Anti-burglary advice, from burglars

KGW Portland surveyed 86 Oregon inmates serving time for burglary to see what they looked for when casing a house that is safe to break into and likely to contain valuables. One important lesson: "NRA sticker on car bumper = Lots of guns to steal."

Inmates also said that they'd steer clear of houses with large dogs and with audible radio/TVs. They preferred to break in between 12:30 and 2:30 PM ("when anyone that was home for lunch should be gone by then and most kids should all still be in school"). Noisy security alarms scared burglars off, but signs warning of them didn't necessarily work. CCTVs were a mild deterrent, but also an enticement (they "also likely signaled there were valuables inside the home").

Houses with cheap wooden doors were a favorite, especially if they were isolated from their neighbors (tall shrubs make good cover).

Most burglars started by searching the master bedroom for valuables, 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.

We asked 86 burglars how they broke into homes [Kyle Iboshi/KGW Portland]

(via Kottke)

Notable Replies

  1. One important lesson: "NRA sticker on car bumper = Lots of guns to steal."

    So in other words, if gun control opponents bought fewer weapons, there would be fewer guns on the black market and it would therefore be more difficult for criminals to obtain guns illegally. So widespread use and ownership of legal guns can increase the availability of guns to criminals. Imagine that!

  2. We use the policy of 'Not owning valuables'. Mostly because they all went out the window about 12 years ago when we had 4 break-ins in 6 months.

    If someone steals the tv then I get to buy a new one. The laptops tend to be with us, the tower runs Windows Vista and they can have it (HAHAHAHA). Wedding rings are on our fingers.

    The only really valuable stuff in our house is the furniture, which requires more transport capacity than most burglars have. And it isn't really valuable.

    Seriously, why own jewelry? It is a bizarre skeumorph from the dark ages when people carried their wealth on their person and displayed their status. Now, if status display is a goal, humans have so many more ways to do it.

  3. atl says:

    I once had a guy show up at my front door at 2:30 am after driving up and down the street shining a flashlight into several neighbor's houses. I happened to have a laser pointer on my keychain, though waited in my kitchen with a baseball bat while I rang 911 about the fellow, but kept the house dark to keep a better view of outside. They said they'd send someone along, but this guy first walked to the guy across the street, then came back toward my house. Anyway, I decided to put the laser pointer to its most obvious use.

    When he came to my door and started trying to yank on it -- again, 2:30 a.m. -- I put a bead on him from the kitchen window. Never seen a guy run quite so fast.

  4. Same here. Anyone breaking into my place is going to be disappointed.

    Burglar #1: [points to Japanese teapot] Is this valuable? It kinda looks valuable.
    Burglar #2: [grumbling while lifting up and looking at stainless cookware] Man, I don't know.
    Burglar #1: [looking at twenty year-old Yamaha receiver] What about this?
    Burglar #2: [glances over]
    Burglar #1: Hmm. [looks around] Man. Where the fuck is all the furniture? Is this guy a monk?
    Burglar #2: [hands on edge of sink, lowers head, sighs] Tim?
    Burglar #1: Yeah?.
    Burglar #2: I think we've burgled an ascetic.
    Burglar #1: Dafuq is that?
    Burglar #2: [looks at Tim with pained expression] Dude, you need to get your ass a library card and read a goddamn book for a change. I mean, seriously.

  5. Really?

    Oh well. So this is where I shall deploy my mines and rotating scythes.

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