Retired Burglar Reveals How To Protect Your Home

By molly atherton 7 months ago
Unlocking the secrets of security, a retired burglar steps out of the shadows to spill the beans on fortifying your fortress! Join us on a thrilling journey into the mind of a reformed housebreaker as they unveil the covert strategies and insider tips to safeguard your sanctuary. Brace yourself for a gripping revelation as we decode the art of home protection from an unexpected source - a former master of the craft turned protector of peace.

1. Put a broom in front of your door

Imagine the power of simplicity in safeguarding your home! This ingenious trick, a humble yet formidable defender, requires nothing more than a common household item. Grab hold of a broom, a sturdy stick, or any similar object within reach.Image source/ tricksmansaverThis is such a simple and easy trick, and you don't have to invest in some expensive highbrow security system. Just get a broom or a stick or anything of the sort and place it in front of the door. That way, if it is opened it will clatter, wake people up and alert them.Original content sourced from

2. Get double windows

Picture this: the vulnerability of a single window versus the fortified resilience of a double-layered shield. It's a game-changer in the battle for home security. Single windows, while often elegant in design, harbor an Achilles' heel when it comes to thwarting forceful intrusions.Image source/ blogspotSingle windows are weaker to force entry and easier to shatter. So, if you can, investing in double windows with plastic between the glass is better (not just for insulation) because it will be much harder to break for a burglar trying to gain entry into your home.

3. Don't put a high fence

In the world of home security, the concept of a towering fence seems like a logical fortress, a barrier to ward off potential intruders. However, here's the twist: enter the mind of an ex-burglar, and suddenly that towering barrier takes on a different hue.Image source/ jpscuttingedgeThis sounds strange because you may thing that high fence is better to ward off burglars. But according to ex-burglars, they are easy to get over and they just provide a place to hide and provide a sheltered view from the neighbours to stay out of view.

4. Don't rely on dogs to act as an alarm

Ah, the faithful companions, our beloved canines, often hailed as the stalwart guardians of our abodes. Yet, here's a twist in the tale—a cautionary tale from those who've danced in the shadows. Dogs, the four-legged sentinels, aren't always the infallible alarm system we assume them to be.Image source/ texasandmDon't always rely solely on your digs to be your alarm. Yes, they are a very good deterrent. But that does not mean that you should only use your dogs to protect against burglars. They can be won over and sometimes they are more scared than you would expect and do not bark.

5. Don't put a 'beware of the dog' sign up

Imagine this: a sign, boldly declaring "Beware of the Dog," strategically placed outside your fortress of a home. Seems like a logical deterrent, right? But here's a startling revelation straight from the minds of former burglars—this seemingly clever ploy might just backfire.Image source/ PinterestAlso, don't put a beware of the dog sign up outside your house. It won't deter the burglar according to former burglars and in fact if anything you've then lost the shock element and actually prepared them for what to expect. So don't bother with this trick after all.

6. Remove dust trails from your secret places

Ah, the clandestine corners, the hidden nooks where we stash our most prized possessions, thinking them safe from prying eyes. But here's a revelation from the shadowy world of burglary: those secret spots aren't always as covert as we imagine.Image source/safeforumsYou may have your secret hiding places. But burglars know all the kinds of things to look for. And former burglars have realised that they can tell where things have been moved to or where secret spots are because there is a dust trail. So, make sure you clean these places too.

7. Hide calendars

Ah, the humble calendar, often innocuously hung by a window, innocently displaying our lives in neat rows of dates and plans. But here's a startling revelation straight from the minds of those who once prowled in the shadows—your calendar might unwittingly become a roadmap for an uninvited guest.Image source/ PinterestHide your calendar from the view of any windows. Do you really want a burglar to know when you're away for the weekend with Auntie Laura? Definitely not. Former burglars have discussed how if they can see you schedule, they will know when is best to strike.

8. Get a mailbox inside

Imagine this scenario: a stack of unattended letters, a telltale sign to the outside world that shouts, "Empty house, ripe for the taking!" This seemingly innocent heap of mail, uncollected and abandoned, becomes an inadvertent beacon for those with ill intentions.Image source/ diytut.ieHaving a pile of letters in your mailbox or on your front step is a huge sign to say you've not been home in a while and the house is empty. Getting a mailbox inside stops this problem because they won't be able to see them piled up. Put it low down however so they can't reach through for the lock.

