Former Burglars Share Their Secrets To Avoid Getting Robbed

Kasia Mikolajczak
Unsplash | todd kent

If you've ever been robbed, you know that it's not a good feeling. I've had it happen to me at least on two occasions. So now I'm always conscious of my surroundings, and I watch everyone like a hawk.

That's why I was really intrigued when I recently stumbled upon this Reddit thread that asked, "Former burglars of Reddit, where is one place people should never hide valuables?" Let's take a look at some of the answers.

This Safe Fact

safe keypad
Unsplash | olieman.eth

"Any safe that's not bolted down and is small enough for one or two people to carry isn't safe at all.

Also, my ex's grandfather had a safe stolen from his home that was bolted down — the thieves wrapped a chain around it and ran it out the window to a truck. Took the safe straight through the wall.

All they had to do was follow the drag marks, though...but still."

OMG, what?

This Good Tip

Unsplash | Peter Herrmann

"Fake rocks are a dead giveaway. Sock drawers are cliché. If you have a small safe that’s not bolted down, we are taking that thing. We all have a 'safe guy.' Our goal is to get in and out pretty quickly. If you hide something in a random box all the way up in your attic, it’s probably safe."

Ha, ha!

This Easy Access

Steve Carrell saying "Oh, wow!"
Giphy | The Office

"Even if your house is well-locked, if your shed isn't, I likely have access to a plethora of tools I can use to gain access. Don't help the burglar. Lock your shed."

Whoa, I hadn't thought of that.

These Obvious Places

desk drawer
Unsplash | REKORD furniture

"Not a burglar, but our home has been broken into. We only had the one bedroom at the time, but the places that the burglar looked into were: the closet (everything was thrown out), desk drawers (found a bit of cash, and our passports were taken), the entry furniture (drawers), under the bed, [and in the] bedside tables."

Aha, makes sense, no?

This Warning

home entrance from the inside
Amazon | Amazon

"Don't use key racks or bowls next to the door! Don't leave any bags or containers in view in your car! The amount of stolen cars where the burglar takes one step into the house, picks up the keys to the family car, and leaves immediately is just sad. I've seen cases where the homeowner (carrying groceries) doesn't realize a sneaky individual has followed them, caught the door before it closed, and just picked up the car keys as the owner tosses them into a bowl."

Holy, moly!

This Vacation Trick

man bowing in thanks
Giphy | NBA

"LED lighting is cheap these days. If your house is gonna be vacant for a while, consider investing in one of those smart-lighting home automation systems where you can set different rooms to turn on and off at different points in the day. (Kitchen during dinnertime, bedrooms at night, etc.)."

Another Reddit user confirmed these systems can be helpful:

"My neighbor did that and it fooled me. I rang his doorbell to ask to borrow a pressure washer wand, with no response. Figured he was with family and wasn't taking any more visitors, but turns out he's been on vacation for the past four days."

That's an awesome idea.

This Key Trick

person standing near a doormat
Unsplash | Andrew Neel

"Glue a spare key (not one that opens something important) under your doormat. Weird right? A few years ago I did this in addition to installing cameras. Over the last couple of years, I've seen this exact scenario play out: thief walks to the door, checks under the mat, unsuccessfully try to grab the key, backs up, looks around to see if anyone is watching (presumably because they think they have fallen for some trap/prank where they are being surveilled), and LEAVES. They don't even search for another way in because it spooks them."

Is that right? Have you tried this idea?

This College Student Trap

glasses on a book
Unsplash | Tamara Gak

"For the college kids that might read this, don't keep your textbooks in your car. On the day of my finals, I had about six textbooks I was gonna sell after my finals, I left the books in my car while I took my tests. Came back to find someone broke my window out to steal the textbooks. Cop told me that it's very common and unlikely they will catch the guy, so I was out $700, which was huge as a college student."

Aww, that sucks!

