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13 Ways Your Yard Is Giving Burglars Clues

When it comes to keeping your home safe, what you have on your front lawn can be what attracts a burglar to break in or what makes them decide to move on instead.

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Beautiful exterior of newly built luxury home. Yard with green grass and walkway lead to front entrance.

Keeping your home safe

Burglars and thieves will use anything they can to their advantage—don’t make it easier for them by giving them clues to your whereabouts or access to your home! We chatted with Fred Turra, ADT Custom Home Sales Manager for the San Francisco Bay Area, about what you should consider keeping out of your front yard as well as what you might want to put on it to outsmart burglars.

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home security sticker
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Broken or old home security sign

One of the biggest alerts for burglars that you might not have a security system is actually having a sign in your front yard saying you have one—specifically, a sign in disrepair. When you have an old one, you’re essentially advertising that while your home may have once been protected by a security system, that time has passed.

Tura says that experienced burglars will study home security systems as much as the company’s that install them. “They know what to look for,” he says, which means they know that sign in your front yard is old and out of date. When updating your security, make sure you don’t get one of the worst home security systems according to Consumer Reports.

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Entrance of a luxury house with a patio on a bright, sunny day in Vancouver, Canada

Expensive items in your yard

Having expensive-looking planters and decorations might look nice, but they also might alert burgers that even more expensive items are inside your home. That’s why Tura suggests you keep expensive items out of your front yard. The way your front yard looks is one of the 22 signs your house is vulnerable to being robbed.

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A perfect neighborhood. Houses behind green fences in suburb at Spring in the north America

Large hedges and vegetation

Another thing that might look nice in your yard but attract burglars is large plants and vegetation. Tura says that both can “act as a hiding place” for potential thieves when they’re located next to windows and doors, blocking the view of those places from the street. If you do have plants and hedges near your windows, keep them well-trimmed. Learn 13 sneaky things FBI agents do to protect their homes.

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Old rusty stainless steel mop with Aluminum ladder or staircase leaning against on white cement wall with copy space - Vintage object, Equipment and Cleaning tool concept
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Put away your ladder

If you have a two-story house, leaving a ladder out can ultimately lead to giving burglars a way to break into your home, using your own equipment, Tura says. A passerby likely won’t think a person on a ladder in the middle of the day is up to no good, but while you’re away at work that ladder can be used as a tool for burglars to break into your second story. Worse, Tura says home security systems are likely protecting your first story while leaving that second story exposed. If you must leave your ladder out, lock it up to something using a bike lock, he suggests. A ladder is one of the 35 things that make your home inviting to robbers.

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street scene, garbage cans and recycling tubs at side of blue house
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Trash cans

Trash cans are another thing Tura says burglars might use to try to access another floor of your home. If you have large, sturdy trash cans, consider securing them somewhere where burglars can’t see or use them. Don’t miss more home security tips and what else you need to know to save your home from a break-in.

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Timeless bedroom with floral bedding, and a sliding glass door.

Glass doors

While glass doors are not a preferred method of breaking into your home, according to Tura, they can be used. Make sure yours is secured, and if possible, replace it with something sturdier and less see-through. If you do have one, he recommends having a glass-detection beacon inside your home that will be able to detect when that glass door has been broken.

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audio video doorbell

Audio/video doorbell

Audio/video doorbells have “revolutionized the industry,” as far as home security goes, Tura says. Oftentimes, Tura says that burglars will case a neighborhood during the day to see if people are home. By answering your door verbally with the doorbell, even if you’re far away, you’re letting that person know your home is being monitored and they’ll be less likely to break in. Ready to invest? These are the safest smart doorbells for your home.

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A modern house front entrance at night
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If burglars are going to break into your home at night, they’ll be looking for somewhere dark where they can go undetected. Lights that are controlled remotely or activated by motion can be a deterrent for burglars who want to break into your home under the cover of darkness. Inversely, Tura says leaving a light on during the day is “kind of a giveaway” that you’re not home. Make sure you’re turning off things like porch lights during daylight hours. This is the state where you’re most likely to get robbed.

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newspapers on a stairs

Mail and newspapers

Before you head out of town, make sure you’ve discontinued your mail and newspaper service. Tura says having several newspapers in your driveway or mail piling up can alert burglars that you’re not at home. “If you’re not discontinuing those services, have a neighbor pick them up,” he suggests.

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Garage door in Vancouver, Canada.

Easy-to-open garages

If you have trouble getting your garage door to close completely, make sure you fix it ASAP. “The garage is a common entry point,” says Tura. He also recommends avoiding garage doors that have glass in them. Burglars can break the glass in that garage door and then use a coat hanger to disengage the motor of your door and get into your home. He also suggests “putting an actual lock on your garage door.” Yes, it will require you to get out of your car in order to use that garage, but it can make your home, and specifically that garage, a lot safer.

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Lawn under the blue sky and white clouds in Hangzhou, China
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A wide-open backyard

A house with a yard that has an abundance of wide-open space or leads into a forest is a prime spot for burglars to target. A heavily wooded area makes for great hiding spots and will ultimately make it easier for a burglar to run away if they happen to get caught. They basically have a built-in escape route. Don’t miss these sneaky ways burglars break into houses that you may not have thought about.

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Winter Snow Craftman Cape Cod Style Home
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Fresh snow

If you live in an area that’s prone to snow and you happen to be away, the clean snow and even having walkways that aren’t shoveled will give a burglar clues that you aren’t around. If you’re on vacation, get a neighbor or friend to go walk around your yard to leave footprints. Even better if they can do a little shoveling for you and leave tire tracks in your driveway.

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Outdoor bar with potted plants on it
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Leaving stools in the backyard

Those high stools are trendy on the back patio for a summer BBQ with friends or having a drink by the pool, but make sure you put them away at the end of the day. Leaving them exposed and not at least locking them up could give a burglar ideas about how to gain entry. They can easily move the stool to gain access to a hard-to-reach window. Next, read on for the secrets a home security installer won’t tell you.