Security & Defense
FREE Burglary Deterrent Advice From Real Life Burglars
FREE ADVICE–from people who steal
While most of us were distracted by the admittedly important election news last week, KGW reporters presented a summary of a 17-item questionnaire given to 86 Portland, Oregon prison inmates. All respondents to the survey have burglary convictions. What they had to say about their craft isn’t much of a surprise. Regardless, their words offer plenty of reminders for gun owners.
Deterrents to burglary
The biggest deterrent is a big dog. Every burglar who mentioned dogs said a big dog would make them take a pass on a house.
Having a backyard and front entrances that are visible to the public are the other universal deterrent.
Cars parked in the driveway, not covered with accumulated leaves or dirt, along with a driveway that shows recent use, is the other consistent deterrent.
Big, heavy safes that require serious effort to move are usually considered to be too much work, unless the target has been heavily studied and the time investment is worth the risk.
Invitations to burglary
Bathroom windows and pet doors left unlocked, shielded by bushes or high fences, are the burglars’ idea of an engraved invitation. A little less privacy is sometimes a good thing.
Being absent during the early afternoon, especially with a front porch light left on during the day, is another sign that a home is safe to burglarize. Burglars are unanimous in their preference for midday action.
The main bedroom is generally the first, or only place, a burglar searches. It’s a good idea to store your valuables elsewhere.
Maybe, maybe not
Home security company signs drew mixed reactions. Some burglars say a sign or sticker with a security notification is a deterrent; others say they’re skilled at quickly disabling these systems once inside.
Gun-related signs and stickers are also a mixed bag. One burglar mentioned targeting homes that have a car with an NRA sticker, because he assumes guns will be inside. Another said he was put off by a warning sign about shooting intruders, and decided not to burglarize that home. Guns are easy to resell and one of the most profitable theft items.
Cameras–don’t kid yourself
Cameras are often assumed to be both a deterrent and a crime-solver. Burglars know all they have to do to create reasonable doubt is wear a hoodie at work. Inexpensive cameras that fail to capture critical details, like facial features or tattoos, often deliver only frustration.
Where guns make a difference
In his book The War on Guns: arming yourself against gun control lies, John Lott cites a statistic that’s consistent with the input of the inmates in the survey: the average time devoted to a home burglary in the United States is 2-10 minutes. Lott contrasts this to burglaries In the United Kingdom, which are usually around 20 minutes in duration. The difference? Burglars in the US fear armed citizens.
It’s our job as citizens to be sure that remains true.