9. Keep your curtains open

It's a curious twist in the world of home security—keeping your curtains open could be a stealthy move in the intricate dance of visibility and concealment. You might think drawing the blinds provides a shield of privacy, but in the eyes of former burglars, it's a different story altogether.Image source/ curtainsandblinds.comThis sounds like it would be the opposite - keep your curtains open. But this is because if people have their blinds closed, neighbours won't see you pass by the windows. Which gives them more secrecy and space to hide as they can just walk right past.

10. Face the blind upwards

Here’s a simple yet brilliant twist in the game of home privacy and security: angling your blinds upwards. It’s a subtle adjustment that offers a world of difference in the delicate balance between privacy and vulnerability.Image source/ homesdesignsAnother really simple hack given to us from former burglars is to face your blind upwards. It is the same for you as it retains privacy whilst letting in light, but the burglar won't be able to see inside when they get close ad they can do when they are facing downwards.

11. Get a strike plate instead of a lock

Ah, the unassuming strike plate—a small yet mighty component in the realm of home security. While it might seem like just another part of your door hardware, its impact on fortifying your defenses is nothing short of remarkable.Image source/ MumsnetIf it is possible for you then get a strike plate rather than a conventional lock. This will take a lot longer to manage to break in as it is a lot more complex to break as well as a lot harder to someone trying to break it. Which is also another deterrent.

12. Place security cameras at face height

The strategic placement of security cameras isn't just about capturing footage; it's about ensuring that every angle becomes a deterrent against potential intruders. Enter the thought-provoking concept of positioning cameras at face height.Image source/ sfirstHave some of your security cameras placed at face height. The ones that are high, pointing downwards are not as effective in seeing a burglar's face because it can easily be disguised by a hood and looking downwards. If it is at height level, it is very hard not to see the face.

13. Don't keep the garage keys in your car

Imagine this scenario: the convenience of leaving your garage keys in your car, tucked away for easy access. However, in the eyes of a potential intruder, that small act of convenience translates into an open invitation. The garage, often perceived as a softer entry point, becomes a prime target.Image source/ diydaysThis step seems obvious- but don't leave garage keys in your car. Otherwise, a point of easy access is often seen as being through the garage. A quick search through the car after breaking in would mean that if they can steal the garage keys, they can get into your home.

14. Keep decorations hidden

Absolutely, celebrations often bring joy and festivity, but to a perceptive intruder, they signal something else entirely—an opportunity. The presence of balloons, decorations, or any outward signs of a recent celebration might inadvertently paint a tempting picture for those with ill intentions.Image source/ PinterestWhen burglars see balloons or decorations outside the house, or in the window it shows some kind of celebration or party has happened. This usually means gifts. In other words, burglars see it as a good time to burgle whilst your house has valuable gifts inside.

15. Don't keep children's toys outside

It might seem counterintuitive at first, but even the presence of children's toys can inadvertently speak volumes to a potential intruder. To those who once operated in the shadows, these seemingly innocent playthings hold a hidden message—a subtle hint that goes beyond mere play.Image source/ YouTubeNot leaving children's toys out is a tip from former burglars, not because burglars want to steal children's toys. But it suggests to them that you are likely settled...meaning you probably have invested more in your house and have valuables kept there.

16. Put garden furniture away

Indeed, the placement of garden furniture isn't merely about protecting those items from potential theft; it’s also about the subtle messages it conveys about your lifestyle and the possessions within your home. The arrangement of garden furniture isn't just about aesthetics; it's a window into your lifestyle.Image source/ wayfairPutting garden furniture away is not necessarily because they'll steal it - but also because it indicated by the kind of things you buy, how much money you have, and it is a signal to what might be inside and whether you have money and expensive things.

