How Burglars Choose a House to Rob – From Experts Advice

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Burglars choose houses that can provide high reward with low risk. Most burglaries happen when the homeowners aren’t there, and the burglars try to act as quickly as possible. 

Knowing how a burglar thinks can help you increase the security of your home. Burglars scan neighborhoods looking for potential targets. They typically look for empty houses, have easy access and low security. 

Installing an alarm system or getting a dog are effective ways of making your home more secure. You should also hide valuables and avoid letting your mail pile up to make your home less attractive for burglars.

What Items Do Burglars Look for in a Home?

Burglars look for valuable objects that are light and easy to carry. They want to minimize the time inside a property. Even though they might steal a large object from time to time, they usually prefer small valuable things like jewelry and electronics. These are the main objects they look for:

  • Jewelry: it’s one of the main stolen items people report during burglaries. Earrings, bracelets, or rings are easy to carry and can be resold or pawned for quick cash. 
  • Medication: this has become a commonly stolen item by burglars. Opioids and prescription drugs are expensive, and thieves resell them on the black market. 
  • Electronics: thieves might leave behind oversized items like TV screens, but smartphones, headphones, or speakers are common targets for burglars. 

What to Do about Expensive Items

There are several things you can do when it comes to securing valuable items. First, don’t leave expensive bikes or tools lying around in the front yard. This can be a sign for burglars that you also have expensive items inside your home. 

A quick look through your window when you aren’t there can tell a burglar a lot about your level of wealth. Try not to leave high-priced possessions in rooms with windows on the street level. You can store your valuable items in a quality safe, or less visible location. 

Many burglars also check dumpsters since boxes and bags can say a lot about someone’s wealth. To avoid this problem, don’t throw away boxes of expensive items in the dumpers. For example, don’t leave a new flat-screen TV box in the dumpster, break it down into smaller pieces, and place them in a trash bag or recycle them.

What Features Do Burglars Look for in a House?

The first thing burglars look for is if they can easily access the house. They want to be able to enter and leave the house very quickly.

In addition to valuable items, burglars look for houses with easy access and low visibility and security. Most importantly, burglars prefer breaking into a house when there’s no one there.

Easy Access

When thinking about how burglars pick a house, accessibility is key. The first thing burglars look for is if they can easily access the house. They want to be able to enter and leave the house very quickly. Burglars often try to enter through the front door since it’s the easiest way in, and it doesn’t alert the neighbors. 

Windows are also another entry point for burglars. During the summer, it’s common for people to leave their windows open, and many burglars take advantage of this. 

When looking for houses, many burglars knock on the door to see if anyone is home, and then they try to open it to see if it’s locked. Essentially, they look for open doors or doors with vulnerable locks. Try not to leave a spare key in a nearby pot or under a doormat because burglars can quickly identify these hiding spots.

Signs That You Aren’t There

Burglars look for houses they can break into when no one is there. You might be doing some things without noticing that could attract burglars. For example, a full mailbox or newspapers piling up in your driveway can signify that you are on vacation. 

When you leave on vacation, contact your local post office and ask them to hold your mail while you are away. You can also hire someone to collect your mail or ask for the help of a neighbor. Also, don’t post vacation pictures on social media until you have come back. This signals to a burglar that your house is an easy target.  


Although some burglars prefer the low visibility of night, most burglaries happen in broad daylight. During the night, burglars look a lot more suspicious roaming around a neighborhood, while it’s a lot easier to go unnoticed during the day. Also, many burglaries happen during the middle of the day because people are at work.

However, if you are worried about someone breaking into your home during the night, consider installing motion detector lights. These lights automatically turn on and frighten a robber by making them think someone is in the house. 

The visibility and busyness of the street where you live is also an important element of how burglars pick a house. The key thing is how visible your home is from the road.

Houses easily seen from the street have a higher risk for burglars. Fences can help a burglar by providing some privacy. They tend to prefer homes that are a little bit hidden and isolated. 

Low Security

Alarm systems and dogs are two of the most effective ways of deterring burglars from breaking into your home. Home security systems have become very advanced and are the primary reason for the decrease in burglaries across America in recent decades. You’ll be able to find models with sensors, cameras, and entry keypads for a reasonable price.

Find out more safety and security information on our blog

How to Tell if a Burglar is Watching Your House

There are many ways to know if a burglar is watching your home. In general, watch out for people knocking on your door that look suspicious or don’t have a solid reason to be there. Strangers taking pictures of your house, too many flyers at the door, or unknown cars parked on the street are other signs that your house might be a target. 

In some areas, burglars use symbols to communicate with other burglars. They mark the houses or nearby trees with information about the house. If you notice anything suspicious in your neighborhood, contact your local police.

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