Prolific Burglar Shares Tips from Prison

Who better to tell you how to protect your home than a career criminal that began breaking into homes at the tender age of 14. Up until he was finally jailed,  he fed a heroin addiction for almost 30 years by breaking into over 200 homes. That’s an average of breaking into one home every 2 months for 30 years!

How he chose homes:

He randomly chose single level homes that had open shades where he could see inside if anyone was home. He cased the homes over a few days.

Often he would choose a home near the parking lot of a business, church or other establishment where he could park his car unnoticed.

A big attraction was if he saw any degree of mail or newspapers accumulating. One to 2 days worth of mail would prompt him to case the home further. If the home didn’t have that “lived in look” he would knock on the front door, ring the bell, tap on windows and if nobody answered he would jiggle the doorknob.

He also looked at a home’s lighting. If an exterior light was on at 2pm during daylight and still on at 4am, then it was likely the person was away from the home and left the light on to give the false impression they were home at night, not thinking a burglar would notice the light during the day.

What homes he avoided:

Any home with a “Beware of Dog” sign or any pictures of dogs wasn’t worth the risk. If the home had the appearance of a home security system, home security cameras, signage, stickers or a visible alarm keypad, he avoided the home saying again, it’s not worth the risk.

I think it’s pretty clear what you should do and what you shouldn’t do to attract the attention and deter a burglar.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston.

Holiday Shopping: Beware of Unethical Online Merchants

We have all encountered a sales clerk who was rude, a customer service representative who was incompetent and an online purchase that went south. Even I’ve been scammed out of an entire order and spent dozens of hours trying to get a return on another.

But when it comes to outrageous and shocking, including threats of violence and outright fraud, this story takes the cake.  An online merchant based in Brooklyn New York retailing designer sunglasses, some counterfeit and some real, thrives on bad customer service, over charging, making threats, stalking and abusing clients into giving up the fight over what’s right.

The merchant prides himself on getting negative feedback on consumer advocacy and review sites such as Get Satisfaction,,, Yelp and Epinions.

He thrives on – for example “DO NOT ORDER ANYTHING FROM THIS COMPANY. This has been the most horrific experience EVER. I have extensive knowledge of website management and customer service, and they pretty much break every rule imagined. They are a total scam

The strategy of negativity gets this merchants website ranked high on search when listed with all the different opinion sites. Google and other search engines often rank a website to show on the first page of search based on how many links point to it from other prominent sites. So even though all the negative links are pointing to the unethical site from opinion sites, it still ranks on the first page of search helping its sales.

Beware of making purchases on any website based on how they rank in search. Even a first page organic hit can lead to a scammy company.

Learn from others bad experiences. ALWAYS search “Name Of Company” in Google before you make a purchase. The review sites almost always show on the first page of search when “Name Of Company” has been blacklisted.


Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing scammers and thieves on The Big Idea with Donnie Deutsch.

Protecting Yourself and Family During The Holidays

Criminals share the same calendar as you and I. Their lives are no different than ours. They anticipate the holidays and feel the same pressures to provide.  But they “shop” in a different way than we do. I’m already seeing news reports of “Woman attacked while shopping” and “Teens jump man leaving jewelry store”

The only thing that separates us from them is the boundaries they have established. While you and I are civilized humans who feel sympathy, empathy and understand personal boundaries, the bad guys don’t.

It is an unfortunate fact that we must cope with this sub-species that views you and I as their natural prey. They look upon us as cattle to be herded and meat to be slaughtered. They think nothing of taking from us and committing violence to get what they want.

Having this knowledge and understanding what you are up against should empower you. By achieving this kind of awareness, you can anticipate and proactively prepare and prevent crime.

The following considerations need to be made as the holidays advance:

Every tip here revolves around “situational awareness”. The more aware you are of every situation, the safer and more secure you will be. Predators seek people who are unaware. By knowing what’s happening around the perimeter of your body you reduce the chances of being chosen by an attacker.

ATM: As you are getting cash look around you, cover the keypad with your other hand as you enter your PIN. If someone makes an attempt to accost you, toss the money and run.

Parking lots: Don’t park near windowless vans. Before you get out of the vehicle scan the area. Once you are on your way continually scan the area around you. If anyone suspicious or aggressive approaches scream and run.

Wallet/purse: Carry “chump change” which is enough dollars to toss in one direction while you run in the other. If they want your purse give it to them. Don’t fight over material items.

Self Defense: If your physical security is in jeopardy offering resistance has been proven more often to get you out of a dangerous situation. Run, fight, kick, scream, and do whatever a 2 pound cat would do to get away.

Leaving the Mall: It’s never good to be loaded down with bags. Get a carriage if possible. If you are shopping late at night get a security guard to walk you out or buddy up with someone leaving the mall.

Back to your car: Scan the area around your car. Look inside the car before getting in. Scan the area around the vehicle while putting your stuff in the trunk. Once inside lock your doors.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing self defense on Fox Boston.

City or Suburbs, Which is Safer?

At one time everyone lived in the city, that’s all there was. Then suburban growth began and those who had money left the city for the suburbs. City inhabitants left back were often poor and where there is poor there seems to be crime.

There are many obvious differences between suburbia and city life including noise, congestion and crime. City kids are usually a little more street wise and suburban kids less so.

My parents grew up in the city and their parent’s grew up in the city. When I was young we lived in the city.

We moved to the “Leave It to Beaver” suburbs when I attended the first grade and I went through high-school a suburbanite. And because my parents were so young, (they were both 19 when I was born) I pretty much spent every weekend with my grandparents in the city. Growing up I kind of lived a “double life”. I had the idyllic upbringing of suburban life with the street savvy exposure of the city.

Over the years I’ve noticed lots of change in suburbia. Big change has occurred partly because of the Internet. With instant information and social media, the lines between city and suburb have been significantly blurred.

But what has obliterated those lines is crime. Crime now happens in suburbia just like it happens in the city. Statistically crime in the city is still higher than in suburbia, but the types of crimes, frequency and the violent nature of crimes are sometimes as bad in the suburbs as they are in the city.

Violence, burglaries, car theft, robberies and murder happen everywhere. And home invasions and the brutality that come with them are happening a lot in the suburbs.

In a Connecticut suburb Dr. William A. Petit Jr. was almost beaten to death while his wife and daughters, ages 17 and 11, were killed and the house was set on fire.

In a suburb in New Hampshire during a home invasion a mother is hacked to death with a machete and her daughter barley survives a similar attack.

What this all means is if you are an old school thinker and have grown up thinking “It can’t happen to me. Not here, we live in the burbs, that stuff happens in the city””…then you need to pay attention. If you live in the suburbs and neglect home security, not locking doors or thinking you don’t need a home security system is naïve.

Living in the suburbs no longer means you are insulated from crime. “Leave It To Beaver” is off the air.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing Home Invasions on Montel Williams.