How do burglars choose which homes to target?

Posted April 27th, 2022 by SimpliSafe

Most of us would probably like to think that we are doing the best we can to stay out of the path of a burglar. Or, maybe we don’t think we have anything that would be attractive to a burglar in the first place. The reality is, burglars choose their intended targets for all sorts of reasons, and some of those reasons may not be as obvious to us as they are to them. By knowing how burglars choose which home to target, the more you can be prepared to stop them in their tracks.

Here’s what they look for—which, you’ll need to look out for:

High-traffic and rural areas

While you can’t really change where you’re living to avoid burglars, it might be helpful to know that burglars target both high-traffic areas and rural areas. They target high-traffic areas because they’re less likely to be noticed breaking into a home, and in rural areas, the homes may not be as secure (people tend to “know their neighbors” type of thing). Of course, break-ins also happen in suburban areas as well. 

Solution: Despite the fact you can’t change where you live, understanding the types of break-ins that generally happen in your type of environment (urban, suburban, rural), can help you take the appropriate preventative measures that would match the most likely type of crime. 

Having an attractive home (in every sense of the word)

Sure, burglars look out for homes that seem to hold a lot of expensive possessions, and sometimes, just the outside of the home can be enough to give a good sense of what might be beyond. That being said, expensive neighborhoods tend to have more security, whether it’s an actual security gate, neighborhood watch, or tons of vigilant neighbors with high-end security systems. This means that burglars may also intentionally avoid these areas, too.

Having an attractive home, though, doesn’t necessarily mean “attractive” in terms of money. It can also be what’s attractive in the eyes of the burglar; i.e., a home that’s simply very easy to access. 

So, if your doors are always unlocked, you have window ACs that are easy to get into as well as other easy access points around the home, like the backyard, side yard, or a basement entrance, and no visible security system (not even a “beware of dog” sign!) these are also very attractive to a burglar, because it won’t be too much work to get in. And, even if you don’t have bars of gold in your bedroom, they’ll be sure to find something!

Solution: You can’t change the house you’re in or what’s inside, but you can change how you protect it. Using a smart home security system, you can give your home as much security as you feel it needs, and at the budget you want. For instance, placing outdoor security cameras around all the entrances to your home can help alert you if someone breaks in. 

Leaving clues you’re away and obvious patterns

In general, burglars want to avoid all possible chances of getting caught. This means that they’ll also target homes where it appears that the owner of the home is away (and, also checks off other boxes in terms of how easy it would be to get in). Some clues include mail or newspapers gathering outside, no car on the driveway, no lights going on in the home, and just the overall sense that no one is there. 

Additionally, burglars watch for obvious patterns that may reveal when you are away from home, even if you’re not away on vacation. If they’ve been observing you, they may come to realize what time everyone in the home leaves for work/school, and when they come home. 

It may be scary to think about, but they may also know when the children tend to come home from school (and, if they’re home alone) because most kids tend to get home around the same time. Or, it could be something as simple as the neighborhood having their weekend farmer’s market, where everyone is there and not in their houses. 

Solution: Always have a neighbor check on your home when you’re away, and try to not always stick to the same patterns as much as possible. Walk a different route home occasionally, have your mail held when you’re gone, and use timer lights to make it seem like you’re home. 

Living alone 

In addition to leaving clues that you’re away, there’s also leaving clues that you’re living alone or home alone, which naturally makes a home an easier target (but, not always!). A burglar could know that you’re living alone by checking the name on the mailbox or packages on your porch, and noticing that there never seems to be anyone else there (or, at least at certain times of the day, for instance, if one person works from home while the other is at an office).

Solution: You can’t help living alone, but if you want to feel safer, utilizing the benefits of home automation security can help you sleep a little better at night. 

Absence of a home security system

Having any type of home security system can help deter burglaries, but you don’t need a comprehensive, hardwired system to accomplish this. That being said, using just a lot of locks and “old-school” methods might actually make your home more attractive to robbers. So, why not find a middle-ground option?

With the rise of smart home security systems, a simple doorbell camera might be all you need to make your home less of a target to burglars. But, there are still plenty of people that are not investing in these technologies, even though the cost of not doing so could be so much more. 

Solution: If the sight of one isn’t enough to send them away, the smart home security system itself can do wonders at protecting the perimeters around your home, inside your home, and notifying you when the system is breached via professional monitoring

As you can see, you can’t always prevent burglars, even after minimizing some of the things that make your home a target. But, by investing in a smart home security system, you can ensure you (and your family) feel much more protected if a break-in were to happen.

Contact SimpliSafe to learn more today!