Did you know that many burglaries begin days or even weeks before the actual break in? Criminals aren’t as foolish as you may think and many of them are crime veterans who know the tricks of the robbery trade.

They often won’t break into a home without first watching it for a while. A burglar will pick the home in a neighbourhood that is the most secluded. Maybe it is backed up to a body of water or a wooded area. Maybe it is confined to the end of the street or on a dead end street. Some even pose as garden workers or other servicemen to get an in-depth look without attracting suspicion.

They will also look for some sign of wealth or an indication that the risk would be worth the reward. There are several factors outside of your home that may cause or deter a burglar from an invasion. With that in mind, your first line of defence is not in your home but rather, outside. Here are several tips that make the outside of your home unattractive to a burglar.

Place Bushes Under Windows

Windows are often a popular point of entry for a burglar because they are sometimes less secure and more secluded than a door. One way to keep someone from using your window sill as a welcome mat is to plant bushes under your windows, especially ones with thistles or thorns. Seeing this may be enough to cause a burglar to move onto a new target.

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Photo courtesy StockVault.com

Keep a Trim Lawn

Most burglars would rather get in and get out of a home without any interaction with you or your neighbours, so they will look for some sign that you are away from you home before they enter. They often break in during work hours but generally look for signs that you are away on an extended trip.

One clear indicator that you have not been home for a while is a long, unkempt lawn. Grass looks unkempt within a week of neglect—maybe two depending on the type. If you have long grass in the garden everyone knows you either ignored your garden work or you’ve been away. This applies to shrubbery as well. Those clever little bushes you planted under the windows are great foliage features except if they become a source of cover for someone lurking about.

If you plan on going away, hire a landscaper to trim the garden while you’re gone. A well-kept lawn looks good to you and your neighbours but troublesome to a criminal.

Take in Papers

Another sign criminals look for is piled up mail. If you have a full letterbox or newspapers on the front stoop a burglar will know you are away. In fact, all he has to do is check to see if the papers are weekly or daily and he’ll know exactly how long you’ve been gone. Before you leave, make arrangements to have your mail collected by a friend or a neighbour.

Spoil Fresh Snowfall

Taking in the newspaper is a fairly understood precaution, but did you know that a burglar will also look for tracks in the snow? If there is fresh snowfall while you are on a trip, a burglar will see those unspoiled snow banks as a sign that your house has not had much traffic. No footprints or tire tracks may be an indication that no one is home. You may feel a bit silly asking your neighbour to stomp around in your garden when it snows but it can stop your house from being targeted.

Take Toys Inside

If your kids leave expensive toys or bicycles out in the driveway, this may indicate wealth to a burglar. If they see expensive toys in the garden they may want to look inside for expensive electronics like video game consoles or mp3 players.

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Keep a Quality Outdoor Shed

If you have limited indoor space to keep toys, equipment and bicycles you may need some extra storage. However, if you have an insecure shed with costly things inside, burglars might not even have to enter your home to get their money’s worth.

There are sturdy outdoor storage options like the Asgard Addition Steel Secure Garden and Bike Store that can be too much trouble for a thief to bother with. It may even indicate that you are serious about securing your valuables and motivate a thief to move on.

Install Outdoor Cameras and Mirrors

Cameras aren’t just for catching criminals after the crime has been committed, they can also be a serious warning sign. If a burglar sees security cameras in your driveway they’ll most likely move on right away. Plus, if someone were to commit a nearby crime you’d have evidence to identify them.

Mirrors are also helpful. Convex mirrors are often used in driveways to help with tricky parking situations but they also increase the visibility in the area for you and your neighbours.

Display Security Protection

If you have a security system in your home (or even if you don’t) display your security service on the outside of your house. Security systems are great but they only work after a criminal has broken in. If it is clearly displayed outside it may stop a criminal from entering in the first place.