Burglars reveal how they target houses and where they look for valuables

The Nottingham Evening Post recently reported that John Lewis Home Insurance asked a group of ex-offenders for their advice on where people should – and absolutely should not – hide items such as jewellery and other small valuables whilst not at home.

Burglars said families should avoid hiding valuables in living room drawers and dressers, pots and pans and locked safes that are not secured to the floor or wall – as these are the places thieves search first.

Instead, you should opt for the not-so-obvious, such as hiding items in cereal boxes, packets of pasta and children’s toy boxes.

One offender said they never entered children’s bedrooms or playrooms when they broke into homes, calling it an ‘unwritten rule’.

“Children’s bedrooms wouldn’t be a bad place to hide belongings. Ideally something of high value would be hidden in a toy or a toy box,” they explained.

“Most people have got a ‘bits and bobs’ cupboard in their kitchen where they often keep their keys.

“Instead, I would hide my car and house keys in the food cupboards if I was going away – rice packets, cereal boxes. They are not going to go through all your food packets. DVD cases are another good place to hide valuables because they are harder to find.”

The Nottingham Evening Post goes onto state that the study revealed that parcel deliveries left on doorsteps are one of the biggest clues that someone not at home.

Letters and leaflets sticking out of letterboxes and on doormats were seen as the biggest giveaway that someone was away – even more so than leaving lights on, curtains closed, or having no car on the driveway.

“The increase of online shopping has made it easier – if you’re walking down the road and see a parcel on a doorstep there is a good chance someone is not in,” explained one offender.

“I would suggest not ordering parcels if you won’t be around when they arrive and getting neighbours to check for parcel deliveries regularly while you’re away.”

The best room in the house to leave lights on when you go away is the hallway, half of those questioned revealed – but timer switches were deemed the best option because it creates a better illusion that someone is at home.

One ex-burglar said they targeted homes between 4pm to 5pm during the ‘school run’ when many houses were empty, while others chose night time, with one saying they chose 3am when most people were asleep.

Using security cameras – including smart doorbells with cameras controlled from your phone – was considered the best deterrent along with traditional burglar alarms.

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