Property crime is unfortunately part of life, only a lucky few of us will not have been a victim in some shape or form. It is mostly a crime of opportunity and the thief is usually just chancing your property; very rarely will it be planned in any way professionally.
Landlords need to screen tenants
The first barrier against a possible crime is through being a diligent landlord. Each tenant should be vetted thoroughly. In a downturned market it might be tempting to take the highest bidder but be patient and check through all the documents and verify with the police if the tenant has any prior record.
Gates, alarms and dogs
It is proven that even a sign that says beware of dog can reduce the threat of a break in. Having an alarm system that is clearly visible from the front of the house, with flashing led lights has the same effect. Gated premises, with high walls will make attempts at trespassing much less likely. A barking dog or creaking gate is the last thing a criminal wants as it can be enough to alert neighbours. The cost of alarms has gone down considerably, especially when compared against the price of tenant turnover and property crime.
Fake alarms and cameras
It seems to work to even have a fake camera, but a determined criminal might not be put off. Bars on windows, sensor lighting and cages over HVAC units will usually push an opportunist on toward the next nearest target.
Crime prevention through environmental design is an interesting school of thought. It shows that certain types of lighting and placement of such, along with fencing and other design elements can be the necessary fortress against theft.
Tenants can help
Ask your tenants to alert you if they are out of town for a while so you can check up on the property. It’s a good idea to tell them to leave a light on when they are out of the house. Locking and padlocking is crucial. Make sure all windows are tightly sealed. Outside lights should be left on and frequently tested. An unkempt place can be an invitation for a burglar.
Hedges and bushes should be kept low and trimmed to increase visibility.