The most common tactics used by burglars and how to prevent them
For many victims of a burglary the real impact is not just the financial cost of the break in but also the emotional destruction that is left behind. The UK still has one of the highest burglary rates in Europe.
Is your property a burglar’s ideal target?
Think with the mind of a thief; if your property looks unsecure to you, it will to any potential burglars. By analysing the common tactics used by thieves to break into homes, you can evaluate ways to avoid becoming a victim of burglary. In this post, we give advice on some appropriate measures you can take to prevent your property from being targeted by thieves.
Targeting Isolated Properties
Tactic: Burglars will target properties with an obstructed view from the streets to avoid being seen by neighbours or passers-by. Corner houses are often targeted due to having at least one side with no neighbours, and thieves will go to the back or side of the property as fences provide coverage.
Advice: Ensure potential burglars have limited coverage. This increases the chances of them being seen, should they attempt to break in. Trim trees, and cut down hedges and bushes surrounding the property, so they can’t hide behind them.
Avoiding Security Systems
Tactic: Thieves will target properties without a security system installed, as they don’t want to risk being seen or heard.
Advice: Install security lighting, CCTV or a visible intruder alarm systems. These will not only help to deter burglars, but also will alert you should a thief attempt to break in. If you can’t afford to install a security system, dummy systems are an affordable alternative. Put up signs or stickers that show you have a security system installed, whether you do or not, to put burglars off.
Casing a Property
Tactic: Most burglaries are opportunistic, but some thieves will case a property and plan the break in, before they strike. They may walk or drive down your street unnoticed and study your routine. Burglars might come to your door pretending to be a sales rep or handyman, in order to have a look at what’s inside, and examine the security of your property. They may look out for keys, so they can see if they’d be able to fish them through the letterbox.
Advice: Look out for any suspicious persons in your area; you could even join or set up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme. Don’t answer the door to people you don’t know or aren’t expecting, and don’t let any unknown persons in your property. Keep valuables and keys out of sight from the doorway
Looking Out for Poor Door & Window Security
Tactic: Thieves will target properties with low physical security. They tend to spend up to one minute attempting to break into a property and, upon successful entry, around 8-12 minutes within the premises. Burglars will usually be deterred by properties that are highly secured as entering takes time, and the risk associated is much higher than it is with an unsecure property.
Advice: Ensure your windows and doors are secure enough against an attempted break in.
Tactic: Burglars will look for items outside, such as tools and ladders. Most burglaries are opportunistic, and if thieves see anything that could be used to assist entry into your home, they will utilise them. Burglars will use tools and bricks or rocks to help force entry, and ladders or bins to help them climb over fences, into windows or onto flat roofs.
Advice: Don’t leave anything outside that somebody could use to break into your property. Put tools and ladders in a secure shed or garage.
Tactic: Burglars will target properties where they know there will be items worth stealing inside, so that they don’t make a wasted effort breaking in. They may look for people posting about having new and/or expensive items on social media, may peer through your windows, and check for discarded boxes in your bins.
Advice: Don’t have valuables on display or in view from windows, and don’t openly advertise your expensive possessions. Be especially careful when disposing of boxes and posting on social media about the items you have.
Accessing Unlocked Doors & Windows
Tactic: Most burglars like to operate without forced entry. Many thieves come through unlocked doors and windows. Two thirds of break in entries are through the front or back door, or a ground floor window.
Advice: Make sure that all windows, doors and gates are shut and locked when leaving your property. Restrict access to your back garden, as burglars will tend to go to the rear of the property in an attempt to gain access.