Four ways to keep thieves from targeting your home

The technology behind residential alarm systems is quite remarkable these days.

But there’s one area of protection that no machine can accomplish: deterring would-be robbers from targeting your house in the first place.

Thieves take advantage of easy marks that ensure quick entry and exit without interference from you. Here are four easy tips to follow that can keep criminals from ever even identifying your house as a possible target, much less actually attempting a break-in.


  1. Garage Access. Whatever the reason, leaving the garage door up for extended periods of time allows criminals to get a fantastic look at what valuables are stored in the garage as well as what sort of door - and lock (if any) - lies between them and the rest of your house. So keep the door down as much as possible, and when you do want it up, park your biggest vehicle in front of it to obscure as much line of sight from the street.

  2. Love Thy Neighbor: Your next-door neighbors are the people most likely to notice something suspicious on your property when you’re not home. When you’re gone for extended periods of time or on vacation, pop next door to see if they’ll keep an eye on your house. When you return home, give them a small gift to say thanks - it builds relationships and community trust.

  3. No Routine Matter: Do you go to the same restaurant for dinner at the same time every Friday? You might be establishing a pattern defining exactly when you won’t be home and how long you’ll be gone for. Mix up your routines, and occasionally leave at your normal time and come back to the house 5 or 10 minutes later.

  4. Observe and Report. A few months back, my wife had began noticing a silver sedan routinely parked on our street. One on occasion, I went outside and wrote down the sedan’s make, model and license plate number. A few weeks later, I witnessed a young man steal a UPS package from next door and run back to the sedan, which sped away. I alerted the sheriff’s office. The perpetrators were arrested within 48 hours and haven’t been back on our street since.

Alarm systems are amazing defensive weapons against residential theft, but the human element cannot be undervalued as a way to keep your home safe.