Put yourself in the shoes of a burglar

At Security Doctors, we always stress the importance of having a home security system and following simple security tips to keep burglars at bay. But sometimes the most effective way of understanding your security risks is to actually put yourselves in the shoes of a bad guy.

Not all burglars are savvy criminals. Unfortunately, many are drug addicts desperately looking for cash or items they can pawn for quick, easy money. As they go through your neighborhood, here's how they will decide if your home is a target or not.

Items lying around
Remember, some burglars will try to pawn anything for quick cash. If you have yard tools lying around, toys, or anything else that can be easily taken, then you might as well put a sign on them that says "FREE." Not only that, these items may boost a thief's curiosity. He may decide to go a step further, look inside your windows or break into your home for a bigger loot.

Signs of wealth
You don't have to be wealthy to be at risk of burglary. But if you're making it clear that you have money, then you're also increasing your risk. Flashy cars, expensive landscaping and other signs of wealth will attract the very people you want to keep away from your property.

A dark house
To a burglar, an unlit home is a vacant home. In reality, you and your children could be in bed sleeping. Meanwhile, a burglar is breaking in a downstairs window and he has a gun. You can help prevent this by keeping an exterior light on, using motion detectors and putting some interior lights on a timer.

Secluded by fences or shrubbery
You may like the privacy of your fence and shrubbery, but so will your burglar. It will help him to go unseen while surveying your home and breaking inside. We're not saying you need to completely overhaul your home's exterior. But just remember, in the mind of a burglar, these characteristics make your home more of a target.

Ground-level entrance
The most preferred way for a burglar to enter your home is through a door or easy-to-access window on the ground level. They will try these points of entry first before trying anything more drastic, so be sure that your doors and windows are locked and secure.

Signs you're gone
Mail piling up, no cars in the driveway, un-shoveled snow. These are also signs to a burglar that you're not home and probably won't be anytime soon. If you're going away, have someone check up on your home periodically to collect mail and maintain the exterior. You may also want to ask a neighbor to park in your driveway.

No home security yard sign
That little sign can be a huge deterrent to burglars. Think about it. If you were a burglar, and you had to decide between two houses: one that has a home security sign and one that doesn't, which would you choose?

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