6 Things Professional Burglars Don’t Want You to Know

Posted on Apr 21 2017 - 4:36pm by Housecall

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on April 21, 2017. Housecall continues to share this piece due to ongoing requests and reader interest.

By Krystal Rogers-Nelson

Even though a burglary occurs every 20 seconds in the U.S., you can still protect yourself without installing top-dollar security features.

Home burglary generally has a pattern; criminals are looking for an easy target they can rob fast. Learn from the pros. Here are six tips from career burglars you can use to defend your home and prevent break-ins.

1. Nighttime Burglaries Aren’t the Best Time

Burglars like to break in to homes during daytime hours—the last thing criminals want is to encounter someone at home. Weekdays are ideal for thieves, since weekend schedules are too unpredictable. Between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. are the most popular times because there’s a high chance people will be away at work or school.


2. They Know When You’re Not Home—Thanks to Social Media

While it’s tempting to post about your vacation to your social media feed, wait to share those trip photos and exotic location check-ins until you’re back home. Criminals scout public social media accounts like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Foursquare to find victims.

Locating someone’s home address using basic information from their social media profile is surprisingly easy. In one survey of convicted burglars, more than 10 percent say they used social media to determine who was out of town. The same survey found one burglar stole over $250,000 in electronics and jewelry from 33 women he saw in public—he used GPS data embedded in photos they posted online to find their homes.

Even if all your accounts are private, that old friend from high school or new neighbor down the street could be a potential criminal. Never post what times you’re not home or how long you’ll be out.

3. They Don’t Like Your Security Practices

Burglars want nothing to do with alarm systems (whether they’re from the best home security companies or not). Homes without a security system are almost 300 percent more likely to be targeted for a break-in.  If you do install an alarm system, make sure you guard it with a strong code. Don’t use your house number or birthday, and clean any dirt or grease off your keypad so a burglar won’t guess your code based off the numbers you’ve hit the most. Unlocked windows, unused deadbolts, poorly lit homes, and residences without security systems are prime targets for burglars, so make sure you are using the security features you already have.

Also, tricks that make it look like you’re home really work, professional burglars reveal. Burglars run from properties that look like people are inside. Motion sensor lights, bright flood lights, and timed lights are inexpensive security features for a home’s exterior that scare criminals away. TVs or radios left on, as well as cars parked in the driveway, make burglars nervous that someone is home.

4. Great Targets Advertise Their Weapon Supply

If you’re a proud gun owner, that won’t scare away burglars—it entices them. A gun is stolen roughly every two minutes in the U.S., so homeowners should be sure to always lock up their guns. NRA bumper stickers on a car or Smith & Wesson signs on a house advertises that there are lots of guns to steal.

5. Shrubs and Architecture Make Great Hiding Spots

Tall bushes are favorites of burglars since they offer an obstructed view from the street and an easy way to hide from neighbors. Keep shrubs and large landscaping features trimmed. If you want big plants by your windows, choose something thorny that will detract a burglar, like roses or cacti.

Think twice about large architecture features, too, like fences, half walls, and big fountains. Thieves are searching for crimes of opportunity, and such decor elements give a burglar more time to hide and plot their method of entry. The best defense is a clear view of your front porch.

trimming bushes

Credit: gifbin

6. Valuables in the Open Help Them Decide on a Target

Keep your expensive items out of sight. You’re making it too easy for a burglar by advertising the type of valuables they can steal. Don’t leave a new MacBook in front of your first-floor kitchen window, iPads on your living room ottoman, or even a nice car in a garage window with a clear sight line to the street. Key hooks—especially with labels for each key—need to be concealed out of view from windows, too.

“A burglar appreciates such kindness, but you will find it expensive when you have to replace all the locks after a break-in,” says Mike Fraser, former professional burglar and host of the BBC show Beat the Burglar.

Fraser also advises to leave large family calendars out of view. You’re inviting a break-in by detailing when you’ll be away, Fraser says. This advice goes for any ID documents, too. Mail or other personal information left in plain view is a gold mine for a criminal looking to easily steal your details for identity theft.


Using these tips can help you protect your home from break-ins. Also, be sure to research crime rates and trends in your neighborhood and state. Just like some houses are safer than others, some states are safer than others.  Where does your state rank?


Using data collected by the FBI, ASecureLife compiled a list of the 10 states with the lowest numbers of recorded break-ins per 100,000 inhabitants in 2015.

Krystal Rogers-Nelson is a Safety & Security Expert for ASecureLife. As a homeowner and mother of a rambunctious toddler, she specializes in topics ranging from home and financial security to parenting and child safety. When she’s not writing or researching, she enjoys making art, watching cheesy rom-coms, and spending time in nature.

19 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Jeanne Moellendick May 3, 2017 at 5:01 pm -

    Great newsletter! Is it okay to share with others?

    • Nick Caruso May 3, 2017 at 5:35 pm -

      Please, do! Thanks Jeanne!

    • Marylin Paul May 4, 2017 at 9:05 am -

      Absolutely agree!

  2. Jay Quigley May 4, 2017 at 9:27 am -

    Great article!

  3. Lee Peters May 5, 2017 at 2:30 pm -

    I would like to use this article for our Civic League Newsletter.
    Is that okay with you?

  4. Sooner House Buyers May 30, 2017 at 4:49 am -

    Awesome post! This is going to be helpful

  5. Owner Finance OKC May 31, 2017 at 11:15 pm -

    Thank you! this is very helpful

  6. Jim Morrison June 20, 2017 at 11:46 pm -

    Good Insights, worth sharing

  7. W Properties OK December 30, 2017 at 9:58 pm -

    Timing of burglarly was a good insight. It makes sense too. Most people are away from the house during lunch or work hours. Not many home to question someone going in or out.

  8. Penny L. Blackwell November 8, 2018 at 6:30 pm -

    Very good information and reminders. Thanks for allowing “shares.”

  9. Carol September 11, 2019 at 2:35 pm -

    How can I get the article without all of the ads that surround the segments here?

  10. Jan Livingston September 12, 2019 at 10:30 am -

    Excellent article. Thank you for allowing “shares”.

  11. Said Abolhoda November 16, 2019 at 1:13 pm -

    This is a great blog. Do I have your permission to share it with my contacts and my website and referring to the course?

  12. steve pagano March 7, 2020 at 3:53 pm -

    Great insights. I’ve also found having a pitbull and bulldog are great deterrents.
    You want it? Come get it 🙂

  13. BeastMaster July 1, 2020 at 6:22 am -

    Thank you for the info.

  14. Local House Buyers July 1, 2020 at 4:04 pm -

    Good Insights. Thank you for the information!

  15. Tim Smithe July 2, 2020 at 7:26 pm -

    Great article! This is why I don’t use social media.

  16. David Chan July 9, 2021 at 7:23 pm -

    Yes agree.
    Thank you so much for your information

  17. David Chan July 10, 2021 at 4:30 am -

    Nice article.