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These 11 ex-burglars explain what you need to do to protect your home from theft

POSTED: December 21, 2017 9:39 a.m.
Amberlee Lovell/

“Turn on exterior lights. Have an alarm sign in front yard. Alarm stickers on windows. Barking dog. I’d skip that house.”

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Being robbed isn’t something a lot of us think about often, but there isn't much more terrifying than thinking about having your home — your refuge from the world — broken into. One Reddit user asked former burglars what advice they had on protecting a home from people on the lookout for their next haul. Consider these 11 tips when you’re burglar proofing your home.

Let your landscaping help you out

“Motion sensing flood lights outside. No big bushes in front of windows where someone could hide. Thorned bushes are always good for under windows, if you keep them close enough.”

Move things around

“I would check out a house several times over two days. If there was no sign of movement — no lights coming on or off, no curtains moved, newspapers left on the driveway — I was interested.

"Is the house in a nice neighborhood? Is it well-kept? If so I figured they had nice stuff.

"Next question: Is there an easy escape route? Woods in the backyard were excellent.

"Next question: Is there a window hidden from view that I can smash if I have to?”

Have a dog

“Turn on exterior lights. Have an alarm sign in front yard. Alarm stickers on windows. Barking dog. I’d skip that house.”

No seriously, have a dog

“I'm not a burglar, but I worked for the largest security company in this country for half a decade.

"Burglar alarms do not deter burglars. They just alert you that you have been burglarized. Most of the time the police will take very little action in response due to the fact that 98 percent of burglar alarm activation constitute false alarms.

"The sign that comes with the alarm though? That thing is worth more than the alarm as far as deterring burglars.

"My job was to take reports from customers who had been burglarized. (see my first point above)

"In all my time doing these interviews and I never interviewed one single burglary victim who owned a medium-sized or large-sized dog. Not one single time.

"That is not to say that no one who owns a dog ever gets burglarized. I'm just saying that in five years of spending eight hours a day interviewing people who had been, not one single time did I encounter the situation.

"I think there is at least SOME statistical validity in that.”

Don’t post about your vacation until you get back

“Don't post anything on social media until you have gotten back home. I can't tell you how many neighbors and family have gotten robbed because of this.”

Keep your yard lit up

“When I was young and dumb I would boost rims off cars, because you could make quick money and it was less than a felony. The number one deterrent hands down ...lights. If a place is lit up like a Christmas tree on the outside of a house you stay clear cause it means anyone can see you and see you clearly.”

Be aware of who you’re inviting over

“The vast majority of burglaries are perpetrated by people who have been inside your home before. This is very important to realize. When you have guests over that you don't know well (maybe at a Halloween party), lock all of the doors to bedrooms, and don't have anything super valuable just laying out to show. Most of the time they won't take anything during the party, but they will come back later... with friends.”

Make it look like your stuff isn’t worth the effort

“Pro level:

"Get a cheap TV … Put it in a cabinet or wall unit type thing, so you can close the door to hide it when guests come over. Put it on a timer to stay on until very late, and set a light timer in a bedroom to come on when it goes off.

"Install vertical blinds on a window across from the tv. Vertical blinds are great, because you can angle them for a very limited view, so the house looks less closed up and more inhabited. Anyway, in this case, angle the blinds so you can clearly see the ... TV, but nothing else in the room. Set volume so you can just barely hear it outside.

"This does two things: the light and sound make it seem like someone could be home. And, a thief may look in, see the old 13-incher [and just go] somewhere else.”

Keep private about your gun

“Do not advertise that you shoot or have guns. Because a burglar will just wait until you leave to hit your home hoping you don’t store your guns in a gun safe.”

Be doubly wary if your home has been broken into before

“A recent study showed that burglars come back to the same houses quite often. They do this because of a number of motives.

1: They want to take things they, for some reason, couldn't take the first time.

2: They're kinda familiar with the house.

3: It's guaranteed that the people they robbed replaced the stuff they stole the first time, often these replacements are of better quality than the original.

'So after you get raided take good security measures.”

Keep a radio running

“Young Redditors may not have heard of this thing; it's called 'radio'. Leave a talk station on when you're out. No burglar's gonna come in if he hears voices, unless it's a home invasion. Leave a light on, doesn't matter if you put a timer on it or not. Just a low level light, like it's a night light for going to the bathroom in the middle of the night. A dog is another big plus. Hard for anyone to get past a dog in the dark. They don't need to see you to bark and bite you. Have never been burglarized, ever, and I'm 67 years old. That is all.”

Editor's note: These comments have been edited for punctuation, spelling, capitalization, etc. in order to enhance readability.
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