VinTech recently attended a burglary awareness workshop hosted by 4 “pros”, former burglars all currently serving jail sentences. These burglars gave us an insightful, honest look inside their techniques, preferences, and opinions. Keep reading for a peek inside the life of burglar!
21 Things A Burglar Won’t Tell You
1. Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.
2. The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors.
3. I’ll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If your neighbor hears one loud sound, he’ll stop what he’s doing and wait to hear it again. If he doesn’t hear it again, he’ll just go back to what he was doing. It’s human nature.
4. I’m not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for a fancy alarm system and leave your house without setting it?
5. I love looking in your windows. I’m looking for signs that you’re home, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems I’d like. I’ll drive or walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds, just to pick my targets.
6. Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It’s easier than you think to look up your address.
7. To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way to let in a little fresh air. To me, it’s an invitation.
8. If you don’t answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and just walk right in.
9. Of course I look familiar. I was just here last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your refrigerator.
10. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier.
11. Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste, and taste means there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.
12. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway, and I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes for you to remove it.
13. If it snows while you are out of town, get a neighbor to create a car and foot tracks into the house. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway.
14. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don’t let your alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it’s set. That makes it too easy.
15. A good security company alarms the window over the sink. And the windows on the second floor, which often access the master bedroom and your jewelry. It’s not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there too.
16. It’s raining, you’re fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to lock your door- understandable. But understand this: I don’t take a day off because of bad weather.
17. I always knock first. If you answer, I’ll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters. Don’t take me up on it!
18. Do you really think I won’t look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet.
19. Helpful hint: I almost never go into the kid’s rooms.
20. You’re right. I won’t have enough time to break into that safe where you keep your valuables. But if it’s not bolted down, I’ll take it with me.
21. A loud TV or radio can be a great deterrent. If you’re reluctant to leave your TV on while you’re out of town, you can buy a $35 device that works on a timer and simulates the flickering glow of a real TV. You can find that at www.faketv.com.
So how do they do it? What neighborhoods do they target? How do they sell/get rid of YOUR stuff?
All of the burglars preferred upper and middle class homes, “yuppie” neighborhoods. They would target homes by knocking on the door to see if you were home. If you weren’t, they would enter through an unlocked window or door, the basement, sliding glass doors, and even remove window AC units.
All four of the burglars claimed the master bedroom to be their favorite room. They check closets, woman’s lingerie drawers, under the mattress, etc. for cash and jewelry. They know all about those secret hiding spots you have, like a tin in the closet. A surprising hot spot is the junk drawer in the kitchen, which typically becomes a storage drawer for a lot of your information, including your checkbook, unactivated credit cards, etc. The best place they gather your information though is in your computer room. People typically keep all important documents by their computer including their passport, social security card, a lease or mortgage, etc.
The burglars typically would just carry your stuff out, or even load up your car. Keys can sometimes be found in the house, or they have already entered your house by using your garage opener after breaking into your car.
They bring your stolen goods to a “fence man”. A “fence man” is a street person who trades in stolen items. They rarely use pawn shops.
How can you protect yourself?
Burglars are lazy. The more “layers” of protection you have, the better. They do not want to work hard, so set up as many deterrents as you can! Deterrents include security lighting, an intrusion alarm, a privacy fence, a loud dog, etc.
One of the most beneficial things you can do to protect your home is to communicate with your neighbors. In every case with these burglars, they were caught by a concerned neighbor who later called the police or identified them.
Set your alarm. More often than not, people that have a security alarm, do not use it. You never know!
Think that dog will protect you? Think again. These burglars claim most dogs were just happy to see some company in the home. And believe it or not, they will kill a dog that tries to attack them. Dogs are more useful for alerting a neighbor something is amiss.
If you have security cameras, make sure they are high enough that a burglar can not cut the wires or smash it.
Mark your belongings. Choose a discrete place and put something like your initials and the last 4 numbers of your social security number. This way, if your bicycle or TV is recovered, you have some way to identify it. Also, jot down a quick list of your valuables and serial numbers.
Think smart. Don’t install a steel door on a weak, wood door frame. Don’t leave old electronics boxes by your trash. Don’t advertise your habits and wealth on social media sites. Don’t leave any expensive items, like an iPod or GPS device, in plain view inside your car.
Above all, take simple precautions like locking your doors, closing your blinds, and setting your intrusion alarm.
Watch a clip from the Discovery Channel’s “It Takes A Thief” to learn how the “pros” rob your home.