10 Things Burglars Don’t Want you to Know

Burglars would rather keep their dirty little secrets to themselves. But today, Schlage, makers of the grade one Touchscreen Deadbolt, and I are revealing what they don’t want you to know.

  1. Burglars have jobs too. Your burglar was already in your house. He was there recently to repair the furnace, deliver the new flat screen TV or pick up old furniture you wanted to donate.
  2. Attractive ornaments or pricey “kids’ things” outside your home can indicate to a potential intruder that your house is full of valuables.
  3. Don’t let a service person use your bathroom. This may seem rude, but burglars have been known to visit the john so they could unlock or disable its window for future entrance into your house.
  4. Make sure your house alarm’s control panel is not visible through glass to someone loitering outside.
  5. Always have your newspaper and mail delivery put on hold when you’re away. And if you notice a flyer on your doorknob, immediately remove it so that the burglar who put it there doesn’t think you’re on vacation.
  6. Would you ever exit your house wearing only socks because you forgot to put your shoes on? Absolutely never! So make it a point to also never forget to lock your door after leaving.
  7. If someone is at your door, and you’re not expecting anyone, it’s not a crime to ignore them. That person on the other side may be a burglar casing your house (“Do you know where Clover Street is?”) and your demeanor to see if you’re easy prey.
  8. Hot spots for a burglar’s entrance include the window above the kitchen sink and the upper level windows. Have these spots set with alarms, and install motion detectors upstairs.
  9. Even a half-witted burglar knows to check medicine bottles for those diamond earrings, and scour through the sock and underwear drawer for more valuables. But he just might not bother going into the children’s bedrooms.
  10. Even though the sun’s beginning to set, you insist on keeping your blinds up or curtains open to milk what little daylight is left to lighten up the room. Meanwhile, a savvy burglar is strolling about the neighborhood, catching glimpses through windows that he can see through because it’s dusk (let alone night time). This way he can pick easy looking targets or ones with visible valuables.

Robert Siciliano home security expert to Schlage discussing home security and identity theft on TBS Movie and a Makeover. Disclosures. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247.

Craigslist Robbery By Appointment

It’s springtime. You put an ad on Craigslist to get rid of some things, clean out your garage and make a few bucks while you are at it. Maybe you have an old diamond ring to sell. Or that truck you are driving isn’t what it used to be, so you decide it’s time to sell. 
The ad goes out, people call and you make the appointments. But, unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned, do they?

The Spec reports, The odds of being physically harmed from using an online classified service are not high, but a blend of cybercrime and physical crime is common enough in the U.S. that one police force there has offered consumers the opportunity to conduct online transactions in person at their police station.

“People believe that because it’s there online, and that someone is reaching out, that it must be legitimate … There’s a reason your mom always told you not to talk to strangers.”

Use Craigslist with caution. Don’t think for one second you can’t be robbed, burglarized, scammed or killed. Some people’s homes have been invaded, and it can happen to you too. Be very careful who you contact; you never know who the person is or what his motivation may be.

Get identification details pre-meeting. Make sure to get the full contact details of the other person and call back to verify. A little white lie like, “My brother is a cop and will be here” will make the person you’re dealing think twice about harming you.

Meet at a public location. Coffee shops, malls, police stations—anywhere but your home that involves lots of other people. The more eyeballs, the better.

Trust your instincts. Don’t discount any weird feelings you might have about meeting with this person. If something seems wrong, then it IS wrong. Cancel if you don’t feel right about it.

Enlist a buddy. Strength in numbers makes predators think twice. Predators thrive on isolation. By pairing up, you reduce the chances of being attacked.

Be street smart. Expensive jewelry and provocative clothing can invite an attack. Scarves around your neck give attackers something to grab and choke you with. Wear sneakers that you can run and fight in.

Be on guard. Just like Mom said, there is risk in meeting strangers. Being on guard can keep you from getting into a compromised position.

Stay in communication. Let your spouse, friends, family or coworkers know where you are going, who you will be meeting and when you will be back. Stay in contact on your mobile while you are meeting.

