Burglars are sneaky and opportunistic. Most thieves want to soundlessly break into a home and slip away without ever bumping into another person. Therefore, criminals case houses before they target them for burglary. Thieves will observe residences for weeks to figure out when is the best time to break in.
How can you tell if criminals are staking out your residence? There are a few warning signs that can tip you off to the presence of thieves near your home.
If you spot someone you don’t recognize strolling through the neighborhood and taking pictures, keep an eye on them. It’s unusual for someone out walking to take photos of houses, so this behavior is a red flag. Often, criminals will use these pictures to identify which homes have the least likelihood of neighbors hearing a break-in.
If you see a stranger out taking photos, snap a picture of them in return. It’s best if you do this in plain view of them to let them know you’re watching them. If the person is just a photographer, there’s no harm in taking a picture of them. If they’re a burglar, getting them on camera could dissuade them from returning to your home.
If you notice your porch lights or motion-sensor bulbs have stopped working, check to see if someone just unscrewed them. Thieves will unscrew lights before breaking into a home to make it harder for neighbors to see them.
Screw all of your lightbulbs back in and contact the authorities. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to possible break-ins.
If you start your car in the morning and see that your once-full tank of gas is now nearly empty, a thief may be waiting for you to leave for work. Burglars employ this technique to scare homeowners into rushing to the gas station before work, effectively buying themselves precious extra minutes to move undetected through your home while you’re not there.
Another signal that burglars could be scoping your home is the sudden disappearance of neighborhood dogs. If your or your neighbors’ dog has recently gone missing, there’s a chance that thieves intentionally let them out or stole them. Dogs are great at alerting the neighborhood to the presence of intruders, so burglars prefer to get them out of the way before breaking into a home.