As security measures evolve, so do the mindsets of burglars. When considering your home security, think about what puts a home at risk, and how you can take measures to mitigate.

To do this, we must get inside the head of the burglar. What do they look for when scouting out houses? Read on for ways to assess your home's vulnerability.

Empty Homes

The first thing that potential intruders look for are signs that the residents have been gone for an extended period time. These include uncollected mail in your mailbox, lights off for an extended period of time and lack of traffic in and out of the house. They look for cars in the driveway, dry cleaning hanging on the door, or UPS packages sitting on the doorstep. To give the appearance of occupancy, ask a neighbor to collect your mail or packages until you return or install a security system capable of controlling lights via your mobile device.

Inviting Intruders In

Easily accessible entrances might as well be a formal invitation for intruders. Unlocked or open windows can be easily spotted and are attractive features to burglars. In fact, one third of all break-ins are committed through an unforced entry, meaning the windows and doors that you forgot to lock.

Unlocked fences or gates may also invite intruders onto your property. While traditionally thought to bring more privacy and protection to a home, fences may also be an aid to burglars. For example, a “privacy” fence in a backyard can be a hiding place for burglars to break windows to gain entry into your home.

At-Risk Communities

Understanding your neighborhood is another great way to assess your risk. For example, houses in neighborhoods where other burglaries have taken place are more vulnerable. Acquaint yourself with how susceptible your neighborhood is to crime by using tools such as Neighborhood Scout, a website that allows you to search crime rates by city. There are also numerous apps available, which allow you to track specific instances of crime in your neighborhood or surrounding neighborhoods.

In addition, assess your area’s police department. If you live in a marginal police protection area, take greater consideration when arming your home.

Out Of Sight, Out of Mind

Ward off burglars with the simple “out of sight, out of mind” rule. Keep obvious valuables out of plain sight and away from windows to prevent drawing attention to your home as a potential target.

The “out of sight, out of mind” rule extends to recent purchases as well. After purchasing a high-dollar item, dispose of the product packaging so that you are not advertising the recent purchase. Burglars will notice large boxes and expensive packaging in your trash, making them aware of the new TV or latest electronic gadget you just bought.

Find out about the security vulnerabilities of your home with this quick test.

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