Is your home being watched? You never know if a workman or service/repairman is scoping out your home as a potential target. Or if a knock comes at the door, and it’s a stranger asking for help. Is it legit, or is it a potential intruder?
There are telltale signs a burglar is targeting your home. Some are subtle, others more obvious. You want to keep your home and your family safe, and learning the signs and educating your family is a step toward a safer home.
It’s especially important to know the signs a burglar is targeting your home if you have children who spend time home alone after school, or even on the weekends. Family preparedness and education on staying safe at home can go a long way to preventing the worst from happening.
What do burglars see when they look at your house? Let’s step into the mind of a burglar for a second. They see:
- Kids toys in the yard: This means there’s a mom at home, one who might have a beautiful and expensive jewelry collection.
- High privacy fences: Once I’m inside the fence, neighbors or the police won’t see me from the road.
- Shrubbery or bushes along the house: Provides a great hiding place, and can block the view of a window breaking.
If you want to get even further inside a burglar’s head, read these 20 alarming burglary facts that should concern you.
Now let’s take a deeper look at the signs a burglar is targeting your home.
Signs your home could be a target:
- Work was recently done on your home
Burglars come in all shapes and sizes, but many of them have something in common: they have a job that gives them access to the inside of people’s homes. This could be a repair or serviceman, someone from a utility company, or even a floral delivery person.
Once inside your home, they’re on the lookout for televisions and electronic items, jewelry, credit cards, cash, and more. They likely won’t take anything when they’re at your home for business purposes, but it doesn’t mean they won’t come back later once they know the lay of the land and where your valuables are, or tipping off a criminally-minded friend.
WHAT TO DO: If you’re having a workman over to the house, put any laptops and tablets in a cabinet, or otherwise out of sight. Close doors to the bedrooms, hide your purse or wallet, and don’t leave any important paperwork or documents on the counter. Hide any calendars that might note vacations or weekends away.
Also be on the lookout for workmen who randomly show up at your house again, unannounced. There is a good chance they returned believing you were not home.
- An unannounced handyman at your home
Most times, you’ll have an appointment set in advance when a cable repairman or someone from the utility company is stopping by to fix or service your equipment. So if a handyman, workman, or anyone else comes to your home unannounced, take warning.
WHAT TO DO: Don’t let this person into your house. Tell them it’s not a good time, and that you’ll call the company to schedule another time. If the person is there legitimately to provide service, they will understand and should be able to provide you with a number to call to set up an appointment. Don’t fall for the line, “this will only take a second….”
- A request for help
You’ve probably been in a bind a few times yourself, and helped by a kind stranger or Good Samaritan. So you want to return the favor when a knock comes at your door, and it’s a stranger asking to use the phone or bathroom.
But don’t be so quick to open the door. Criminals often use legitimate-sounding requests for help to get inside, then, unlatch a door or window for a return visit. Or once inside, they’ll scope your home and see if it’s a viable burglary target.
WHAT TO DO: Offer to call the police or a tow truck, or whoever else the person says they need to use your phone to call. Keep the door closed and locked while you talk to them, and remember you’re in control. Don’t let them make you feel bad for not letting them inside.
Learn more about what NOT to do when answering the door, and how to teach your children to follow door-answering safety tips.
- Stranger walking on your street
Sure, a stranger on the street or in your neighborhood isn’t always a cause for concern, but it could be. Take a moment to observe what the person is doing. If they are walking slow, observing houses and the surroundings, or showing too much interest in your home, they might be casing it.
WHAT TO DO: It never hurts to call the police and let them know there’s someone in your neighborhood acting suspiciously. Even if it’s just someone out for a walk, better safe than sorry.
- Strange vehicle on your street
You probably know most of the cars in your neighborhood. If you see one that doesn’t belong, and isn’t parked right near someone’s house, take note. Also be on the lookout for cars that are lingering or driving slowly through the area.
WHAT TO DO: Again, a call to the police never hurts. Don’t approach the car yourself, and never confront a stranger about their actions.
Hopefully these signs a burglar is targeting your home are a step toward keeping your family and home safe from intruders. If you don’t have one already, a home security system is another great tool. Read more on how to buy a home security system.