The idea of a burglar breaking into your home is pretty terrifying to most people for obvious reasons. Luckily, you don’t have to spend all your time worrying about which measures are worth taking. Thanks to a particularly helpful Reddit thread, these are 45 ex-burglars who spilled their tricks to help people avoid being robbed.
Keep Quiet About Trips
Obviously, you can’t just disappear when you’re getting ready to go on vacation. There are certain people you have to tell for safety reasons if nothing else.
That being said, there’s a difference between telling a trusted friend you’ll be out of town and making it public knowledge. It might seem like a rudimentary concept but many people forget that there’s a danger to posting about your vacation before you leave or before you get back. It paints quite a target!
Get Clever With Hiding Spots
We’ve discussed and will continue to discuss how keeping things in obvious or common places can lead to an increased risk of them being stolen. So, where should you put things?
This person who was a victim of their friend-turned-burglar learned this by going through it themselves. If you have your valuables hidden by something burglars won’t want to mess with — for example, dirty laundry — it’s more likely that it won’t be discovered.
This tip doesn’t come from a burglar but someone who realizes they could easily be one if they wanted. While they were legitimate, too many people trusted them on their word alone.
Working as a door-to-door salesperson, this Reddit user found out that no one asked them to prove their credentials or identity before allowing them into the home. If they wanted to do something with malicious intent, this would serve as an easy way to get in even if someone was home.
Put a Beware of Dog Sign Up
If there’s one thing that is sure to scare burglars away, it’s the idea of tangling with a guard dog or even a pet protecting their owner – this Reddit user can attest to this.
With that in mind, it isn’t a good idea for everyone to get a dog, especially if they don’t have the means to take care of them. If this is the case, you aren’t completely out of luck. Rather, putting up a “Beware of Dog” sign will have a similar effect.
Fake Them Out
For a unique tip, you can rely on faking a burglar out to help keep them from getting in. This Reddit user came up with a pretty clever plan when it came to people breaking into their home.
They hid a spare key under their doormat, as many people do, but they glued it down. While they aren’t a burglar themselves, the cameras they had on their porch proved the concept works. They’ve seen people try to grab the key, realize it’s a trick, and run off.
Move Your Keys
It’s a common setup in many homes for keys to be right by the door. This way, you can just grab them off the hook or out of a bowl as you leave the house.
Unfortunately, this makes them easy for anyone to grab. By having your keys readily available by the door, you increase your risk of not only having a home that’s been broken into by a burglar but having your car stolen as well.
Lock Your Car Up
Alongside making your keys less readily available, you need to make sure you don’t make your car readily available to strangers either. If you don’t, you risk your car being stolen or burglarized.
As this person shared, a staggering number of people actually leave their cars unlocked — many with the keys still inside the car! This makes it incredibly easy to get into a car to steal items or cash and even just drive the car away without a problem.
Hide Your Spare Keys Better
Having a spare key to your house is important and sometimes even necessary. Everyone forgets or loses a key from time to time and can’t always afford to call a locksmith.
Yet, too many people put those keys in obvious places that make them easy for a burglar to find. Some of the most common spots for spare keys include on top of the door frame, under a potted plant, or under a doormat, making them easy for a burglar to find.
Lock the Windows
When you go to bed or leave the house, you probably make sure that your doors are all locked. For maximum safety, though, you should add a little more to your daily routine.
This person shared that while they were a teenager, they committed a few acts of burglary, mostly in schools. They did learn one important thing — if someone can’t get in through the door and they’re determined to gain access, they’re likely to take advantage of an unlocked window.
Nothing Valuable in Your Car
There’s nothing that puts you quite as at risk of burglary as having something valuable on display in full view for anyone to see.
This is especially true when it comes to protecting yourself from burglars who are car-hopping. If you have valuables in your car, someone is more likely to try and break into it. As such, it’s a good idea to take anything of value like cash, cards, and your phone with you rather than leaving them behind.
Move Your Jewelry
This burglar shared a tip that is crucial to know. When a burglar breaks into your home, one of the first places they’ll look is your closet if they’re able.
While you can’t help that this could happen, you can reduce the risk that you’ll lose something valuable. Closets are a hotspot for theft because it’s where many people keep valuable wearable items such as jewelry. To protect your items as much as possible, don’t keep your valuables in obvious places.
