How to Deter Burglars and Thieves: Top 5 Ways
For the average homeowner, the thought of a stranger breaking into and ransacking their home is unconscionable. Yet, many that are concerned about this possibility either don’t know how to deter burglars or do nothing to prevent a break-in.
Deterring robbers doesn’t necessarily require an enormous investment. It can be as simple as taking the time to consider what prevention efforts you’ve overlooked. Practical home security deterrents don’t have to be elaborate schemes either. You can quickly identify areas you know are an issue and tackle those first. Once you’ve taken care of the easy fixes, move on to more sophisticated ways of “hardening” your home against break-ins.
Contrary to what you’ve seen on your favorite crime drama, most break-ins happen during the day. That’s when the chance of encountering an occupant is lowest. While the thief may don a black ski mask, it’s unlikely you’ll encounter them tiptoeing around the property in the dead of night. Although the likelihood of a nighttime burglary isn’t zero, knowing this helps you protect your home and possessions when they’re most vulnerable… during the day when you’re away.
If you’re wondering how to deter burglars, here are 5 things you can do today to keep your home safe. Regardless of your ZIP code or neighborhood, these tips should act as a baseline.
1. Secure all access points of your home
Pretend you were to get locked out of your own home and couldn’t contact a locksmith. Which door, window, or entry point would be easiest for you to use to gain access to your home? It’s likely that there’s one lock or door that you’ve noticed from time to time that’s less than secure.
Once you have identified weaknesses in your home’s exterior, make time to address them. Change any locks, knobs, deadbolts, window latches, or even strike plate screws to shore up any potential access points. This will also prevent those areas from becoming weaker over time. The saying “push where there’s mush” certainly applies here. Anyone with bad intentions won’t target the most difficult areas of the home to enter. They will poke and prod until they find a weakness. At that point, they will exploit that weakness to their advantage. Eliminating any real or perceived weaknesses in the exterior of your home can make the difference between a robbery and an attempted robbery.
2. Make it impossible for someone to enter without being seen
One of the best ways to deter burglars is to reduce the opportunity they have to operate in the “shadows.” This doesn’t necessarily mean under the cover of darkness. We simply mean accessing your home without being seen. Increasing the lighting of the off-street sides of your home is a good idea, but this doesn’t quite capture the full idea.
Aside from an on-premises security team, quality security cameras are the most dependable option when considering how to deter burglars. One big benefit of using security cameras is the physical presence of the system. Cameras make it obvious that the home is being monitored. They are particularly effective when deterring burglars who would much rather target a home that poses less of a threat of detection or arrest.
Another major benefit some systems offer is collecting data you can review at a later time. If your home is robbed and the perpetrator flees, records increase the chances of catching them after the fact.
What sets Deep Sentinel apart is the active monitoring our 24/7 live virtual guard team provides. These highly skilled professionals intervene when there’s suspicious activity at your home. But they can also do something a traditional security system can’t. The average security camera can only capture video footage from a single angle. A robber may never look directly at the camera. However, the Deep Sentinel system offers the unmatched ability to interact with suspicious visitors. This could thwart burglars altogether or cause them to look directly into the camera. This allows the team to catch identifying features and share these with the authorities.
Monitoring the main entrances of a home is an obvious starting point. But what about the lightly traveled sides of the home? Or places like egress windows that aren’t “entrances” at all? Homeowners often overlook such places, yet these jeopardize the security of your home. Adequate security camera coverage of your home is essential if you’re serious about thwarting a break-in. The mere presence of a camera system is reason enough for a potential burglar to reconsider whether your home is worth the risk.
3. Keep up on your landscaping
Ensuring your lawn looks maintained avoids giving the impression you’ve gone on an extended vacation. It’s also important to keep other greenery pruned and pristine. Not only does it benefit the plants, but it also reduces a burglar’s hiding places. Overgrown ivy, bulky shrubbery, and unkempt hedges are a nightmare for home security. Frequent trimming or even removal is a must. This supports several pillars of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. (If you’d like some tips, check out our guide for crime prevention landscaping!)
Burglars will often use a tool or other blunt object found around a property, like a rock or brick, to break into a residence. Take this into account when planning out your next big project. Perhaps it’s wise to use a little extra masonry adhesive on the retaining wall cap or decide against fieldstone edging for the flower garden.
4. Be mindful of your things
Most of us have a natural inclination to be proud of what we’ve earned and show it off. But that can come with some risk. Whether it’s a big-screen TV in the garage, the kid’s electric scooters lying around the driveway, or cardboard boxes neatly stacked at the curb on recycling day, how and where you keep your possessions is a signal to would-be thieves.
Pay close attention to what’s visible inside and around your home. Can someone “casing” your house see a lot of valuables from the street? How about from a side window? Is it easy to tell when you’ve made a new purchase based on the packaging you leave at the curb?
Obstructing views of the interior of your home, garage, or anywhere you keep valuables is a good strategy for burglar deterrence. This can be done with window shades, blinds, curtains, and keeping the garage door closed.
5. Take note of neighborhood activity
Being observant doesn’t equal paranoia. It’s better to have an awareness of your surroundings than to be oblivious and potentially caught off-guard. You don’t have to suspect everyone that traverses your street or sidewalk, but you can note when something seems out of place.
What counts as a “red flag”? Here are a few examples:
- An unfamiliar vehicle making multiple trips past your home
- A pedestrian making multiple trips past your home
- Someone walking through multiple yards
- Unlocked vehicle “break-ins”
It’s also a good idea to stay in regular contact with your neighbors about suspicious activity in your area. They can be your biggest asset in averting an actual burglary attempt. Good communication with your neighbors will tip them off about questionable activity. That way, they can act as additional sets of eyes and can call the police if necessary.
How the Deter Burglars: It’s Your Choice
The level of prevention and protection you apply to your home is a personal decision. Some prefer their home to be an impenetrable fortress. Others don’t feel the need to go beyond locking the front door. Ultimately, the decision is yours. But if you’re wondering how to deter burglars, these are some of the simplest methods.
One incentive for learning how to deter thieves is preventing the psychological impact a break-in can have. If a burglary happens and you retroactively install a top-of-the-line home security system, you’ll be hard-pressed to feel completely at ease when in your home, free of any thoughts in the back of your mind about it happening again. Alternatively, some want to avoid dealing with their insurance provider to repair or replace property in the event of a burglary. This approach, even if it’s motivated mainly by convenience, is no less practical. Regardless of your underlying reasoning, you won’t regret continuing to learn how to scare burglars away.