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How do I know if my house is being targeted?

Home burglaries can be a scary and unsettling experience. Knowing whether your house is being targeted by potential burglars can help you take steps to prevent a break-in. There are several signs that may indicate your home is being scoped out by criminals. Being aware of these warning signs and taking preventative measures can help keep your family and belongings safe.

Suspicious Activity Near the Home

One of the most obvious signs your home is being targeted is noticing suspicious activity on or near your property. Here are some behaviors to watch out for:

  • Unknown vehicles driving slowly past the house, especially at odd hours
  • People walking by and paying close attention to the property, potentially taking notes or pictures
  • Repeated drive-bys or walk-bys over the course of several days or weeks
  • Unknown visitors ringing the doorbell to see if anyone is home
  • Loiterers or trespassers in the backyard
  • Evidence of attempted break-ins or tampering with locks or windows

These are common tactics burglars use to scope out potential targets. Multiple occurrences of this type of suspicious behavior around your home likely means you’re being targeted.

Strangers Asking About Your Schedule

Burglars will sometimes pose as salespeople or contractors and approach homes to gather intel from residents. They may knock on your door with a cover story, asking oddly specific questions like:

  • When do you leave for work in the morning?
  • What time do your kids get home from school?
  • Will you be away on vacation soon?
  • Do you have an alarm system?

If a stranger shows up and starts probing about when your house will be empty, they are likely scoping your home. Be very cautious about the information you provide to anyone showing this type of suspicious curiosity.

Signs of Attempted Entry

Physical evidence around your home’s exterior can also indicate a burglary attempt. Some things to check for include:

  • Pry marks or scratches around locks and doors
  • Damage to door frames or broken door jambs
  • Glass with duct tape or putty from someone attempting to cut the pane
  • Open or damaged gates, fences, or walls
  • Tampered electrical boxes, cut wires, or disabled security cameras

These are signs a potential thief has already been testing your home’s vulnerability. Immediate repairs and upgraded security measures are needed if you discover this type of suspicious damage.

Changes Around the Neighborhood

Criminals often target neighborhoods or blocks they deem easy marks for break-ins. Be aware of trends in your area that could make your home a hotspot for burglars, like:

  • Recent rash of burglaries targeting nearby homes
  • Foreclosed or vacant houses on the street
  • Renovations or open houses drawing strangers to the area
  • New construction or development nearby
  • Overgrown trees/shrubs or broken street lighting

These environmental factors can signal an increase in crime risk. Talk to neighbors and police about any suspicious patterns or activities impacting your block.

Gut Instincts

Sometimes your own intuition is the best indicator. If something feels “off” around your property, trust your gut. Some signs include:

  • Feeling like you are being watched
  • Finding household items subtly moved or doors opened
  • Unexplained noises like banging or footsteps
  • Dogs suddenly barking at odd hours
  • Sense of discomfort or violation within your home

Don’t ignore these intuitive warning signs. Even if there is no hard evidence, increased vigilance and security can help deter potential break-ins.

Preventative Measures

If you suspect your home is being targeted, here are some smart precautions to take:

  • Install visible security cameras – High-quality cameras help deter and catch criminals casing your home.
  • Improve exterior lighting – Good illumination leaves fewer shadows and removes hiding spots.
  • Trim shrubbery and trees – Cut back any landscape blocking views of entryways or windows.
  • Put lights and TVs on timers – Automated interior lights and sounds make it appear someone is home.
  • Join a neighborhood watch – Know what’s happening in your area and share information with neighbors.
  • Keep valuables and cash out of sight – Don’t tempt break-ins by leaving enticing items visible.
  • Make the property unwelcoming – Prickly plants, locked gates, and warning signs act as deterrents.
  • Avoid sharing vacation plans online – Don’t alert thieves you’ll be away from home.

Taking proactive measures greatly reduces the likelihood your house will be burglarized. Don’t ignore warning signs – trust your instincts and take action to protect your home.


Home burglaries and break-ins can seem random, but are often the result of calculated targeting by criminals. Watch for suspicious activity in your neighborhood, unfamiliar visitors casing your property, physical signs of break-in attempts, and follow your gut instincts. If you suspect your home is being scoped out, take visible security precautions immediately to deter potential burglars. Staying alert to the warning signs and being proactive are the keys to preventing your house from becoming the next target.