I’m a Burglar—Here’s How to Outsmart Me
From burglars’ mouths to your ears: Here are the vulnerabilities they look for when they’re deciding whether to rob you blind.
Keep a car parked in your driveway
The investigative team at Portland, Oregon, news station KGW conducted an anonymous survey of 86 inmates incarcerated for burglary in the Oregon Department of Corrections, and almost all of the burglars surveyed said they’d think twice if they saw a car in a driveway. Check out these other ways you can make it look like you’re home when you’re not.
Keep your doors and windows locked
Yes, this seems obvious, and yet a lot of people actually forget to lock their doors and window. Most burglars KGW surveyed said they tended to “break in” simply by walking through an unlocked door or climbing through an unlocked window. If a burglar gets through this first hurdle, having a diversion safe can prevent further harm.
Consider making your door kick-proof
Some of the burglars surveyed by KGW said they’d be willing to kick in a locked door. It’s actually not difficult to kick in a door. However, you can make your door much more challenging by swapping out the faceplate on your door for one that uses three-inch stainless steel screws—just one of the tips from Family Handyman for reinforcing your door. Learn how to spot 15 signs your house is vulnerable to being burglarized.
Don’t ignore a knock on the door
Every burglar surveyed by KGW reports knocking on the front door before breaking into a home; if someone answers the door, the burglar makes up an excuse and moves on. You don’t have to open the door for the person, but definitely let the person know you’re home—you just might thwart a burglary.
Keep your radio or television on while you’re at work
Most of the burglars surveyed by KGW said they wouldn’t break into a home if they could hear a radio or see that the television was on. If you’re concerned about wasting electricity, consider setting a timer to turn on the radio or television during prime burgling time—find out what time of day burglars are most likely to break in.
Prune those shrubs
Burglars value their privacy while they’re breaking and entering. Theoretically, if every house on a particular block seemed empty, a burglar would still choose to target the house that offers the most privacy. To deter would-be burglars, keep the shrubs around your house well-trimmed.
Keep the outside of your home well-lit
Because burglars value their privacy while robbing you, they’ll be deterred by a well-lit property. Even if burglars are relatively certain that you’re at work or on vacation, they’d still rather target a home they can approach in the dark to avoid calling any attention to themselves. Here’s how to spot (and fix) 35 other things that make your home a target for burglars.
Rethink your regular routine
Burglaries happen much more quickly than you might think. Cleveland Police Captain Keith Sulzer tells cleveland.com that he often hears burglary victims say, “I was just gone for ten minutes.” If you keep to a regular routine and a burglar is watching your home, you can bet he or she will know when you leave and for how long—even if you’re just walking the dog. If it’s not possible to change up your routine, be sure to make it look like someone is home when you leave (turning on the TV or radio, for instance), even if you plan to be back in a jiffy.
Watch what you say on social media
Over time, more and more burglars are using social media to target potential victims. Don’t make it easier for them by announcing when you’re be leaving for vacation or posting from your trip. Even if you’ve set your social media settings to “private,” the information you post can still get passed around to someone outside your social circle. Check out the 13 sneaky signs a burglar is watching your home.
Consider investing in a security camera
“Get a camera and make it visible,” advises one of the burglars in the KGW survey. Of 57 convicted burglars surveyed by NBC 4 New York, 37 percent said they’d be inclined to avoid breaking into a house with a visible security camera positioned near a door.