Burglars take their job very seriously, and they’re always conducting Continued Professional Development training by staying up to date with the latest security products and the latest social media platforms. They also have a long list of tried and tested techniques to scope and enter properties to steal valuables, so it follows that staying ahead of them is almost a full time job – it’s our full time job.
One longstanding method that burglars use is marking houses they have scoped out according to what they find. These symbols are marked in inconspicuous areas, so a homeowner may not see them but a burglar will. These symbols vary a little from country to country but these are accepted marks for the UK:
Utilities companies may also put marks on the pavement, so don’t be too alarmed by obvious markings outside your home, they may be put there to denote a drain that needs a repair or maintenance, or the site of a new utilities connection. Burglars are more likely to hide their markings rather than leave very obvious signs on the pavement.
Most of us know not to put too many details on social media, and definitely not to post a picture of your pint in the airport bar alongside details of your holiday, but we should still be much more mindful about what we post. Burglars will create fake social media profiles and either try to befriend you, or just stalk your profile looking for information. A seemingly simple status like “about to go for my first run, attempting 5 km, wish me luck!” reads very differently to a burglar. They read “my house is going to be empty for the next half hour and I’ll be too knackered to chase you if I come home early”.
Make your posts private, or set to friends only, and be very wary of who you add and who can see what you post. It’s best to post after the event, so rather than say you’re about to go for a run, post when you get back instead. This is a trick the Kardashian sisters use so they never give away their current location on social media.
Many burglaries occur during the day because that’s when most people are out. The hours between 9.30am and 3pm are popular with thieves because of this, so leave a radio on, and a light on a timer. Leaving lights on permanently actually tells a burglar you’re out, because we don’t habitually leave all our lights on all day and night. By mimicking a pattern of occupation can make a burglar think you are at home; this might entail setting different timers for different lights to make it appear that someone is moving around the property, or using smart devices to activate your lights from your phone.
Finally, look at the physical measures you can take. An activated alarm system is a big deterrent, as is a car on the driveway. Ensure that you have good quality locks on your doors and windows. Be aware it is useless having a secure lock on a rickety door, so consider replacing your external doors for the most secure option you can afford. A burglar won’t waste time picking a lock if they can simply kick the door in.
When in doubt, try to think like a burglar and remember if you can think of a way in, you can be sure they have too.