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13 Things a Burglar Won’t Tell You

Learn what burglars are thinking and help prevent your home from being a break-in target.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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4. I Can Tell If You’re Around

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.

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5. Snow Tells Me A Lot

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

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6. Keep Your Alarm Control Pad Hidden

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.

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7. Alarm Locations Matter

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.

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8. Rain or Shine, I’m Out Working

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.

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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.)

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10. That’s Not a Good Hiding Place

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

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11. There’s One Place I Won’t Usually Visit

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

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12. Lock It Down

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.

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13. Sound and Light Are Excellent Deterrents

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

Sources for this article included convicted burglars in North Carolina, Oregon, California, and Kentucky; security consultant Chris McGoey, who runs; 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.