Many of the ‘clever tricks’ home owners rely on to keep burglars out – such as leaving lights on at night – simply don’t work.
That’s according to people who really know – ex-burglars.
But the good news is that there are some things which do scare burglars off – or at least make hardened thieves think twice about choosing your property.
We’ve collected some eye-opening tips from reformed – and unreformed – thieves on what will make them think twice about breaking into your house.
1) Don’t leave spare house keys in your car
This tip was offered as part of an anonymous note delivered to residents in the small Australian town of Rowville, south of Melbourne.
A man who said he had burgled homes in the area during ‘decades’ of drug addiction said that keys left in cars parked outside provided an easy ‘way in’.
2) Don’t leave one light on
Some burglars actually look for houses with one telltale light left on – a sign that the owner is away, and trying to fool any passing thieves.
Writing on Reddit, one burglar says, ‘I often picked houses by the stupid tricks people use when they go out of town. Tons of lights on, and an obnoxiously loud TV on in the living room at 2am on a sunday night in a upper middle class neighborhood? LOL!’
3) Put a ‘cage’ over your letterbox
A reformed thief, speaking to the Telegraph, said that a ‘cage’ over the letterbox in your house could help to foil burglars.
He said, ‘It is standard practice for burglars to put a long stick through your letterbox and “fish” your keys off the hall table. Not only will they be able to break into your house, but they will be able to steal your car, then take away more of your possessions.’
4) Be wary of local cab firms
A self-proclaimed burglar, writing on Reddit, suggests that using cab firms when you go out for the evening can be a bad idea.
He said, ‘Certain cab drivers are in cahoots with burglars, and let them know when a house is empty for most of the night because the students are out clubbing. Get the cab to pick you up near your home, not at it.’
5) Make sure your front door looks the part
Instead of trying to scare burglars off with fake alarms, make sure your front door looks secure – and shows off that you have a deadlock.
A reformed thief, speaking to the Telegraph, said, ‘Look at your front door first, because that is what burglars do. If your front door looks tatty, or if it only has one cylinder lock (e.g. Yale), instead of a cylinder lock plus deadlock (mortise), it will catch a thief’s eye.’
6) Don’t leave anything in your back garden which could help burglars get in
Door handles placed mid-way up garden gates can help burglars vault over – and movable garden furniture can help burglars get in via windows.
One self-confessed burglar, writing on Reddit, said, ‘Try not to have any stools or anything in the backyard. They make climbing through windows easier.’
7) Don’t bother with ‘beware of the dog’ stickers – or fake alarms
Most burglars are not impressed with stickers – and will spot fake burglar alarm boxes instantly.
One burglar, writing on Reddit, said, ‘Beware of dog’ and security alarm signs and stickers are completely worthless. I once broke into a house though a doggy door.
8) Don’t buy cheap alarms
Burglars know how to sidestep cheap alarm systems – and are put off by brands that work.
A note hand-delivered by a man on a motorbike, to residents in the small Australian town of Rowville, south of Melbourne, suggested that a good, working alarm system was the best defence.
‘Alarm systems are cheap these days and are the best form of deterrence. Even if a burglar does enter, they won’t hang around long if an alarm is sounding,’ the note said.
9) Use webcam security systems – and make the cameras visible
Most burglars agree on one thing – web-connected cameras are seriously off-putting.
One burglar, writing on Reddit, says, ‘ Cameras – inside and out. I knew a guy who was caught because he walked by someone’s webcam inside their house and ended up on the news. Make the cameras visible.’
10) Don’t share your holiday photos on Facebook
Burglars look for holiday pictures to work out when properties are liable to be empty – and then strike.
A burglar wrote, ‘Don’t post on Facebook that you are not home and how long you will be out. Don’t post holiday photos until you are back home.’
Braid whatever you may need
Create a blanket, mat or whatever else you need around the house.