Author Topic: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know  (Read 48753 times)

HumeMan

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23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« on: January 29, 2010, 07:10:26 PM »
23 Things REAL Burglars Know, But That You Don’t Think About

Do they really think I would not look in the lingerie drawer? Always check the bedside table, the medicine cabinet, and dresser drawers first. I found a stun gun in a drawer once. I guess they just did not take it with them.

A loud TV or radio can keep me away better than a good home alarm system. But some are unwilling to leave anything on while they are out of town, even when they can buy cheap devices like motion detectors with sirens and things that work on a timer that looks like someone is really there.

Never waste your time by going into kids' rooms. There is nothing but toys in there. They would never hide valuables in a child's room.

If they have decorative glass at the front entrance, see if they let the alarm company install the control panel where you can see it.

You can also spot a motion detector if it is near the entrance. Do they really think I cannot see the blinking armed light through glass?

Hey, in my neighborhood they will let me use the bathroom while I am working in their yard, so I can unlatch the back window to make it easy for me to get in when I come back. I can also look around for a surveillance camera in the area.

There is not enough time to break into that safe where their valuables are but if it's not bolted down, you can just take it with you.

Look in the windows. I look for signs that they could be home, and for an expensive TV or for a cabinet with china or silver. Even those fake surveillance cameras fool me. I can't tell the dummy cams from the real cams.

Drive at a normal speed through the neighborhood at night, before they close the blinds. You can just to pick your targets.

Do not be surprised if they pay loads of money for an expensive alarm system and walk right out of the house without setting it.

Always knock first. If they answer, just ask for directions somewhere or offer to mow their lawn. Carry a clipboard. If they answer be sure to check to see if they have any pepper spray in their hand or on a nearby table.

Sometimes, you can dress like a salesman and carry a couple of bottles that you bought at the dollar store. But you never, ever should look like a burglar.

Check on MySpace or Facebook because some of them will announce their vacation on their page. The kids are always bragging about the vacation.

I leave immediately if you see loud dogs or nosy neighbors. They will get you caught every time. At night I take pepper spray with me in case a dog chases me.

Break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If the neighbor hears one loud sound, he'll listen and wait to hear it again. Don't worry; he won't check it out if he doesn't hear it again.

If they don't answer when I knock, sometimes I get lucky and walk right in when I try the door.

I always check windows to see if they are open just a crack during the day for a way to let in a little fresh air. It is easy to get inside from there.

Look around the outside of the house for nice manicured lawns or pretty flower beds. That tells you they have style... And that means there are expensive things inside.

If the car is left out in the driveway, walk buy and touch the hood. If it is warm, someone is at home they still may be awake. Just move on.

Those skate boards and toys their children haphazardly leave outside means they may have a nice computer or game system.

You really should look for newspapers piled up on the lawn.

Use the computer to generate and leave a pizza flyer on their door to see how long it takes them to remove it.

If it snows look for car and foot tracks in the drive or on the walk. If there are none after a couple of days they may be on vacation. You can come back during the night.

Offline Serellan

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2010, 11:58:51 PM »
Great post!  Good things to think about!

Offline spisblog

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2010, 07:42:27 AM »
I remember reading a police blotter a while back where thieves would take garage door openers from cars parked in driveways at night. They would then use them later during the daytime when the homeowners were at work.

Most people don't know how to change their garage door codes.  That's one of the first things I do when moving to a new house.

Also, Be sure to use the electronic lock on the garage door opener at night and lock the door between the house and garage.

Offline fndrbndr

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2010, 08:18:23 AM »
Wow...where did this come from, an actual burglar? Interesting to see things from the other perspective.

Hare of Caerbannog

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2010, 08:27:15 AM »
Good stuff here.
+1 from me HumeMan

I have several relatives that have spent a considerable amount of time locked up in federal prisons and state prisons in California, Missouri, and Kansas.
They all have a similar story.
A standard technique that is commonly discussed in prison is to find a skinny late teenage boy and send him through a neighborhood with a box of oversized candy bars, a sad story, and a clipboard with each address listed.
The kid is trained to look for some of the very things HumeMan  listed.
When someone answers the door he grades the house and its occupants.
This saves the burglar a lot of time and can keep him from entering the wrong house.
Whenever an older kid comes to my door I always ask about school. Teacher names, principal's name, do you know so-and-so, etc.

