How to Protect Your Home from Break-Ins and Stop Burglars
about the risk of burglary in the U.S. and how to prevent home break-ins
Some people who have never experienced a break-in believe that the likelihood of their home being burglarized is very low, while others think there’s not a lot they can do to stop it from happening. The truth is that burglary is somewhat common and there are powerful steps that can mitigate the risk.
Read on for valuable information on how to prevent home break-ins—and how to stop burglars from targeting your home in the first place:
a big problem in the United States
This fall in Washington’s Kitsap County, a man broke into a home and stole two handguns, a rifle, and several personal documents. The home was the third residence he’d targeted that day. And fortunately for the owners of the first two homes, the presence of surveillance cameras sent him packing before he managed to force his way in.
According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, a burglary takes place in the United States every 18 seconds. In fact, FBI reports indicate that there were over a million burglaries in 2018, with victims suffering total losses estimated at $3.4 billion. The average loss per burglary incident is almost $3,000. And Pew Research asserts that half of homeowners don’t bother to report the crimes, making the estimated number of burglaries and total property loss much greater than reports indicate.
Losing your sense of security, money, and property is not the only reason to learn how to prevent break-ins. Your safety is also at risk.
Although most burglars prefer to do their dirty work when homes are unoccupied, someone is home during almost 30% of household burglaries. Sadly, at least one member of the household becomes a victim of personal violence in just under 10% of burglaries. And once you’ve experienced a break-in, the chances that the thief will be brought to justice are extremely low. According to the FBI, less than 14% of burglary cases are ever cleared.
the habits of a typical criminal can stop burglars from targeting your home
Over two-thirds of burglars report that they target homes impulsively, not gathering information about the home or its owners before approaching the home to attempt a break-in. However, some thieves will research the homes they target ahead of time—trying to learn the habits of the residents, dressing as workers with business in the area to case properties, or mining social media posts for data about which targets may be most lucrative, or the best times to enter.
Although we tend to think of thieves sneaking around at night wearing black ski masks and holding flashlights, most burglaries occur in the daytime, when homes are far more likely to be empty and the intruder’s presence in the area is much less likely to cause comment. In fact, recent FBI data suggests that less than one-third of residential burglaries occur at night.
Burglars typically target easy entry points where they’re least likely to be noticed breaking in. This means doors and windows; often the front door, though easy-to-access doors located on the rear or sides of homes are also targets.
Statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice indicate that in 50 to 75% percent of cases, burglars enter through a door. Around 50% of residential break-ins involve some damage to a window. And many burglars are even able to enter homes through unlocked doors or windows, leading police departments across the country to remind homeowners to lock their doors, whether they’re home or not.
Members of UNC Charlotte’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology surveyed hundreds of incarcerated burglars to determine, among other things, the factors that deterred them from breaking into certain homes. Things that were likely to cause them to seek another target included people nearby or within the home, a lack of escape routes, dogs in the home, and, for about 60% of burglars, the presence of a security alarm.
protect your home from break-ins with a comprehensive security system
Not only would approximately two-thirds of burglars avoid breaking into a home if there were signs that an alarm system was installed, but another survey by KTVB News also found that the majority of intruders would leave the property immediately if a security alarm went off. Clearly, an audible alarm is a very important feature in a home security system.
But what causes an alarm to start sounding? What happens after it goes off? And what role do security cameras and other home security system components play in stopping burglars in their tracks?
Advertising the fact that your home is protected by a security system is a great place to start. Yard signs and stickers indicate that your residence isn’t an easy target. Visible security cameras do the same and also let thieves know that they will be caught on tape.
Modern advances in home security allow you to monitor what’s happening outside your home from inside, and to monitor what’s happening on your home’s interior and exterior from almost anywhere in the world. You can install sensors to sound an alarm when motion is detected in certain areas, when doors are forced open, or when a window is shattered.
The best security systems not only deter burglars and keep you informed of what's happening; they also call the police quickly in the case of a break-in. Protection like this can only be found in alarm systems that are connected to a professional home security monitoring service.
Let’s look at how each piece of a comprehensive home security system plays its part in protecting you and your property from thieves:
sensors alert you to break-ins in progress and cause alarms to sound
As mentioned, doors and windows are the most common entry points for burglars—and door and window sensors can be installed on each point of entry within a home. They sense when anything is opened and can create an audible alert, send a mobile alert, and trigger an alarm if the home’s security system is armed.
If the homeowner is utilizing a professional monitoring service, the monitoring company will attempt to contact the homeowner once the sensor is triggered. If they’re unable to reach the homeowner after two tries, a security code is not provided when someone is reached, or the homeowner indicates that a break-in is in progress, the monitoring company will send the police immediately.
