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Lock Blog

A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals

How To Prevent Burglary: The Definitive Checklist

by Taylor January 24, 2022

Do you know who’s watching your house right now?

What about that car across the street from you? Is there someone in there? Can they see you? Are they taking notes?

Burglars spend a lot of time choosing the perfect mark for their crimes. They have to make sure they minimize the risk of getting caught. If it looks like they can enter your house without a trace and get their hands on your valuables, they might force their way in the next time you’re not home.

The key to understanding how to prevent burglary is appearing to be well-protected. There are a few specific things that burglars look for if they want to rob a house to figure out how high the security is. Knowing these things can protect you and your valuables from disastrous consequences.

If you really want to know how to prevent burglary, pay attention to what you’re unintentionally saying to burglars.

Here is an overview of how to prevent burglary:

  1. Home Burglary
  2. Car Burglary
  3. What Burglars Learn
  4. Prevent Burglary

What Burglars Can Learn From Your House

When looking for a house to rob, burglars tend to stake out ones in affluent neighborhoods and look for a few key details.

If they can find any, they look for specific valuables. Hide your lawnmowers, bicycles, and other potential valuables. Make sure that burglars can’t see into your garage either. Burglars may look through your trash to see if there’s packaging for anything expensive.

Do they have somewhere to hide if things go wrong? If you have bushes or trees in your yard or a dark porch, burglars know they have a safe hiding spot. If lights are off and do not turn on with motion detection, they are less likely to be caught. Burglars also look for homes in areas without many neighbors roaming around, as these neighbors might catch them in the act.

Whether or not security systems deter burglars is actually a bit of a crapshoot. Some burglars may know how to disable security systems, and advertising what kind of security you have could make it worse. Large dogs tend to deter burglars, but small dogs do not, and after seeing that “beware of dog” sign, they can check which one you have.

Next, burglars try to figure out whether or not you’re home. Are the lights on? If so, are they on for a very long time with no change? If that’s the case, there’s probably no one home. Are there cars in the driveway? Can they hear a TV or radio on? In that case, there’s probably someone home, and they should stay away from your house.

Lawns that haven’t been mowed for a long time indicate that the people in the house are on vacation. If mail or packages keep piling up, that suggests the same thing. If you want to know how to prevent burglary while you’re on vacation, get a friend to house-sit.

After that comes methods of entry. Believe it or not, most burglars simply come in through unlocked doors or windows. Keeping your doors and windows locked with good locks is a strong deterrent. Sliding glass doors and windows also have inherently weak locks, so getting reinforced locks on them is a good idea.

If everything is locked, burglars usually kick down doors. Getting an anti-kick door jamb installed is how to prevent burglary by strengthening your door.

Home Security Checklist

  • Everything is hidden inside your house or garage
  • Your trash is unintelligible through broken boxes and shredded receipts
  • You have no bushes or other hiding spots near doors or windows
  • You have motion-sensitive lights
  • You have a security system that’s hard to disable
  • It’s clear through signage that you have a security system, but the exact specifications are unclear
  • If you have a large dog, it’s clear through signage
  • You’ve turned your TV or radio on before leaving the house, or you have a timer that turns them on
  • You have a friend to mow your lawn and pick up mail when you’re away
  • You have high-security locks on all your doors and windows
  • You have an anti-kick door jamb installed on your door

What Burglars Can Learn From Your Car

Your car can tell a burglar a lot about what kind of person you are, what you might have in your house, and what your schedule might be, and they can use this information to mark you. If you want to know how to prevent burglary, you need to be looking at your car and your house. There are a few things that burglars look for.

First, and most obvious, is how expensive your car is. Owning an expensive car indicates the person in the house has money to burn and possibly burned said money on easier-to-steal things inside the car.

They can also check if your car is unlocked by looking through the window. If it is, then anything inside is fair game. Particularly crafty thieves can also hotwire and steal older vehicles. Staying locked at all times is how to prevent the burglary of your car.

One indicator that most people don’t consider is bumper stickers. Bumper stickers can tell you a lot about the driver. A stick-figure family indicates that you probably go to pick up kids in the afternoon. Conversely, “baby on board” implies that someone is home most of the time taking care of a baby.

Bumper stickers relating to hobbies like hunting tell a burglar that you have valuable guns to steal. A bumper sticker naming your child’s school lets burglars know what school they go to and when you’re likely to be picking them up or dropping them off.

The lack of a car is also a sign in and of itself. If there’s no car in the driveway, the house is probably empty, meaning this is a perfect time to strike. Knowing how to prevent burglary is knowing how to make it look like your home is always occupied.

Car Security Checklist

  • Your car door is locked
  • If your car is expensive, your house is as secure as your car
  • If your car is cheap, it’s currently in your driveway
  • When gone, you have a friend to keep a car in your driveway
  • You have vague or unrevealing bumper stickers or no bumper stickers at all

What Burglars Can Learn From You

A burglar may be paying attention to your habits. People tend to stick to routines, and someone could be watching to learn what those routines are. Pay attention to what you’re signaling if you want to know how to prevent burglary.