Offline IowaFreak

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2010, 12:37:26 PM »
Great post Hume!

A couple of years ago there was a show on called "It takes a Thief" it really opened my eyes to how unnoticeable a burglar could be, and how quick they could be in and out with everything of value.

Offline IowaFreak

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2010, 12:41:58 PM »
I guess the show is still on "Find out on It Takes a Thief on Discovery Channel, weekdays at 6 p.m. ET/PT"

I thought they had cancelled it.

Offline spisblog

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2010, 02:29:36 PM »
There's a lot of good info regarding home security- both awareness/processes and devices/hardware, on that show.

One of the shows highlighted some 3M window film that helps make glass practically shatterproof.  It's basically a really strong laminate, like a car windshield has.  That was cool stuff!  That would be good for patio doors and basement windows.

I have Gila window film on some windows (for UV and solar radiation reflection) which I think provide some of those benefits but for a fraction of the cost. 

I'll don't know for sure because I'm not going to take a baseball bat to my windows ;)

Plus there's a tax rebate for it, since it saves energy.  It's easy to install and really does made a difference when the sun is beating down.  I'm using the 70% film.  When there's light outside it's reflective so people can't see in.


Offline fndrbndr

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2010, 02:38:26 PM »
Anyone ever been burglarized before? That's one of the things I'm thinking about for when we move out to the country.

About 10 years ago, we lived in South Louisiana in a mobile home out in the country. It was relatively secluded, and some ass clown broke in while we were away. He took my Mossberg 590, our fireproof safe, all our CDs, our microwave and our stereo. Just cherry picked all of our stuff. I remember feeling really vulnerable and violated. I also felt stupid when I realized how easy it was for the thief...he used a flat blade screwdriver to pop the back door lock. That was definitely an educational and eye opening experience.

Offline spartan

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2010, 05:59:14 PM »
Anyone ever been burglarized before? That's one of the things I'm thinking about for when we move out to the country.


I've never had my home burglarized but have had several cars broken into/gone through.  I used to live in a college town and it was not uncommon for license plates to be stolen or swapped and registration or insurance info to be taken.

When it comes to people visiting my house selling magazines, candy, books, I am not adverse to answering the door with a firearm visible on my person.

Offline 19114life

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2010, 06:19:47 PM »
I put in security systems every day for people and have had to go on service call for breakins.  People need to remember that the 2nd floor of your house is normally very vulnerable.  Just because it is high off the ground, people often forget about locking the windows or not having security measures installed.  I have been to multible house that have been broken into from the upstairs windows.  just walk around your house and ask your self if I locked my self out how can I get in I bet there is a door or a window that you normally over look.  If you have a tree close to your house or leave ladders outside you are helping the guy thats breaking into your house.  Another thing to remember is on your garage door, do you have glass windows on it.  If so did you remove the safety manual release cord that hangs from the door track. If not all some one has to do is break the glass and pull the rope, the door will now open without the motor.  You all don't know how many people I have had call me 2 years after I install a 3,000 security system for because they have never used the system and forgot what their code is.  Another thing people do is make their security code their birth date, PLEASE DONT DO THIS, and please don't make it 1234.  Modern technology has mad it alot harder to get around security systems, but all the technology in the world isnt gonna prevent you from not locking your doors.  Also for any body who is having a house built, have the the contract bring the phone box and telco line directly into the house and do not mount it on the outside of the house.  There are many cellular systems out there now for security systems but in rural areas they are always gonna work.  Thanks for listing and hope this helps.

Offline joeinwv

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2010, 06:58:22 PM »
I also tend to think that the average crook is not some criminal mastermind. If these guys had brains and liked to work, they would have jobs. The bottom line being, if target A is even marginally more difficult than target B, that's where they're going.

Since my wife and I both work, we are not home during the day. So I do not discourage my dogs from barking at the mail man.

Offline JGreene

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2010, 07:36:36 AM »
We where robbed when I was a kid, and we lived in the country. 

