Most burglars aren't looking for trouble. The typical burglar avoids confrontation, has scant interest in an arrest and fears physical harm. Homeowners can use these concerns to their advantage, using lighting, alarms and dogs to discourage thieves from breaking in.
After dark, the best first defense for single-family homes is lighting, and lots of it. While interior lighting implies people are home, blazing exterior lights discourage a closer look. Undeterred daredevils may dash toward sides or back doors obscured from view. Those hidden areas, characteristic of houses at ends of cul-de-sacs, are best secured with bright lights and extra security measures on doors and windows. Motion-sensor lights save energy costs and deliver effective, flee-inspiring startles to jumpy criminals.
Next, imply a threat. Lawns and window signs advertising alarm systems deter many break-in attempts. Should burglars ignore warnings, the resulting sirens will prompt quick and possibly empty-handed exits.
The third line of defense (and one of the best) is the barking dog. Dogs chained outside in a fenced yards offer little threat. Burglars' encounters with unanticipated indoor canines, however, add factors out of burglars' control. No time or energy for pets? Many homeowners swear by their fake four-legged friends. Imagine a motion sensor triggering a bright light accompanied by the loud barking of up to five angry dogs.
Ever wonder how burglars actually enter homes? Next, we look at the number-one point of entry.