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9 Signs Your Home Is Being Cased

Often burglars will do their own surveillance to pick out a target days or weeks ahead of the crime. They will return randomly at different times to get a feel for the neighborhood and gather any information about your habits, schedules, home and property and any security systems in place.

Turn your home from a soft target to a hard target by understanding the techniques burglars use to case your property and sometimes communicate information.

How can you tell if someone is “casing” your home for possible burglary? Here are 9 signs that your home is being cased:

1. Strangers Walking Around the Neighborhood

Unless you’ve just moved to the area, most communities and neighborhoods are somewhat familiar with each other. Be aware of strangers who repeatedly walk or jog slowly or back and forth, especially on specific blocks. Sometimes, they will use strollers or dog-walking to be able to walk slowly and observe home and property activity.

2. Someone Taking Pictures of Your Property

Using a smartphone camera is not uncommon – but it can be used as a surveillance tool. Is there any reason someone should be taking a photo or video of your home, block, or cul-de-sac? Are they taking photos from various angles or from different sides of the street? Do you see this happening more than once? These might be a sign of your home being cased. Tell your neighbors and notify your security company, homeowners association (HOA), or neighborhood watch of any suspicious activity.

3. Business Solicitation 

Sometimes a business cold call solicitation is legitimate. Sometimes, it’s not; strangers can run scams to check out your property or the inside of your home by posing as someone who is seeking to do repair, remodeling, window washing, or paint work. They can pretend to be selling a service like re-flooring, carpet cleaning, or pest control. Be cautious of people asking you donate money, or buy something nominal.

Ask to see a company identification; and note what kind of vehicle they use. If it’s not a company car or work truck, it may not be a legitimate cold call. They could be gathering information about who lives in the house, when the house is occupied, where cameras are located, or if there are dogs.

Earlier this year, several people ran a business solicitation scam in the city. One would engage the homeowner pretending to be offering a construction bid while another would gain entry into the home. An alert homeowner noticed they arrived in a non-company SUV and reported the activity. However, they were able to steal items from one home before the activity stopped.

4. Strangers Asking for Help or Information

Be wary of a stranger asking for help or directions, or to use your phone or bathroom, or looking for a missing pet. Especially if a knock happens in the mid-morning or mid-afternoon hours, when most people are at work or school, it could be someone casing your home.

5. Glass of Water or Toilet Excuse

A random person knocking on your door for a glass of water or to use your bathroom should send up red flags. Sometimes, criminals wear work out gear to look less suspicious. Either way, allowing a stranger into your home could actually be allowing a visual “inventory” of what’s in your home.

Should this happen:

  • Do not open the door; you can always communicate with someone through the door.
  • If you do open the door, open it just wide enough to communicate.
  • Direct the person to any business or nearby restroom instead of letting them in to use yours.
  • Give an excuse that your plumbing is being repaired and cannot be used.
  • Report the activity to your security company, HOA, or neighborhood watch group.

6. Unfamiliar Cars Loitering in the Area

Especially if you live on a short street or cul-de-sac, you will probably know the cars that “belong” in your area and cars that are unfamiliar. Unfamiliar cars with a driver sitting in the car for an extended period of time, or a car that drives up and down slowly or often, or a car that appears repeatedly at random times are all signs that something is amiss.

Let your neighbors know there is a suspicious vehicle and report this activity and information to your security company. Should anything happen, your local law enforcement may need this information as well:

  • Vehicle make, model, color
  • Distinguishing details about vehicle (bumper stickers, body damage, after-market work, etc.)
  • License plate number
  • Driver and passenger description if possible

7. Flyers on Your Home/Property

Burglars may find potential targets by sending or leaving flyers or postcards on doorsteps or stuck between the door and door jamb. Make sure to discard these quickly – letting any burglary scouting attempt know the homeowner is savvy to their game.

CMP Burglar Symbols for Casing Homes8. Strange Markings in the Driveway, on the Sidewalk or Near Your Home

Burglars may communicate with each other using chalk or paint marks. These random symbols sometimes look like road or utility markings. But the symbols let other burglars know information about your home. This is only one example of a few signs:

9. Other Indicators

These are only a few ways burglars can get information about your home or property. Drones create their own level of casing possibilities. Other odd signs are:

  • Welcome mat moved, flipped over or upside down
  • Plants rearranged (do not keep a spare key under a plant pot near your door!)
  • A small item like a golf ball left in your yard
    • To a burglar, if you move this item, it means you’re home; if it’s still there when they return, it’s a good sign you’re not.

There are many other possible signs that your house is marked or cased and homeowners should be extra cautious, for example, some homeowners found that their welcome mat outside the side door was flipped upside down or a golf ball was left on the front lawn.

Trust Your Intuition

If something doesn’t feel right, take precautions and trust your instincts. When strangers are unwilling to make eye contact, are fidgety, or evasive when engaged, it could mean they are doing something they shouldn’t be.

In addition to a security system, make sure your property is well-groomed. Burglars pick up that no one is home when they see:

  • A full mail box
  • Newspapers stacked up in the driveway or at the door
  • Unkempt lawn, tall grass
  • Exterior lights on during the day
  • Interior lights going on/off on schedule
  • Unoccupied or inactive driveway

How We Can Help Increase Your Home Security

Make your home as difficult as you can for burglars; they look for easy targets where they can get in and out quickly. Security signage, security cameras, security alarm systems, motion sensor lights or flood lights, sturdy locks on garages or sheds, beware of dog signs, gates and fences are all deterrents for burglars.

With just a quick click, request a no-obligation quote today or you can call us at 888-788-0813. We look forward to helping you keep your home safe and secure.


Burglars can case your home from public areas,
so be observant and vigilant;
invest in your home security and take precautionary
steps to protect your family and home security.

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