Ex-Burglars Give Advice On How To Keep Valuables Safe And Out Of Sight

By Ishita P

This article was originally published on travelerdoor

Having your home robbed by a burglar is scary. But it happens. Living under the assumption that you’re robbery-resistant is dangerous thinking, and we have some advice from experts. Yes, storing your possession in a safe place and having a secure lock system for your doors and windows is necessary. However, you can also be pre-emptively smart in other ways and avoid a break-in at home. After all, thieves are human beings, too, and some ex-burglars have just spilled out a few of their robbery secrets on Reddit. Yes, you got that right; these can be considered actual pieces of advice from past burglars! Sounds like fake news, right? Well, then check out the list below and learn what you can do to make your home safer, straight from the horse’s mouth.

Beware of Strangers

You may have seen the “beware of the dog” placard on the gates and fences of many homes. Well, now it’s time to start bringing the “beware of strangers” sign into prevalence too. While this may not be burglary advice, it indeed is the warning offered by a person who saw an opportunity to rob when he was a door-to-door salesman.

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People relied on him naturally due to his profession and welcomed him without asking about his identity. He breezed in like a welcome guest. Letting strangers in without asking for their identification can be risky as they will get a clear view of the things you own.

Find Another Place for Your Car Keys

There’s a universal place for keeping car keys in every home – next to the entrance! Well, it does make sense to keep the keys next to your door as you can easily take them off when you leave and hang them back upon your return. It’s pretty convenient.

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But on the flip side, it’s advantageous for burglars too. If a nefarious character bent on stealing from you happens to break in, the sight of keys will surely entice them to steal your vehicle, along with other treasures in your home.

Secure Your Jewelry Box

Jewelry box – the honey pot of burglary! Jewelry boxes are quite useful in storing your pearls, diamonds, and other valuable accessories organized. But they are also handy for enabling burglars to make easy money as they might just take the whole thing.

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You may store these boxes in your closet since it’s easy. But it’s even easier for burglars to access because they know that the closet is the common storage space for these items. Hence, as per the advice of an ex-burglar, you shouldn’t store your jewelry box in obvious places.

Light Up Your House

When you’re leaving your home, switching off lights is indeed energy-efficient but not robbery-resistant. There’s a higher probability of burglary in an empty house. You may be leaving, but you mustn’t let others take note of your leave. Keep some lights on and let them think you’re in the house.

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Here’s some handy advice from a Reddit user, “LED lighting is cheap these days. Investing in one of those smart-lighting systems where you can set different rooms to turn on and off at different points in the day. (kitchen during dinner time, bedrooms at night, etc.).”

Kids, Don’t Answer the Door!

A Reddit user who was a door-to-door salesman shared his experience about kids under the age of 6 years freely answering the door without any guidance from their parents. Well, this is a good sign for burglars but not for your home.

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Kids are innocent. When they hear a knock, they will allow anyone to enter the house. But as parents, it’s best to keep them away from answering the door, especially when you aren’t aware of who’s on the other side. Stay cautious and give the right advice to kids.

Remember Burglars Chase Braggers

Humans tend to show off and brag about their new and expensive purchases. But guess what? Your friends aren’t big fans of it, and as for burglars, you’re unwittingly informing them of all you have for them to steal. It’s only the thief’s fault, but we can be smart!

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Burglars use social media too. And a Reddit user has made it clearly known that burglars are always searching for new social media posts showcasing expensive items. Showing off your shopping spree might therefore lead to a stealing spree. Be safe!

Put Your Basement to Use

Past burglars have shared their regrets on Reddit about ignoring the basement or attic of a house, assuming that it was a mere storage space limited to old worn-out things. But, of course, their main targets are the big-ticket items. So, while robbing middle-class homes, they never checked the basement.

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So, if you have one of these spaces (or both), the secret has already been spoken – your basement is your savior! Use your attic or basement to hide your money and other valuables amongst your worn-out possessions, and burglars will walk past them.

The Freezer Trick is Out of Fashion

A Reddit user stated that freezers and cereal boxes are old-fashioned hiding spots. You may think it’s good to hide your valuables, but unfortunately, everyone knows about them. There’s no way burglars are walking away from your home without going through the freezer and cereal box.

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There are several hiding spots you may think to be effective. But the chances are that if you’ve been acquainted with it for a long time, burglars probably are too. This calls for more innovative hiding spots so that you can thwart the would-be robbers.

