Most burglaries are simply crimes of opportunity. A burglar chooses a home to rob, enters the home, takes valuables, and leaves all within a matter of minutes. There’s not a whole lot of planning ahead of time, and it’s relatively easy to deter. Give some indication that breaking in will be a hassle – such as bright yard lights, deadbolts, or a home security system sign – and they’ll choose the next house.
Unfortunately, the most dangerous home invasions can be ones where it’s not a crime of opportunity. If someone has deliberately selected your home to break into, there’s usually a specific reason. Some of the more common include:
- To cause harm to you or your loved ones.
- To steal a particular item or items of value.
- To damage or deface your property.
These crimes can be harder to prevent. In most cases, the home invader has been inside your home. He knows that you don’t actually have a dog, even though you have a huge dog bowl on the step to scare away burglars. He knows there’s no alarm panel on your wall, even though you have a security sign. He knows when you are and aren’t going to be at home, because he’s been watching.
Here are some things you can do to prevent these kids of invasions:
- Start with a reliable home security system. Most of the systems on the market today can deter home invasion. Just be sure the system is armed.
- Make changes to your landscape. You need to make sure the home invader can’t just walk up the driveway without being seen. Get rid of tall bushes in front of windows, for example.
- Be careful who you let into your home. Anyone who comes through the door could be scoping around for valuables or for the presence of a home security system.
- Learn personal protection techniques. Things like having a family disaster plan, or learning to use and safely store a handgun can all increase personal safety, as well.
- Consider forming a neighborhood watch. The Neighborhood Watch program has proven to be an effective method of reducing crime.