I like the idea of making MY home less attractive than the neighbor's. 

What about storing valuables in grocery packaging?  I can't imagine a thief going through the pantry.
I'm more concerned about the 'home invasion' scenario than a burglery.  I keep the doors locked all the time so at least they'll have to make noise to get in and it will slow them down long enough to 'prepare'.

Offline Mr. Blank

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2010, 10:05:04 AM »
Hume,
Great post man! I just turned your profile over to the state police!
 ;D

HumeMan

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2010, 05:11:11 PM »
That's okay.  I just got off the phone with them.

I told them about how I interviewed you for this post.    ;D

Offline Tackleberry

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2010, 05:57:53 PM »
We where robbed when I was a kid, and we lived in the country. 

I like the idea of making MY home less attractive than the neighbor's. 

What about storing valuables in grocery packaging?  I can't imagine a thief going through the pantry.

If you have a storage area, put in boxes clearly labeled "garage sale" or "junk to sell."
Just an idea

Offline SteveInTx

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2010, 06:12:38 PM »
Regarding answering the door to salespeople.  I'm not one of Pavlov's dogs.  Just because you knock or ring my doorbell does not mean I will answer it, and generally I do not.  I have ways of checking to see who is there without going near the door.  100% of the time it is not someone I am expecting or need to talk to.  Opportunity sometimes knocks at your door for someone else (if you get my drift).

Offline texican

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2010, 10:23:45 PM »
Just visiting my place might get you a dirt nap.   There are no drive by's.  There's no just trying to sell this or that... if you made it this far, you are seriously looking for trouble... or more likely night hunting or poaching.  The few 'accidental's' that have made it down here got the third degree, license plate checks, driver's license number written down... and also found out where they lived.  If they were night hunting they got the fear of death put on them.

My cousin has guard dogs a mile up the dirt road from me... her dogs start barkin, and my guard dogs start barking, then the littler dogs start barking... there is no 'sneaking' up here... if I'm home, I greet them armed.  Step out of the vehicle without me to restrain the 90 something pound dogs, and one or the other of the pack is liable to take out some neck meat.  They're not gun shy, so a bad guy would need to shoot fast, and have plenty of reloads...

We're also on a burglar's nightmare.... a one way road... one way in, same way out... I've actually turned around out on the main highway, when I saw people that I didn't recognize, heading down the road leading to my road... if they made the right decision and took the left, no biggie, they were headed to a well location... take the right, they got some 'splaining to do.  Woe be to him caught leaving with a truckload of booty...

After the shtf, or if teotwawki comes, I think the presence of a hanging scarecrow (fake in the beginning, but anatomically correct, wrapped in a sheet, with rotting meat for effect.... and later on, if necessary, a real corpse) might discourage thieves.

I use to know all the thieves in the area, on a rough basis... I let it be known that if anything whatsoever happened bad down here, I'd come to 'see' them first... and they wouldn't see me.  For some reason, they always veered wide of me and mine...

Offline ChadK

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2010, 10:41:00 AM »
Not sure if I'm being paranoid or not, but....

Went to leave for the office this morning and garage door was open.  I just figured I left it open last night by mistake.  Then I tried to put the key in the deadbolt of the door between the house and the garage and the key would only go in a quarter of the way.  Same thing with the door knob.  I took the locks off the door and worked the key back and forth until it went all the way in.  This ended up pushing the back of the locks out the length of a key.  I just put them back on the door now that they work but that freaked me out.  I'm going to be changing my garage codes in a few minutes.

We live in a "rural" development, and haven't had any experience with this sort of thing.  My first thought is someone "read" the codes of the garage door openers and put something in the locks so they could get in later.  So, am I just being paranoid????

Offline Tackleberry

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #19 on: February 03, 2010, 11:48:49 AM »
What was the foreign object in the locks?
Have you lost a remote to the opener?
If you have an older opener, someone could have lifted the code. DO change the code anyway.
Shut your garage door & try to lift it by hand. You'd be surprised how many garage door openers will not lock the door down. I heard about this & tried it on my house. The door lifted right up with very little resistance. Fixed that immediately.