Make Your Lawn Look Well-Maintained

Remember the above-said hack about leaving your house lights on? Well, mowing your lawn is another way to trick burglars into thinking that your house is currently occupied. Mowing will make the burglar think that someone stays permanently in the house and regularly maintains the yard.

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A Reddit user made it clear that when a lawn is mowed regularly, it leads the burglar to believe that the house isn’t vacant. Many will walk away with this assumption to find a new target. Most burglars would prefer not to run into the homeowners.

Freak Out the Burglars

Here’s a little trick to freak out those burglars intending to rob your home. First, glue a key under the flower pot or the doormat. Then, install a security camera to record their actions and reactions to getting caught red-handed.

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If you doubt this trick, hear out this Reddit user who states, “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 tries to grab the key, backs up, looks around to see if anyone is watching… and LEAVES. They don’t even search for another key because it spooks them.”

Confuse the Burglars

Safes are a secure storage space but are they really when they are the first place a burglar always targets? Burglars assume that all valuables are stored in the safe. Thus, they may leave everything else and walk away with the entire thing.

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So, a Reddit user tried a little trick of hiding their expensive watches and other items in places other than their safe. Guess what happened next? The burglar walked away only with the safe without searching anywhere else. In other words, they walked away with nothing.

Mount Your TV

Having your television getting stolen is absurd, right? After all, who would make such efforts to lift the heavy electronic device and run away with it! In this regard, you should know that stealing your TV is not difficult if you’ve placed it on a stand.

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So, instead of placing your television on a lavish stand, hang it on the wall. It will save your TV from getting stolen. In these scenarios, the burglar will require more time to unmount the TV and find it better to run away without stealing it.

Never Leave Your Purse Unattended

A Reddit user shared that his burglar friends always looked for women who carried purses. They waited for a chance when those women would leave their bags unattended. And once they get the opportunity, they would ride their bikes speedily, snatch the purse, and run away.

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Now, purses contain many essential things, and carrying them everywhere you go is necessary. But never leave them unattended, or else a similar situation as that stated above may happen to you, too. Bear in mind that when purses get stolen, a lot gets stolen with them.

Do Some Creative Thinking to Innovate DIY Hiding Places

Before we say what the hint is, look at what this Reddit user has to say, “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.”

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If you’ve been browsing the internet for creative hiding ideas, burglars are already aware of it! Get creative because a burglar can read what’s on the internet but not what’s on your mind. And this false switchboard is just an example of a creative DIY hiding spot that burglars would barely look at.

Don’t Use Nightstands as Storage Spaces

It’s common for everyone to keep their valuables on the nightstand. Whether it is a good book one is engrossed in or a fragrant candle, nightstands are an easy-to-access storage space. Unfortunately, it is just as easy for burglars to access that spot.

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A Reddit user whose home was burglarized received a piece of advice from the police, “Never leave valuables in your nightstand.” They are highly visible, and there’s no way thieves will walk away without going through what you have stored there.

Get Sneakier With Your Spare Keys

Keys are one of the essential items you must always carry with you. But they are also an item that gets easily misplaced. So, to avoid breaking in the lock every time, most people slip in the spare key under the doormat. But is it really safe?

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No! Burglars are already well-aware of this age-old trick. So, keeping your spare keys under the mat or pot near your door is not at all a tactic unique to you. Try to come up with sneakier places or keep your extra copies at your (trusted) neighbor’s home.

Seek Others’ Opinions for Choosing Hiding Spots

A Reddit user received an excellent piece of advice from his uncle, a policeman. The suggestion was to ask a friend or family member to look for what you’ve hidden in a place you think is safe. If they find the hidden item, it’s not a great place to hide your possessions.

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Thus, this experiment helps you determine if the spot you think is a good hiding space is a good one or not. Therefore, gather your friends and seek their opinions to find a better hiding place. Then do the same for them.

Make Burglary Time-Consuming

Time is precious, but every second counts when thieves do their job. If they can easily see valuables, it is effortless for them to steal. But, if you use a secure storage space with lock systems, this is when the clocks start ticking.

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While stealing, burglars have limited time. They usually won’t be able to break through tough locks. They’d also prefer silence to prevent getting caught. But breaking locks is noisy. So, in this process, they would eventually stop trying on those secure storage spots and leave your home with nothing.

Back Away from Installing Sliding Glass Doors

Sliding glass doors are cool but before installing them in your house, hear us out! An ex-burglar on Reddit said, “If you have a sliding glass door, I can open it. Even with some of the security systems sold for sliding glass doors, I can open it.”

