Here are five signs that burglars look for when casing properties…
After interviewing 30 convicted burglars, Professor Rudolph Zinn, senior lecturer in Forensic and Crime investigation at the University of South Africa, identified burglars’ most common means of choosing a target.
Prof Zinn found that out of all the measures that would hinder a house robber, 68% of them refer to securing the outer-perimeter of house and garden while 32% refer to internal security systems.
This is because once the perpetrators have managed to get close to the house, the advantage they have in terms of the element of surprise leaves the residents with fewer defensive options.
However, if the residents are alerted to a person jumping over their wall, they will have time to lock doors and raise the alarm.
Professor Zinn also found that all burglars do some surveillance on the targeted residence to work out the layout, types of security measures, and the habitual patterns of the residents. In some cases, they may watch your home or as little as 30 minutes or up to two weeks.
To help you create a home that is unappealing to visitors, here are five things burglars see as attractive in a home…
1. High fences or bushes
You may think high fences keep people out, but to burglars, they serve as hiding places.
Once over your fence, burglars are out of view from any potential onlookers or neighbours.
With this in mind, you may want to trim bushes and opt for wrought iron fencing, which allows for clear visibility, over a solid wall. And, since it’s easier to hide in the dark, security spotlights or outdoor motion sensor lighting may also be a good idea.
2. Newspapers or letters in the letterbox
If you’re heading away for a long period of time, a newspaper left in the letterbox for more than a few hours will be a clear indicator that your home is empty.
To be safe, ask a trusted neighbour to keep a look out for you and to push them through while you’re away.
3. Social media bragging
Social media oversharing could leave your home vulnerable to break-ins. Those beautiful geolocation tags, and pictures of your getaway destination on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter broadcast to digital-savvy thieves that you are not home.
Remember, all a smart thief has to do to find you online is pull a letter out of your letterbox and then Google it.
Research by online security company McAffe shows that one in five of us tags our holiday location when posting on platforms such as Facebook or Instagram, making it clear that we’re away from home.
To be safe, don’t post about your holiday in real-time. Instead, post about your holiday when you get back.