Offline ChadK

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2010, 12:03:28 PM »
Good tip TackleBerry, I will check that.  No remotes were taken, but I am changing them anyway.  I'm not sure what the objects were/are.  I took the lock/knob off the door with the intention of getting the objects out, but I couldn't see in there and with the knob and lock off the door the objects just went further and further into the lock as I tried to pull them out.  Now the key goes all the way in, and I don't have time (nor do I know how to take the locks apart) to change the locks.

Anyone have any ideas?  I might try taking them apart later...

Offline Tackleberry

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #21 on: February 03, 2010, 12:08:25 PM »
Just be sure you can lock that door between the house & garage. If you can't, unplug the opener & use the manual lock on the garage door.

Offline JerseyVince

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #22 on: February 03, 2010, 12:46:25 PM »
Simple but effective tool for garage doors is to put a Key/combination lock through one of the holes in the door track close to one of the rollers so even if they lift the door or have the code the door only goes up a cpl inches.
Almost every Gas Station/Dealership/work shop does or should do this.  I have and do
If your going away you can lock it but if your home and worried about a fire and not being able to unlock it in time just hook it through and if needed you can just pull the lock off and toss it without worrying about a key

Offline Who...me?

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #23 on: February 03, 2010, 01:34:36 PM »
When we bought our current house the garage door tracks had a hold driller right above one of the rollers and there was a bolt attached to a short length of chain.  The door I rarely use has the bolt in unless I am using it.  After I started coming home from work and finding the door open I started using the bolt in the track for the other door. And I changed the codes.

Probably unnecessary but I also wired the outlet that the opener is plugged into through a switch so when I get home and go into the house I hit the switch and the opener is unpowered.


Offline ColdHaven

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2010, 03:30:49 PM »
I have seen lists like this before, and even youtube videos where they talk about it. I believe Jack even covered some of this topic awhile back. Its very good advice that I think everyone should follow. Plan according to some of these things and I think you will have come a long way toward protecting your home more than most people do.

Offline Mr. Blank

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #25 on: February 03, 2010, 10:20:55 PM »
That's okay.  I just got off the phone with them.

I told them about how I interviewed you for this post.    ;D

Yet another one of my secrets out!  ;D

Offline Spamity Calamity

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #26 on: February 11, 2010, 04:24:07 PM »
23 Things REAL Burglars Know, But That You Don’t Think About

Do they really think I would not look in the lingerie drawer? Always check the bedside table, the medicine cabinet, and dresser drawers first. I found a stun gun in a drawer once. I guess they just did not take it with them.

A loud TV or radio can keep me away better than a good home alarm system. But some are unwilling to leave anything on while they are out of town, even when they can buy cheap devices like motion detectors with sirens and things that work on a timer that looks like someone is really there.

Never waste your time by going into kids' rooms. There is nothing but toys in there. They would never hide valuables in a child's room.

If they have decorative glass at the front entrance, see if they let the alarm company install the control panel where you can see it.

You can also spot a motion detector if it is near the entrance. Do they really think I cannot see the blinking armed light through glass?

Hey, in my neighborhood they will let me use the bathroom while I am working in their yard, so I can unlatch the back window to make it easy for me to get in when I come back. I can also look around for a surveillance camera in the area.

There is not enough time to break into that safe where their valuables are but if it's not bolted down, you can just take it with you.

Look in the windows. I look for signs that they could be home, and for an expensive TV or for a cabinet with china or silver. Even those fake surveillance cameras fool me. I can't tell the dummy cams from the real cams.

Drive at a normal speed through the neighborhood at night, before they close the blinds. You can just to pick your targets.

Do not be surprised if they pay loads of money for an expensive alarm system and walk right out of the house without setting it.

Always knock first. If they answer, just ask for directions somewhere or offer to mow their lawn. Carry a clipboard. If they answer be sure to check to see if they have any pepper spray in their hand or on a nearby table.

Sometimes, you can dress like a salesman and carry a couple of bottles that you bought at the dollar store. But you never, ever should look like a burglar.

Check on MySpace or Facebook because some of them will announce their vacation on their page. The kids are always bragging about the vacation.