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This note coming straight from an ex-burglar should be enough to make you reconsider your decision of getting a fancy sliding door for your home, right? So, now that the truth is out in the open, you might look for safer options.

Break the Boxes

Burglars are regularly looking for bigger and better things to steal. So, when we throw out those big boxes on Christmas morning, we need to be careful. Thieves are patrolling the streets for the signs of a potentially “big haul.”

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Here’s some sage advice from a Reddit user, “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 can.”

Unlock Drawers

Keep your drawers unlocked – what insane advice, right? Well, before concluding, hear what an ex-burglar Reddit user has to say, “Oh, and thanks for locking drawers. That way, I only know exactly where the valuables are. I can open that cheap wood drawer as quickly with a crowbar as pulling it open.”

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When your drawers are not locked, burglars will assume that you have probably nothing valuable in there. And indeed, this would be an excellent way to trick them. Of course, we don’t suggest replacing a wall safe with an Ikea dresser.

Get a Surveillance Camera Immediately

Never underestimate the power of a good and effective surveillance camera. It is the handiest security system for your residence. Burglars not only aim to steal expensive things, but they also want to avoid getting caught. Cameras are your best bet at covering all your bases.

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So, put a sign outside your house saying they are under CCTV surveillance, and they will be less likely to step close to your residence. Even if buying a real camera sounds out of your budget, use a fake one! After all, it’s all about frightening them and shooing them off.

Secure Your Shed

An ex-burglar suggested on Reddit that one should never leave their home’s shed unlocked. Your shed is handy for storing a wide array of tools, and ironically, it is convenient for burglars to use these same tools and break into your house.

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So, never make the mistake of keeping your shed unlocked. Instead, secure it and store your tools in a place where burglars won’t be able to access them easily. Secure your shed and garage just as you would your house to prevent those thieves from succeeding.

Hide Your Electronic Gadgets

Burglars love your treasured gadgets as much as you do. Look at that new gaming console you just brought. Cool, isn’t it? But do you know what’s uncool? Having your latest treasure get stolen from your living room coffee table.

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A Reddit user shared that his burglar friends would steal gaming consoles, speakers, and other electronic devices and sell them on Craigslist in a different location. So now that’s a way for burglars to make money but for you to lose yours.

Get a Bigger and Heavier Safe

We all think of our safe – with its custom combination – as the perfect place for valuables. However, when there’s a burglary, it’s the first thing that you see a burglar walking away with satisfaction. So, maybe it’s time to find a bigger and bulkier safe.

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A Reddit user states, “Any safe that’s not bolted down and is small enough for 1-2 people to carry isn’t safe at all.” So, if you haven’t been planning to add a safe to your shopping list, perhaps it’s time to do so.

Safeguard Your Textbooks

Books are one thing that can be easily resold. So, if you assume that burglars are probably not bookworms, they don’t have to be. At the end of the day, they aim to resell the stolen goods and make money.

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Now, if you are a student, books are mandatory. A Reddit user whose assigned texts were robbed suggests that you should never leave your textbooks unattended. Any student will tell you they are expensive. Your books being stolen will undoubtedly not have a fairy tale ending!

Hire a House-Sitter

A Reddit user states that burglars usually target the houses of deceased people. The time and date of funerals are made aware to everyone through social media and newspapers. Burglars break into homes while the funeral occurs and take away all belongings of the person who once graced this planet.

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Yes, it is heart-wrenching to think such people exist, but like death, at times, burglary may be inevitable. Therefore, hiring a reliable house-sitter to look after your house while you go to pay your respects would be a good idea.

Your Windows May Need a Renovation

Windows are often a burglar’s entry point. They can easily break through the glass, and if your window opens from the outside, well, that makes it easier on them. We often think the noise will deter them, but this is not a good assumption.

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If you have recently moved into a new place, ensure that all the windows close properly. Add grills for extra security instead of using plain glass. Most importantly, do not install windows that can be opened from the outside.

Save Your Medicines

If you think your medicines are the last thing a burglar will steal, think again because this is what an ex-burglar had to say on Reddit, “The medicine cabinet or bathroom. I’ll just scoop the drugs out into a bag.”

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Medicine is essential for sound health, but burglars intend to make huge money for any prescription meds. So, don’t assume your drugs are safe in the cabinet. Instead, find a safer place to store the meds that can’t be easily replaced.

Small Lock Boxes are Not a Safe Spot in Disguise

Many people use small lockboxes, assuming they are well-disguised. But a Reddit user who was a burglar in the past said, “It’s great when you find one because they’re simple to open and if they don’t have a wall safe, then all their main valuables and money are usually in it… jackpot.”

