KGW News in Portland asked 86 imprisoned burglars to share the secrets of their trade – how they broke into homes, the types they'd target, the ones they'd steer clear of, and more.
Their answers reveal eight steps you can take to avoid being robbed.
Install a solid front door with a heavy-duty strike plate, deadbolt, and 3-inch screws. One inmate said, “I would kick in the door rather than break glass. Loud bangs are better than loud glass breaking, plus you run the risk of getting cut.”
Enlist your neighbors in block-watch efforts. Burglars prefer daytime break-ins to night. Early mornings or afternoons are preferred, while residents are at work or school.
Big, loud dogs keep burglars away. Small, yapping lap dogs don't seem to deter them.
Be suspicious of any strangers at your door. Every inmate admitted to knocking on the front door before breaking in. If someone answered, they posed as being lost, a shopper responding to a Craigslist ad, a pollster carrying a clipboard, or someone seeking a lost pet.
Install an audible alarm. If one sounds, most intruders said they'd leave instantly.
Turn on a radio or TV when you leave. Hearing one scares most burglars away.
Park a vehicle in your driveway while you're gone. Nearly all crooks agreed it means someone is likely home.
Trim your bushes, illuminate shadows. Burglars like to hide.
Learn more about how to protect you home from theft.