I leave immediately if you see loud dogs or nosy neighbors. They will get you caught every time. At night I take pepper spray with me in case a dog chases me.

Break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If the neighbor hears one loud sound, he'll listen and wait to hear it again. Don't worry; he won't check it out if he doesn't hear it again.

If they don't answer when I knock, sometimes I get lucky and walk right in when I try the door.

I always check windows to see if they are open just a crack during the day for a way to let in a little fresh air. It is easy to get inside from there.

Look around the outside of the house for nice manicured lawns or pretty flower beds. That tells you they have style... And that means there are expensive things inside.

If the car is left out in the driveway, walk buy and touch the hood. If it is warm, someone is at home they still may be awake. Just move on.

Those skate boards and toys their children haphazardly leave outside means they may have a nice computer or game system.

You really should look for newspapers piled up on the lawn.

Use the computer to generate and leave a pizza flyer on their door to see how long it takes them to remove it.

If it snows look for car and foot tracks in the drive or on the walk. If there are none after a couple of days they may be on vacation. You can come back during the night.

Burglary sounds like more of a hassle than going to work. I think ill keep my dayjob.

Offline TigerDragon

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #27 on: February 11, 2010, 05:47:39 PM »
My escrima instructor works in the local parole system, and often interviews felons who are coming off of a term of sentence and going into parole status.  One person interviewed recently was a well known burglar for our area.  These are some of the things he said were his M.O.

He preferred to steal guns.  That being said, he says "guns are not as lucrative" any more, because most police immediately notify the pawn shops in the area once a burglary is reported.  These days "gaming consoles" and "plasma tv's" are what are most lucrative around here.  Bearing in mind his preferred booty (guns) here were some of his methods for scouting for a target to rob.

If there were toys in the yard, he wouldn't touch the place.  Toys in the yard means a family with children, and they are more likely to show up unexpectedly while robbing the place than a home without children.

He looked for "big boy toys."  If there was a four wheeler / ATV or fishing boat visible, he could be just about 99% sure that there were guns in the house somewhere.

If there were enough dogs inside and / or outside, he wouldn't touch the place.  He wasn't particularly afraid of the dogs, but the noise they create is a problem.

If there were signs indicating the place is protected by a security alarm, he may or may not take the chance.  Most police won't respond within the time frame he would use to rob the place.

He would kick in the door and then listen.  If he heard movement inside or voices, he'd just leave.  If he didn't hear anything, he'd move in and check each room cautiously.

He never worked alone.  Always worked in groups of two.  One man inside the house, one man out.  Man inside would haul the load to the door.  Man outside would load from the door to the vehicle.

They never stayed for more than five minutes.  If they didn't find everything they wanted in that time frame, they moved on.  Most police seem to respond no sooner than fifteen minutes, because there are too many false alarms called in.

He never "cased" a joint really.  He would drive by and if the place looked like a good target, he'd stop and try it.  This was mostly at random.

He never hit a house in the middle of town.  He chose places closer to the outskirts where there are fewer neighbors to spy on them/call the police, and where the distance between houses was greater.

That's all I can remember off the top of my head, but I thought I'd share.

Offline CyborgX

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #28 on: February 11, 2010, 06:33:59 PM »
23 Things REAL Burglars Know, But That You Don’t Think About
If it snows look for car and foot tracks in the drive or on the walk. If there are none after a couple of days they may be on vacation. You can come back during the night.

Same thing I noticed about cars parked outside of the local train station. Some of them are piled up with snow. Good sign that nobody would walk out and see you trying to get into their car.

Offline ridgerunnersurvival

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Re: 23 Things REAL Burglars Know
« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2010, 12:46:49 AM »
Absolutly awsome topic.
One thing I do is the old school window locking method. When we got new windows, I measured the space between the bottom window and the top of the window frame and cut 2x4s to that length and physically blocked the window from opening. you can do this with sliding glass doors as well. with exterior doors, the simple act of putting a wooden jam under the door can stop all but the most determined theaf. If you have the ability, an actual bar across the door is also very effective.
Not the stuff most people think about in this day and age but they work, and have for many many years