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7 Signs Your House is the Next Burglary Target and What to Do About It

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:

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.

The same experience was echoed by another Reddit user.

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. 

an open window

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.”


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

person opening a door with a bar

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.

Pro Tips

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.