Deterring Home Burglary (Part 1)

Privacy expectations make burglary hard to handle
Privacy expectations makes burglary hard to handle
Photo by John Robert Taylor

Today I’ll talk about methods likely to prevent residential burglary. Next week I will discuss methods that minimize property loss in the event that you don’t practice any prevention methods and a break-in is attempted. Victimization at home is disturbing due to expectations of safety and privacy. Once a burglary victim myself, I take measures to enhance the safety of my home. I like a few simple methods that are likely to work. I learned them from my own victimization and speaking with other burglary victims. These methods have helped me deter prowlers for twenty-one years. Maybe they can help you too.

A seasoned prowler that really wants to get into your residence is able do so even if you turn it into a fortress, so the goal is less vulnerability, not invulnerability. There are many “fish in the sea” so they’ll search for promising targets. Prowlers size up homes the same way a mugger, kidnapper, or rapist sizes up victims. In my last article, I talked about Cheetahs comparing their hunting habits to criminals. Another thing about Cheetahs is they are not likely to succeed against Buffalo. If you’ve never heard of “The Battle at Kruger,” look and see what happened to some lions that tried it. Animals in nature make attacks they think will be successful and so will criminals.

Crime prevention, with regards to burglary, is a lot like real estate where curb appeal is vital but you are trying to accomplish the opposite and turn prowlers away. They have priorities that funnel them to certain homes and certain victims. They don’t want to be seen, heard, have trouble making an entry, and they mostly don’t want to face residents.

If you have a garage, you should use it. Using the driveway telegraphs your routine letting people know when you are not home. Additionally, this leaves your vehicle vulnerable to theft and/or burglary. I recently had a friend whose car tire was stolen in front of her home.

If you can read the headlines, the lighting is adequate<br><em>Photo by John Robert Taylor</em>
If you can read the headlines, the lighting is adequate
Photo by John Robert Taylor

Lighting and Concealment
As I said, prowlers don’t want to be seen. Motion lights are great because they bring attention to movement. I am a fan of static lighting however. Constant light throughout the night is preferable in my opinion because a prowler may not approach at all due to the likelihood of being seen. With motion lights, they may approach your property unaware that they exist. You want to stop them prior to approach. If you can read the headings of a newspaper while standing outside your property, the brightness of your static lighting is sufficient. When leaving town you may want to utilize automatic light timers. I know they didn’t fool Joe Pesci in “Home Alone” but a real prowler may decide to move on to easier targets. When out of town, forwarding calls is also a great idea. Some prowlers will obtain your home number and call frequently to see if someone answers.

Large trees and shrubs can block the view of your residence and conceal the activities of a prowler. They differ from walls and fences in that there is still easy access. Walls are designed to keep people out. Walking onto a property and forcing entry while concealed by landscape is far less noticeable than climbing over a wall with a flat panel television.

Deterrence at the front door
In my neighborhood, two serial burglars admittedly knocked on doors before forcing entry. None of their victims had alarm systems.

ADT Security claims that homes with an alarm system are three times less likely to be burglarized. Not only do you want to have an alarm system, you also want to let everyone know that you have one. A four-legged noisemaker helps too. For example, a prowler approaching my residence that doesn’t notice the ADT signs will notice that there is a large and territorial animal in my residence if they knock at the door. As I said earlier, prowlers do not want to deal with residents, especially when they (residents) are animals.

These measures are simple, few, and very likely to work. Next week I will discuss more methods designed towards property retention and deterring prowlers that have decided to approach your residence. Individuals who have concealing landscape they want to keep, are forced to park on their driveway, have no desire to purchase an alarm system, or have other issues with these methods should check in next Tuesday.

If you have personal safety concerns I would love to address them. Please send your questions, comments, ideas and personal safety tips here.


3 responses on “Deterring Home Burglary (Part 1)

  1. What’s with all of those burglary warning signs at the Blvd mall? Is there something going on there we should know about?

  2. Hi Yolanda,

    Thanks for the comment. Those signs are probably there to warn consumers about the possibility of auto burglary which has been rising in a lot of communities throughout the country. Even though each mall in Las Vegas has an ambitious security staff and sometimes Metro Patrol Officers conducting foot patrols, they are still especially vulnerable to auto burglaries. The vehicles in malls provide lots of hiding places as well as tons of opportunities for burglars. Property crimes will always be tough to control so while the authorities work on it, you should practice prevention methods to avoid being victimized. Maybe I’ll mention a few in the weeks to come.


  3. That’s a great tip about call forwarding. It’s an easy thing to do, and it makes a lot of sense. Thanks!

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