Over the years you can’t help but notice that most criminals follow similar patterns. Below is a rundown of how most residential burglars do their house calls.
Things That Go Bump in the Night
Contrary to what you see in Hollywood movies and burglar alarm commercials, residential burglars almost never come to your house at night. Think about it. What’s the big difference between your house at night and your house in the middle of the afternoon? You are home at night! That means that if Donny Dirtbag tries to go shopping at your place at night, chances are he’s gettin’ squat, long-term government housing, and/or thoroughly ventilated for his troubles! Thieves are generally lazy and afraid of encountering anyone on their little adventures. As a result, the vast majority of houses and apartments are burglarized on weekdays roughly between the hours of 10 AM and 2 PM, when most adults are at work and kids are at school (Except the kids breaking into your house of course).
The Daring Duo
Generally speaking burglars work in pairs. One person knocks on the door, makes entry, and does the shopping, while the other person acts as a lookout, and operates the getaway car, if they have one. Usually the second person hangs out down the street or in the car, and only comes inside to help remove larger objects like big screen televisions. If the primary scumbags manage to recruit help, usually in the form of their girlfriends, this of course frees them up to do more aggressive looting.
Since burglars are by definition afraid of getting caught, they rarely shop in their own proverbial backyard, as that would greatly increase the chances of them being recognized by their victims or witnesses. As a result, burglars are usually cruising the neighborhoods of people they aren’t familiar with, and will look for signs of houses where nobody is home. This translates into cars in the driveway. Yes, if your garage is full of operable cars, consider yourself one of the elite! If they find a house that looks lived-in but lonely, they’ll come up for a visit.
Knock, Knock, Who’s There?
Unless the burglar knows that there is nobody inside, they will do their best to wake the dead before coming in. They’ll knock on your door and ring your doorbell over and over and over, in order to wake anyone inside and/or annoy them into answering the door. They will also look in the windows, if you leave the blinds open. If someone answers the door, they simply say, “Is Bobby here? Oh, sorry, wrong house!” and they walk away, hoping you forget about it without a second thought. On the other hand, if no one answers, then it’s on to the remodeling phase!
Most burglars will enter your house one of two ways. They’ll kick in your front door, or break a window on the first floor around back. The good news is that the deadbolt on your front door typically won’t break. The bad news is, the flimsy piece of molding and drywall on the inside of your door frame and the tiny screws on your strike plate will! Likewise, even those basic window latches rarely break, but that darned ol’ glass seems to shatter at the slightest tap! Now, Sammy Scumbag doesn’t want to get cut or ruin his threads on all that jagged glass, so he’ll reach through, unlock the latches, and open the window before climbing through.
Scooby-Doo & Scrappy-Doo
How many times have you heard your neighbor’s little yapper barking his head off at every squirrel or butterfly that passes his window? And who’s gonna be afraid of a bite from a teacup chihuahua? All Scrappy’s gonna do is confirm that he’s in there alone. Big dogs on the other hand usually reserve their barking for more significant things, so your neighbors are more likely to take notice when they say something, and their bite is more likely to result in a hospital visit, so burglars usually opt to visit Scrappy, but not Scooby.
Burglars typically have a select number of items that they will steal. The most commonly targeted items are video game systems, computers, and other small electronics. These items are relatively small, so they can be concealed in an inconspicuous backpack, and they’re easily sold at pawn shops, video game stores, or online, and since your secret shopper is invariably a guy, he’s going to have an innate understanding of their value. This is also why burglars often steal worthless costume jewelry instead of the good stuff. So don’t worry about your china and good silverware ladies, it’ll be safe in the buffet. On occasion, more aggressive burglars will take your big screen TV and other large items, but running from a house with a big TV is usually more brazen than most are willing to risk, since even the dullest of neighbors is likely to recognize youths taking a 54″ plasma out to the car is a crime in progress.
Lightning Doesn’t Strike Twice
A common fear victims have is that the burglars will come back again. The truth is, that unless they know you, they usually don’t come back. After all, what’s the first thing you’d do after having your house burglarized? Probably buy an alarm, a dog, a gun, etc. That said, if you don’t do something to prevent another burglary, you’re probably asking for another one, because something about your house caught the eye of one, and will likely catch the eye of another, if you don’t do something about it.
These are Officer Friendly’s general observations, and of course, each thief is unique in their own crappy way. A little later, I’ll be posting some tips on specific things to do to reduce your chances of having your house burglarlized. In the meantime, if you’ve ever been burglarized, tell us about your experience, so we can all learn how the scum operate, and better protect ourselves and our loved ones. Do you know any burglars? Give us the inside scoop, and tell us what they’ve told you about how they operate!