How to deter burglars: advice from burglars themselves

Because you're probably getting it wrong

Updated: 
Burglar breaking in during the day in a residential area

Think leaving the lights and TV on while you're out puts burglars off? Think again.

Over on discussion board Reddit, burglars and ex-burglars are sharing their advice on what really does put them off - and some of them might surprise you.

We look at a few of the more unexpected tips.

Avoid living in student areas
"Burglars will hit student-heavy areas as part of a regular circuit, regardless of countermeasures taken, because students as a rule are idiots when it comes to security and the payoff is so great with all those laptops, phones and gadgets left lying around."

Be wary of taxi drivers
"If you're in very student-y areas of UK cities, when you order a taxi get it from a slightly different address (like a block of flats with lots of lights on, or a house you know has no one living in it) and be waiting outside it, or better yet, get it from outside a supermarket or a pub etc. Certain cab drivers are in cahoots with burglars, and let them know when a house is empty for most of the night because the students are out clubbing."

Think before you post online
"Don't post on Facebook that you are not home and how long you will be out. Don't post vacation photos to social media until you are back home."

Get a small dog
"People think a large dog would be a good deterrent, but I generally avoided those annoying small yapping dogs that never shut up."

Don't bother faking it
'Beware of dog' and security alarm signs and stickers are completely worthless. I once broke into a house though a doggy door. There was no dog home."

"Tons of lights on, and an obnoxiously loud TV on in the living room at 2am on a Sunday night in a upper middle class neighbourhood? LOL."

Check your garden
"Try not to have any stools or anything in the backyard. They make climbing through windows easier."

Be careful where you keep your valuables
"Don't keep your car keys on a hook next to the front door. Newer cars are impossible for an average thief to hotwire. Easy as hell to kick in your front door and snatch the keys straight off the hook, though."

"Keep expensive stuff out of sight. Your 70" flatscreen tv should not be visible from the street. Your Macbook Pro shouldn't be kept right in front of your 1st floor office window."

Don't help opportunists
"Don't leave your garage door open. Thieves like to drive around nice neighbourhoods, looking for people who left their garage open. They love a situation where someone might be mowing their backyard. Quickly hop out of the car, run into the garage, grab as many tools as they can, and run. If they brought a truck, they'll be grabbing bigger stuff. You probably won't even notice or know what happened."

Be paranoid
"Lock your patio door, even if you live on the 10th floor. Scaling the sides of most buildings is actually pretty easy."

And do the obvious
"Don't make it easy for me. Have lots of deadbolts, active alarms, motion lights, dogs, etc."

"Lock your door. Wouldn't believe the amount of people that don't lock their doors."

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