Leaving This Outside Your Home Is Inviting Burglars In, Experts Warn
You could inadvertently be making your house a target for a break-in.
Our front yards are rarely pristine at all times: There may be bikes locked up on the fence, a stray kid's toy that never got put away, or garbage cans waiting to be picked up at the end of the driveway. Most of us don't give a second thought to the things we keep out in plain sight, but there could be consequences to that carelessness. According to experts, there is one thing that many people leave outside their house that makes them a more attractive target for burglars. Read on to find out if you're guilty of this home safety hazard.
Leaving electronics boxes outside of your house could put you at risk of a break-in.
Whether you've celebrated a recent birthday or have just been treating yourself, you might find yourself with leftover packaging from new electronics. But while it might seem like a pain to break these boxes down and keep them out of the way, it could make all the difference when it comes to your risk of burglary. Paul Moody, a home security expert and founder of Pro Mover Reviews, says that leaving electronics boxes intact in your yard could look like a major jackpot for a thief surveying houses to break into.
"Setting out your brand new gaming console box might seem normal to you, but it does more harm than good. After cash, electronics are the second most prized possessions for burglars," he explains. "If you leave the boxes visible, it makes your house an attractive target."
And even if your burglar isn't necessarily after a new PS5, the mere presence of any opened electronics packaging often suggests other pricier items. "Don't ever leave your home for an extended period of time with large boxes outside that indicate that you have expensive goods inside the home," Shawn Laib, a home security expert with InsuranceProviders, warns.
You should make these boxes less noticeable until they are gone.
There are a number of tips experts have for reducing your risk of a break-in even if you've recently bought or been gifted expensive electronics. According to Moody, "a good idea is to invest in a cheap cutter to break down large boxes and pack them in a bundle." He also says that homeowners can find other uses for these boxes until they are able to safely dispose of them.
"Utilize these boxes in your garage to keep tools and other equipment," Moody advises. "If you have trouble organizing your garage and have some extra space in there, you can use large electronics boxes to keep garage tools and equipment. This prevents you from leaving the boxes outside, thereby reducing the risk of burglary."
But no matter what you choose to do, "it is best to leave these boxes out of public sight until you are ready to dispose of them," says Leonard Ang, the CEO of iPropertyManagement.
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There are times when your house is more likely to be targeted.
There are certain times of the day and week when home break-ins are more likely to occur. "Most burglaries happen during daylight hours. That's because most people are at work, leaving burglars with the perfect opportunity to break into your house," Moody says, adding that 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays is most popular, followed by nighttime during the weekends.
There are also times of the year when all houses are more at risk, so you'll want to be extra sure to keep your boxes out of sight. "You are more likely to get broken into during the holiday seasons as normally holidays like Christmas … are when you would typically see a lot of new purchases. Burglars like to steal newer items in the hope of reselling them in the near future," says Whitney Joy Smith, a private investigation expert and president of Smith Investigation Agency in Canada.
There are other things you should to do to avoid a break-in.
It's not just leaving opened boxes of expensive electronics outside that could make your home a target. If you're going out of town, make a plan for any mail you might have coming in. "Not only should empty packages avoid sitting on the porch, but so should any packages that have items in it," Ang warns. "Never allow packages to pile up when you are out of town."
At the same time, Smith also warns against keeping certain items inside your home in specific places when you're out. "Another way to attract burglars into your home is to leave valuables visible in the window view," she explains. "This is essentially an open invitation for burglars to find ways to enter your home and steal those things."