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With last year’s crime stats showing that break-ins at residential properties is the third most common crime in the country (at over a quarter of a million cases in 2016 according to a Business Tech report) do you know how likely it is that your home will be broken into? The architecture of your house can trigger burglary, and you probably aren’t even aware of it.

A building with a guard can be broken into just as easily as a residential house with an open window; it’s just a matter of working around the design. A very interesting book – A Burglar’s Guide to the City written by blogger Geoff Manaugh suggests that “our living and working spaces, no matter how seemingly secure, are proving grounds for small-time crooks and sophisticated criminals alike; a smart thief will improve his routine based on the way a specific structure is designed”.

Knowing how burglars and robbers operate is important to protect both your family and your home. Professor Rudolph Zinn, author of Home Invasion: Robbers Disclose What You Should Know, interviewed burglars and robbers who were convicted to find out what they looked at when planning to break into a house, and what then stopped them from intruding.

The following were some of his findings:

  • “Most burglaries take place during the day when people are at work. They will usually pick a neighbourhood and go from house to house, ringing doorbells or intercoms to see if anyone is home.”
  • “Sliding doors are an easy way for burglars to get into the house. All they have to do is lift it up off its rails and they are inside the house.”
  • “They want to get in and out as quickly as possible so any noise, like dogs on the property, would act as a deterrent.”

Professor Rudolph Zinn added that through his interviews he found that robbers are violent and that they are willing to use lethal force to break into a house. He said robbers go for money and jewellery, items that do not have serial numbers and cannot be traced back to the crime scene.

What precautions can homeowners take to protect their homes?

There are precautions you can take to secure your home from burglars. Here are a few more tips on things homeowners can do to safeguard their homes that were taken from an interview with an American burglar.

  • Make it challenging for someone to conceal themselves while breaking in. Avoid tall or thick plants around your windows and doors. Avoid privacy fences.
  • Avoid displaying items which show you have a lot of money in plain sight. If you have an expensive car, keep it parked in the garage. If you have items that might attract thieves in your house, keep your blinds closed.
  • Burglars study a neighbourhood before they rob it. They know when you leave the house for work and they know when your neighbours leave for work. If you have neighbours that are home during the day, it will make your house a riskier break-in.
  • “If you have a security system, don’t put one of those ‘Protected by ADT’ stickers on your door. Knowing which brand of security system it is can provide enough info on how to disable it. Get a generic sticker.”
  • Having a dog can also keep burglars away.

Your house is an important asset, therefore getting Household Insurance should be just as important. Make sure your insurance policy covers the contents of your house against burglary, as some insurance companies may not by default.