17. Randomise the automatic lights

The predictability of routines can unwittingly pave the way for potential intruders. In the intricate game of home security, even automated systems can become a giveaway if they follow a rigid, predictable pattern.Image source/ wikifandomDon't have them coming on at the same time each day - we've all seen home alone. If Marv and Harry can work, it really must be quite easy. So, if you have got automated lights, make them a little more random so that it seems someone is home switching on the lights.

18. Focus more on daytime security

The spotlight often falls on nighttime security, but the reality is that daytime poses its own set of vulnerabilities. The hustle and bustle of daily life might create a false sense of security, yet statistics tell a different story—daytime burglaries, especially during the week, are surprisingly common.Image source/ dreamstimePeople always focus on the night-time security of their house, but we should focus more on daytime security too. You are more likely to be out of the house than at night so robberies are actually far more common in the daytime during the week while you are assumed out at work.

19. Keep expensive items out of the window

The allure of valuable possessions displayed openly through windows or casually left around the property isn’t just an oversight; it can be a siren call for potential burglars. The items we proudly showcase within our homes or leave visible from outside can inadvertently entice.Image source/ blogspotThis again is really obvious but something that people often either forget or underestimate the importance of when considering appeal to burglars. We've heard from ex-burglars themselves that it shows the kind of goods you own and attracts them to your property.

20. Don't get fake alarms, get real

Fake alarms might seem like a cost-effective deterrent, but they can unwittingly backfire in the intricate game of home security. Former burglars, the connoisseurs of vulnerability, have unveiled a surprising truth—these imitation alarms might not be as effective as they appear.  Image source/ roffpottsGetting fake alarms seems like a cheaper and clever way to put burglars off, but according to former burglars it's not. They know how to spot them and then this will shoe that you have a more laid-back attitude to security which then might make you even more of a target.

21. Clean your alarm if you don't use it

The presence of an alarm system, whether functional or not, sends a strong message about the level of security a home might offer. In the world of home security, the appearance of an alarm system gathering dust can inadvertently become a silent invitation to potential intruders.Image source/ alarmsnetIf you have an alarm but don't actually use it - then it would be good to use it - but if not, at least clean it. If it's there gathering dust, then anybody can tell you haven't used it in a long time and that will be a good signal to the burglar that there won't be any sound.

22. Make sure top levels are secure too

Overlooking the upper levels of a home can be a critical mistake in assessing vulnerability to intrusion. While it's common to prioritize securing ground-level entry points, disregarding upper windows can create a significant security loophole.Image source/ wikiDon't just focus on the lower levels and assume that they won't be able to reach the upper levels, because they can. Nearly one quarter of the British population admitted to leaving a top window open slightly at some point whilst they were out of the house.

23. Get a gate

Barriers, regardless of their size, play a pivotal role in deterring potential intruders. It's not just about creating a physical obstacle; it's about introducing layers of defense that dissuade and delay unauthorized entry into your property.Image source/ homesdesignsAny kind of barrier is a deterrent, even if it is a little gate (or of course a big one). It just adds another thing to get past and another thing adding sound that could possibly alert you or a neighbour. So even if it is more of a psychological deterrent, it's worth it.

24. Get neighbours to alternate driveways if you're home

The presence or absence of cars can indeed reveal telltale signs that a homeowner might be away on vacation. In the intricate game of safeguarding your home while you're away, managing the appearance of vehicle activity becomes a strategic measure in deterring potential intruders.Image source/ RedditIf you go away on holiday one of the big tell-tale sounds is cars. If your car hasn't moved in a few days, then it is clear you are on holiday. Or, if your cars are gone totally from the driveway and they don't return each day it will also be clear. Get your neighbour to alternate between their and your home when parking.

25. Get screws on windows

Securing windows with thick screw locks provides an added layer of defense against forced entry attempts by burglars. It's not just about fortifying the window itself; it’s about reinforcing the surrounding structure to withstand intrusion attempts.Image source/ PinterestWindows are sometimes prized open by burglars with force, for example, using a crowbar. But this is made a lot harder if there is a thick screw lock as well. Because if there is a thick deep screw not only, will they have to prize the window, but also the wood.

