What do convicted burglars have to say about securing your home? (Updated 2019)

Posted by Louis Wood on

Burglars: Their Patterns and How to Protect Against Them


Here at DefendItYourself.com we feel it is important for you to know if you are taking are enough to protect your home from intruders. Should you keep your lights on? Will your home security system actually protect you? What are a burglar’s patterns and what keeps them at bay? A survey was given to 86 inmates serving time for burglary. The inmates were asked to respond anonymously to 17 questions elaborating on how and when they broke in, and what they were looking for.

How did you break into a home or apartment?

Most inmates broke in through an unlocked door or window. If there were no unlocked entries, they would kick open the door, look for large doggy doors, or windows left open for air conditioning units. Most burglars would rather kick open a door than break glass. The sound of loud bangs is less alarming than glass breaking, and they don’t run the risk of getting cut.

Once inside, what was the first thing you looked to steal?

Jewelry, electronics, cash, credit cards, collectibles, and guns are all attractive to burglars.

Where did you look for hidden valuables?

Most burglars start by searching the master bedroom, and then move to the rest of the house. They look EVERYWHERE! From the stove and freezer, to the fish tank and toilet tank, bookshelves and in boxes of cereal.

What time of the day did you prefer to break in?

Burglars prefer to break in during early morning hours or afternoon. Most children will be in school and adults will be at work. They typically avoid lunch time and the weekends.

Did home protection or security signs posted outside the home deter you?

There were mixed responses regarding this question. Some burglars said it didn’t faze them, while others knew how to disable alarms or avoid setting them off.

Did pets in the home, like a dog, make you think twice?

Big, loud dogs would deter most of the burglars, but small dogs don’t seem to bother them. Beware dog signs would help keep some burglars away.

Did you typically knock on the front door before breaking into a home?

Yes. All of the inmates would knock on the front door before breaking in.

If someone answered the door, what would you say?

Some would act like they were looking for a friend or just say they had the wrong house. Others would approach the resident as though they posted an ad on Craigslist, or wear nice clothing and pretend they were conducting an anonymous survey.

If a home alarm system went off, what would you do?

Most intruders would leave immediately. One said he would try to turn it off, and another would search the home for approximately 2 minutes and then leave.

If there was a security camera visible, would it keep you from breaking in?

Burglars generally agreed cameras were a deterrent.

Did lights on in the home make you think twice?

There were mixed responses regarding this question. Lights were a deterrent for some, but one burglar said the combination of lights on and closed blinds created an attractive location.

If you heard a radio or TV on inside the home, would you still break in?

Most burglars would not break in.

Would it make a difference in there was a vehicle in the driveway?

Almost all of the burglars would think twice before breaking in if they saw a car in the driveway. They consider it a sure-fire sign of someone being home.

What is the ideal target for a burglary?

Homes with big fences and overgrown trees are appealing. If the home is away from other homes, has large trees, bushes, or shrubs, or has reserved and conservative neighbors, it is more likely to become a target. Nice homes with nice cars=a person with money.

Did you ever do surveillance on your target?

The responses were mixed. Some burglars did surveillance before a burglary, while others did not.

If you did surveillance, what were you trying to figure out?

Most of the burglars were looking for the best opportunity to break in. They observe your weekday schedules, what you drive, if there is a dog, and look for any hidden keys. They also look for when the house will be empty and for how long.

What is the one thing homeowners can do to avoid being burglarized?

Make your property visible with good lighting and trimmed bushes and trees. Get to know your neighbors and alert police if you see anything suspicious. Always leave a TV or radio on. Install cameras and make them visible.


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