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This user has made it evident that the lock safe you think is keeping all your valuables safe may not be the safest place to secure your prized possessions. So, do yourself a favor and get a wall safe instead.

Fool the Burglars

If there is anything better than catching a burglar, it is fooling them. So, a Reddit user’s cousin has a clever trick up her sleeves. She uses a cheap jewelry box to store fake jewelry items so that burglars can walk away with them.

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Burglars won’t even care to check other items in the house because, remember, jewelry is the best thing they can get their hands on. So, trick them with an attractive jewelry box and store some cheap pieces in it. This is enough to fool burglars.

Fire Safes Won’t Save You from Theft

A Reddit user pointed out, saying, “Fire safes are only safe from fires.” In other words, it does not save your valuables from being burglarized. This ex-burglar also shared that fire safes are one of their prime targets. Good to know!

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Burglars understand that you store your precious items in a fire safe to protect them in case of a fire. However, it’s not thief-resistant. So, what can be the solution? Back to an earlier piece of advice: get the biggest, heaviest fireproof safe out there.

Steer Away from Common Hiding Locations

A Reddit user who was a burglar once upon a time expressed that every time he was on a stealing spree, he wanted to complete his robbery and be out of the house within 15 minutes. So, any spot that needed more than 1 minute to access was not worth it.

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He further shared that he would look under the bed, empty the drawer, check the freezer, cabinets, and other commonly used hiding spots. After all, they’re on limited time. So, with this, he has certainly given you some handy advice right there!

Use a Shatterproof Film

It is always recommended not to use sliding glass doors or windows without grills. But if you don’t like this idea and don’t want to compromise on your interior space’s aesthetic design, here’s a better suggestion for you – get a shatterproof film!

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You can buy a shatter-resistant laminate for your glass windows and doors. This way, the burglars won’t be able to break the glasses even if they try to. What’s better is that the shatterproof film won’t even affect the appearance of your doors and windows.

Close and Lock Your Garage

A Reddit user shared that it’s pretty easy for burglars to tip-toe into a garage that’s been left open even for a few seconds at night. You may be working on your garage, but close the door if you plan to walk away for even a second.

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Closing your garage doors at night is certainly a no-brainer. But some people have the habit of not caring about whether their garage is locked or not. We all get comfortable in our environments, but make sure to keep all outdoor entrances, including the basement and garage, locked.

Thorns Can Prevent Thefts

When designing your home’s layout, don’t just emphasize the appearance. Rather, focus on how you can design the landscape to offer more security to your home against thefts. Hence, a Reddit user suggested using thorny plants to keep burglars away.

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You can grow rose bushes or keep potted spiny plants like cacti around your home instead of tall, dense shrubberies that give burglars a comfortable place to hide. The sight of thorns is sure to keep thieves away because they wouldn’t want to steal at the cost of getting hurt.

Install an Alarm System

Alarm systems can be beneficial in keeping burglars at bay. They refrain from robbing houses with these handy gadgets because they know the consequences after the alarm starts ringing. This all sounds super basic and intutitve, of course.

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But many of us have not taken this step. So, installing an alarm system in your home is a good idea. Otherwise, you can simply use a fake sticker to trick them into thinking that your house has a security system.

Get a New Set of Keys

Did you just move into a new house, and your landlord handed you the keys? Well, your home may be new, but what about those locks? There’s a good chance that you’ve been given the same keys used by the previous tenants.

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Burglars always keep looking for opportunities, and you never know they might possess some copies of those keys. So, do not use the same ones handed to you by the landlord for your new home. Instead, purchase a new set; it’s a safer option.

Keep That Mail Coming

Here is a little suggestion from a former burglar – keep the mail coming! Don’t stop it from coming even if you leave the house for a few days. It leads burglars to think that the home is not devoid of people.

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Well, you might want to return to a home that is neat and not filled with mails and newspapers. However, it’s worse to return to a home that’s been burglarized. Hence, don’t stop your mail. It might not keep dogs and cats away from your house, but it’ll undoubtedly keep burglars away.

Pet an Attention-Seeking Dog

No one can hate a cute little puppy. Owning a dog is a common suggestion that gets thrown around often when people talk about the ways to avoid burglary. Well, the last thing a thief wants to do is to sneak into your house and be distracted by your overly friendly pet.

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People pet big dogs to make trespassers stay away from their residences, but those cute little dogs that constantly seek cuddles are a great way to keep intruders away since they will never leave burglars alone. And that would certainly alert everyone in the house!