MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Homeowners strive for curb appeal on their properties, but sometimes, that tall fence and lush vegetation amount to criminal appeal.
Burglars take more than our possessions when they break-in.
They steal our sense of security.
“The invasion of our privacy, that’s the worst part, ” said Geoff Manaugh, author of “A Burglar’s Guide to the City”. “They look at buildings very differently. They find ways into our homes that we might not have predicted.”
Manaugh says, for example, if you live near an on-ramp or off-ramp for a highway, you may actually be targeted more than if you live farther away.
The bad guys think they can get away from the crime scene faster, blending into highway traffic, in an effort to avoid capture.
“Little things matter, if you live on a corner, you’re more likely to be broken into,” Manaugh said.
He explains corner homes give criminals lines of sight so they can see if somebody’s coming, or if the homeowners are on their way back.
They also have more routes of escape.
Something else people don’t think about, has to do with newer developments and complexes.
All of these homes are going to have their floor plans online, giving burglars a blueprint for a break-in.
“That means you can see everything from where the light switches are, where the electricity box might be, and what kind of locks are on the front door if they haven’t changed them when they move in,” Manaugh said.
Protecting yourself and your family from a burglar is not as hard as you might think.
Little things within our control can make a big difference.
“You don’t want landscaping to reach over two feet in height, or hang below eight feet. That way there is perfect visibility to your house, windows, doors,” said Officer Mark Zabielinsky with the Miami Shores Police Department.
Zabielinsky is a Florida Certified Crime Prevention practitioner.
“Everybody wants some degree of privacy, but at some point you need to weigh the pros and cons and have a nice balance between privacy and security,” he said.
If you have a privacy gate, make sure it’s not giving a burglar too much privacy!
“Slatted would be preferred,” he said. “Anything that you can see through into the backyard.”
Officer Zabielinsky said your gates should come just below eye level so you can see if someone is on your property.
And finally, a small pebble could be a big crime stopper.
“When you walk on them they are quite loud, and it would definitely deter a burglar from wanting to walk back there and have somebody hear them,” he said.
But the easiest way to beat burglars is to have relationship with your neighbors.
“Being in touch with them… exchanging phone numbers, things like that, letting them know when you’re going out of town, are all really important,” said Officer Zabielinsky.