How Do Burglars Choose Homes to Burglarize?

by | Apr 18, 2023 | Featured Post, Home Security

We all want to keep our homes and families safe, secure, and protected, but unfortunately, break-ins are more common than you might think.

There are 1,650,000 home burglaries every year in the United States. Surprisingly, 62% of all burglaries happen during daylight hours.* In this blog post, we break down and give characteristics that can make your home attractive to a potential burglar and the steps you can take to help protect your home and your family. 


What Attracts Burglars to Homes? 


Burglars don’t choose homes at random. They purposely select homes where there the risk of being caught is limited. In general, they look for these main signs: 


  1. Unlocked Doors and Windows 
  2. No Security System or Signage 
  3. An Empty Home 
  4. Signs of Wealth 
  5. No Signs of a Dog 


Unlocked Doors and Windows 


Burglars love to see unlocked doors and windows, making it easier (and safer) to commit a crime. So, the best way to protect your home from being burglarized is also the simplest: keep your windows and doors locked. 


It may seem obvious, but this simple step reduces the amount of time that a would-be robber has to break in, increasing their chances of getting caught. 


No Security System or Signage 


Smart Security Systems, like the ones offered by CPI, deter burglars from breaking into your home. It’s as simple as that. They are the most effective way to prevent your house from being burglarized, as potential criminals don’t want to risk being seen on camera, tripping an alarm, or being caught by the police. These systems are such powerful deterrents that even a yard sign or window sticker can be enough to keep burglars at bay. 


Still, only 17% of US homes have a security system, leaving the vast majority without this imperative line of defense.* Don’t let your home be left out in the cold—invest in your family’s safety with a CPI security system today! 


An Empty Home 


This is a big one for would-be robbers. 


Whether it’s a long weekend or a summer vacation, empty homes are a prime target for burglary. Common signs that you aren’t home include: 

  • Mail piled up in your mailbox or on your porch. 
  • Trash cans that stay on the road for days at a time. 
  • Dead flowers or unraked leaves. 
  • Unanswered door knocks. 
  • No lights on in the house over several days. 


Each of these might as well be a flashing neon light advertising that you aren’t home and that your home is vulnerable. If you’re going out of town for a while, one easy solution is to ask a friend or neighbor to pick up your mail or wheel in your trashcans while you’re gone. If you’re out of town for an extended period (say a couple of weeks), you may want to invest in a house sitter.    


Signs of Wealth 


Have you ever left the box of a brand-new TV outside on your curb for the sanitation workers to pick up? It’s easy to do, but it’s also an obvious sign to everyone, including burglars, that you have a new, expensive item in your home. 


As we stated before, potential burglars are always calculating risk vs. reward. If they are confident in their prize (in this case, the new TV), they are more likely to take increased risk in selecting your home as a target. 


One solution is to cut up your boxes and place the pieces in the recycling bin. Another option is to spread out the disposal of your empty packages over several weeks (beneficial after a major holiday), so you aren’t advertising every new purchase in your new house. 


But to truly continue enjoying the possessions you’ve earned without worry, consider investing in a smart home security system like the one offered by CPI. This system will allow you to customize your security protocols to ensure you have the equipment and visibility to keep your home and your family secure. 


No Signs of a Dog 


Dogs are a well-known deterrent to would-be criminals. Dogs represent a risk that many burglars don’t want to take on. Their bark can alert neighbors or home residents of a break-in. There is also the risk the dog could attack the criminal. 


Not a dog person? No worries! The simple presence of a “Beware of Dog” sign is often enough to keep your home from being victimized. 


How Do Burglars Break into Homes? 


Before you can protect your home from being burglarized, you first need to know when most burglaries occur. Burglars usually break into homes during the day, between 9 am and 5 pm, since this is when most people are at work. They also target houses in the summer or over the holidays, as this is when most people are out of town. 


Burglars tend to enter through doors and windows. While they may go directly to the front door if they are confident in their plan, they’ll often look for a means of the entrance on the side or back to the house—one with limited visibility from the street or neighbors.  


And what’s even more concerning is that they don’t need much time to victimize your home: most home burglaries usually last between 8 – 10 minutes, and some are even as short as 90 seconds. * 


Burglar Peering into Home


How to Tell If a Burglar is Watching Your House 


There are a couple of signs to watch if you think your house may be under observation by a would-be robber. Keep an eye out for: 

  • An unknown car is parked within your home for days on end. 
  • An unknown person knocks on your door and tries to sell you something or conduct a survey. 
  • You notice an odd piece of trash or flag planted on your property. 

Often, in these cases, the robber is trying to determine when you’re not at home so they can plan accordingly.  


Do Security Systems Deter Crime? 


All the evidence points to yes. While a security system alone cannot prevent all crimes, if a burglar is given the option to break into a house with a security system or without, they are more likely to choose the house without the security system. Plus, if a criminal decides to break into your home and you have a CPI security system installed, it’s more likely they will be caught, and the burglary will be stopped. 


Learn more about CPI’s smart security system here. Ready to make the jump to a more secure home? Give us a call today to start customizing your smart security system. 



*Policy Advice, “27 Alarming Burglary Statistics for 2022″


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