The 20 Most Effective Burglary Prevention Tips, According To Real Burglars

Having your house robbed is not only violating but can cost you a lot of money! How do you prevent it? Luckily, the Internet is full of people giving advice, even burglars (or people who claim to be real burglars).

Burglars of the Internet

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Someone asked, “Burglars of Reddit, what are the best ways to keep you out of my house?” As you can imagine, there were many responses and a lot of interest in the answers.

Here are some of the best responses.

Answers were lightly edited for length and clarity.

Lock Deadbolts

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The most upvoted answer was a simple response, “Lock your dead bolts, Can’t tell you how easy it is to card a boot with the dead bolt unlocked. Might as well leave the door open.”

Someone added, “Yessir. The knob just keeps the wind from opening the door. The deadbolt keeps people from opening the door.”

Don’t Associate With Burglars

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What is the best way to keep burglars out of your house? Don’t know any burglars, someone wrote.

“But… The number one way to keep a burglar out of your house is to keep burglars out of your life. 66% of all burglaries are committed by people known to the victim.  Sketchy son-in-law. Jealous neighbor. Drug addict daughter. These are the people most likely to burglarize your house.”

Don’t Post on Social Media

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Don’t tell everyone where you are going and for how long!

“Don’t post on Facebook that you are not home and how long you will be out,” someone wrote. Another added, “To elaborate on this, don’t post vacation photos to social media until you are back home.”

Get a Dog

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One person shared that they did time for multiple residential burglaries. He shared the following few tips:

“Get a dog that doesn’t like strangers. I don’t care if it’s big or small or threatening or friendly… as soon as one dog barks, the whole neighborhood starts barking and announcing a burglar’s presence.”


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The same person continued, “Cameras – inside and out. I knew a guy who was caught because he walked by someone’s webcam inside their house and ended up on the news. Make the cameras visible. If I see a camera, I’m not just moving on to the next house, but I’m going several streets away.”

Lock Back Doors

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After doing a year and a half for burglary, this guy seems legit! He also said, “Lock the back fence and restrict access to the backyard. That’s generally where I broke into the house from.”

Don’t Use Window Air Conditioners

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Someone wrote, “I grew up with a whole lot of thieving scumbags. Bank robbers, carjackers, etc.”

One of their tips was, “Don’t use window air conditioners. This was by far the most common way to gain access by my friends. Kick in the A/C and climb on in. If nothing of value was found, the A/C could be taken in for scrap metal.”

Close the Garage Door

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The same person wrote, “Don’t leave your garage door open. Thieves like to drive around nice neighborhoods, looking for people who left their garage open. They love a situation where someone might be mowing their backyard. Quickly hop out of the car, run into the garage, grab as many tools as they can, and run. If they brought a truck, they’ll be grabbing bigger stuff. You probably won’t even notice or know what happened.”

Hide Your Keys

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Are you worried about your car being stolen? The same person wrote, “Don’t keep your car keys on a hook next to the front door. Newer cars are impossible for an average thief to hotwire. Easy as h*** to kick in your front door and snatch the keys straight off the hook, though.”

Don’t Answer the Door

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“Don’t answer the door for strangers. If thieves are casing out the neighborhood, they will pretend to be magazine salesmen / jehovahs witnesses / etc., to take a peek at what’s inside—especially that hook for car keys. Once again, a big f*** dog can help here,” he continued.

Don’t Keep Stuff in Your Car

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“Don’t keep anything in your car. Especially work trucks and vans…. I even know of someone who robbed a cop car. Keep your vehicles empty. Locks don’t f****matter – the lock on the backdoor of a work van can be popped out in under 5 seconds with a slide puller and a screw,” they wrote.

Hide Expensive Stuff

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Don’t let the potential burglars know what you have, they said! “Keep expensive stuff out of sight. Your 70″ flatscreen tv should not be visible from the street. Your Macbook Pro shouldn’t be kept right in front of your 1st-floor office window.”

Leave on the Lights

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When you leave your house, make them think someone is in it. “Leave the TV and lights on when you’re not home. Not only does it give the impression someone is home, but it also will entertain and comfort your big  dog.”

Add Locks to Your Apartment

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If you live in an apartment, you must be even more careful. “If you’re in an apartment – do whatever you can to add more locks (if possible according to your lease), alarm system, cameras, etc. – lots of shady maintenance men and landlords out there,” they said.

Don’t Leave Out Extra Keys

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The first place they look for keys? Under the mat! “Don’t leave an extra key under your doormat / under a rock / in your mailbox / on top of the door frame / etc.,” they said.

Be Aware of Scams

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This person is a treasure trove of information! They said, “Read up and be aware of how most popular scams work. Water meter scams, fence salesman scams, etc. Most of the time, someone will be distracting you somehow while their accomplice sneaks into your house. Just don’t talk to strangers and you will avoid all of them.”

Make It Difficult To Get Into Backyard

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“Make it a royal pain in the a*** to get into your backyard. 10ft fence would be nice. No one likes breaking in through the front door or front windows. No one likes scaling 10ft fences either. This complements the “get a big f**** dog” concept.”

Don’t Flaunt

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Don’t tell other people what you have, they said. “Keep the flaunting to a minimum. If you have an expensive vehicle, at least try to keep it in a garage. If you have lots of expensive tools, don’t fly a “SNAP ON” banner outside your garage. Don’t put up a “This house is protected by Smith & Wesson” sign.”

Have Someone Watch Your House

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Someone wrote, “When a relative or friend of yours dies, make sure somebody is staying at the house during the funeral services! My grandmother’s house was burglarized during my grandfather’s funeral. The funeral had been announced in the paper (most are), and the burglar knew this was a prime time.”

Don’t Leave Stuff Outside

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“Don’t leave anything outside they can use to climb on. Seen so many break-ins where the homeowner’s ladder, grill, or trashcans were used to access windows that would have been out of reach,” someone wrote.

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This post originally appeared on A Dime Saved. 

Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.