This TV Trick

hand holding a TV remote
Unsplash | Dario

"Leave a TV on if you are going out during the day. Better yet, turn on the TV, put in a movie, and turn up the volume. A blood 'n' guts action movie is a good choice since those who enjoy that sort of movie tend to be male and, well, more likely to have a gun. So long as a person cannot see that nobody is actually in the room, the flicker of a TV and music or sound are a good way to turn a person off. Smart burglars will avoid those houses and go for places they are sure nobody is home."

Oh, yeah, I've done that.

This Easy Trick

man saying "I like that."
Giphy | Rhett and Link

"I've seen people make false outlets for hiding valuables like cash and jewelry. Just an idea, a burglar would have to be at your home for a long time to start checking outlets."

Oh, I've heard of that idea. It's a good one, no?

This Obvious Pride

house with American flag
Unsplash | Andy Feliciotti

"Listened to a KFI radio interview when I lived in Los Angeles. Former anonymous burglar said he avoided houses that hung the US flag. Said it told him the occupants likely owned at least one firearm. Would avoid even if it looked as though no one was home."

You don't say, huh?

This Guard Dog Idea

small barking dog
Giphy | DNCE

"Let me give you the low-down on dogs: They aren't protection or security. A dog can be easily tamed usually. Act friendly, give it a few rubs, and they'll happily follow you around. If that doesn't work, after my first run-in with an annoying dog (a small, yappy dog), I started carrying rawhide sticks with me. That stopped them very fast.

Also, on the topic of dogs, if you want a security dog, get a small, loud dog that barks at almost everything. Big dogs may look scary, but considering most people don't like the chance of their dog turning on them, the dogs are either very tame or chained up."

Hmm, I kind of get that.

This Obvious Mistake

stack of dollar bills
Pexels | Pexels

"Don't leave liquid valuables (cash or jewelry) sitting in the open. There were plenty of times I simply smashed a window, reached in, grabbed $20-$30, and ran off. Sad, but true, that a crook is willing to break a $100 window to steal $20."

Oh, no!

This Messy Strategy

pile of laundry
reddit | Reddit | u/[deleted]

"Had my house burglarized by a so-called friend. He missed by far the most valuable thing. It’s just a safe sitting on the laundry room floor. He missed it because I’m a scumbag and had it covered with a mountain of dirty clothes and towels. So not being tidy saved me upwards of $35,000."

What an excuse to be messy, huh?

And This Excuse

man pointing finger to his head
Giphy | Microsoft Surface

"Someone broke into my family's house four or five years ago when we were out at a concert. They checked everything — took all money and jewelry they could find. Except! My room was a mess, to begin with. I left piles of clothes on the floor, my study desk messy AF, left piles of papers on both desk and floor. I had €800 and golden earrings on my desk, just sitting there. The burglars opened the doors...and didn't move a thing. Left my €800 and golden earrings alone and moved to another room. From then on, I have been using this as an excuse why I don't need to clean up my room."

Ha, ha!

This Valuable Advice

window laminate
Amazon | Amazon

"I'm going to give you the best advice for home security you will ever get: window laminate.

Alarms, dogs, all of that are either useless or reactionary. The only thing that ever really shut me down was laminated windows. A crook's biggest weapon is speed, and their biggest enemy is time. If somebody were to try to break into your home and ended up hitting a window that was laminated, they would, in almost every case, run off."

Wow, I had no idea.

This Sad Fact

scurity alarm
Unsplash | Sebastian Scholz (Nuki)

"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."

Oh, no! Is that right?

This Important Advice

man saying "that s a good idea."
Giphy | The Lonely Island

"Don't leave things out that people can see from outside your home or car. If you buy a new TV or computer, break down the box it came in. Don't just leave it by your garbage bin. Lock doors and windows. Keep your handbag close and closed. If someone wants to break in, they will. Don't keep everything out in the open. And have insurance on anything that is valuable."

I don't know about you but this makes a lot of sense to me.

Wow, so much valuable advice here, huh?

house with lights on
Unsplash | Brian Babb

I have to be honest — I need to take note of these security measures, alright. Somehow you only realize how easy it can be to get ripped off after it already happens, no? But in reality, it pays off to be well prepared. Have you implemented any of these ideas here?