Advice from a Burglar…..and YOU?

burglarHere are 13 secrets of home invaders;  Reader’s Digest recently ran an article titled “13 Things a Burglar Won’t Tell You” that offers some sobering caveats from convicted burglars.

– Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.

– 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.

– Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste … and taste means there are nice things inside.

– Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway.

– If it snows while you’re out of town, get a neighbor to create car and foot tracks into the house.

– 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.

– 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 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.

– I always knock first. If you answer, I’ll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters.

– Do you really think I won’t look in your sock drawer?

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

– 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.

– A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system.

Z: I thought those were something we all ought to know, and our families should know them, so please send them around.  We’ve had a sudden rash of car break-ins on my street and anything like that’s unsettling, particularly if it’s a new situation.

Do any of you have any advice to add to that list?   Not suggesting YOU are a burglar, but maybe you’ve heard something that could also help?

Has your house ever been broken into and you’d like to share anything about it?

Thanks.  Stay safe!

Z  (thanks, Imp!)



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15 Responses to Advice from a Burglar…..and YOU?

  1. If someone knocks on my door and I don’t recognize that someone, I don’t let him in. Or I answer the door with my .38 Special in my hand (my right hand behind my back while I open the door with my left hand). And I stand back, too.

    Mr. AOW know that we and our home are at risk for crime. That wheelchair ramp is so obvious — no other place to put it. We do, however, always keep at least one of our cars parked in front of our house. Even if we’re not home, it looks as if somebody is home.


  2. In 2009, somebody got into our house while I was gone and Mr. AOW in the back yard. The back door was unlocked.

    Not much was stolen.

    The thief (or thieves) pulled out all my jewelry, but had only enough time to steal one gold necklace before I coincidentally arrived home in my Crown Vic Police Interceptor. The thief (or thieves) skedaddled out the back door as I was entering the front door.

    After clearing most of the house with gun in hand, I called the police. Fingerprint dusting ensued (I had been careful to touch as little as possible), but nobody was ever arrested.


  3. PS: Most of my jewelry was well hidden, but the thieves somehow managed to find those places. At the time, many homes and cars in our neighborhood were robbed.


  4. silverfiddle says:

    Kid, a dog indeed is great for home protection, in addition to good companionship.

    Also, closets are the first place criminals search.


  5. geeez2014 says:

    I’m glad there have apparently not been that many break ins to my readers, since only AOW’s mentioned hers (so sorry about that, AOW)….

    thanks for all the input.


  6. Baysider says:

    Great and timeless tips. (Except I would never have thought of the snow one)

    – Mr. B (an old wrestler) took out the first and only actual burglar-in-our-house. That’s when I saw a rap sheet, and this 24-year old slime had been sentenced to 7-yr terms on several occasions AS AN ADULT. Big education on the criminal ‘justice’ system, especially our day in court. When you have the perp IN HAND the police get there fast!
    – When I lived in Malibu I had to hunker down in a locked bedroom helplessly waiting for the sheriff. I was too remote to flee on foot, and the burglar had parked blocking my car in. Again, in a hot burglary they get there fast – about 90 seconds – and he had to scream up that tortuous Rambla Pacifico! This was the genesis of my interest in a firearm.
    – The next one Mr. B cornered in the alley and flagged down a patrol car that was looking for the man who had just assaulted a fireman.
    – Mostly he chased them off because his office was on the property and he investigated everything. It’s amazing the stories you get and KNOW are wrong when you know your neighborhood.
    – This included breaking up the midafternoon kidnap attempt of a tenant’s 5-year old son. Fortunately, the son ADORED Mr. B, and responded to his instructions instantly.
    – We learned the HARD way to always lock the front door when working in the back yard. You know my place, Z, so you know I’m not talking FAR. A thief stripped our bed and took the bedding, including a prized family heirloon quilt my parents made for me with all the scraps of favorite childhood clothes. We spent over an hour that night combing the alleys looking for anyone curled up in it and were prepared to reclaim it. Because it was quite spectacular and valuable, I even searched second hand stores – with pictures of proof of ownership in hand.
    – I took out after a car thief that broke into a neighbor’s old beater car to steal his radio. By using a shortcut I came within a step of bowling him over (don’t worry, Mr. B was right behind me).

    And we’ve gotten our share of curious ‘harmless’ looking strangers with odd stories at the door.

    Since we put the gates up most of this has stopped even though the front ones don’t lock and the tenants rarely close the alley gate shut.

    So when they talk about ‘the new urbanism’ I have quite a different take on it. With the train coming through we’re ramping up security. “They” say that doesn’t matter, but I know a guy who works for “them” who says that ain’t true, and HE’S moving farther away from the tracks.


  7. cube says:

    Good tips. I don’t know of any break ins in my immediate neighborhood. There was one incident, but it turned out to be a case of an estranged boyfriend kicking in my neighbor’s door and stealing her laptop and a few other things.

    I have a 110+ lb. German Shepherd and a 95+ lb. Doberman. They live in the house with us and are highly visible to passersby when they patrol the yard. Even with my dogs, and my Smith & Wesson .38 snubby, I don’t open the door for anyone I don’t know unless my super strong, equally armed hubby is home. Nothing like being vigilant and being prepared.

    Off topic: This weekend was Mr. Cube’s birthday and, while he played golf, I rolled a HUGE pot of grape leaves for his birthday dinner. They didn’t last long.


  8. I have never had a break in at any of the places we’ve lived, nor have any of my neighbors that I know of. I guess we’ve just been lucky. The dog idea is good, but a loaded .38 (which I have) is even better. The perp can’t throw poisoned meat to take out a loaded .38!


  9. Baysider says:

    I had a friend who trained his 2 great danes to NOT accept any food thrown over the fence and, of course, corner the perp. Worked great on both counts.

    Another rule: Don’t advertise your plans to be away. People used to stop their mail, until the thief learned from his buddy at the PO whose mail was stopped. Corollary: don’t talk too loud. Our tenants always catch us on the walkway to ask us to pick up the mail while they’re gone, feed the cat, etc. We face a 2-story wall of bedrooms and always steer those conversations low if they start too loud.


  10. geeez2014 says:

    Baysider, I’m sorry you and Mr. B have been involved in so much of that…particularly at the loss of your lovely blanket….Horrible.

    And yes, not advertising plans is very important….

    Cube, good for YOU! I sure can imagine it didn’t last long! MMM Tell him HAPPY BIRTHDAY from me! And yes, I think your dogs would put most burglars off!

    Mal, glad you’ve been okay, too. My folks and none of my large family have had break-ins…
    I did have a car stolen from my front curb, however, once. it’s pretty shocking.


  11. Imp says:

    Someone needs to invent a doorbell…that “rings” with the very believable bark and snarl of a Dobie or a German Shephard.


  12. Baysider says:


  13. cube says:

    Imp & Baysider: My Dobie & German Shepherd alert us way before someone gets to the door. Of course, they require a lot more maintenance than a guard dog burglar alarm 🙂


  14. lisa says:

    We were broken into in 1996 ,while my dog was in the house,luckiy he was not harmed but they did make off with quite a few things. Thankfully my neighbor called my house when she saw a strange car in tbe drveway which scared them off and she had my work phone # . We installed an alarm system after that then moved 3 years later
    So my advice is installl an alarm system before you get robbed and look out for your neighbors


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