Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
For the last two years, crime has been on the rise. This isn’t true for the whole country, but it is for some parts, specifically big cities. That trend is significant because before COVID and the BLM movement, the overall crime rate had been trending downward across the nation. One of the major upticks in the statistics have been the looting that was part of the last couple of years’ riots.
But it doesn’t take riots to motivate looters. There are those who will use any opportunity they can find to steal, especially during natural disasters. I still remember seeing video of looters stealing big screen televisions during Hurricane Katrina, carrying their treasures through the floodwaters.
Protecting our homes from looters is something we all need to do, whether we are preppers or not. According to FBI statistics, one in every 36 homes in the US can be expected to be burglarized in a given year.
That may not sound like much, but when you add the percentages up over the years, it turns out that your home will be burglarized at least once in 36 years. That makes it look a whole lot more like something we should be concerned about.
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There’s plenty of advice out there about ways to keep looters out of your home. But guess what? The criminals read the same articles and watch the same videos. So they know the advice that you and everyone else have been getting.
So when they hear a dog bark or see a fake burglar alarm sign, they’re not going to fall for it. So, while I won’t say to not do these things, I wouldn’t rely on them alone:
- Dogs or Recordings of Dogs – 34% of criminals say that isn’t a deterrent.
- Neighborhood Watch – Only 22% of criminals even look for a Neighborhood Watch sign.
- Motion-detection Lights – Almost 2/3 of burglaries happen during daylight hours.
- Cameras – Cameras are easy to defeat; all one needs is to wear a hood or cover one’s face to be unrecognizable. Hmm, masks anyone?
Nevertheless, there are some of those things which work and which we should use. Better yet, we should seek out those things that are uncommon means of making our homes less attractive to looters, keeping them away without giving up the secret that we’re trying to keep them away.
Keeping Doors and Windows Locked
Okay, this is an obvious one and one that we’ve all heard. But that doesn’t mean we’re all doing it. The first thing those looters are looking for is open doors and windows. They don’t want to break anything getting in, because that makes noise. So just having everything locked up tight can often be enough of a deterrent that they’ll go try the neighbor’s house instead.
Noise Inside the Home
Most criminals don’t want to break into a house with people in it; they’re looking for that empty home where they can get in, get what they want and get out before anyone knows they’re there. If they hear a television or radio on, it’s going to suggest that someone is home; so it’s not a good day to break in.
If you’re going to be away for a few days, put that noisemaker on a timer so that it simulates you being home. Anyone coming by your home at two in the morning that hears the TV on is just going to assume that you leave it on all the time.
Work From Home
Probably the best possible deterrent for criminals is to make sure someone is at home. Home invasions where criminals enter for the purpose of attacking the family living there are much less common than burglaries and likely to be perpetuated by people who know the homeowner and have some reason to want to attack them. Working from home is a huge deterrent to the rest, who usually break into homes the hours that everyone is at work.
After two years of pandemic, people are tired of it. But that doesn’t mean they’re interested in getting sick either. If a criminal sees a quarantine sign and thinks there’s something highly contagious in the home, they’ll probably pass it by, looking for a safer target. Just don’t use COVID as the reason for your quarantine, pick something that’s rare and dangerous; hopefully something they don’t know much about.
Sonic weapons are primarily being developed to keep pirates from attacking ships; but there are smaller ones available too. They work by producing tones that cause people to feel nauseous. While not a perfect solution, it can be a great part of a more comprehensive strategy.
Become Friends with the Nosy Neighbor
The last thing that any criminal wants is to be noticed. That’s why we should all give thanks for our nosy neighbors. Maybe you don’t want them peering in on our own life, but that same nosiness is going to notice if something fishy is going on at your home. Give them your number, so they can call you and ask if everything is okay.
Store Valuables in Unusual Locations
Even if that burglar has never been in your home, they probably know where you have your jewelry, guns, expensive electronics and safe (if you have one). Most of the time, these items will be found in the master bedroom, with a pistol in the nightstand and long guns on the top shelf of the closet. Jewelry will be in the jewelry box, on top of the wife’s dresser.
All you’ve got to do, to mess up their system, is to hide things elsewhere. Pick a location that the thieves won’t expect, like behind the toe kick in the kids bathroom and build yourself a secret compartment for your wife’s good jewelry or put a safe in the floor under the clothes dryer. If it’s really valuable, keep it in a safety deposit box at the bank.
This one goes hand-in-hand with the previous idea; that’s to have some decoys around for the thieves to find. If you’ve got a safe sitting on the floor of your office, they’ll probably ignore everything else and just grab the safe, assuming it has valuables in it. The same can be done with a jewelry box, keeping costume jewelry in it, while the good stuff is hidden away.
Decoys can be good outdoors as well. Use superglue to attach a fake key, that doesn’t open anything in or around your home, underneath the door mat. When they try to grab that key and can’t, it’ll most likely freak them out and cause them to run. The same idea can be done with a fake package.
Avoid the Common Hiding Places
There are a whole bunch of common hiding places, from under the mattress to in your wife’s underwear drawer where people hide things. Whatever you do, don’t use them. Anyone breaking into your home is going to know the whole list. Put your imagination to work, coming up with something unusual.
Keep Your Plans Secret
One of the biggest mistakes people make nowadays is putting their vacation plans and pictures on social media. If you want to share your vacation pics with friends and family, put them in a folder online and share the URL with just those people you can trust. If you want to put them on social media, wait till you get home.
Shutting off your mail is an old secret, but one which a lot of people don’t bother with. But that full mailbox and the newspapers scattered across your front yard area are a sure sign that you’re away from home. If you’re not going to shut your mail service off, then install a large, locking mailbox with a slot for the mail carrier to put things in. That way, they won’t be able to see if anything is inside.
Lights on Timers
Another old but good trick is to put some of your home’s lights on timers. But to make that work, you’ve got to set the timers in such a way that they do a good job of mimicking your normal actions in the evening when you come home.
You’ll want the lights to turn on and off, just as if you were moving from room to room, eating dinner, watching a little television and going to bed.
Trim Trees & Bushes
Another old but good thing to do is trim trees and bushes around your home, especially those which are close to windows. Downstairs, those trees and bushes can hide burglars who are trying to find an open window. Upstairs a tree can give access to a window that one of the kids left open.
Some Final Thoughts
Whatever you do, don’t be predictable. Remember, you’re battling a foe who knows much more about what he’s doing than you do. In order to defeat them, you’ve got to think outside the box, using techniques that you can’t find just anywhere. Their nerves will be on edge anyway, so anything you can do to make them more nervous will probably put them over the edge, causing them to look elsewhere for their drug money that night.
Don’t count on defeating them with a gun either. Burglars normally aren’t armed or if they are, it is with nothing more than a folding knife. That means that in any confrontation, you’ll probably have them outgunned. That’s good if they attack you; but bad when you have to defend your actions in court. Better to keep them out of your home than to have to put up with that hassle.
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