26. Get motion sensor lights

Motion sensors serve as an active defense mechanism, instantly illuminating areas upon detecting movement. These sensors not only provide an immediate alert of potential activity but also act as a powerful deterrent against intruders.Image source/ safety4youMotion sensors come on as soon as any motion is detected. So, it means if someone is sneaking around outside the lights will automatically come on, alerting you to activity outside. It's also good if your neighbours have it so that there is no dark space to hide in.

27. Get a door chime

Door chimes serve as a simple yet effective auditory alert system that can deter potential burglars. These unassuming devices not only notify occupants of an entry but also act as a deterrent by drawing attention to any attempted intrusion.Image source/ blogspotBurglars want to avoid any sound possible. So, if you have chimes on your doors when they open - it couldn't be more obvious that someone is entering into your house. And even if you aren't there it will help deter a burglar who may be spooked by this point.

28. Keep keys in your room

Keeping your car keys nearby while you sleep can serve as a strategic safety measure in the unfortunate event of a home intrusion. It's a proactive approach that can aid in protecting yourself and alerting authorities without directly confronting an intruder.Image source/ PinterestIt is often a good idea to keep your car keys close to your bed. If you do hear someone entering your house downstairs, it is never a good idea to go down. Instead, you should ring the police and if you have a panic button on your car you can press it and the alarm will go off and hopefully spook the intruder.

29. Get someone to mow your lawn

The state of your lawn can inadvertently reveal whether you're away from home for an extended period. A neatly trimmed lawn often signifies an active and occupied household. Leveraging the help of a neighbor, friend, or someone reliable to maintain your lawn while you're away can be simple.Image source/ syracuseAnother tell-tale sign of whether you are away your lawn and whether it has been mown. So why not ask a neighbour or friend or someone looking for pocket money to do it and give the impression that you are still there. It might then put a burglar off trying.

30. A video doorbell

Smart doorbell cameras have revolutionized home security by providing a real-time view of your doorstep, accessible right from your smartphone. This innovative technology not only allows you to see who’s at your door but also facilitates two-way communication.Image source/ blogspotThese are all the rage now....and it's understandable why because you can log right on to your phone and see who is at the door. You can even speak out of it. So, if you are away this is a brilliant way to scare off intruders who will not know if you are there or not.

31. Do Some Burglar Roleplay For Yourself

Adopting the perspective of a potential intruder can be a remarkably effective strategy in fortifying your home's security. This approach, known as a "security audit" or "burglar's eye view," involves critically evaluating your home's vulnerabilities by imagining scenarios from an intruder's standpoint.Image Source / Merriam-WebsterThis sounds a bit strange, but stick with us - try to enter or view your home from a burglar's point of view. Have a walk through and think how a burglar would think - can you get through that door or window? Oh you've left the front door unlocked anyway and just walked through - so that's exactly what a burglar could've done, too. Anything you can notice, or do, a burglar can too.

32. Lock Your Home Even When You're There

Cultivating the habit of consistently locking doors and windows, even while at home, is a proactive measure in bolstering your home's security. Intruders might not always adhere to conventional notions of entry; an open door can be an open invitation regardless of whether you're home or not.Image Source / ADS SecurityIt's a really good idea to get into the habit of always locking your doors and windows, even when you're at home. As soon as you walk through the front door, lock it behind you. There's always the risk that a burglar won't necessarily wait until you're not home to try and get in - and if the door's open, they can walk straight in.

33. Secure Your Air Conditioner

Large window-mounted air conditioning units can inadvertently become a potential entry point for burglars if not properly secured. These units, although providing comfort, can present an opportunity for intruders to gain access if they can be easily removed from the outside.Image Source / SFGATEIf you have a huge air conditioning unit on your window, it can be removed - and a burglar will certainly try it if that's a viable option. And if they do remove it, it's one way of gaining access, so you'll want to make sure that your air conditioner is secured from the inside.

34. Put The Radio On When You're Not Home

Leveraging sound, specifically a radio tuned to a talk station, serves as an ingenious tactic to create the illusion of occupancy while you're away from home. The strategic use of sound adds an additional layer to the facade of an active household, dissuading potential intruders.Image Source / WikipediaThe 'leaving the lights on' trick is a great one, and you should do it, but did you also think about the radio? Noise can travel easily, and if you select a radio station that's just long, intense conversations rather than music then it'll sound like it could be the occupants of the home having a conversation - so a great deterrent! If you can put your radio on a timer, even better.