When Inviting People Inside
This person wasn’t a burglar themselves but they did get a handy tip about how to avoid the hassle! It’s an especially useful tip when someone is already in your home.
Specifically, if you’ll want to pay attention to this advice if you have a maid service or other cleaner in your home. These workers will see more of your home than the average visitor like a cable installation. Because of this, hiding places such as under your pillow will be easy to find.
Don’t Leave the Garage Open
While it seems obvious not to leave your garage door open overnight, it’s still an important fact to remember. Really, you should avoid keeping your garage door open at all when you aren’t there.
This burglar shared on Reddit that even when someone is working in their garage but leaves it open to go inside for a moment, this creates a window of opportunity for burglars. With an open garage door, it’s very easy for someone to slip in and take things while you aren’t looking.
Invest in a Decoy
While certain safes have their pros and cons, there is one way to use a small safe that could help save your belongings. This Reddit user knows by practice that this is a good idea.
If you purchase a cheap safe that could be easily stolen, try using it as a decoy. Don’t keep anything of value in it but, since it’s a safe, a burglar breaking into your home is likely to assume there’s something valuable inside. They’ll take that before checking.
Most Secure House on the Block
There are a lot of tips available here and elsewhere to make your home look less like it’s worth a burglar’s time to be robbed. They all usually come down to one concept: security.
As this person shared, if you live in a populated neighborhood, it isn’t always about a specific level of security. Sometimes, as harsh as it may seem, it’s just about being the most secure on the block. If someone robs the area then, your house is less likely to be targeted.
Other Ways to Use a Fake
This Reddit user expanded on what they learned from the previous one. While a glued down door key is clever, a fake door key might be the way to go too.
Once again, burglars want to be fast. As such, if they look for a spare and find it, they’ll just unlock the door and go in. Another user added that this is useful with a doorbell camera active to catch a glimpse of the guilty party.
Don’t Lose the Lights
In all reality, a burglar is more likely to break into your home when you aren’t there. This is a tactic that minimizes risk and gives them a little more room to nefariously explore your home.
This means that your home is more vulnerable when you’re out of town if you don’t take the right precautions. It’s helpful to use a smart light that you can turn on and off when you aren’t there too for an added effect of someone actively being in the house.
Mount the TV
This Reddit user offered another tip to help out if your home is already being burglarized. Specifically, they have tips that will help keep your electronics in your home.
If you want to make an effort to try and keep your TV in place, it’s a good idea to mount the TV rather than simply set it up on an entertainment stand. A freestanding TV monitor is another thing that is easy to grab and run with but a mounted TV monitor takes time to uninstall.
Find a Housesitter
A slightly more macabre tip comes from this Reddit user. What should you do in order to prevent burglaries of a house that belongs to someone who recently passed?
It’s usually common knowledge when someone has passed away and when the funeral will be. This is, in large part, thanks to the readily available information on social media. Since close friends will be at the funeral, it’s a good idea to find a housesitter during this time.
If a burglar is robbing your house, they usually don’t want to stick around too long. The longer they stay in the house, the higher risk they have of being caught and even apprehended.
This burglar shared that when they broke into a home, they didn’t want to spend more than about 15 minutes inside before making a break for it. This means that they didn’t have time to fight to get into something. In turn, inconvenient hiding and security spots are typically avoided.
Don’t Trust a Stranger
While many burglars are likely to do things the easy way, there are plenty out there that take their time as this Reddit user learned from their ex-burglar classmate.
Even though it wasn’t their primary method for getting their hands on people’s valuables, it was effective. They would “borrow” a piece of equipment, leave an apology note, and even buy them tickets to an event. Then, while they were gone, that was the prime time to break into the house.
Small Lock Boxes Aren’t Reliable
While it might seem like a good idea, there are distinct disadvantages to keeping valuable items in a small lockbox. Namely, it’s too close to the concept of keeping your valuables in a small safe.
Even if a lockbox is well-disguised, if a burglar does happen to see it, they just have to carry it away. Since it’s locked, they’re likely to assume that there’s something worth stealing inside. It’s better to invest in something like a wall safe that can’t be taken easily.
