13+ Things a Burglar Won’t Tell You

Is it a crime to spend money on a home security system these days? A look inside the mind of convicted burglars will help you decide.

Interviews by Michelle Crouch from Reader's Digest | September 2009
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    1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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 you to remove it.

    5. If it snows while you’re out of town, get a neighbor to create car and foot tracks into the house. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway.

    6. 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.

    7. 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.

    8. 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.

    9. 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.)

    10. Do you really think I won’t look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet.

    11. Here's a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids' rooms.

    12. 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.

    13. A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system. 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 television. (Find it at faketv.com.)




    14. 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.

    15. The two things I hate most: Loud dogs and nosy neighbors.

    16. 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.

    17. Your alarm only works if it's on. I’m not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for a fancy alarm system and leave your house without setting it?

    18. 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.

    19. Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It’s easier than you think to look up your address.

    20. Lock your windows. 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.

    21. If you don’t answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in. 

    Sources: Convicted burglars in North Carolina, Oregon, California, and Kentucky; security consultant Chris McGoey, who runs crimedoctor.com; and Richard T. Wright, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, who interviewed 105 burglars for his book Burglars on the Job.

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    Your Comments

    • Mindlessgue

      groos

    • Goodadvice55

      Armed and waiting for you, burglar

    • Wunsurfguy

      I will blow a hole through an intruder and then skull f+ck him/her. I am loaded for bear and will light you up, for sure, dude! Make my day..

    • Anonymous

      I have insurance.  I don’t worry. /shrug.

    • Ruger P95

      I find that my 7 motion detectors, my signs warning potential burglars about my camera monitoring system, and my automatic floodlights which go on and stay on every night are good deterrent.  None of them, however, are as good as my 9MM Ruger pistol which I carry with me everywhere I go INCLUDING inside my house.   Did I mention that it carries SIXTEEN rounds, and that I carry another 16 round clip with me?  I do not answer the door no matter who is knocking, and if they try to break in, they will meet Mr. Ruger.

      God made man, Sam Colt made them equal.

      • Robertbentham

        lol… whatta dillhole

      • Robertbentham

        lol… whatta dillhole

        • NotBornYesterday

          When someone comes to work inside my house they see my gigantic cane corsos viciously barking – guess they wont be back

          • Alarm

            I’ll poison your dog with a steak…Bark Bark no more. Lets not have a false sense of security…you may need more.

            • PlainTruth

              . . . tisk, tisk . . . just try poisoning my Glock 9mm . . .

            • Gotrocks

              Poison my dog and you’ll never get out alive.

      • Alarm

        What a bunch of idiots. A burglar is not going to break into your home when you are there. “Oh, mr. homeowner, I am going to break into your home on 2 o’clock on Tuesday afternoon. I am coming in the front door so make sure you are sitting on the stairway so you can blast my but as I come in.” If it’s a home invasion, then blast away…but no likely.
        Oh, don’t forget to let the burglar know to cut your phone and cable lines to cut off communication to the cs.

        • Becie

          Sorry, but there are plenty of cases where burglars have broken into homes that were occupied.  Successful stories were where the homeowner had a gun…

      • Alarm

        What a bunch of idiots. A burglar is not going to break into your home when you are there. “Oh, mr. homeowner, I am going to break into your home on 2 o’clock on Tuesday afternoon. I am coming in the front door so make sure you are sitting on the stairway so you can blast my but as I come in.” If it’s a home invasion, then blast away…but no likely.
        Oh, don’t forget to let the burglar know to cut your phone and cable lines to cut off communication to the cs.

      • Colin

        badass, man. I’m not messing with you.

      • Rainman

        Your Ruger pistol doesn’t use a clip, it uses a magazine. Clips load magazines, they are not the same.

      • Anon

        >clips

      • A

        What if they use a rocket launcher or grenades? Or a sniper rifle?

    • Vaknessveer

      Wouldn’t it be so much better if you put it all in your bank locker instead of keeping it in your master bedroom. it’s much harder to break into the bank then your house, you know.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FGC2ANZA43O7MOXXD74YKZ2CYU TKramar

      Knock all you want, I’m not going to answer.

      • Shvraknidshan

        Hello! Did you snap out of it? Look TKramar if you don’t know who it is then how are you going to not answer it huh? What if it’s someone you rust or know? Think about it genuis.

        • PhotonX

          I know this is an older thread, but I just have to say…. Wow. In addition to being a second-class prick, this genuis can’t even spell genius, or.consider that the original poster might have CCTV. 
          .
          Think about it.

      • Andrew

         If you don’t answer, then about 60 seconds later, your back door is going to get kicked in and they are coming in to your house. Hopefully, they don’t have a weapon and they don’t want to hurt you. The best thing to do is not open the door, but ask who is there with it closed.

        • webmaster

          They come in on me and they are getting blasted, booya booya!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FGC2ANZA43O7MOXXD74YKZ2CYU TKramar

      Got tired of tossing out pizza flyers, so we taped one to the door.

      The problem a burglar would have here is that someone is almost always home. I work nights so I’m home during the day, and my room mate is here all night.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1535946333 Karen Hitchcock

      My Dad is on an Alzheimers’ unit, & Mom’s gone most of the day, sitting, holding his hand. And although it’s a rural area, everyone still knows everyone’s business. I’m going to get her a fakeTV, and a fake alarm panel (just wire an LED to a 9 volt battery – it’ll last forever.)

      • Shravani Kurapati

        Nice idea, but that won’t keep any robber from robbing your house, no?Think about it.

      • Shravani Kurapati

        Nice idea, but that won’t keep any robber from robbing your house, no?Think about it.

        • AngryAndConsiderate

          There are two things that need to be said upfront: 1: A security system does not necessarily keep a robber from robbing you either, and 2: Those items actually CAN help keep a robber from robbing a house. Any good thief will tell you (well, not really, but ex-thieves will) that they look for easy targets…actually, there’s not much that can be said that wasn’t already said in “article”. Did you even read it? A burglar is going to look for easy targets. That would be a house where nobody is home for long periods of time and can’t come back, a house that is open or unlocked (or doesn’t have any deathbolts), a house that looks empty. I mean…this was all mentioned already. Those items are a deterrent. They can and DO help keep people from robbing homes. Although I wouldn’t trust them alone, I’d use a combination of several things.

    • Steve

      FakeTV, I liked the idea so much I bought one for my house. Then, after seeing how well it worked, I bought some for my family as well.