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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

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...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.