Watch Your Medicine Cabinets
While items that have an obvious monetary value are definitely an important consideration when thinking about burglars, there’s more to theft than direct cash or expensive jewelry.
You’ll also want to consider your medicine cabinet. As this burglar shares, one of the quickest tricks they had was to scoop everything out of the bathroom medicine cabinet. If you have a medication that you really need and are worried about theft, it’s a good idea to keep it somewhere less obvious.
Choose Your Safe Carefully
It often seems that one of the most surefire ways to protect your things is to invest in a safe to lock them in. However, this isn’t as foolproof as you might think.
As this former burglar shared, finding the right safe is key to protecting your belongings. This doesn’t mean a safe that isn’t easy to break into either. Specifically, you’ll want to look for a safe that’s bolted down and a little heavier. Otherwise, it’s easy to carry away to break into later.
Kids, Don’t Open the Door
It’s long been a point of focus for parents that kids shouldn’t answer the door. After all, you never know what could happen, right?
One of the possibilities lies in the fact that children don’t always have the skills to recognize if someone is suspicious or not. That makes it very easy for them to think they might be helping by grabbing the door but actually let someone into your home that you don’t want inside.
Watch Your Purses
If you’re someone who carries a purse around with you, you probably already know that you have to be careful so it doesn’t get stolen. It can happen quickly, though!
This Reddit user wasn’t a burglar themselves but they did know a few of their friends’ tricks. For one, they used to ride bikes around parking lots. This gave them a little more speed than running when they snatched purses up out of shopping carts. Put your purse in the car first.
Choose Your Windows Carefully
Moving into a home usually means that there are certain things that you can’t immediately control, like the windows in your home. However, a little renovation could be necessary.
This is the case if you have windows that you can open from the outside. While broken windows are a major concern during a break-in, you also don’t want windows that can be easily opened from the outside either. That will offer an easier and quieter way to get into your home.
Don’t Forget About Textbooks
When we think of valuables, we often think of the obvious options. This includes things like cash, jewelry, electronics, and debit or credit cards.
It could be the things that you don’t necessarily think about as valuable that actually pose a high risk, though. For one, college students should be aware that their textbooks are viable targets, particularly when they’re on campus. Not only are these expensive losses but they can be resold for quick cash.
Since burglars have a few tips they rely on, as we’ve discussed throughout this list, it’s often good to think outside the box. The more unique you are, the harder it will be to find your valuables.
There are plenty of niche tips that you can find online to help you out and you can even come up with some of your own. Like this person said in their example, a burglar would have to be around a while to find something like a false outlet.
We already discussed that things like social media aren’t your friend if you’re announcing you’re going on vacation. There are few other safety rules to follow, too.
A big one is that you shouldn’t make posts about expensive purchases that you’ve made. For one, it’s basically an advertisement that there’s something valuable in your home. Even worse, social media gives that information to more people than just seeing evidence directly from the outside of your house.
Think About What’s Valuable
This Reddit user made the definition between two types of burglars — those that know you and know where to look, and the common burglar just looking to get in and out as quickly as possible.
One of their recommendations included making sure that items that could be valuable aren’t easy to pick up and leave with. However, this person reminded us that some items are more valuable to a burglar than we might think. For example, your toolbox shouldn’t be on full display and easy to take.
Not the Nightstand
This tip didn’t come from a burglar themselves but rather someone who came home one day to find out their apartment had been burglarized. They shared one of the biggest lessons they learned that day.
When they spoke to the police about the incident, they were told that the burglar had worked quickly. As such, they had primarily checked the usual spots. That’s when the police told the victim of the crime that, in the future, it’s better to avoid keeping valuables in the nightstand.
Don’t Leave Your Shed Open
While your home and car are crucial to protect for its high value, you’ll want to make sure that your tool shed or garage is locked up tight as well.
If you don’t, you do more than to open yourself up to having these tools stolen. Those same tools can also be used to help gain access to your home, even if it is locked. This burglar warns homeowners to be careful about what tools they leave out and available to burglars.
Get a Second Pair of Eyes
If you’re trying to hide things in your home, it’s a good idea to try and get a fresh pair of eyes to see if others find your hiding spots as inventive as you do.
