Undoubtedly, you have heard either on the news, on television programs, or on movies about burglars casing a house. This term describes the way that burglars will watch a home, search for patterns, and determine the best time to enter the home when the homeowner is away or distracted.
But have you ever asked yourself, how do burglars case a house? Having the answer to that question is key in spotting the signs that a burglar may be looking for an opportunity to get inside your home. Once you know what to look for, you will be able to take steps to dissuade a burglar from considering getting into your home.
In this article, we are going to discuss the steps that you can take to identify a burglar casing your house and what steps you can take to do something about it.
Home Burglary facts
Knowledge is power. The more information you have about burglars and home burglaries the better prepared you will be to protect your property and your loved ones from the nefarious acts of unscrupulous individuals looking to do you harm.
10 Signs Your House Is Being Targeted by Burglars
The best way for you to protect your home is to understand what burglars do when casing a house. In this article, we are going to discuss 10 signs that your home is being targeted by burglars, as well as the steps you can take to protect yourself.
1. You See a New Car on Your Street
If you see a vehicle that’s parked on your street for an extended period of time and you know that it does not belong to your neighbors nor does it belong to anyone visiting your neighbors, you have every right to be suspicious.
If the vehicle looks suspicious, such as having dark tinted windows, do not be afraid to alert law enforcement. Stationary vehicles with dark windows are one of the tools that burglars use when casing a house and trying to determine your routine.
2. Strangers Walking on the Street
We are by no means telling you that you should be paranoid every time you see someone new walking on your street.
However, over time most people are familiar with individuals who live in their neighborhood. If you see someone who is trying to give the impression that they are walking or jogging, but you can tell that they are spending an exorbitantly large amount of time looking at your home, this should set off a red flag, especially if the individual is not dressed in exercise clothing.
Call law enforcement. In this situation, it is better to be safe than sorry.
3. Random Strangers Knocking on the Door
One of the oldest tricks that burglars use to get into your home is to knock on the door saying that there is an emergency or that they simply need a glass of water.
In that case is better to have a video doorbell, wireless video doorbell, or peephole camera. Out of kindness, you let them come into your home, but once they’re inside, they have all the access they need.
They can unlock a door or unlock a window and then use it as an entry point when you are away.
4. Uncertified Workmen
Here’s a scenario. You have work done on your home by a trusted company. The work is complete and the workmen leave. A day or two later an uninvited, unsolicited workman returned saying that there was some aspect of the job that needed to be redone or repaired.
This is suspicious. It could be that a thief was returning to your home disguised as a workman thinking that you weren’t home. First, contact the company that did the work for you to see if they sent out another repair person. If not, contact law enforcement immediately.
5. Unsolicited Fundraisers or Religious Workers
Unsolicited visitors may, in fact, be individuals looking for an opportunity to gain access to your home. Criminals look for every opportunity to get inside your house.
It could be someone knocking on your door Saturday morning to offer you Girl Scout cookies, a fake IRS agent, or fake tree trimmers. Remember, you are under no obligation to open your door to anyone.
Talk to them through an intercom, doorbell camera, or any two-way talk security camera. Take whatever steps you need to protect your home from a professional burglar.
It is important to know where to install and how to install home security cameras in order to have more information.
6. Someone Takes Pictures of Your Home and Walks Away
Smartphones make it easy for people to take photographs of your home and then walk away at any time. Smartphones and mobile technology are altering how burglars operate.
They are now able to canvass a neighborhood with just a few clicks. Unfortunately, this novel and insidious way of attempting to break into homes is becoming more popular.
If you see someone posing as a jogger, handyman, or paperboy and taking photographs outside of your home or outside your neighbor’s home, you need to be vigilant.
This is especially the case if you see the individual walking back and forth from one side of the home to another while taking several photographs.
Notify law enforcement, notify the homeowners association, and document what you see. Get out your own smartphone and take a photograph. Keep records of abnormal behaviors in your neighborhood.
7. Stickers or Flyers
Having a bunch of flyers stuck in your door is annoying. It can also be potentially dangerous. Burglars will stick flyers or ads in homes around the street that they feel are not guarded.
The flyers serve as a red flag to their accomplices that this is a home that can be easily broken into.
Of course, not all flyers are a signal for burglars to come into your home. But to prevent your house from being marked with a bull’s-eye by would-be intruders, it is smart to remove flyers in a timely manner.
If you are going to be out of town for an extended period of time, have a neighbor or a good friend come by your home periodically to check for newspapers and flyers and remove them.
8. Strange Markings on Your Home
Law enforcement officials were asked, how do burglars case a house?
