Aside from the dangers of burglary, an alarm system can help keep a home safe from other dangers like fire, carbon monoxide and water damage. Contact the security experts at Richmond Alarm if you have any questions or would like to learn more about the value of home security or video surveillance systems.

Topics: Richmond News, News