This Reddit user learned from their uncle who covered robberies that a great tip is to have a friend or family member you trust to help you out. They shouldn’t help hide things but after you hide them, you can call on these people to see if they can find it.
Stop Windows from Shattering
There’s plenty in your home that might not seem like you can make it secure without extensive work. For instance, how do you stop your windows from being easily broken?
There’s actually a solution! You can purchase a shatterproof film that’s made to stop your window from being easily broken. This is a transparent solution that won’t take away from the appearance of your windows but it will keep someone from breaking your window to get in.
Consider the Basement
Hiding your cash and valuables is of paramount importance in the case that a burglar breaks into your home — we’ve already covered this pretty extensively and there are more tips to come!
This ex-burglar had a pretty good tip for the average, middle-class homeowner. One of the best places to hide money is in an attic or basement where it won’t stand out. If you hide it in amongst old boxes, burglars are less likely to recognize anything in that pile as potentially valuable.
Keep Your Valuables Off-Site
While you ideally want to keep a burglar out of your house entirely, sometimes you can’t prepare everything. That’s where this tip comes in handy.
If you have something highly valuable that you’re afraid of getting stolen, the best bet is to keep it somewhere other than in your house. This way, if you experience a break-in, you still won’t lose some of your most precious items. It could be worth paying for a safe deposit box at your bank, for example.
There are plenty of different security measures available on the market and each one has a distinct set of benefits that you can take advantage of. Some are even more helpful than others.
One pretty great tool to invest in is some type of camera system for your home. This will help you keep an eye on your home and have evidence if a burglar were to break in. Yet, it’s helpful to put up a sign announcing the cameras.
Don’t Rely on the Freezer
There are hiding places in your home that might seem clever but just don’t have the same anonymity that they once did. That’s why it’s a good idea to stray from common choices.
This person learned from their ex, who was a burglar, that hiding places like keeping money and valuables in a book or freezer are particularly unsafe. These are easy-to-find hiding spots that, at this point, are popular enough to be one of the first places that a burglar would work.
Don’t Rely on Sliding Glass Doors
There are plenty of different types of doors you can use in your home. However, this ex-burglar on Reddit advises against using sliding glass doors to get in and out of the house.
Their reasoning behind this is that sliding glass doors are one of the easiest types to get into. Even if you invest in a home security system made specifically to protect sliding glass doors, there’s still a good chance that a burglar could get around them.
Keep Up With the Lawn
We’ve already discussed that making sure your house looks like it’s occupied is a great way to avoid becoming a potential target. There are a few measures you can take.
One of the most obvious but often overlooked things to keep up with is your lawn. Since most people try to keep their grass trimmed rather than overgrown, a potential burglar will notice if a house that once kept up with their grass suddenly has a jungle of a yard.
Fake Them Out
While we’ve covered that particular hiding places are more tempting to burglars, you can also use this detail to your advantage. This is useful, in particular, for burglaries already in progress.
This person shared that when their friend was worried about burglars, she managed to come up with a genius plan. By filling a fake jewelry box with costume jewelry that looked valuable with a bit of money on top, she increased the chance that burglars would take that and avoid her real valuables.
Break Down Your Boxes
Sometimes, the best way to avoid a burglary altogether is to make sure that you don’t look like a worthwhile target. Burglars are taking a risk to commit theft, so they want to know it will be worth it.
As such, there are certain things that you’ll want to be a little less obvious about. This includes breaking down your boxes. You’re much less likely to be targeted with a broken down box in your bin rather than a whole TV box next to it.
Fire Safes Included
When you purchase a fire-proof safe for your home, you probably expect it to protect you not only from fire but from theft as well.
Yet, this oftentimes isn’t the case. If you purchase a fire safe, you can guarantee that your possessions won’t be damaged in the case of a house fire but, as this burglar shared, it doesn’t guarantee that they’ll be safe from theft. Once again, this just proves that carefully choosing a safe will work out better in the long run.
Don’t Lock Drawers
We’ve talked at length at this point about how you need to make sure you lock up certain things. From your house doors and windows to your car, it’s usually a good idea to keep people out.
Seemingly opposite to this concept, you don’t want to lock drawers in your house. These locks aren’t hard to break into once someone is already in your home. In fact, usually, a burglar only needs a single tool — like a crowbar. It only denotes where the valuables are.