A home security company in the UK, ADT, recently completed a very interesting survey. They interviewed more than 100 reformed home burglars. They wanted a peek into the mindset of professional criminals – the very type that might be stalking your own neighborhood.
The goal was to find out how modern criminals think and operate. And they wanted to learn what makes homes more or less attractive targets to professional criminals.
Don’t Think Of Them As Dummies
Never underestimate your enemy. That’s a primary rule of warfare. And it’s also a pretty good rule to live by in the war against crime.
Because one of the things that ADT’s survey revealed is that many home burglars consider their work to be a highly skilled profession. And they approach their work as professionals.
Just like any successful professional, they’re always seeking out new ways to improve their approach to their work. Always looking for ways to capitalize upon the latest technological advancements in achieving greater success.
And the most successful burglars are highly methodical. They approach each job in a structured manner. In fact, 72% of the burglars surveyed invested lots of time and effort in observing and researching a property before ever making a move.
The Unprepared Are Fair Game
Another interesting takeaway from the survey was the fact that burglars feel they have an absolute right to rob careless homeowners that are lax about security. They consider a poorly secured home to be an invitation of sorts. Or put another way: they feel that a homeowner that’s lax about security deserves to be robbed.
And certain external cues – the presence of landscape lighting is one of them – sends a message to prospective burglars: This homeowner takes security seriously. This home is not an easy target.
What Really Works to Deter Burglars?
So what did the surveyed ex-burglars reveal about effective home security solutions? They mentioned several security measures that would make a home less attractive:
- A gravel driveway (This was a surprising mention, but it makes sense. Gravel crunching underfoot certainly makes stealth difficult!)
- A monitored security system
- A closed-circuit TV monitoring system
- Modern, state-of-the-art door and window locks
And it was nearly unanimous: Fully 95% of the burglars surveyed stated that they would avoid a home with a well-lit exterior. That means well-lit entryways and walkways. It also means landscape lighting designed to eliminate murky areas from which burglars can observe a home undetected.
Hard To Put a Price On That Benefit
Landscape lighting does much to increase the nighttime beauty of a landscape. In fact, it’s likely that the majority of homeowners install landscape lighting primarily for the aesthetic benefits rather than for the security benefits.
But in reality, the security benefits might represent the greatest value provided by landscape lighting. Because though it’s difficult to place a dollar value on a burglary deterred by landscape lighting, one thing is for certain: It’s priceless.