Door and window sensors can be augmented by glass break sensors. These ingenious devices use technology that recognizes the sound of broken glass and will automatically alert you and a professional monitoring service if they’re triggered. Frontpoint’s wireless Glass Break Sensors can detect the sound of a window shattering from up to 20 feet away.
Motion sensors add another layer of protection for your home’s interior, sensing the infrared energy emitted by people in motion. For armed security systems with professional monitoring, movement caught by the sensors will trigger an alarm within the house and alert your monitoring service. Each of Frontpoint’s wireless Motion Sensors can detect movement within a 44-foot area and a 90-degree field of view. Their typical battery life is six to eight years.
security cameras deter burglars, let you monitor your home from a distance, and
provide valuable evidence in case of a break-in
According to the UNC Charlotte Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology study referenced earlier, 60% of burglars scan for security cameras before entering a house and 40% will pick a different target if they spot them.
Cameras should be placed high enough off the ground so they’re difficult for thieves to reach and cover ground floor points of entry as well as side gates, driveways, and street views. Modern security cameras not only provide live and recorded video, but they also include built-in motion sensors. These can trigger mobile alerts to homeowners when movement is detected in the camera’s vicinity.
Most experts agree that front porch or doorbell cameras are a vital component of a comprehensive home security system. Research backs this up, with 100 percent of the burglars surveyed in the KTVB News study admitting that they always knock on a home’s front door before attempting to break in.
While intrusion sensors alert you to the fact that something is happening within your home and sound an alarm, security cameras can show you exactly what that something is. Recorded video from security cameras can also be used by police to identify burglars, leading to their arrest and conviction.
Frontpoint’s wireless security cameras provide live video, record video clips, and send mobile alerts if motion is detected (or other parameters set by the homeowner are met). They also automatically start recording once an alarm is triggered. Indoor and doorbell cameras even provide two-way audio capabilities enabling homeowners to communicate with people within the camera’s audio range. This feature allows users to safely confront burglars remotely, warning them that they are on camera and that the police are on their way.
Frontpoint offers best-in-class wireless Outdoor Cameras, Indoor Cameras, Premium Indoor Cameras, and Doorbell Cameras. Advanced features on various models include industry-leading detection range, infrared vision night mode, digital pan and tilt capability, a wide-angle lens, high resolution, enhanced zoom capabilities, and encrypted video storage.
smart ways to prevent home break-ins
The best home security system only truly offers protection if it’s armed, has power, and can call out to users and a monitoring service. Today's cutting-edge systems are battery-powered (or include backup batteries with standard power) and use cellular technology. This enables the system’s hub to send signals even if the power or internet goes out, or if burglars purposefully cut your phone or power lines.
When it comes to remembering to arm your security system, Frontpoint’s mobile app allows users to see if the system is armed or unarmed, arm or disarm the system remotely, and set up reminder notifications to arm the system. You can set notifications to occur if the system hasn’t been armed by a certain time, or if your phone goes a certain distance from the home while the system remains unarmed.
Just as important as remembering to arm your security system is remembering to lock your doors and windows. Smart door locks not only let you lock and unlock your doors using a keypad rather than a key, but they also allow you to do it remotely. Users of Frontpoint’s Smart Door Lock can even set their doors to lock automatically when they arm their security systems.
Also, remember that burglars are much less likely to break into a home if they believe someone is inside. Smart Light Bulbs and Wireless Light Control devices can turn lights, radios, and other small appliances on remotely, on a set schedule, or when certain types of security system events occur. Turning lights or radios on when you're away from home or setting them to turn on if a door, window, or motion sensor is tripped is very likely to send thieves packing immediately.
home break-ins is possible with commonsense security steps and a smart home
It would be wonderful if there were no need to worry about how to protect our homes and ourselves from burglars. Unfortunately, statistics show that isn’t the case. And understanding how burglars typically operate gives us a much greater ability to prevent home break-ins.
A comprehensive smart home security system tied to a 24/7 professional monitoring service provides a strong criminal deterrent and prompt police action, if necessary.
Frontpoint offers customizable security packages ranging from the 7-piece Safe Home Starter set to the 14-piece Safe Home Preferred system. Individual components can be added to any system as needed. Users have a range of professional monitoring plan choices as well. Frontpoint’s Ultimate Plan provides the most comprehensive protection with live video streaming, video storage, motion-triggered alerts, and home automation controls.
Frontpoint keeps homes safe whether families are there or not. We've been revolutionizing the home security industry for over a decade. And we're just getting started. To shop DIY home security systems, check out our Security Packages. If you have questions or would like to discuss a quote, contact us at 1-877-602-5276.