The Most Common Ways Homes Are Burglarized

In Virginia, home security is a vital concern for homeowners. Even in smaller neighborhoods, there is the risk of a burglar attempting to break into a home. While the type of neighborhood may influence break-ins, a lot of thieves analyze individual homes instead of looking at a specific community. Fortunately, there are many different steps that Virginia homeowners can take to help reduce the chance of someone breaking into their home. In order to provide the best possible level of home security, it is important for Virginia homeowners to understand exactly what sort of things burglars look for when they are staking out a home.

Understanding what burglars look for helps homeowners better secure their home. There are many easy steps that homeowners can take to deter burglars. Without understanding how burglar’s target homes, homeowners will have a difficult time finding a security system that works, and may end up wasting money on something that does not actually protect their home.


A common misconception is that the majority of burglars break into a home by forcing the door open or going through a window. While these are some of the ways that burglars can break into a home, one of the first things that burglars actually check is the garage. Many homeowners make the mistake of leaving their garage open, which gives burglars the perfect chance to slip inside. Even if the garage door is closed, homeowners should be sure the doors are adequately locked.

Outdoor Keys

Another common mistake that homeowners make is leaving a key to their home out in the open. Many homeowners like to leave a spare key hidden under a rock or a welcome mat. This is very convenient if anyone in the house loses their key, but it is also incredibly easy for burglars to find the keys and break into the house. Burglars know all of the common spots where homeowners typically store their keys. Even households that try and find a clever spot to hide the key are putting the house at risk, since all it takes is an observant burglar to spot where the key is hidden.

Relying on Lights

A common defense to prevent burglary is to set up motion lights outside of the house. In some situations, motion lights can be an effective deterrent against burglars. The biggest issue with these lights has to do with where they are placed around the home. Many homeowners like to place motion lights on the outside of the home, right on the ground. These lights are referred to as flood lights. The problem with flood lights is that burglars can easily disable them. All the burglar has to do is go over to the light and unscrew the bulb. The lights only end up shining for a few seconds before they are disabled, which greatly reduces their overall effectiveness. Place motion senor lights in a place that is too high to disable quickly for the best protection.

Doors and Windows

If the garage is locked, or if the home does not have a garage, most burglars will attempt to enter the home through a door or window. One of the first things that burglars look for is any sliding glass doors around the house. Many homeowners leave these doors unlatched, which makes it easy to get inside. In addition, many homeowners rely too heavily on deadbolts. Deadbolts are typically much more effective than traditional locks. However, a cheap deadbolt is incredibly easy to navigate around by simply sawing through the lock.

Doors without a deadbolt are even easier to break into. A lot of burglars will simply kick a door in if it has an inferior lock. Typically, burglars prefer to kick in a door because the sound is not as alarming as glass breaking. A loud bang may be unexpected, but neighbors or anyone else passing by likely will not suspect a burglary is taking place. With glass breaking, the sound is much more distinct and usually prompts an investigation. In addition, breaking glass is much more dangerous, since the glass can cut the burglar as he or she is entering the home.

Afternoon Burglaries

Another common misconception regarding burglaries is they primarily happen at night. A lot of burglars operate in the afternoon hours, since this is a time where household members are most likely to be at work or school. Burglars will look for obvious signs that no one is home. Some common signs include no cars being present in the house, or all of the lights being off inside of the house.

Even if burglars see lights, they will likely investigate to see if someone is home. One of the most effective deterrents for burglars is hearing a television or radio coming from the house. There are a couple of different home security products which mimic these common sounds when no one is home. These devices are especially helpful for households that live in a secluded area or do not have any neighbors around in the early afternoon.


Another common tactic for burglars is to check how much mail is currently in a mailbox. Households that have several days of mail are perfect targets for burglars, since it indicates that no one is home. These homes are great targets, since burglars can take their time and find the best way inside the house without having to worry about rushing. Households that are going to be away for long periods of time are strongly encouraged to ask a neighbor or friend to stop by and get the mail, so burglars cannot easily tell the house is empty.