17. What can homeowners do to avoid being burglarized?
Good outside lighting and trimmed bushes and trees, alert neighbors and leaving a television or radio playing are deterrents for most burglars. Others avoid visible cameras, dogs, homes with security measures such as barred windows that make it more difficult to get in and homes with a car in the driveway.
How to protect your home from unwanted guests
With the holidays coming up – and with them, holiday travel – how safe is your home from burglars?
Protect your home from unwanted guests and take this advice from inmates serving prison time for burglary who answered a 17-question survey sent out by the investigative news team at television station KGW.
12. If you heard a radio or TV on inside the home, would you still break in?
Most burglars said noise in the house – such as a radio or television – usually meant that someone was home and they would avoid that house.
5. Did home protection or security signs posted outside the home deter you?
Many said seeing the signs didn’t concern them and some said they had learned to quickly disable alarms.
13. Would it make a difference if there was a vehicle in the driveway?
If you’re leaving for a few days, leave a car parked in your driveway. Almost all of the burglars said they’d think twice if there was a car in the drive.
8. If someone answered the door, what would you do or say?
Most claimed to be looking for a friend’s house or for a lost pet or that he/she was conducting a neighborhood survey.
7. Did you typically knock on the front door before breaking into a home?
Every burglar said he/she would knock on the door before breaking in.
11. Did lights on in the home make you think twice?
Some said it was a deterrent but the combination of lights and closed blinds in an upper class neighborhood equaled a payday for some burglars because it probably meant that no one was home.
15./16. Did you ever do surveillance on your target? If you did surveillance, what were you trying to figure out?
Some burglars staked out their targets while others hit random homes. Most who conducted surveillance said they were trying to determine when the residents left home and how many people lived in the home.
14. What was your ideal target for a burglary?
Burglars looked for well-maintained homes in nice neighborhoods, isolated homes or homes with high fences or overgrown bushes that could shield them from prying eyes. Older windows and doors that are easy to open also made certain homes more of a target.
4. What time of the day did you prefer to break in?
Early morning and early afternoon were favorites, as the victims had just left the house for school or work or it was the middle of a school or work day and the burglars knew they had some time to search the home.
3. Where did you look for hidden valuables?
Most started with the master bedroom and then moved through the rest of the house. Think your valuables are safe in your sock drawer, the refrigerator’s crisper drawer or in a cereal box? Think again.
1. How did you typically break into a home or apartment?
The inmates said they entered the properties through open windows or doors, though some kicked in doors, saying it made less noise than breaking glass in a window or door.
9. If a home alarm system went off, what would you do?
Most burglars said they would leave immediately if an alarm sounded.
10. If there was a security camera visible, would it keep you from breaking in?
Most agreed security cameras were a deterrent.
2. Once inside, what was the first thing you looked to steal?
Pretty much what you would expect here: Cash, credit cards, electronics and jewelry. Burglars also said they looked for weapons.
6. Did pets in the home, like a dog, make you think twice?
Big, loud dogs were an effective deterrent for many burglars, but small dogs were not.