Every 20 seconds, a looter breaks into a home in America. What’s even scarier is that only 15% of those looters are caught.
That leaves millions of perpetrators roaming the streets looking for their next victim.
Many things can lure looters to your property, but the following 8 are top of the list, so avoid them.
A Build-Up of Mail and Newspapers
The number one sign looters look at when they want to break into a property is a build-up of mail in the mailbox. It takes them just a simple stroll around the street to notice that there’s no one around.
Newspapers have the same effect – they’re often thrown in your front porch or plucked through your gate. Having lots of these on your property is a huge red flag.
What to do: Tell your neighbors that you won’t be in for a certain number of days and that they should collect your mail and newspapers for you. It’s good to build a relationship with your neighbors beforehand because if you don’t, they can refuse, or worst case – agree and not keep their word.
Phone them when you arrive at your destination and remind them to check your house daily. A simple phone message will do if you don’t want to annoy them.
An Overgrown Lawn
Having an overgrown lawn is a sure sign you’re not there. If you were, you would have trimmed it.
What to do: If you have a gardener who routinely mows your lawn, you need not worry. If you don’t, hire someone.
If you’re going out of town, tell that person how long you’ll be gone. Craft a schedule for them to periodically come and take care of not only your lawn but all the plants, shrubs, and flowers in your front yard.
Related: These Invasive Herbs Will Devastate Your Backyard
A Dark Home
Having a dark home can attract looters. On the other hand, leaving all the lights on when you’re gone can also attract looters. The debate of what to do in the above scenarios is still on today.
What to do: Because you can’t leave all your lights off or on, you should install time-sensitive lights inside the house and motion sensor lights outside.
Time-sensitive lights automatically switch on and off at a specified time. That helps your home to blend in with your neighbors’. It gives onlookers and bypasses the impression that there’s someone home.
Having a Home Business
Many people are starting home businesses these days because it’s convenient and cost-effective. When looters spot that you have a home business, they’ll want to break in.
Wherever there’s a business, there’s an accumulation of assets, sometimes cash, and sometimes the products you sell.
What to do: If moving your business somewhere else is out of the picture, you should consider not receiving physical cash as a form of payment. There’re many alternatives to paper money that your customers can pay with – use them.
Visible Packaging for Expensive Items in Your Garbage Can
You might want to show off to your neighbors that you bought a new LCD TV, but that box will attract the wrong company.
Looters love looting from homes with expensive items. Having visible packaging for expensive stuff confirms to them that your home is ripe for a hit.
What to do: If you just bought an expensive item and want to throw the box away, you should go and throw it in a public dustbin. If you think that’s too much of an ask, you should instead cover your boxes with a black trash bag before throwing them away.
Leaving Tools Lying Around
Looters don’t usually go around carrying tools they use to break into houses. Instead, they prefer using tools they find lying around the yard. Tools like trowels, hammers, and chisels can help to quickly and quietly gain access into your property without anybody noticing.
What to do: Firstly, buy a lock for your garden gate and keep it locked at all times. If you don’t have a garden gate, get or make one for yourself.
The second and most important thing you must do is always put away all your tools in the storeroom or garage after usage. Inform your family members and gardener to do likewise.
Related: How To Build A Small Storage Shed From Pallets
Having an Opening for Your Pet on the Door
When a burglar can’t get in through the human entrance, they look for other possible entry points. If you have an opening for your pet, they resort to getting in through there. No matter how small the entrance may be, a determined burglar will find a way to slither through.
What to do: Don’t make an opening for your pet on the door because they can use the human entry. If you’re adamant about having a pet door, make sure you’re able to lock it.
Pictures of You on Vacation
Anyone with an internet connection can see pictures you post on social media. Posting pictures of yourself on vacation might get you likes and great comments, but some ill-hearted people will want to take advantage of your absence.
Before looting a home, looters often do thorough research about their probable victims. They can scour through social media to learn more about you.
If they find that you’ve announced that you’re going on vacation or pictures of you on vacation, they’ll break into your home without fear, knowing that there’s no one.
What to do: Stop posting your private affairs online. If you feel you can’t do that, post your pictures only when you return from your vacation. Another good measure you can take is to set your social media profiles to private so that only your close friends and relatives can see what you share.
Related: Leaving the City? Here’s What to Look For In A New Community
Looters are highly ambitious people. They constantly update and come up with new ways to target a home. The advice given above may seem simple, but implementing it will deter most looters from breaking into your home – so use it.
It’s now your turn to speak. Which looter-inviting thing did I leave behind?
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