Lately, many articles have been published providing tips on avoiding becoming a burglary victim, especially this time of year. The home burglary tips came from an article 12News published last week and the vehicle burglary tips came from an article in the Sedona.biz published recently.
HOME BURGLARY: Eighty-six burglars serving time in prison were interviewed, anonymously, about how they successfully broke into homes. The entire article can be viewed at: http://www.12news.com/news/we-asked-86-burglars-how-they-broke-into-homes/344369876
Most inmates broke in through an unlocked door or window or kicked the door open. “I would kick in the door rather than break glass. Loud bangs are better than loud glass breaking, plus you run the risk of getting cut,” said one inmate.
Burglars looked first for jewelry, electronics, cash and credit cards, plus collectibles and guns. “NRA sticker on car bumper = Lots of guns to steal,” wrote one burglar.
Most burglars started by searching the master bedroom for valuables, and then moved through the rest of the house. “Everywhere! From the stove and freezer, to the fish tank and toilet tank, book shelves and in boxes of cereal,” said an inmate.
Burglars prefer breaking in early morning or afternoon. “Between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Anyone that was home for lunch should be gone by then and most kids should all still be in school,” wrote a convicted burglar.
Burglars had mixed opinions about home security signs. Some burglars said it didn’t faze them. Others said they knew how to disable alarms or avoid setting them off.
If a homeowner had a big, loud dog most burglars would stay away. Smaller dogs don’t seem to bother them. “Dogs are a deal breaker for me,” said one inmate. “Big breeds, home protectors are the best to keep people out.”
Yes. All of the inmates who responded said they would knock on the front door before breaking in.
“Act like I was lost or looking for a friend.” “I would approach the resident as though they had posted an ad on Craigslist.” “Say wrong house, sorry and thank you.” “Ask if they’d seen my dog and leave.” “Sometimes I would wear nice clothing and print a questionnaire off the Internet and carry a clipboard and see if they could spare a moment for an anonymous survey.”
Most intruders said they would leave immediately if a security alarm went off. “I would try and turn it off or get the hell out of there,” said one burglar.
Generally, burglars agreed security cameras were a deterrent. But some said it also likely signaled there were valuables inside the home.
Responses were mixed regarding lights on in a home. Some said it was a deterrent. But one burglar said the combination of lights on and blinds closed created an attractive location. “Would drive through upper class neighborhoods looking for many things, like porch light on with all window blinds closed,” wrote one inmate.
Most burglars feared someone might be home if they heard a radio or TV. They wouldn’t break in. “Absolutely not,” wrote a burglar.
As a homeowner, this is one of the best precautions you can take. Almost all of the burglars said they’d think twice if there was a car in the driveway. “Most of the time that is a sure-fire sign of someone being home,” wrote an inmate.
Burglars don’t want to be seen. They looked for homes with big fences and overgrown trees or bushes. “Home away from other homes, blind spots, older window frames, cheap wooden doors,” wrote a burglar. “Large trees, bushes or shrubs around the home, or very reserved and conservative neighbors,” wrote another inmate. “Nice home with nice car = A person with money,” another said.
The responses were mixed. Some burglars did surveillance before a burglary, while others did not.
Of those burglars who did surveillance, most agreed they were looking for the best opportunity to break-in. “Who lives in the home, what are their weekday schedules (weekends are too unpredictable), what they drive, is there a dog, a hidden key,” wrote one inmate. “What time the house would be empty and for how long,” wrote another.
Burglars suggest homeowners make their property visible with good lighting and trimmed bushes and trees. You should get to know your neighbors and alert police if you see anything suspicious. “In my opinion, I think homeowners should always leave a TV or radio on,” said one inmate. “Get a camera and make it visible!” wrote another. “Put bars on your windows and doors, get an alarm, keep an extra car in the driveway, keep lights, TVs and radios on when you leave your home,” read one questionnaire. “Home alarm, know your neighbor so they can report suspicious people around the neighborhood,” said a burglar.
VEHICLE BURGLARY: The entire article can be viewed at: http://www.sedona.biz/arizona/yavapai-county/yavapai-county-sheriffs-office-ycso/auto-burglary-crime-spree-alert-verde-villages/
Adena Astrowsky is a prosecutor and author of Mother of Souls, The Story of a Holocaust Survivor. She recently received an Amazing Women award from the Phoenix Suns and National Bank of Arizona for her professional and philanthropic work. She lives in Scottsdale with her husband and three children.