Ensuring the safety and security of our home is a top priority for many of us. An important aspect of home security involves understanding potential intruders and trespassers – who are they, why do they target certain homes, and how can we prevent unlawful entry? In this comprehensive guide, we will explore key facts and information about home intruders to empower homeowners to keep their properties safe.
What are Intruders or Trespassers?
An intruder or trespasser is someone who enters a private property without permission from the owner. Intruders have no legal right to be on the premises and are there with unlawful intent. Some key defining traits of intruders:
- Enter property fully aware they do not have consent
- Motivated by criminal goals like theft, vandalism, or violence
- Attempt to avoid detection through stealth
Intruders are different from guests or visitors who have permission to be on a property. They are also distinct from lost individuals who may accidentally end up on private land without realizing it. The key distinguishing factor is the intruder’s intent and awareness of trespassing.
Common Types of Intruders
Not all intruders are seeking the same ends when unlawfully entering a property. Some common categories include:
Burglars aim to steal valuables from inside the home, such as jewelry, electronics, and cash. They often strike when properties are unoccupied and attempt to get in and out quickly and quietly.
Vandals aim to deliberately damage or deface property. They may break windows, spray paint graffiti, or otherwise destroy parts of the home and yard. Vandalism is often random with no theft involved.
Some intruders intend to commit violent crimes against homeowners, such as assault, rape, or homicide. These intruders are often prepared to use force or weapons if confronted.
Some youths or groups trespass as a daring game or for thrills, not with intent to steal or vandalize. Running from property owners provides excitement for these intruders.
Drunk or High Individuals
Intoxicated individuals may end up wandering onto private property in a confused, disoriented state. Their judgment is impaired and they are not fully aware of boundaries.
Pests like rodents can find their way into homes through small openings. Larger wildlife like bears may also intrude looking for food. Animals act on instinct rather than criminal intent.
Why Intruders Target Specific Properties
Intruders assess homes much like predators size up prey – seeking vulnerable targets that pose little risk. Some factors that attract them include:
Lack of Security
Homes with flimsy locks, broken fences, dark yards, or other unsecured access points are prime targets. Intruders look for easy unauthorized entry.
Signals of an Empty House
Signs like piled up mail, unmowed lawns, or wide open curtains signal to intruders that a house is empty and an easy target.
High-Value Goods Visible
Intruders may peek in windows to case for valuables like laptops, TVs, and gaming systems. Visible expensive goods are a draw for burglars.
Proximity and Opportunity
Homes near concealment areas like alleys or wooded lots allow intruders quick escape. They also may pick targets just because they present themselves at an opportune moment.
Once a home is successfully victimized, intruders often return for future crimes since they know the vulnerabilities.
Preventing Intruders – Top Security Strategies
The best way to deal with intruders is to deter them from ever targeting your property in the first place. Here are powerful prevention strategies:
Install Quality Locks
All exterior doors should have sturdy, pick-resistant locks installed. Keyless entry systems are even better. Make sure gates, garages, sheds, and fences are also well-secured.
Windows often provide easy access if they do not lock properly or have weak glass. Install reinforced panes, window sensors, and snug fittings.
Add Motion-Sensor Lighting
Bright security lighting that triggers with movement deters intruders from lurking or approaching the house. Illuminate all sides.
Tall privacy fences around perimeters keep unwanted people from easily accessing the yard or windows. Prickly bushes can also act as deterrent barriers.
Get a Dog
Many intruders steer clear of properties with dogs to avoid being detected. Even small dogs barking can be an effective deterrent.
Signs boasting of security systems and cameras help deter intruders whether real or fake. Make it clear the house is alarmed and monitored.
When away for long periods, have mail held, garbage cans pulled in, and ask neighbors to park in the driveway now and then. Don’t advertise an empty house.
Trim landscaping to remove hiding spots near windows or doors. Keep sight lines open so any lurkers are visible.
Joining a neighborhood watch program where everyone keeps an eye out helps prevent intrusions. More vigilance means greater risk for intruders.
Securing Entry Points
Intruders look for any weak, vulnerable entry points to exploit. Be sure to check the security of all possible access areas:
- Use solid core or metal doors rather than those with glass panels or thin plywood
- Install quality deadbolt locks and keep them locked at all times
- Upgrade any loose fitting doors or damaged frames
- Double check locks to ensure they are strong and fully engaged when shut
- Consider dowels or pins to prevent windows from sliding open
- Replace any loose fitting or cracked windows completely
- Always keep garage doors shut, even when at home
- Detach openers and lock the manual release when away
- Install a security padlock as a backup locking measure
- Lock pet doors at night and when away
- Consider installing a pet door insert which slides in to cover and lock flap
- Many intruders access skylights by climbing on the roof
- Bar skylights closed with dowels or install locks to secure
- Chimney flues with loose dampers can allow intruder entry
- Make sure damper handles have locking pins installed
Dealing with Intruders If They Enter
While prevention should be the primary goal, it is wise to have a plan in case an intruder succeeds in entering the home. Here are some dos and don’ts:
Never confront intruders or attempt to engage them. They may be armed or become violent if cornered. Let them take valuables and flee.
Yell, bang pots, or set off alarms to signal to the intruder that their presence is known. This may startle them into running.
Keep Your Distance
Do not get close enough for the intruder to grab or attack you. Stay behind locked doors in a safe room. Call 911 from there if possible.
Pay Attention to Details
Mentally note details like height, clothing, characteristics to report to police without putting yourself in harm’s way.
Have an Escape Route
If possible, have a fire ladder or other secondary route to flee the house safely if intruder starts checking rooms. Don’t hide and be cornered.
Guns should be properly locked and secured to prevent intruders from accessing them if they enter. Never confront with guns.
Let Police Handle Capture
Police have training to sweep and clear a home without undue risk. Never try to capture or restrain an intruder yourself.
Intruders can inflict immense emotional and financial harm if they successfully target a home. By understanding why intruders pick certain properties, homeowners can take away the opportunity and temptation through smart security practices. Solid prevention combined with safe practices if an intruder does gain entry will help keep the home and family secure. With vigilance and the right safeguards, any potential intruder will decide a house is far too risky to even attempt entering.
For advanced home security systems around North and Central Georgia, contact Callaway Security today!