Home security companies love to show commercials portraying vicious-looking burglars invading homes in the middle of the night. If nothing else, such commercials are designed to frighten people enough to get them thinking about monitored home security. Whether or not the portrayals are accurate doesn’t matter for marketing purposes.
Having said that, some burglaries and home invasions do happen the way they are portrayed on TV. Most do not. Most are simple and quiet affairs that no one knows about until hours after the fact. That is because burglars are incredibly careful about how they break into homes, when they break in, and how long they hang around.
According to Vivint, the average new customer they work with knows very little about how burglars work. For example, they do not know the top five ways burglars break into a home.
Here they are:
1. Through an Unlocked Front Door
Believe it or not, the front door is the preferred point of entry for most burglars. Equally surprising is the fact that almost 30% of those burglars who get in through the fort door simply walk in. How is that possible? Because they find front doors unlocked.
It is not unusual for a burglar to canvass a target neighborhood by testing doors. A burglar just walks up and turns the handle. An unlocked door is an open invitation to go right, and many burglars do just that. That’s why experts recommend always keeping doors locked – even when someone is home.
Even when doors are locked, burglars are afraid to initiate forced entry. They know that factory-installed locks are no match for a swift kick in the right location. Again, this is why security experts recommend installing heavy-duty deadbolts on all first-floor doors.
2. Through an Open Window
Finding a locked front door isn’t a big problem to a burglar who spots an open window. Under the right conditions, an open window is easier to breach than a locked front door. It can also be done a bit more quietly. A burglar will not make nearly as much noise removing a screen compared to forcing open the front door.
Keeping windows locked is one way to deal with this particular entry point. But what if you like to keep them open during the summer? Another option is to plant thorny shrubs or bushes directly underneath first-floor windows. A burglar isn’t going to risk the discomfort of climbing through a rose bush just to get in through an open window.
3. Entry Through the Garage
Leaving the garage door open is bad news if you hope to stop burglars. An open garage door presents two problems. First, it is also an open door to steal things directly from the garage space. Bicycles are big targets because burglars can get away quickly and bikes are easy to sell on the street. Small power tools are also attractive, as are certain types of sporting goods.
The other problem is that an open garage door often gives burglars access to another door directly into the house. Garage access doors are often left unlocked because homeowners intend to keep their overhead garage doors closed. But if the overhead door is open and the access door is unlocked, a burglar can walk right in.
4. Breaking a Basement Window
Thus far we have discussed entering through the front door, an open window, and the garage. If none of those options is available, a burglar may try to break a basement window. A window at the side or rear of the house would generally be the target. Because breaking a window involves making noise, a burglar looking to enter through the basement is likely to look for a location that cannot be seen from the street.
Unfortunately, breaking a basement window is far too easy in many homes. Basement windows tend to be single-pane windows fitted with the thinnest glass that manufacturers can get away with. It doesn’t take much to break one clean through.
An easy solution to this particular problem is to remove original basement windows and replace them with block glass. Windows made of solid block glass are nearly impenetrable to burglars. They will not even try because they know the futility of the task.
5. Obtaining a Key Beforehand
Last on the list is obtaining a key beforehand. This particular form of entry requires a bit of extra work to pull off. For starters, burglars have to surveil their targets in order to find the weakest among them. Next, they have to find a way to get a key. Finally, they have to learn the victim’s routine in order to guarantee they get in when no one is home.
One way to obtain a key is to pose as a home improvement contractor. A burglar might go to a potential victim’s door in hopes of gaining entry by claiming they are there to do a job. They might claim to be there to inspect the furnace or check the plumbing. After gaining entry and feigning work for a short amount of time, they might ask to use the restroom. When the homeowner is not looking, they poke around the master bedroom looking for a spare key.
Believe it or not, there are actual contractors who do legitimate work but enjoy burglary as a side hustle. They prey on people willing to leave them alone in their houses while they go off to work. But rather than stealing right then and there, a contractor will wait a few weeks and then come back. That way, the homeowner will not make the connection so easily.
Burglars are creative in terms of how they break into homes. If there is a way to do it without getting caught, a good burglar will figure it out.