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The Best Ways To Prevent Home Break-Ins, According To Former Criminals

05 March 2019

CCTV cameras and barking dogs are the two most effective ways to prevent burglars from breaking into your home, according to a panel of former burglars.

Nearly half of the 12 ex-criminals consulted by the Co-Op said that contrary to popular perception, most thieves are opportunists who wander the streets and keep an eye out for quick, easy targets.

Break-ins liable to attract attention or those deemed to be difficult could deter the majority of thieves, the panel said, meaning strong doors and locked double-glazed windows would also likely put them off attempting a burglary.

The panel of former crooks said that most burglars would look for easy targets first, like loose cash, jewellery, phones and tablets. Items like TVs, laptops and car keys were also on the list but less of a priority given the extra effort it takes to steal a large TV or a car.

Former bank robber Noel 'Razor' Smith, who has served a total of 32 years in prison for more than 200 commercial burglaries, said: "It's a myth that burglars all wear shellsuits, trainers and carry swag bags. Today's burglars may be unrecognisable - smartly dressed in suits, carrying briefcases or even waistcoats."

"Most burglars want to be in and out of a house in less than five minutes. But there are some very simple steps everyone can take to make our homes more secure and keep our valuables safe."

Along with CCTV cameras and dogs, the panel listed things like motion-activated security lights and attentive neighbours as things that would put them off attempting a break-in.

Beware what you post..

They also warned against posting about going away on holiday on social media, as this might inadvertently work as an open invitation to thieves who'll then know that there's nobody in your house.

"Bragging about your holidays on social media is an absolute no-no," Mr Smith said. "It's just saying 'come and burgle my house'. Organised gangs are having a field day."

To reduce the risk of becoming a target, you should avoid posting:

  • images and location tags that give details about holidays or car registration plates
  • pictures of your property where you can see the door number and street name
  • documentation that shows personal data, including the front of an envelope
  • objects of desire including new phones, electronic devices, high performance cars and designer clothes.

The Top 10 Burglar Deterrents

  • CCTV cameras
  • Sound of a barking dog
  • Strong, heavy doors
  • TV that has been switched on
  • Locked UPVC windows
  • Cars parked on driveway
  • Overlooking property
  • Surrounding fences
  • Gates outside the property
  • Motion-activated security lights

The Top 10 Car Thief Deterrents

  • CCTV street cameras
  • Car alarm
  • Street lighting
  • Car parked on a driveway
  • Newer vehicle
  • Steering lock device
  • Older car
  • Neighbourhood Watch-designated areas
  • Car parked in a dark alleyway
  • Immobiliser

Read more: How To Prevent Burglary