If you’ve heard it once, you have heard it a thousand times: make your home look occupied when you go away on vacation. That is good advice. Yet it doesn’t apply just to going away on vacation. It is a good idea to make your home look occupied even when you’re off at work and the kids are in school. Why? Because burglars have a nasty habit of targeting empty homes.
According to Vivint, one in every 50 American homes was burglarized in 2017. Most burglars are younger males under the age of 25 motivated by drug use and other factors. Some burglars are professionals while others are amateurs just looking for an easy score.
Regardless of the statistics, almost all burglars have one thing in common: they are not looking to get caught. In fact, they do everything they can to avoid getting caught. So they choose houses they are reasonably confident of being empty. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule. But by and large, burglars target homes that are unoccupied.
While You Are at Work
Most of us are aware that being away on vacation increases the risk of burglary. But how many of us think about the daily opportunities we give burglars? Unless you have been victimized yourself, you probably leave for work every day and think nothing of it. Your lack of concern is just what burglars are counting on.
Despite those odd, weird stories of burglars doing dumb things and getting caught, your average burglar at least takes the time to choose his targets. He might drive around local neighborhoods looking for one that is relatively quiet during the day. Then he might just sit and observe what goes on. He is looking for target homes at which he can positively confirm that all the adults work during the day while the kids are in school.
Ring the Bell
It is also fairly common for burglars to go ring the front doorbell before attempting to enter. This is a means of insurance, so to speak. They want to make absolutely sure that no one is home. This is where a video doorbell becomes invaluable.
A video doorbell is a device you can monitor from anywhere using your smartphone. You can communicate to whoever is standing at your front door through your phone as well. As such, a burglar has no way of knowing whether or not you home. If you answer the doorbell, there is always a chance you are standing right behind the door.
The point here is that you should do whatever you can to not make it obvious that no one is home. If that means employing smart home technology to turn lights on and off, adjust window blinds, and monitor the front door with a video doorbell, so be it.
While You’re on Vacation
Making your home look occupied while you’re on vacation is a bit more challenging. Smart home technology is helpful here as well. A home that can automatically adjust lighting and windows is a good start. Not only can you program lighting and windows to change at various times, you can also use your smartphone to remotely access the programming as well. Automation allows you to work things so as to give the impression that people are actually moving around the house.
Beyond smart home technology are more basic things like moving cars, stopping the mail, watering the plants, etc. It helps to have willing neighbors or family friends for these sorts of things.
For example, let us assume you leave your car at home while you fly to your vacation destination. Have someone come over and move the cars around every day. This is a good way to throw off burglars. You can ask that person to water your plants and put out the garbage as well. These are all activities that make it look like a home is occupied.
A home that looks occupied is a home that also looks threatening to criminals. Burglars avoid those kinds of homes out of fear of getting caught. At the end of the day, making your home look occupied is your best defense against burglary.