5 Subtle Ways Burglars Can Tell No One Is Home

Keeping your family safe is a top priority, and there's no place we feel safer than home. So, when someone breaks into our safe haven, it can be extremely traumatic — even if we are not home when it happens. A house that looks temporarily vacant, such as when you are on vacation or on business travel, can be a beacon to intruders. But being aware of the facts and following some safeguards can help lower the risk of burglary.

Safewise, an authority on safety news and security, has compiled a comprehensive list of stats on crimes along with tips for staying safe. The good news is that through their research, they've discovered the act of burglary is on the decline. Safewise also reports that living in a more metropolitan location might actually lower your risk of burglary because crooks tend to hit rural areas more often. And they've also found that people who own their home versus renting experience fewer break-ins.

There are many security precautions you can take when you're home. But what about when you're away? You want to make sure you don't incidentally advertise to criminals that you're away. Here are five subtle giveaways that no one is home.

Your social media led them to your empty nest

While it's fun to connect with family and friends online, social media networks are ground zero for savvy crooks who can easily use the information you willingly volunteer. IdentityIQ says thieves use these sites to grab personal information for use in scams as well as to steal identities. But that's not all... Check-ins at airports, hotels, and other destinations alert criminals that you're away from home. However, it's not just strangers lurking for personal information on your Facebook page that you need to worry about!

According to Alarm Guard Security, more than 65 percent of residential break-ins are committed by someone familiar with the person or family. And they all follow you on social media. Kuhl Insurance recommends saving the details about your vacation or business trip for after you return. Despite the temptation to share details online, don't do it. That means keeping all the photos, GPS check-ins, itineraries, and updates private for both yourself and anyone with whom you are traveling.

Your trash can isn't out on pick-up day

You've planned your exit perfectly; the security cameras are programmed so you can check on your house at any time while you are away; the timers are all set so lights come on routinely; mail and packages are paused; pets are being boarded, and your trustworthy neighbor is set to keep an eye on things so you can vacation without anxiety. But you forgot to ask them to handle your curbside trash pickup. If your home already has other indicators that nobody is home, Nationwide warns that a missed trash day could be all the evidence a crook needs to investigate further.

Providing your neighbor with a small list of helpful chores is a good idea. Some good things to put on the list include changing the position of window blinds, flowers watered, and trash taken to the curb. Just remind them to bring the trash can back in because if it sits out on the road too long, it can also send the signal that you're away.

Your home is too still and quiet

Daytime incidents account for the majority of home burglaries with as many as six out of 10 happening before sundown, according to SafeHome, a resource for information on safe products and technology. Burglars look for signs of no activity. So, it's important to create a sense of normalcy around your home when you're away, especially during those times when you're gone for an extended period of time.

State Farm suggests using randomly patterned timers for lights and a TV simulator device to give the impression that someone is home. If you choose to set a TV or radio on a timer, make sure the volume is loud enough to be heard outside. Asking a friend or neighbor to stop in while you're gone to check on things is also a good idea — be sure to provide them with the key rather than hiding it on the property, as burglars figure those secret spots out pretty quickly, too.

Your driveway is empty

If your driveway is empty day after day, it might catch the interest of a thief. One solution is to ask a neighbor or friend to park their car there on and off while you're gone. This might be just enough to give a would-be burglar the impression that someone is home, says LifeHacker. Of course, another sign to thieves is a car that remains in the same exact spot for a longer than usual period of time. If you'll be leaving your car behind, you'll want to make sure it's safe from thieves as well.

Parking the car in the garage keeps it out of sight, but not out of reach of a break-in. To deter thieves, Veloce Motors recommends good lighting, a steering wheel lock, and an internal GPS tracker. They also encourage the installation of a CCTV security system so you can keep an eye on the car and premises when not at home.

Your blinds never move

According to The Hartford, burglars often case homes during the day by blending into the neighborhood. This allows them to become acquainted with patterns and to learn which homes have security systems and dogs. It also gives them ample time to figure out which homes are left unattended for long periods of time. The trick is to fool them into thinking someone is home.

It might seem obvious, but make sure all windows are closed and locked securely. The Hartford says to keep some blinds up or open while leaving others down or closed. Having a friend or neighbor stop by to alternate these can potentially confuse a thief enough that they won't bother burglarizing your home. If you opt to not have anyone enter your home to adjust the blinds, Farm Bureau Financial Services suggests keeping your window coverings as you normally would if you were home to promote a sense of normalcy.