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Do’s and Don’ts to Deter Burglars | Direct From the Mouths of Intruders

LU YAO/ Shutterstock

LU YAO/ Shutterstock

Your home should be a safe haven where you feel comfortable and protected. However, if you are a victim of a burglary, you will feel unsafe and violated that a stranger has set foot in your home and rummaged through your things.

The investigative team at KGW reached out to inmates serving time for burglary in the Oregon Department of Corrections and asked various questions about each burglary. From that information, we’ve created a helpful list of do’s and don’ts that will deter would-be burglars. 

Do: Ensure Your Home Is Completely Locked Up, Including Windows

Many burglars enter homes via unlocked doors or windows. Occasionally, they will kick in a door to gain entry, but most avoid breaking glass at the risk of cutting themselves.


Don’t: Hide Valuables in Obvious Places 

If you tend to hide your important items in your master bedroom, burglars know this trick and will head straight for that room. They also know to look in less obvious places, so you should try to be crafty about where you store these things. 

According to one inmate, they search the most random places, including: “Everywhere! From the stove and freezer to the fish tank and toilet tank, bookshelves and in boxes of cereal.” 

Do: Consider a Home Security System or Signs 

Having a home security system is indeed an effective deterrent because burglars are wary of setting off the alarm or potentially being caught on camera. Sometimes a sign in the yard can be enough to keep burglars at bay.

Some inmates mentioned that “large trees, bushes, or shrubs around the home…” provided an excellent cover for burglars to break in without being seen. Don’t let your yard become overgrown, and do make sure you have good lighting so that people can be seen if they try to slink around your home.

Do: Call in the Dog Squad 

Consider adding a large, loud dog to your family. These types of dogs are better at keeping intruders away because most burglars are prepared to work around smaller dogs. 

An inmate mentioned that “dogs are a deal-breaker for me. Big breeds, home protectors, are the best to keep people out.” 

Don’t: Ignore Your Neighbors 

Getting to know your neighbors helps you be more aware of who is in the neighborhood and makes intruders stand out as being out of place if they are casing the area. Additionally, letting your neighbors known when you are going to be out of town means they can also keep an eye on your home while you’re gone. They can even gather your mail or water your plants and you can return the favor when they go on vacation.

Do: Consider Leaving Lights or a Radio or TV On While You’re Out 

If it appears that someone is home, most burglars said they would “absolutely not” attempt to break in. You could also buy a programmable light switch timer that allows you to schedule when to turn your lights on so that you don’t have to remember every time you leave.

Don’t: Skimp on Additional Security Measures

Many burglars suggest “protecting your windows and doors” to prevent easy access through traditional entrances. This could include adding shatterproof glass, investing in window locks or sensors, or adding motion lights near the entrances.  It may feel like you’ll never need the additional security, but you’ll be glad you have it if there are burglary attempts in the neighborhood. 

Keep Your Home Safe 

No one wants to be a victim of a home invasion, so follow these simple do’s and don’ts, as told by burglars themselves, to help guard your property as best as you can. 

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