Tonight is ---an event designed to make us all stop and think about crime in our communities and how to prevent it. Of course, knowing your neighbors and your public safety officials are important deterrents to crime, but there are a few things that research into residential burglary has taught us.
13 Things Burglars Don't Want You to Know:
- Your well-tended garden tells me you have good taste ... and good taste means there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.
- Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it.
- I don't take a day off because of bad weather.
- I always knock first. If you answer, I'll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters. (Don't take me up on it.)
- Do you really think I won't look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet. Helpful hint: I almost never go into kids' rooms.
- You're right: I won't have enough time to break into that safe where you keep your valuables. But if it's not bolted down, I'll take it with me.
- A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system. If you're reluctant to leave your TV on while you're out of town, you can buy a $35 device that works on a timer and simulates the flickering glow of a real television.
- I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.
- The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors.
- I love looking in your windows. I'm looking for signs that you're home, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems I'd like. I'll drive or walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds, just to pick my targets.
- Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It's easier than you think to look up your address.
- To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way to let in a little fresh air. To me, it's an invitation.
- If you don't answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in.
Sources: Convicted burglars in North Carolina , Oregon , California , Kentucky, security consultant Chris McGoey, who runs crimedoctor.com; and Richard T. Wright, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, who interviewed 105 burglars for his book, "Burglars on the Job".