Is your home at risk of being burgled? The FBI has estimated that one burglary occurs every 18 seconds — despite the fact that property crimes have declined significantly in the last decade. Doing our math, this adds up to around 200 crimes per hour, and approximately 4,800 every day. Thankfully, learning more about how criminals think will help you protect yourself and your property. Listed below are seven mistakes you should avoid at all cost, thanks to ModernSurvivalBlog.com.
- Having no burglar alarm system — Women who are taught self-defense are often told of the “crime triangle,” in which three elements must be present in order for a crime to occur. These are: target, desire, and opportunity. If one side is lacking, then the probability of a crime occurring is reduced. Law enforcement officers have stated that this triangle model can also be applied to all forms of crime. In terms of burglary, the side that can be manipulated the most is opportunity. Burglar alarm systems deter robbers, especially those that do not have so much intent and motivation to enter a home forcefully. A 2012 report by the University of North Carolina showed that 60 percent of convicted burglars said that the presence of a security system influenced their decision to target another home. (Related: Pro tips: Simple ways to keep your home safe from burglars.)
- Leaving back door unlocked — Nothing screams “enter my home!” more than having the back door wide-open or unlocked. Criminals know that homeowners are not as vigilant with their back door as they are with their front ones. Home owners are advised to secure back locks the same way they would their front door.
- Valuables in the bedroom — Burglars usually go to the master bedroom first. For the most part, homeowners tend to keep all their belongings right by the bedside table or in the dresser drawer. It would be wise to hide precious items in other rooms. Note that this means a physically-apart space. Hiding items in the sock drawer or underwear closet doesn’t count.
- Shrubbery right by windows — Sure, these look pretty, but they are also the perfect cover for burglars to hide under while they are opening your windows. Keep landscaping features such as dense foliage, trees, and bushes at a relatively safe distance from windows.
- Having the light on all the time — Contrary to popular belief, having the lights on all the time actually attracts burglars. Like moths to a flame, potential burglars know that a constantly-lit house means no one is home. Instead, opt for outdoor motion lights or utilize timed indoor lights. This will give the impression that someone is around.
- Stopping mail delivery — If you can, try asking your neighbor to pick up your mail rather than having the mail delivery stopped.
- Broadcasting your plans — No matter what happens, never ever broadcast your plans on social media. So many people can’t wait to share their vacation photos with their friends but an inadvertent consequence of this is that burglars also know that you’re not at home. Be very careful what you post — if at all. Law enforcement officers recommend posting pictures only after you’ve come back. It would also do well to limit the exposure of those who can see your post as well. Options in Facebook, for example, allow you to have only close friends see your photos.
According to PewResearch.org, most crimes are not reported to law agencies. Current projections state that only a third of property crimes are actually reported. Law enforcement agencies say that this may occur for a variety of reasons but still strongly encourage everyone to take the necessary steps to protect their homes.