Some burglars look through social media to check who’s on vacation. Don’t go around telling people when you’re going on vacation. Make sure that only a trusted few know.

Burglars can listen in on whether or not any sounds are coming from your house. A silent home indicates that no one is there, and now is a perfect time to break in.

The relationship you have with your neighbors can be observed as well. If you’re all friendly, this suggests that if someone sees something, they’ll say something.

If you think you’re being watched, leaving the house unpredictably rather than at the same time every day can throw off a burglar’s idea of your schedule.

Some of these options are very out-of-the-way, but that’s by design. If you really want to know how to prevent burglary, you need to understand the conveniences that burglars take advantage of.

Personal Security Checklist

  • Your social media has no mention of when you’ll be away from home
  • You have a timer that turns on your TV or radio periodically when you’re away
  • You have a good relationship with your neighbors and have established trust
  • If possible, you don’t stick to a routine

What To Do About Targeted Burglary

This is how to prevent burglary right now. If you don’t meet the requirements in the above checklists, there are a few things you can do.

You can perform some minor tasks, such as putting your valuables away. Make sure the contents of your house or garage are not visible from the outside by drawing window blinds and moving things out of sight. Start shredding or destroying garbage that may indicate expensive items. Have a designated house-sitter and delete revealing social media posts. Lock everything.

There are some things you can go out and buy. If you have a dog, buy a sign indicating this. The same goes for security systems, but make sure your sign is not overly specific. Buy a timer that turns on lights or TV periodically when you’re away. Buy some bumper sticker remover if you need it.

Some security measures need to be installed by a professional. Get any bushes removed from your doors or windows, or replace them with roses or other thorny plants. Get motion-sensitive lights installed on the outside of your house. Buy a security system that’s hard to disable.

Locksmiths are security experts and can help you with several precautionary measures. Locksmiths can inform you of how high-security your locks really are and replace them with something better if necessary. They can also install anti-kick door jambs into the doorframe to prevent someone from kicking the door down.

Knowing how to prevent burglary can save you thousands of dollars. Hiring services to install these safety measures for you may cost some money but is a part of knowing how to prevent burglary.


What do burglars look for?

When scouting, burglars look for any signs that you might not be home and that you have things worth stealing. They also look for signs that a neighbor is unlikely to see them. These signals come in many forms, but what’s most important is to not advertise, make it seem like you’re always home, and have a house that’s fully visible and free from hiding spots.

When it comes to what they look for when inside the house, burglars go to master bedrooms and root through valuables there. They go to any room they suspect has electronics, as well. Plenty of burglars simply look through as many places as possible before leaving. Don’t put objects in obvious hiding spots.

How do you stop burglars from targeting your home?

Burglars look for homes where they’re unlikely to get caught. Signs that a home has a hard-to-disable alarm system or a large dog make a home look unappealing.

They also look for homes with expensive things left on the outside. Make sure not to advertise what a burglar can steal.

How do you deter burglars at night?

If you want to know how to deter burglars at night, know that you might have an incorrect idea of how burglars typically operate. Most burglaries happen when no one’s home, rather than when a house is full of sleeping people that might wake up.

Regardless, the best way to deter burglars that may try to come into your house at night is by having a solid security system. Strong locks and an armed alarm will generally prevent people from taking the risk of burglary.

How do you prevent burglary at home?

Most business burglaries happen at night, and most at-home burglaries occur during the day. The key to understanding how to prevent burglary at home is to know how to make it unclear when you leave your home.

You can keep TVs on, keep lights on, have a car in the driveway, or use some other method. You can also get high-security locks installed to deter burglars. That’s the basics of how to prevent burglary.

What is the advice from burglars on how to prevent burglary?

Burglars report that they generally break in through unlocked doors or windows, so high-security locks are a must. Taking out bushes and other hiding spots is a security technique that burglars have reported would be a problem for them. Burglars have also stated that they stay away from homes with the TV on.


Burglars are crafty and know what they’re doing, so it’s vital to understand how houses are robbed and what to look for if you want to learn how to prevent burglary.

So what makes a good target? The answer is a house that’s upscale, unguarded, and unseen. That is, a house that has things worth stealing is unlikely to catch a burglar and will not be seen by possible neighbors.

Keep your things hidden. Don’t advertise to potential burglars what kind of valuables you have. If your house looks like it’s full of expensive stuff, that’ll be enticing to a burglar.

Make sure your defenses are as good as they can be. Make it seem like someone’s home. Leave signs of a security system without giving away details on how to disable that security system. And get some high-quality locks and door jambs installed in your doors and windows.

Your house should be entirely visible. Leave no hiding places. Make sure your neighbors are all watching out. Keep motion-activated lights around the outside of your home.

After taking these precautions, you’ll fully understand how to prevent burglary, and your house will be as safe as it can possibly be. Be wary of potential burglars, and keep an inventory of your valuables, preferably with photos, so that if anything is stolen, it’s more likely to be found.

That’s the basics of how to prevent burglary. How are you increasing your security? Leave a comment below!

Category: Crime, Safety & Security

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