According to the FBI, about 1.4 million burglaries occur in the United States every year. But people mistakenly assume that burglary is merely a crime of opportunity – by masked strangers in the middle of the night. But that’s actually rarely the case. In many cases, burglars collect data before they make their strike. These are the things burglars already know.
You may put a sticker on your windows that shows that you have a security system, but a burglar will know if you actually have one or not. For those of you who have a glass panel where your front door is, it’s easy to peak in and see if you have a system or not. But a less obvious way to know if you have one or not is by looking in the reflection of the front hall mirror that most homes have. If they don’t see a security panel, they know those signs are fake.
If you’ve fallen victim to a burglary once, you’re more likely to have it happen again. According to a study published in the British Journal of Criminology, burglars tend to strike again within the first few weeks after a home has been broken into. It’s only after 6 months that the risk goes down to the normal. So, how do they know that your home is an easy target? Someone who’s gone into your house once may give information to an associate—or even come back again themselves.
Retired NYPD police officer, private investigator, and safety and security expert Bill Stanton had this to say about letting strangers into our homes: “We’ve all been guilty of it, including myself—whether it’s dry cleaning, pizza, or a package being delivered—we’ve all let complete strangers into our home. They are getting an up close and personal view of who’s in your house.” It’s very easy for burglars to pose as salespeople or pretend to be lost. This way they can get a good look at the inside your property. Be mindful when opening the door to people you don’t know or aren’t expecting, and don’t give them any information about yourself or your home until you know they’re legitimate.
Burglars don’t usually rob at random, and it’s typically not in the middle of the night either. In fact, twice as many burglaries take place during the day when people are at work. Burglars like to keep an eye on the comings and goings of their targets. Chris Perry, director of NVC Security, said, “Burglars often take their time scoping out their potential victims so that they can carry out a burglary without getting caught. This means they may well know your schedule, and when the house is left empty.”
Don’t think that leaving on one light or keeping the TV on while on vacation is going to deter potential burglaries. Perry, the director of NVC Security, suggests, “If you go on holiday, try not to post about it on social media before and during, especially if your profiles are public.” Burglars are smart enough to know that if you have all your lights on in the middle of the night for a number of days, you’re probably trying to make it seem as though you’re not there. Also, if your cars aren’t in the driveway and your mail’s piling up, your home becomes an easy target. “Have a relative or close friend collect your newspapers and mail when out of town because the bad guys are checking this,” said Deputy Alex Coker with Mississippi’s DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department.