Quarantine or not, many cities are seeing an uptick in burglaries. Since the onset of COVID-19, news headlines have continued to report that criminals are targeting both residential areas and businesses.
- Boulder seeing a ‘significant increase’ in burglaries amid COVID-19 outbreak
- Spike in burglaries, assaults and domestic violence seen in Houston-area during coronavirus pandemic
- Seattle burglary explodes 87% downtown after coronavirus policy, crisis
- City reports rise in Spokane burglaries during social distancing
Criminals are using new techniques to case homes they intend to target. Mounting evidence shows that these new techniques lurking intruders are using have become worrisome for many homeowners because they are more vulnerable to burglary even in a broad daylight because of their location.
6 Signs To Know When Your House Is On a Criminal’s Radar
Just because a majority of people are at home during a lockdown does not mean that criminals will stop burglarizing homes. With all of the home repairs and landscaping plans people are doing, criminals may be looking around for homeowners who leave their expensive tools out for an easy grab. Or, they are looking for homeowners who leave entry points like garage doors open.
Would-be perpetrators may be using tricks to test out homeowners and it is important for you to stay vigilant to the tactics they will use. So, how can you tell if someone is casing your house?
1.Unfamiliar Vehicles: Take notice of the cars your neighbors drive. New cars or vehicles on the street or neighborhood could indicate a new purchase by someone, but if you know that’s not the case, this can be a sign that something isn’t right. Watch the unfamiliar car, especially if the vehicle sticks around over an extended period of time and repeatedly shows up on an irregular basis. If this vehicle is within eyesight of your home, take a picture of the car, write down the characteristics of it, and make sure you indicate the irregularity of it being there.
2. Strangers Walking Around the Street or Neighborhood: Take note of all strangers pretending jogging in the street or walking down the block back. If they are going back and forth in a similar area, this should set off a red flag. An unfamiliar person that shows up more than once in a neighborhood could be a new neighbor who lives a block away, or they could be casing your house. Engage in friendly conversation and ask if the person just moved in and where. If they are a new friendly face, they will likely kindly engage in the conversation, you can welcome them to the neighborhood and move on. If not, you will likely get disjointed and odd responses. Strangers who take pictures and then walk away should also be taken notice of. Write down the description of the person and what they are taking a picture of, and the areas they are walking back and forth near.
3. Door-to-door Scams: A lot of criminals have taken to pretending to be door-to-door salespeople so they can get an idea of when you will be answering the door. Some burglars would do surveillance around the neighborhood by pretending to be a salesman of a utility company, handyman offering free roof repairs or free carpet cleaning, anonymous survey or asking for money and donation for care packages to soldiers, etc. Coming to your door alerts a criminal to the potential of having a dog that could deter them and help them get an understanding of your weekday schedule. A way to deter the criminals is to ask for a company badge or identification of the business they are claiming they work for.
4. Flyer or Ads: Burglars will often scout potential targets for theft by sending out commercial flyers or sticking ads around the streets, with which they determine whether the houses are guarded or not. They are often looking for things such as security cameras, or maybe even dogs that make a ruckus when they come near.
5.Toilet Excuse and Other Requests for Help: Some criminals will come to the door and ask to use the bathroom. If you let them in, they will get the lay of the house and look around for ways to quickly deprive you of your personal possessions. A way to handle this is to direct them to the nearby public toilet or make up an excuse. You could say that your water system is malfunctioning or your restroom is temporally occupied. Sometimes they will use other excuses like they need a glass of water or are looking for a dog. Often, if they have nefarious intentions, they will stop by during the hours that no one is likely to be home (mid-morning to mid-afternoon.)
6.Strange Markings: A ring of professional burglars marks potential targets while canvassing your neighborhood by using seeming random signs, in which they tell their members whether or not the houses are easy targets. If you see strange markings or signs anywhere that seem out of place, you may be a target.
Take Action With These Steps
Trust your gut instincts. If you are getting a bad feeling, it may be time to start paying extra attention to things that are happening around your home. Moreover, talk with other neighbors about irregular activity that may be going on. Using security layers to protect your home will also improve your situational awareness yet, as well as be a good exercise to prepare. Some of these tips for protecting your home may help.
- Thieves are looking for easy access, so always secure entry lock your doors and windows, even when you are at home.
- Close and lock garage doors, even when you are home.
- Reinforce doors and windows with barricades or security bars.
- Use motion-sensing lights.
- Ensure your security system is on and working properly. If you don’t have one, simply placing alarms signs around your home can deter a burglar.
- Don’t hide spare keys.
- Don’t showcase your home on social media. For that matter, if you are leaving your home, do not post this information.
- Keep your valuables out of sight. Outside, keep things like tools and bikes locked in a garage.
- Clear landscaping in front of your home that could provide a burglar with somewhere to hide.
Here are 5 more ways to prevent a burglary if you are away from your home.
Many are concerned that because of the pandemic, an economic downturn could cause further criminal activity. Now is the time to reinforce your home with protective measures.
If you have additional signs that Ready Nutrition readers can learn from, share them in the comment section! We can all work together to stop criminals in their tracks!