Last Updated on January 12, 2024

What does casing a house mean? Casing is a term whereby burglars observe and monitor the activities in your house. They work out vulnerabilities and entry points to determine the easiest ways to access what they want. During this time, burglars will also watch your house to see how many people reside in the home and when it’s likely to be empty.

Casing is a preliminary step for many high-profile burglars who are targeting homes with the best return value. In some cases, they will target multiple homes on the same street to give them a greater chance of success. You can take steps to prevent casing if you know how to identify it. 

Understanding Burglary

Per Massachusetts state law, burglary is defined as breaking into and entering a dwelling during the night with the intent to steal or commit another misdemeanor felony. While common law includes break-ins during the daytime, night-time burglaries are penalized more severely.  

Burglars go for items that they can sell quickly or use. The top items they are looking for include:

  • Cash
  • Electronics
  • Jewelry
  • Prescription drugs
  • Watches
  • Cars and car parts
  • Power tools
  • Bicycles
  • Firearms

Regional Burglary Statistics

While burglary can happen anywhere, some cities and areas are more vulnerable than others. Larger cities like Boston have higher burglary statistics — around 1,700 per 100,000 residents — because of the larger concentration of people. A few miles away, however, lies the town of Medford. Medford is safer than 47% of other U.S. neighborhoods. But, it still has an annual rate of over 500 property-related crimes yearly. 

National Burglary Statistics

In terms of national burglary statistics, the FBI reported that there was a rate of 189.3 burglaries per 100,000 people home burglaries.

A common burglary trend nationwide is “porch pirating,” in which burglars drive through neighborhoods to steal packages off of people’s porches. This is a growing crime, with 67% of Americans falling victim.

How Do Burglars Choose Homes? 

Burglars want to get in and out as quickly as possible. Houses that offer easy access and escape routes are often their prime targets. They want to be able to enter the house while being shielded from the road, so high fences or vegetation that can cover them is ideal. Burglars also target empty homes as they want to avoid being caught.

A lack of security also makes a house very attractive — any type of high-profile security system will usually deter them. In fact, 60% of criminals admit that they would change targets if they saw a security system in place. The kinds of home security they look out for are surveillance cameras, glass break alarms on windows and other alarm monitoring systems.

Top 10 Common Signs of Casing

How can you tell if someone is casing your house? Here are the top ten common signs:

1. Unusual Vehicles

You know your street and how busy it gets. If you notice cars parked near your home that often have a person sitting in them, notify your security company. They will investigate and talk to the person. Often, a simple acknowledgment that you can see them or have noticed them is enough to make them move. Never confront the person in the vehicle, and always keep a safe distance. 

2. Foot Traffic

Some burglars prefer walking the neighborhood to driving, as a slow-moving vehicle can be suspicious. Take note if you spot anyone loitering around properties, checking fences or looking into windows. They could be studying house layouts and resident routines.

3. Unsolicited Services 

Burglars might find some excuse to engage with you and your property to better understand the house. They might pose as service professionals and come to your door under the guise of advertising their services or selling a product. They may also pose as someone from a charity organization accepting donations.

4. Door-to-Door Surveys

Burglars may also pretend to be distributing surveys to residents of a neighborhood, perhaps even under the guise of advocating for a particular community initiative. They’ll often come to your door and interact with you so you aren’t suspicious of them as they walk around your neighborhood.

Anther method they might use is to stick posters on houses and gates to see if anyone will remove them. The burglar will assume that no one has noticed if they are not removed. 

5. Light Tampering

Burglars might have decided that your house is an easy target, but there are too many outside lights. If your bulbs outside keep getting damaged or unscrewed, it could be them trying to darken the surroundings.

6. Taking Pictures

It is incredibly easy now for anyone to take photos, and while the odd selfie of a jogger shouldn’t be a safety concern, if you spot anyone taking a lot of photos of different houses, you should be vigilant.

7. Interest in Security 

A burglar might attempt to question you about your security. They could do this by dressing up as a competitive security salesman, pretending to sell you newer security while asking you about what you already have installed. They might also pretend they have just moved into the area and want to know what everyone else is using so they can do the same at their house.

8. Marking

Not all burglars are solo acts. You might find three or four burglars working together. One will do the casing and observation, then mark the house for his associate. Signs that your house is marked could be as simple as turning the welcome door mat or leaving a ball on the front lawn.

9. Trash Tampering

A burglar may go through your trash to try and find out information that might be of use to them. For example, any travel arrangements, such as printouts or credit card statements. Other items like pamphlets from your local gym or upcoming class specials from your dance class are all good starting points for them to know more about your life.

10. Testing Security Responses

Another tactic is to check everyone’s response time and to see if your security system is in check. They will come and just knock on your window or push on a door to attempt to trigger the alarm. The idea is to then note how everyone responds. 

Preventative Measures to Take When You Suspect Your Home Is Being Cased

Stay calm if you suspect your house might be on someone’s list. There are measures that you can take to safeguard your home:

  • Upgrade security systems: Contact your security company and let them know you think you may be targeted. They can see if they can do any upgrades to increase your safety, like ongoing monitoring for your video security system.
  • Enhance visibility: Trim any branches, shrubs or trees that could be interfering with visibility. Target potential hiding spots near entry points to your house and ensure enough visibility for your cameras. 
  • Strengthen entry points: Reinforce doors and windows with strong locks and deadbolts. Give all sliding doors a secondary locking system like a trellis. 
  • Routine: If you think your movements are being monitored, change them if you can. Work different days remotely or leave home early. Ask a friend to house-sit for a few days to throw them off.

Take Steps to Secure Your Home

We help clients select the ideal setup for their space, budget and needs. We offer a discreet, state-of-the-art home security system which will be installed by our professional team. When you work with us, you’ll receive a free estimate, a thorough walkthrough and professional insight from our expert staff.


We offer free quotes on our security and alarm systems. Get in touch with Prestige Security Solutions for your home security needs.