Sometimes, criminals will monitor a homeowner’s daily routine before deciding to burglarize a house. Often referred to as casing or staking a home out, burglars study the daily habits of a home’s occupants in order to determine the best time to strike. Upon learning about criminals who operate in this fashion, homeowners often begin to think about their own patterns regarding the times in which they leave for work and the times that they return. While burglars do study departure and return times, there is a lot more to consider when assessing your daily routines.
Even with working home security systems in place, some homeowners neglect to arm their alarms on a consistent basis. This even includes times when at home performing household chores or simply outside chatting with a neighbor. Believe it or not, criminals often only need between two and ten minutes in order to enter a home and steal its valuables. Establishing a routine of regularly neglecting to lock doors and windows, or forgetting to arm a home security system for even a few minutes can be an open invitation for a burglar who has been lying in wait to rip you off.
Who’s Watching You?
Often, people only think of burglars as strangers who easily stand out in a crowd of familiar faces, but such is not always the case. Burglars live in all sorts of neighborhoods and are often the people you would suspect the least. Yes, your neighbor, your neighbor’s teenager, your gardener and even a regular deliver person can moonlight as a thief. With this in mind, be aware that someone very close to you may be watching your every move at any given time. Regardless of whether a burglar is familiar to you or not, note that slight changes in your habits and daily routines can make your home a more difficult target.
Change Your Daily Routines
By very carefully altering your daily routines, you can frustrate and confuse a burglar who considers your home a target. Therefore, if you have a job with a flexible schedule, practice leaving home and returning at different times of the day. Also, if you live close to your job or work in the field, stop by your house every now and then when you have a break in your schedule.
Make it a point to also pay close attention to the things that you do when you are at home. For instance, if you have a habit of turning your sprinklers on as soon as you get home, consider placing them on a timer to water your lawn at earlier times, instead. Or, if you always park your car in front of your house, consider parking it in the garage a few days per week just to throw anyone who is watching off. Things like randomly changing the times that you walk the family dog or deciding that at least one family member stays behind when Fido needs a break are also good suggestions for altering daily routines.
Though they occur less often than weekday routines, regular weekend activities should also be altered. Whenever possible, the times of standing social, faith-based and recreational activities should be randomly changed so that a homeowner does not have a reliable weekend schedule. Homeowners who regularly take weekend trips are also advised to use caution when scheduling such getaways.
A break in a daily routine can also alert a criminal to a possible break-in opportunity. Most homeowners already know to make arrangements for mail to be held at the post office or for a friend to retrieve mail while homeowners are on vacation, but burglars seeking to confirm that a homeowner is not at home may use crafty means of doing so such as deliberately sliding a business card inside of a door just to see if anyone opens the door and removes it. When leaving home for more than a day, designate someone to visit your house daily in order to assure that certain telltale routines are kept.
Beware of Internet Savvy Thieves
Social media sites and applications are an easy way for a thief to monitor your whereabouts. Individuals who interact with others online and via handheld devices frequently post about their daily activities, such as a weekly stop at a favorite happy hour location or a daily early morning run. People who routinely use applications allowing them to check-in during a visit to local business should also be aware that the habit of doing so is a great way for a burglar to track your whereabouts. To avoid this type of scrutiny, do not post your whereabouts while away from home (and never share your upcoming plans to be away). Make it a habit to only post about your activities and any accompanying photographs after you have returned home. And, by all means, resist using check-in applications to advertise where you are at any given time.
Helpful Daily Routines
There are some daily routines that burglars absolutely despise. For instance, homeowners who keep their home security system armed at all times, even when they are at home, make it very difficult for thieves to pinpoint a good time to enter a residence. Also, automated outdoor lighting that is set to come on at dusk and go off at dawn establishes a security routine that thieves prefer not to second-guess. Ditto with automated indoor lighting.
Think about all of your daily routines and begin to consider ways in which you can alter them to a thief’s disadvantage. Remember that your primary objective is to appear unpredictable so that a burglar cannot calculate a plan to enter your home based on your existing schedule.