21 Things That Make Your Home a Burglar’s Target

Home security is a crucial concern for homeowners and renters. Burglars typically look for easy targets—homes that display certain vulnerabilities or signs of being easy marks.

Understanding and mitigating these red flags can enhance your home’s security and deter potential intruders.

Below are 21 indicators that might make your home attractive to burglars, along with detailed explanations and tips for improvement.

1. No Visible Security Cameras

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Image Credit: SpeedKingz/Shutterstock.

The absence of security cameras can make your home a prime target for burglars. Visible security cameras act as a potent deterrent, as they increase the risk of identification and apprehension for criminals.

Modern security cameras often come with features like remote monitoring, night vision, and motion detection, making them an essential component of home security.

Installing cameras at main entry points and in areas where valuables are kept can significantly enhance your home’s security.1

2. Overgrown Landscaping

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Tall bushes and overgrown trees can provide burglars with cover, allowing them to approach and enter your home unseen. Regularly maintaining your landscaping not only improves your home’s curb appeal but also eliminates potential hiding spots for burglars.

Consider planting thorny bushes under windows and trim trees so they can’t be used to access upper-story windows.

3. Unsecured Windows & Doors

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Windows and doors that are old, damaged, or frequently left unlocked present an easy entry point for burglars. Conducting regular checks is essential to ensure all entry points are secure.

Upgrading to high-quality locks, installing window locks, and reinforcing sliding doors with security bars can significantly enhance your home’s security.

4. Accumulated Mail or Packages

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An overflowing mailbox or packages left on the doorstep for extended periods can signal to burglars that the home is unoccupied. Utilizing hold mail services offered by postal services or asking a neighbor to collect your mail and packages can help avoid this red flag.

Additionally, investing in a secure mailbox and scheduling deliveries for when you are home can prevent potential burglaries.

5. Lack of Outdoor Lighting

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Adequate outdoor lighting is a critical deterrent for burglars who prefer to operate under darkness. Installing motion-sensor lights around your property can illuminate anyone approaching your home, deterring potential intruders.

Solar-powered lights are an energy-efficient option that can be easier to install as they do not require wiring.

6. Isolated Homes

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Homes in isolated areas or with fewer neighbors may be targeted more frequently due to the lower risk of burglars being seen.

Enhancing security measures, such as installing a security system, participating in neighborhood watch programs, and establishing good relationships with nearby neighbors, can help mitigate this risk.

7. Visible Valuables

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Image Credit: New Africa/Shutterstock.

Leaving expensive items in plain view, such as electronics, jewelry, or even packaging from high-value purchases, can attract burglars.

Using curtains or blinds to block the view into your home, keeping valuables out of sight, and disposing of packaging discreetly can help reduce this risk.

8. No Alarm System

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Homes without alarm systems are more appealing to burglars, as there is less risk of detection and alarm. Modern alarm systems, including features like door and window sensors, motion detectors, and remote monitoring, are a significant deterrent.

Even if you cannot afford a monitored system, installing a basic alarm system or displaying security system signage can deter burglars.

9. Social Media Over-sharing

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Posting your location on social media or sharing photos while on vacation can inform burglars that your house is empty.

Being mindful about what you share on social media, avoiding real-time updates about your whereabouts, and adjusting your privacy settings can help protect your home.2

10. Spare Key In Obvious Places

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Hiding a spare key in common places like a doormat or a flowerpot is predictable and risky.

Instead, consider giving a spare key to a trusted neighbor or investing in a secure lockbox. This small step can prevent burglars from gaining easy access to your home.

11. Garage Doors Left Open

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An open garage door can provide easy access to your home and valuables. Always ensure your garage door is closed and locked, especially when not at home.

Installing a garage door timer that automatically closes the door after a set period can also enhance security.

12. No Neighborhood Watch

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The absence of a neighborhood watch program can make a community more appealing to burglars. These programs create a sense of community and encourage residents to look out for one another, reporting suspicious activity to the authorities.

Participating in or starting a neighborhood watch program can increase the overall security of your area.

13. Old or Non-Existent Security Signs

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Outdated or missing security signs may suggest to a burglar that your security system is not active or up-to-date. Displaying current security system signs and stickers can act as a deterrent, even if your actual system is minimal.

14. Visible Holiday Decorations Left Up Too Long

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Holiday decorations that remain visible long after the holiday can indicate neglect or that the home is unoccupied.

Timely removal of decorations signals that the home is cared for and occupied, reducing its appeal to burglars.

15. Lack of Interior Lighting at Night

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A home that is consistently dark at night may appear unoccupied. Using timers or smart home systems to control interior lighting can create the appearance of someone being home, deterring potential burglars.

16. Frequent Deliveries

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Frequent deliveries can signal to burglars that valuable items are inside the home. Arranging for deliveries when someone is home or using secure pickup options can mitigate this risk.

17. Easy Access to the Backyard

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Backyards that are easily accessible and hidden from view provide a discreet entry point for burglars.

Securing gates with locks, installing motion-sensor lights, and ensuring that sheds and outbuildings are locked can help secure your backyard.

18. No Dogs

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The presence of a dog can deter burglars due to the risk of barking or being bitten. If you don’t have a dog, displaying a “Beware of Dog” sign can sometimes be enough to make burglars think twice.

19. Excessive Privacy Fencing

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While privacy fencing can provide a sense of security, it can also offer burglars cover once they are inside your property. Balancing the need for privacy with security considerations, such as installing lower, see-through fencing or adding motion-sensor lights along the fence, can help.

20. Valuable Items In the Yard

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Leaving valuable items, such as bicycles, tools, or electronics, in the yard can attract thieves. Always store these items in a locked garage or shed when not in use.

21. A Routine That’s Easy to Track

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Burglars often observe homes to determine the occupants’ routines, looking for patterns that indicate when the house is empty. Varying your routine, such as leaving and returning at different times, can make it more difficult for burglars to plan a break-in.

Addressing these red flags can make your home less appealing to burglars and significantly improve your security.

Taking proactive steps, such as enhancing physical security measures and being mindful of behaviors that could signal vulnerability, can help protect your home and provide peace of mind.

Sources:
  1. linkedin.com/pulse/evolution-impact-security-cameras-modern-society-7etjc/
  2. bc.ctvnews.ca/why-security-experts-say-you-shouldn-t-post-pictures-while-on-vacation-1.6675180
Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.