Home burglaries are a fact of life. In fact, a home burglary occurs about every 13 seconds in the U.S. You have no way to guarantee your home won’t be one of those burglarized, but you do have plenty of ways to decrease the chances of it happening to you. You can start by understanding just how burglars break in—and how to thwart them.
If you think a locked door is deterrent enough, think again. Most burglars operate with a get in and get out mentality. They are only in your home for eight to 12 minutes, so they don’t mind busting open a door or window to gain entry. They’ll be out of there in no time anyway.
#1 point of entry: The front door
Burglars enter by the front door more than any other way: 34% of the time, a burglar uses the front door. How do you thwart them? Cut back any shrubs or bushes that give the burglar a place to hide while breaking in, so your front door is in plain sight of your neighbors. Do not have a spare key hidden. Most burglars know where to look, and will simply find it and let themselves in. Have a solid-core door, to thwart those willing to bust through. Install heavier duty locks and use longer screws (like 3-inch) for installing the strikeplate.
#2 point of entry: A first-floor window
A first-floor window is the second most common point of entry, at 23%. As with your front door, cut back or even remove shrubs or anything else that provides a hiding place. Do not leave windows open when you leave, no matter how stuffy your house might get. And install secondary locks on your windows, because the locks that come with your windows are too often not secure enough to keep a burglar out.
#3 point of entry: The back door
The back door or another kind of secondary entrance is how burglars get in 22% of the time. Thwarting them here requires the same steps as thwarting them from gaining entrance through the front door: cut back shrubs, don’t hide a key, use a solid-core door with upgraded locks.
Additional points of entry
Although first-floor doors and windows are the primary point of entry, burglars find other ways in too:
9% of the time, they go through the garage
6% of the time they get in through unlocked storage areas
4% of the time it’s through the basement
2% of the time they get in through an unlocked or open second-story window
For each of these, the advice is the same. Cut back shrubs. Lock, lock, lock, lock doors and windows every single time you leave the house. And use better quality doors, windows and locks.
See what a burglar has to say about your home’s appeal
You don’t have to take our word for it. You can also see the advice from a real-life burglar that we’ve provided here, and follow these tips to make your home less appealing based on what this burglar has to say:
Keep drapes and blinds open when you leave.
Have a car in the driveway, even when no one is home.
Have a home security system. Burglars know some home security signs are fake, but a home security alarm going off will make a burglar scram.
Most of all, cut back trees and bushes and avoid tall fences. You might like the privacy from your neighbors when you’re home, want your home visible from the street when you’re not to make it less appealing to burglars—so you won’t have to worry about thwarting them in the first place.