35. Replace Your Locks If You Lose Your Keys

Swiftly changing the locks if you've misplaced or lost your house keys is a prudent security measure. The risk of losing keys near your home, especially if observed by a potential intruder, creates a vulnerability that could compromise your home's security.Image Source / YouTubeIf you lose your house keys, get the locks changed straight away. There's always a chance you could've unknowingly dropped your keys on the street close to your home - and if a burglar has been scouting your home for a while and watching you, they could have seen you drop them - and nabbed them.

36. Hide A Spare Key In A Secure, Secret Spot

Having a spare key can be a lifesaver, but it's crucial to avoid common hiding spots like under the doormat or in a flowerpot. These locations are well-known to potential intruders and are the first places they check when attempting unauthorized entry.Image Source / Canford AudioAnd no, we don't mean under the doormat or in the flowerpot, because burglars 100% will look there. Hide a spare key for security purposes, but definitely make sure it's secure and somewhere only you can access. Put it in a place you also know you can't accidentally lose it.

37. Place A Bar On Sliding Glass Doors

Securing sliding glass doors with additional measures like a metal bar or a wooden handle can significantly enhance their security. These doors, although convenient, can be vulnerable entry points if not properly fortified.Image Source / SafeWiseIf you have sliding glass doors to your back garden or wherever, you can give them extra security by placing a metal bar - or even a wooden handle - across the track of the doors. If you place at the middle bottom then you're stopping them from being slid across while you're not using them.

38. Hide Security Wires (Or Go Wireless)

Concealing or securing the wires connecting security cameras or devices is crucial to prevent potential tampering or deactivation by intruders. Wires left exposed or within easy reach can be vulnerable points that burglars might exploit to disable your security system.Image Source / How-To-GeekIf you do have security cameras or devices (which is obviously a great start) make sure that the wires connecting them are hidden or out of reach. If not, burglars can easily cut them or manage to deactivate the system. If you go wireless, you eliminate that risk anyway!

39. Don't Post About Your Vay-Cay On Social Media

Refraining from posting vacation plans or updates on social media until after you've returned is a smart practice to safeguard your home's security. Broadcasting details about your upcoming trip, including the destination and duration of your absence, essentially advertises that your house will be unattended...Image Source / Times of IndiaIf you want to post about it, post long after you've arrived back. If you post about your vacation plans - where you're going, how long for - you're only telling the world that your house is going to be empty while you're away. You're basically posting a big ol' invitation.

40. Design A Secure Property

If you have the chance to design your property from the ground up or undergo significant renovations, collaborating with an architect or a landscape designer to prioritize security features can be immensely beneficial. This opportunity allows you to incorporate strategic design elements.Image Source / Allan Corfield ArchitectsIf you're a position where you're actually looking at building your perfect property from scratch, or maybe undergoing some major renovations, then this is the perfect opportunity to work with an architect or landscaper to work out what the safest property design would be against intruders.

41. Start A Neighborhood Watch Group

Initiating a neighborhood watch program can be an empowering and effective way to enhance community safety and deter potential intruders. Whether you have a close-knit community or not, suggesting and organizing a neighborhood watch group can foster a sense of shared responsibility.Image Source / WikipediaDon't wait for someone else to suggest it - give it a go yourself! If you have a good community and get along with your neighbors - or even if you don't! - you can suggest a neighborhood watch group where everyone has each other's backs and watches for suspicious activity. Burglars will be less likely to target a known neighborhood watch area.

42. Keep Your Bedroom Doors Open While You Sleep

Leaving your bedroom door open while you sleep can indeed serve as an additional layer of alertness in the event of any suspicious noises or intrusions within your home. An open door creates a pathway for sounds to travel more freely, potentially alerting you to any unusual activity.Image Source / TwitterKeeping your bedroom door wide open will make it more likely you'll be alerted to a noise in your home. If you close your doors, you might be blocking out the noise of burglars rummaging around, so there's always a better chance of waking up and calling the police if your bedroom door is open.

