A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Keven Moore: Here are some insightful tips to lessen your chances of being a home burglary victim

Many of us have a nightly ritual of checking and locking our doors and windows before we go to sleep out of fear that an intruder will sneak in to do us harm or steal our possessions.

The truth is 65 percent of home burglaries occur while we are away at work — and the most common time for a burglary to take place is between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

When a burglary occurs, it’s shocking since most of us tend to stereotype criminals as creatures of the dark. But when you put yourself in the shoes of a criminal it makes sense to target a home between for a daytime break-in because most homeowners are away, either working or running errands.

According to FBI statistics, burglaries occur in the U.S. four times every minute; that’s one every 15 seconds. The average loss to a burglary victim is $2,230 and only about 13 percent of all burglaries are ever cleared by police. The vast majority of victims never recover their stolen property.


The average burglary only lasts on average 8-12 minutes and nearly 85 percent of all burglaries occur in large metropolitan areas with nearly 45 percent occurring in the southern states. Nearly 50 percent of burglars live within two miles of the home they burglarize and are they are looking for items that are small and valuable that can easily be converted to cash for living expenses and drugs.

Favorite targeted items include cash, jewelry, guns, watches, laptops, tablets, DVR’s DVD’s, televisions and other electronic devices.

Statistics indicate that you are more prone to have a burglary in a multi-family home verses a single family home — making duplexes, fourplexes, apartment complexes, townhomes, condominiums buildings the favorite of choice for thieves.

Around 60 percent of burglars used forcible entry to gain access to a home, and what’s more surprising is about a third entered through an unlocked door, window or other opening.

Here are some tips to lessen chances of becoming victims:

— Use reputable help: If you get a glimpse of your burglar you just might find he looks familiar, because he probably delivered an appliance, cleaned your gutters, mowed your lawn, painted your home or cleaned your carpet.

— Inviting strangers into your house can be costly: Allowing a gardener, landscapers, repairmen, or subcontractor into your home provided an opportunity for them to unlatch a window or unlock a basement door. Never leave strangers alone and always double check doors and windows after they leave.

— Don’t advertise: Burglars do pay attention to the condition of your yard and telltale signs that you are on an extended trip. Remember to stop delivery of the mail and newspapers and have someone you know mow your lawn while you are away. In the winter unshoveled driveways and walkways make it easy for burglars to know you are not home.

— Use it or lose it: If you have a burglar alarm then use it, and when installing the panel don’t have the alarm company set the panel next to the front door where a potential intruder can look in the side panel window to see if it is armed.

— Don’t enable the burglar: Leaving a ladder on the side of the house or in the back yard is like leaving a set of house keys hanging from your front door. Many burglars know that most people will forget to lock second story windows and they also know they usually don’t have contact alarms on them.

— Avoid the ford Pinto: If you are going to pay to install an alarm system, spend the money to add additional motion detectors on every floor and have them place alarm contacts on all the ground floor windows and doors. If that is too costly then at least add a couple of extra motion detectors.

— Most burglars knock: Burglars don’t want to walk in on an armed homeowner, so they will always see if you are home. If you are home they will then ask for directions or carry a clipboard and offer to provide a service like cleaning your gutters. But they will move on down the street once they have establish that you are home.

One way to address this while you are away is to install a wifi video doorbell which will send a signal to your phone when the doorbell is activated. That will allow you to talk to the would-be thief as if you are home.

— Hide & seek rules: If you are going to hide valuables, remember that thieves very rarely check the kids’ rooms and instead will head straight to the master bedroom. And will always find your secret hiding places. Think about purchasing a safe and remember to bolt it down. Or use a hidden compartment like a false air conditioning vent in the wall. You can find these online.

— Fake them out: When you are away from home for extended periods, use timers to turn on and off lights throughout your home to give the appearance as if you are home. If you live in an apartment complex, you may want to consider leaving your TV on with the volume turned up so that it can be heard from outside your front door.

— Burglar’s pet peeves: Dogs and nosey neighbors are a burglar’s worst nightmare. Many of us hate nosey neighbors, but remember: they are usually the ones to notice that something is out of place and call the police.

— Make it difficult: Close your windows and shades so a burglar can’t see in and spot your valuables. Many thieves will drive or walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds, to pick their targets.

— Deterrence pays off: Security cameras (and even fake cameras) are the best deterrent. Also keep your bushes trimmed and install outdoor security lights that either stay on all night or are activated by motion detectors. Thieves don’t want to be seen and will move on to their next target.

— Pull it out of the garage: If you’re going to be out of town, park the extra vehicle in the driveway to give the appearance that you’re home. If you are driving your only vehicle, then consider asking a neighbor to park a car in your driveway.

— Invest in a good lock: Burglars don’t like to spend too much time breaking into a home (usually less than a minute). So install a deadbolt and insert longer screws into the door jam to make it that much harder to kick in.

Even a simple door wedge could be just enough to frustrate the burglar and convince him that breaking into your house isn’t worth the effort.

— Visual deterrents: Leaving a pair of size 16 work boots by the front door, a dog bowl or a “beware of the dog” sign on your fence works wonders.

Be Safe My Friend.


Keven Moore works in risk management services. He has a bachelor’s degree from University of Kentucky, a master’s from Eastern Kentucky University and 25-plus years of experience in the safety and insurance profession. He lives in Lexington with his family and works out of both the Lexington and Northern Kentucky offices. Keven can be reached at kmoore@roeding.com.

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