Use your panic alarm. If you are crazy enough to meet the other party at your home, have someone stand guard at your home security alarm’s panic button to summon the police if things go wrong.

Robert Siciliano, personal and home security specialist to, discussing burglar-proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

During a Robbery: Fight or Comply?

Many of us are told that, when we’re attacked, we should let it happen so that the situation doesn’t get any worse. In some cases that may be your only option. But some studies have shown that fighting back is a better option. Showing resistance and making it difficult for your attacker to do their job often helps you get to safety. 

But what about when it’s a robbery? 

Robbery as defined in Wikipedia is the crime of seizing property through violence or intimidation. In common law, robbery is defined as taking the property of another, with the intent to permanently deprive the person of that property, by means of force or fear. Precise definitions of the offence may vary between jurisdictions. Robbery differs from simple theft because of its use of violence and intimidation.

The Washington Post reports “four intruders – two white men and two black men – entered the single-family home about 11 a.m. and used a weapon to hold the family against their will, authorities said. … No one was hurt during the robbery, Mills said, and no information was immediately available about what type of weapon was displayed.”

If violence begins during a robbery, responding to violence with violence might be necessary.

To help protect yourself against robbery, follow these simple tips:

  1. Make sure you have an acute awareness of your environment.
  2. Install outdoor lighting that may keep the bad guys away.
  3. Use your cell phone from a closet.
  4. Make sure your home has a lived-in look so that, from the outside, your home looks like a tougher target, and that help is close by.
  5. Install security cameras.
  6. Have a panic button for your home alarm that calls for help and sends a screaming alarm.
  7. The worst thing you can do is nothing. If violence is imminent, decide on an escape route or recognize your options for protecting and defending yourself.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Home Invasions Are Ugly

I always do my best not to create fear. Fear based motivation and training stifles progress and turns people off.

Years ago I was invited to present a program at a persons home to their families and was asked a series of questions that devolved into a hopeless mess. At one point, the Mom’s voice cracked and I could see my answers crossed the lines and her whole body exuded fear.  I’ll never forget it.

Unfortunately, the reality of crime is real, and it’s scary. While trying to keep things light, and with a little perspective, try to learn from the following and brace yourself then acknowledge a few days worth of news reports depicting real stories of bad things happening to good people.

Pregnant Woman Shot During Home Invasion. Deputies said two men forced their way into the home and shot the woman twice, in the arm and upper torso. Two children were at the home at the time. They were not injured. Scary. Home with two kids and they witness this. Maybe she’s “lucky” it wasn’t worse?

Newark teen and grandmother are attacked in home invasion by men posing as police. Two men impersonating police officers were armed with handguns, barged into a home in Newark. The two men, who wore police-type badges around their necks, handcuffed the 18 year old forcing the man into a closet while pushing his 76-year-old grandmother to the floor. You never know who is a good guy and who is a bad guy. Just because they have a badge doesn’t mean you should immediately open the door.

Robbers beat paraplegic man, killing his dog in Parker County home invasion. A disabled man was pistol-whipped and his service dog was shot to death during a home invasion robbery. The man had just gotten into bed when two masked robbers kicked in the door of his rural home. The gunmen held the paraplegic man down on his bed and demanded cash. That’s when his 12-year-old German shepherd, Major, entered the room. The intruders shot and killed the dog, then fled with more than $500. “He was doing what he was supposed to do,” Hammons told Channel 8. “I feel like he saved mine and my wife’s life.”

Wow. Again, no fear based training here. This stuff is real and it needs to be acknowledged. Here are a few home safety tips:

Lock your doors day and night.

Don’t open for anyone without first calling a supervisor to confirm their legitimacy.

Every home must have a home security alarm that is also equipped with security cameras. And one of my personal favorites, get a trained German shepherd.

Another consideration is a home safe-room also known as a “panic room” where families can hide out in a relatively bullet proof, well stocked room equipped with wireless communications and wait for law enforcement to show up.

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