The Real Estate Encyclopedia
Twenty One Things Your Burglar Won_t Tell You
Category - Home Ownership Questions - Home Insurance FAQ's

1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last

week cleaning your carpets, painting your

shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.

2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom

when I was working in your yard last week.

While I was in there, I unlatched the back

window to make my return a little easier.

3. Love those flowers. That tells me you have

taste Ö and taste means there are nice things

inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out

always make me wonder what type of gaming

system they have.

4. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on

the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer in

your front door to see how long it takes you to

remove it.

5. If it snows while youíre out of town, get a

neighbor to create car and foot tracks into the

house. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead


6. If decorative glass is part of your front

entrance, donít let your alarm company install

the control pad where I can see if itís set. That

makes it too easy.

7. A good security company alarms the window

over the sink. And the windows on the second

floor, which often access the master bedroom-

and your jewelry. Itís not a bad idea to put

motion detectors up there too.

8. Itís raining, youíre fumbling with your umbrella,

and you forget to lock your door-

understandable. But understand this: I donít

take a day off because of bad weather.

9. I always knock first. If you answer, Iíll ask for

directions somewhere or offer to clean your

gutters. (Donít take me up on it.)

10. Do you really think I wonít look in your sock

drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the

bedside table, and the medicine cabinet.

11. Helpful hint: I almost never go into kidsí


12. Youíre right: I wonít have enough time to

break into that safe where you keep your

valuables. But if itís not bolted down, Iíll take

it with me.

13. A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent

than the best alarm system. If youíre reluctant

to leave your TV on while youíre out of town,

you can buy a $35 device that works on a

timer and simulates the flickering glow of a

real television. (Find it at

14. Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I

dress like a lawn guy and carry a rake. I do

my best to never, ever look like a crook.

15. The two things I hate most: loud dogs and

nosy neighbors.

16. Iíll break a window to get in, even if it makes a

little noise. If your neighbor hears one loud

sound, heíll stop what heís doing and wait to

hear it again. If he doesnít hear it again, heíll

just go back to what he was doing. Itís human


17. Iím not complaining, but why would you pay

all that money for a fancy alarm system and

leave your house without setting it?

18. I love looking in your windows. Iím looking for

signs that youíre home, and for flat screen

TVs or gaming systems Iíd like. Iíll drive or

walk through your neighborhood at night,

before you close the blinds, just to pick

my targets.

19. Avoid announcing your vacation on your

Facebook page. Itís easier than you think to

look up your address.

20. To you, leaving that window open just a crack

during the day is a way to let in a little fresh

air. To me, itís an invitation.

21. If you donít answer when I knock, I try the

door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk

right in.

Sources: Convicted burglars in North Carolina , Oregon , California ,  Kentucky, security consultant Chris McGoey, who runs; and Richard T. Wright, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, who interviewed 105 burglars for his book Burglars on the Job.

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