Getting a house broken into is a frightening prospect for anyone: in moment’s, some of your most important belongings could be gone. Worse still is the risk of harm to yourself or loved ones. We understand the feeling, especially when the intuitive thought that someone is watching kicks in.
It’s not always blind paranoia because burglaries are rampant. The good news is that you don’t have to become a slave to the fear of being burglarized.
In this guide, learn the seven signs your house is marked by burglars and how to take immediate action.
7 Signs Your House is Being Watched
Contrary to what Hollywood movies would suggest, real-world burglars prefer to prowl during the day to attempt to appear more inconspicuous.
So, how could one tell if a burglar has an eye on their property? Here’s seven signs worth watching out for.
1. Ads, Stickers, and Flyers
Advertising and marketing flyers at the door or in mailboxes might seem harmless. However, these can be signs of burglary casing if they start cropping up suddenly.
2. Strange Markings
Burglars often “mark” their target. Homeowners might see unusual markings, such as a streak of spray paint on the wall, a glob of ordinary paint on the fence, or a rope tied around a fence post or lamppost.
Some crooks can be a bit more creative:
‘Burglars have a sort of symbol language to tell other burglars about your house. For example, “old woman lives here,” or something.’viktorlogi (Reddit user)
3. Unfamiliar People and Cars on the Street
It’s normal for people to park cars on the street in front of their property. But unfamiliar vehicles parked outside of specific properties time and time again can raise an alarm.
More troubling is noticing an unfamiliar vehicle roll down the road slower than other vehicles outside specific houses. It is also suspicious if the car decelerates or stops briefly in front of the property.
‘I’ve also spotted a random white van outside of our very quiet street around an hour before this man and remember asking what it was doing here as it didn’t seem to be delivering any parcels.’Curiously-peculiar
The same experience was echoed by another Reddit user.
‘If you can identify a pattern of behavior that’s surrounding your house, i.e., someone shows up late every night in the same car, parks across the street, but doesn’t get out. Someone’s house is getting cased on that street.’Jonwbrown243
4. Request for Emergency Assistance
A neighbor asking for help is one thing. A stranger knocking on somebody else’s door to request assistance is a different story.
Burglars will find ways to scout the target property’s interior and check what they can loot during the most favorable time, or if there have been other kinds of signs previously, it may even be the attempt to break-in.
5. Unlocked Doors and Windows
One of the tell-tale signs of a house getting cased for burglary is noticing open windows and doors that had previously been locked.
Burglars employ this technique to make such occurrences seem normal to homeowners, increasing the chance of breaking into the house without the occupants noticing it.
‘There were a couple signs: (1) a few days before it happened, we found windows randomly unlocked or ajar throughout the house, and (2) one day, our front door was left wide open…. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize the signs were signs. We just thought they were off occurrences or something.‘redcoatwright (Reddit user)
Other signs someone was in your house include unfamiliar footprints, out-of-place items, and littering.
6. Broken Outdoor Lights
‘Many of my jobs took place at 12 in the afternoon. Not many are home at that time.”formerburgles
One of the signs of a potential nighttime break-in is broken outdoor lights. You might find wirings cut off or lighting fixtures broken to make breaking in easier.’
7. Increased Door-to-Door Activities
5 Immediate Actions to Take
Here are five things to do immediately should there be clear signs that burglars are marking your house as the next target.
1. Record the observations
Note the days and times of the questionable activity. If this involves a vehicle patrolling a certain area, make a note of the vehicle make and model and the appearance and behavior of the suspicious people.
Position your security camera towards your driveway or through a second-floor window to observe the street. Enable motion detection, and it will notify connected phones when movement is detected. You can take the necessary actions after that.
2. Inform law enforcement authorities
Report observations to the local police and request increased law enforcement visibility in the area. Burglars are less likely to carry out their plans if they see patrol cars in the neighborhood.
3. Notify neighbors
Informing neighbors enables them to become more vigilant about suspicious people, vehicles, and activities in the community. Having many pairs of eyes on the lookout for troublemakers is better than shouldering the task alone.
4. Install or reinforce the home security system
5. Find other ways to prevent break-ins
Modifying and reinforcing door and window locks will also help, and so does securing other potential entry points.
3 Best Ways to Reduce Chances of Being Targeted
Though it can sometimes feel otherwise, it is possible to take steps to reduce the likelihood of being targeted. Check out the following three methods to reduce the chances of being the next burglary target.
1. Security Camera
2. Smart Lighting
Although floodlights can deter some burglars, it’s not a catch-all preventative measure. Smart lighting fixtures, on the other hand, can mimic the presence of someone inside the house through schedules.
These devices dim without movement and brighten when it detects motion within a predetermined area.
3. Smart Alarm
Security alarm systems connected to intelligent lighting fixtures and security cameras can reduce the likelihood of burglary. An intruder might run away if the technology activates an ear-splitting siren.
More importantly, the noise will draw neighbors’ attention. For instance, AlfredCamera offers Siren to “scare” burglars and “alert” the neighborhood.
AlfredCamera: A Free Way to Increase Home Security
Installing a security camera system remains the best deterrent against burglars and the most proactive way to avoid having a house be targeted.
Setting up a dependable video security and surveillance network could be costly, given the hardware and software requirements.
You’ll enjoy push notifications, motion detection, 24/7 coverage, and other intelligent features to improve home security.
‘I recently updated my phone and watched a video that showed how to use your old phone as a security camera. The video recommended (Alfred) I downloaded the app and setup was very user friendly now I want to add a second phone. Sure beats some expensive alternatives I told more than a few friends. Nice way to check on pets or elderly. I also like the microphone and alarm you can use remotely.’One AlfredCamera user
How can you tell if someone is marking your house?
Anything out-of-the-ordinary should tell you if someone is marking your house. It can include strangers walking around the neighborhood suspiciously, or unfamiliar vehicles parked outside a home that doesn’t belong to the driver. Some burglars mark a target with stickers or fake flyers. They might knock on the door and find an excuse to interact under the guise of a door-to-door salesperson.
What do burglars use to mark houses?
Burglars can use any marking tool to “paint” a target house. It could be as simple as chalk, a string tied to a tree branch or lamppost, a smear of paint, or blue or white spray paint.
Does leaving a light on at night deter burglars?
What time of night do most burglaries occur?
What type of houses do burglars target?
Where do burglars usually break in?
Where do robbers look first?
What to do if someone is outside your house at night?
Don’t make any unnecessary noise and call the police. Speak as quietly as possible while supplying the police with all the required information. Remember to follow whatever instructions the police provide. Take note of all observations because they can be handy in an official police investigation.
A home security camera that features a two-way talk could also help deter loiterers, alongside a siren to scare intruders or burglars away.
Learning the different signs your house might be the next burglary target is vital to determining the necessary courses of action. Security cameras and smart lighting fixtures that are part of a smart alarm system should give peace of mind against potential home intruders.