Burglar signs: how can you tell if your home is being targeted?

Most burglars work with a system. Thieves look for homes that they want to target in a certain place and at a specific time. Burglars often leave signs on the property itself, so that they can identify it quickly when they come back. Learn which signs to look out for, and you’ll be able to protect your home from break-ins more effectively.

What do thieves look for in a property?

Potential thieves take a close look at a property and take note of any information that might help them to break in.

  • What times of day and night there are people inside the property (it might be your working hours that will affect this)
  • Whether there’s a dog in the home (your family pet might be one of your biggest home security assets!)
  • Whether the property has an alarm system or CCTV security cameras in place
  • Whether there are objects in view from outside that look like they’re worth stealing
  • Whether there are doors and windows that could be easy-access entry points
  • Whether there’s a Neighbourhood Watch scheme operating in your area
    How close your home is to a police station, or the frequency of police patrols in your local area

Burglar codes: know the signs

European police forces have identified a few simple codes that burglars use to mark property they want to target.

If you notice these symbols, or similar signs, on your home or on your neighbours’ property, you’ll be able to inform the police and protect against burglars.

Triangle symbol

Potentially the most sinister of all, this symbol has been used to denote a single women living in a property alone.

Thieves don’t only look for information on the home itself; they also want information about who lives in the house and how vulnerable they might be.

As a single home occupant, your home might be empty for more of the day. Or, thieves may target single women and the elderly on the basis that they may be easier targets.

Circle symbol and circle with lines drawn through it

A circle tends to indicate a potential burglary site, whereas a circle with a line through it might denote a property that should be avoided – maybe there are effective security cameras or an obvious alarm system.

Vertical, ladder-like line symbols

These have been known to indicate that there are valuables on show in the home, making it a worthwhile burglary target.

Letter codes

M for morning break-ins, N for night time break-ins, maybe even specific days of the week. Potential thieves may study your movements so they know when you’re in and out the house.

How can you stop burglars targeting your home? The most obvious solution is to install a home security system, including alarms and CCTV security cameras. But, there are some simple, common sense steps you can take too. For one, don’t leave valuable items on display just the other side of the front or back windows. That might mean TVs, laptops, speakers, games consoles, jewellery, car keys… even if they’re gadgets you might naturally leave lying around once you’re done with them, it’s much safer to store them out of sight.

What are other burglar tactics you should look out for?

Potential thieves might just scope out your home for information from the street, but they might also come closer.

Be aware of people coming to the door with an unconvincing excuse; it might just be an opportunity to get a better idea of how the door locks, or whether your home has an alarm system set up.

But it might not be so simple: experienced burglars may be highly convincing, even charming enough to catch you off your guard to gain useful information from you.

Be aware of speaking about upcoming holidays or time away with strangers around your property, however causally the conversation might seem to have started.

If you are going to be spending some time away, it’s worth thinking about how obvious that may be to potential thieves.

Obviously, you’ll secure your windows and doors on your property and prime your home’s alarm or CCTV security system. But, there are other obvious signs that there’s no one in the house:

  • All the lights turned off for days on end
  • Letters and ‘missed delivery’ notes sticking out of the letterbox
  • No car parked in the driveway or an empty-looking garage
  • Shutters closed all throughout the daytime

Reduce those signs that you’re away from home and you may well attract less attention from potential thieves. Why not ask a trusted neighbour to collect your post occasionally? You could also leave a light on downstairs, or some of the shutters open.

It can be a great idea to take steps to make it look like there are still people around in the home while you’re away on holiday. Leaving a light or two on, or strategically opening a shutter, can make all the difference. Don’t go as far as forgetting to properly secure your doors and windows, though! That’s a vital step to take before you head off on your travels.

Smart home security is the ultimate peace of mind. Have you noticed an increase in break-ins in your local area? Are you concerned that your home is left empty for most of the day, with no way of knowing what’s going on around your property while you’re out at work, or on holiday?

Install a smart home security system for ultimate peace of mind. With Netatmo smart CCTV cameras, doorbells, sensors and alarms, get remote notifications while you’re away to help keep your home secure.