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Home Security Tips From an Ex-Burglar

A burglar picking the lock of an external door
Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Mar 13, 2024
4 minutes read

Protecting your home and your possessions is becoming more of a challenge as the years go by. Tips for keeping your property safe are constantly under review. Fortunately, there are ways you can keep up with trends and be more aware of the tricks that thieves use. With some insight from an ex-burglar, you can help your situation.

Strategies Deployed

  • Visibility inside

  • Double lock deployment

  • Letterbox fishing

  • Rear entrance

  • Outbuilding vulnerability

Co-host to Beat The Burglar on the BBC, Michael Fraser, broke into houses in his youth. Knowing the tricks of the trade, he’s able to shed some light onto common tactics deployed by potential burglars.

Visibility Inside

If someone can see into your home, it can be attractive to burglars. They are able to tell at a glance whether you’re around and what you have. This can be even more of a nightmare if you have valuables on display.

You may also be guilty of leaving a kitchen calendar facing a window. This can be a tell-tale sign that you’re not in, especially if appointments are noted.

Double Lock Deployment

According to Fraser, even people with double locks tend to only use one of them. The lack of security can be easily tested too. A burglar can simply put a foot against the door and see how much it moves. If it gives more than 2mm, it’s a tell-tale sign that only one lock has been deployed.

Even if you’ve used a Yale or cylinder lock, these can be easily bypassed. Some doors can be so weak that a simple kick can force them open.

Letterbox Fishing

Looking through the letterbox is another avenue a burglar will try. They’re simply seeing if you’ve installed a cage on the inside. If not, it leaves you open to what is commonly known as letterbox fishing.

A long, extendable pole is fed through the letterbox, which allows the thief to pick up keys left on the side or bags in the immediate area. Easy targets can be picked off relatively quickly.

Rear Entrance

Once a property has been sized up, if it looks weak, a burglar will try and get round to the back. Being away from the front reduces visibility and the chance that they’ll be seen by onlookers.

From the rear, the burglar can force locks, windows or make use of weak openings. With cover, they will be more confident.

Outbuilding Vulnerability

It’s quite frequent that people will forget to secure their outbuildings. Even if they do feature locks, they’re often cheap and easily broken. Sheds can contain ladders and other useful equipment to a burglar. They can even sometimes contain expensive bikes.

Paying out for better locks for your outbuildings can slow down and deter a would-be burglar, and keep your items safe. Even if you’ve secured your home, a ladder could be all it takes for them to gain entry.

How to Keep Your Home Secure

Michael Fraser believes security cameras are a big turn-off for burglars. It’s easy to purchase a camera for your home nowadays, and most of them come with useful features that tell you if they’ve spotted something.

With security alerts and remote control via smartphone, it’s the perfect solution for the modern age. Of course, it’s also useful to secure your home in other ways, such as obscuring the view from windows and keeping them locked.

If you’re interested in securing your property, take a look at our various articles on home security systems. Alternatively, use the button below to find out how much you’d pay for a system.