A good way to protect your business or home from burglary and theft is to know what attracts and what deters burglars from certain premises. Do burglars choose their targets based on rational considerations? Do they consider the location? Or the security precautions that may or may not be in place? The factors that attract a burglar can be efficient in helping prevent them from seeing your residence or place of business as a potential target.

Tips on how to protect your business and home from crime

In 2006, Claire Nee and Amy Meenaghan 50 jailed burglars, all of whom had been a part of at least 20 burglaries throughout the previous three years; 25 had committed over 100. Over three quarters of them described searching inside houses as relatively routine, and 15 of them used terms such as ‘automatic’ and ‘instinctive’. There was also evidence of repetition in the way the burglars reported checking for wealth, whether the residence is occupied, access the house and security measures when selecting houses to target. “All in all, the processes involved in executing a burglary worth several hundred pounds in around 20 minutes strongly suggest the use of expertise in the burglar”, the researchers concluded. They added that awareness of this fact could help crime prevention. “There may be some situational crime prevention mileage in confounding burglar’s expectations by altering the usual internal layout of properties” they said. “Expert burglars appear to be highly habit driven and crime prevention specialists should capitalise on this”.

The National Institute of Justice, from the U.S. Department of Justice, commissioned several ethnographic studies in the early 1990’s in which burglars were interviewed, followed and then questioned about the process by which they searched out and chose their targets. According to this work, burglars seem to follow a particular decision process. Burglars choose to operate in familiar areas, where they minimize the risk of facing the unknown. They also make sure they have a safe escape route planned if it is needed. Burglars appear to be attracted to neighbourhoods located within a quarter of a mile of a major arterial route.

The second consideration of burglars is visibility. The actual illegal entry to a house takes on average 60 seconds and a secluded location not surprisingly increases the probability of burglary. It appears from the study that little will stop an intruder from gaining access once he locks in on a target. Conventional preventive measures such as dead bolts and window locks have little deterrence value. However, security precautions had a significant effect on the statistical probability of a burglary. Three of the four categories- deterrant measures, managerial measures and detection measures reduced the likelihood that a house would or would not be burglarised.

Burglars make a decision about which house to rob by cruising around a specific neighbourhood and selecting a target house from how it looks on the outside and where it is situated in the neighbourhood. Corner houses aren’t targeted as frequently as houses in the middle of the street as they are too visible. Townhouses often have sliding glass doors easily broken into and small enclosed back gardens, attractive characteristics for the burglar.

Keep your alarm system well maintained to minimize false alarms . Make sure everyone in the house is familiar with how the system operates to avoid false alarms. If your alarm goes off 10 times a week, people will stop taking notice. Police say that one of the only ways they ever catch a house burglar is from an active tip about a crime in operation. Joining or organising a ‘neighbourhood watch’ scheme may also be of use in prevention of home burglary.

Here at Netwatch we see and hear of many crimes from that could be prevented if some simple extra security precautions were taken.