One surprising revelation was that many burglars use subtle markings and string signs that they place on a house, on lampposts around the house, or on the sidewalk. Professional burglars will travel through a neighborhood looking for potential targets.
They will then use things that look like random signs or things that could be easily ignored to alert their fellow burglars that this home is one where people are away or that this home is an easy target.
If you see unexplained markings on or around your home, remove them immediately.
9. Trust Your Gut
Humans have an uncanny ability to tell when something is not right. You may look at strange individuals in your neighborhood and just feel that something is off.
It might be that you see individuals who are fidgety or who are horsing around in front of your home.
These individuals may make little or no eye contact with others in the neighborhood, and it just doesn’t seem like they should be there.
It is especially troubling when you see these individuals on rainy nights or stormy nights because they may be using the storm or the rain as a cover for their nefarious activities.
Of course, there is no reason to be paranoid and think that every new person in the neighborhood is a potential burglar.
However, there are signs that may indicate that your house is being watched or cased. Do not allow the fear of being wrong to prevent you from taking steps to protect your home and property.
10. Signs Someone Is Probing Your Home
It is not uncommon for burglars to probe a potential target before striking. Their goal is to see if anyone is home and to minimize their chances of getting caught. Some of the steps that burglars take to probe your home include calling at different hours and then hanging up.
They may speak to your children, asking about you and your home. Or they may actually try to enter your home.
So you may see a broken lock or broken door. All of these are signs that something is not right. Talk to law enforcement officials about any suspicious activity.
Some people may feel that some of the above-mentioned steps are a little extreme or that they are signs of paranoia.
However, if you have had your home broken into or if you ever get the chance to talk to someone who was a victim of a burglary, they will tell you very clearly that the trauma of having your home broken into is something that cannot quickly be forgotten.
When someone breaks into your home, they take away your sense of safety. This is especially traumatizing when there are children in the home. When you talk to someone in the aftermath of a burglary, they will often mention that they saw some of the above-mentioned signs that their home was being cased.
If you have been fortunate enough to have never been burglarized, keep your eyes and ears open. Invest in a security system.
Be alert to any signs that you are on the verge of being victimized. And quickly report any suspicious activity to law enforcement. By doing this, you will be doing all you can to protect the safety of your home and its occupants.
Avoid home security mistakes
At one time or another, every conscientious homeowner asks themselves, how can I protect my home from burglars? The best way to protect your home is to avoid some of the home security mistakes that so many people make.
Mistake #1: Getting a Big Dog.
When people think about securing their homes, they think about getting this huge, aggressive dog that is going to attack anyone who comes inside the home.
However, as many in-home security cameras show and as many burglars can attest, large dogs do not always react the way that homeowners would expect. They often ignore the burglar, or worst yet, allow the burglar to pet them as if the burglar was a friend.
It is better for you to get small dogs, like a Chihuahua. These dogs bark uncontrollably, and they are difficult to calm. Their insatiable barking can unnerve burglars and will alert you to the fact that someone is in your home.
Mistake #2: Stopping Mail Delivery.
One of the first things that people do when they are going on an extended vacation is to stop mail delivery. The logic is that if mail piles up in the home, a burglar is going to know that I am away.
On the surface, that seems logical. But it shows a failure to understand the way that criminals think. Criminals are looking for patterns.
If they notice that a mail carrier has been going to your home every single day for the past six months and now the mailman or the paperboy is no longer coming, it is a clear signal that you are not home. Having a locking mailbox is a good idea.
Mistake #3: Fake Security Apparatuses.
Criminals may be lazy, but the majority of them are not dumb. They know their craft, and they know the difference between a fake surveillance camera and a real surveillance camera. The better alternative is to install a real security camera that can signal alerts to your phone when something is possibly going wrong.
Finally, if you lose the key, someone can use it to enter your home. That will never happen if you have a keyless door lock or bump-proof lock. Think about it. Also, door security bars can be a cheaper idea to prevent a backdoor break-in.
Finally, educate yourself.
For example, when do burglaries occur the most? Contrary to popular belief, most burglaries do not happen at night.
They happened during the day. Most burglaries do not happen during the winter. They happen during the summer months, especially in July and August. Being armed with this information will help you to prevent making mistakes that will make your home more vulnerable to a burglar.
There is no way to completely prevent a break-in. However, you are not helpless. Be observant. Take the time to know who your neighbors are and who typically are in your community. If you see something that you feel is out of the ordinary, do not let the fear of being wrong or do not let the fear of being labeled as being nosy prevent you from taking action.
Keep your family safe with a monitored home security system. Just seeing the system can be a deterrent to burglars. Keep your eyes peeled, and keep your ears to the ground, and by doing this you can minimize your chance of becoming a burglary victim.