43. Keep Your Phone Beside Your Bed

Keeping a phone or a mobile device within arm's reach while sleeping can be a crucial safety measure in case of emergencies, especially if you need to call 911 or emergency services quickly and discreetly in the event of a potential intrusion.Image Source / Elemental - MediumThis one might go without saying as the majority of people would do this anyway, but even better if it's within arm's reach so you don't have to make any noise getting out of bed to reach for it if you hear an intruder and need to call 911.

44. Have A Plan Of Action For You And Your Family

Having a well-thought-out plan in place for handling a potential burglary or intrusion is a proactive approach to ensuring the safety and preparedness of everyone in the household. Similar to fire escape plans, an emergency plan for burglaries can provide clarity.Image Source / ConceptoWhether you live alone, as a couple or as a family, have a plan of action for the eventuality of a burglary. Just like a fire escape plan at places of work or schools, put into place a plan of what you would do or where you could go in an emergency burglary situation, so that all family members are prepared!

45. Invest In Some Glass Break Sensors

Glass break sensors are valuable additions to home security systems, providing an extra layer of protection by detecting the distinct sound of breaking glass. When a burglar attempts to forcibly enter a property by breaking a window, these sensors immediately pick up the specific frequency.Image Source / WikipediaA glass break sensor is not something many homes have, but they really should. A glass break sensor will listen for the sound of breaking glass - such as when a burglar breaks a window - and sound an alarm if glass has been broken. You can even place a sensor on every window in your home.

46. Make A Decoy For Valuables

Using decoys to mislead burglars is indeed a clever tactic to safeguard valuable belongings during a break-in. Creating the illusion of valuable items in easily accessible but deceptive locations can potentially divert burglars' attention away from actual high-value items.Image Source / WikipediaA lot of the time, burglars will have a grab and dash mentality, especially if an alarm has gone off or police are on the way, in which they'll simply grab the nearest thing that looks valuable and get out of there. If you have a decoy - such as a box on a dressing table that looks like it could hold expensive jewelry - they'd hopefully only take that and nothing actually valuable.

47. Never Answer The Door To Strangers

Exercising caution and discretion when answering the door, especially if unexpected visitors arrive, is a prudent safety measure for individuals and families alike. Burglars sometimes exploit the element of surprise by attempting to gain entry into a home when the door is opened.Image Source / Acting MagazineThis applies to both yourself if you're an adult living alone, or as a couple, and to your family if you have young children. Never answer the door if you're not expecting someone, and don't just freely open the door without checking the peephole first. Burglars can dash right in as soon as the door is open.

48. Be Safe With Package Deliveries

Remaining vigilant against potential scams involving individuals posing as delivery drivers is crucial for home security. Burglars may attempt to exploit the guise of a delivery person to gain access to homes, especially if they believe the occupants are unsuspecting.Image Source / The Summit ExpressOne huge scam that burglars try in this day and age is pretending to be delivery drivers to make you open the door. Keep track of everything you've ordered so you know what you're expecting - and what you're not. If you're unsure, you could also talk to them through the window and ask them to leave on the step and wait until they leave before opening the door.

49. A Deadbolt Is A Must

Utilizing a deadbolt lock on your front door adds an extra layer of security and serves as an effective deterrent against potential intruders. Deadbolts are known for their sturdiness and resistance to forced entry, making them a valuable security measure for safeguarding your home.Image Source / WikipediaKeeping a deadbolt on is a great deterrent for burglars and gives you that extra level of security. You don't always need to have it on, but if you're going on vacation, it can be good to just slide the deadbolt on the front door and leave through the back for extra door security.

50. Use Window Film

Window films can serve as a valuable addition to home security by enhancing privacy and obstructing the view into your residence from the outside. While they might not prevent glass from breaking, they can play a significant role in deterring potential burglars...Image Source / Amazon UKWindow films obviously won't do anything about glass breaking, but they provide privacy - and in this case, it's not just about you being able to see outside, it's about preventing people from seeing in. Window film, especially in revealing rooms, can help to block what burglars can see inside your home.