If you want to sell your home for top dollar, you might need to increase its “curb appeal.” That means that your place has to be spruced up with improvements to make it say “come in and live here” to any prospective buyer.

Burglars and home invaders have their own definition of “curb appeal” — and in that case, it’s something you want to reduce.

What Do Criminals Look For?

There are three main things about a home that enhance curb appeal to an intruder. First, is the target worth the risk? Does it appear that the house has a high likelihood of desired property, outweighing the risk of apprehension? Second, would entry take minimal effort? Is there good cover, such as immense greenery that would conceal entry through a window? And third, is there an “absence of capable guardians” on the property who can thwart the attempt to enter?

How to Reduce Criminal Curb Appeal

With these three factors in mind, how does a homeowner go about reducing criminal curb appeal?

  1. “Desired property” is sometimes the hardest to reduce. After all, if you live in a nice home and drive expensive cars, it’s sort of hard to disguise that you are well-to-do. The most opulent homes are rarely broken into. It is middle class to upper middle class that make primary theft targets. Don’t advertise your possessions. If there is a larger-than-necessary TV or fancy computer displayed in the window, you’re asking for trouble. Don’t advertise you are a gun owner. I don’t display NRA stickers or pro-gun stickers on my car or home. Lose the “trespassers will be shot — survivors will be shot again” kind of signs. They not only advertise you have guns but also make great fodder for a defense attorney later on.
  1. As a police officer, I still encounter homes that have their front doors secured solely with a doorknob lock — no deadbolt in sight. And in small towns, some folks still leave their doors unlocked. That just begs outsiders to come in. Consider doing some crime prevention through environmental design. Improve your locks, increase exterior lighting and remove shrubs that provide cover at windows (replace them with smaller, thornier bushes).
  2. A “capable guardian” can be many things. For several years, three large dogs were our capable guardians. No dogs? Get an alarm system. Think of this: You are a burglar who is deciding on which of two equally appealing homes to break into. One house has a sign from an alarm company, and the other doesn’t. Which house would you break into? The Ring video doorbell system is another excellent and visible deterrent.

Make YOUR Home Less Desirable to Criminals

Lifestyles and home layouts vary greatly. Take some time to walk around your home and do your own survey. You will probably come up with a few essential and relatively easy improvements that you can institute.


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