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anyone know typical burgler/break in scenarios?

This is a discussion on anyone know typical burgler/break in scenarios? within the Broken Arrow forums, part of the Gun Forum category; Greetings, Knowing that some of you here are LEOs or have security experience, could you kindly fill me in on what the typical residential burglary ...

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Old December 10th, 2011, 03:51 PM   #1
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anyone know typical burgler/break in scenarios?


Knowing that some of you here are LEOs or have security experience, could you kindly fill me in on what the typical residential burglary involves? How much time is usually spent, how much recon is done ahead of time, what are the most common areas searched and to what extent, etc. (I'm trying to understand the *process*)? On the other side, what are the best deterrents (dogs, loud sirens, alarm company signs, etc.)? Are many attempts made when occupants are home? Any other info or statistics?

From what I've read/heard it's about making your property less inviting than another one. What would be the key ideas to achieve this? Lately this has been on my mind and is keeping me up at night (with my AR next to me). Thanks!

Regards, Jim

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Old December 10th, 2011, 04:10 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by jim-analog View Post

Knowing that some of you here are LEOs or have security experience, could you kindly fill me in on what the typical residential burglary involves? How much time is usually spent, how much recon is done ahead of time, what are the most common areas searched and to what extent, etc. (I'm trying to understand the *process*)? On the other side, what are the best deterrents (dogs, loud sirens, alarm company signs, etc.)? Are many attempts made when occupants are home? Any other info or statistics?

From what I've read/heard it's about making your property less inviting than another one. What would be the key ideas to achieve this? Lately this has been on my mind and is keeping me up at night (with my AR next to me). Thanks!

Regards, Jim

Yes, Dogs...

I Really Just Wanted To BEAT Huntinghawk To It...

But, Yes...DOGS Are A Tremendous Deterrent, A Reliable(but not necessarily Cheap!)Warning Device!

Do Not Ignore The Value Of SERIOUS Dogs!!!

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Old December 10th, 2011, 04:28 PM   #3
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A burglary victim's thoughts

You want to be as inconspicuous as possible. NOTHING that identifies you as a gun owner! You have to screen the trash that goes in the can...take the empty primer and powder containers to the dumpster at work AND packaged so no one there comments and alerts a burglar who hears the comments second/third/fourth hand.

Alarms are good. My burglar alarm installer said "90% of the burglars will be stopped by alarm signs. The next 9% will be stopped by the alarm going off. The last 1% will only be deterred by a 12 gauge slug in the sternum."

Another thing is that after they made a good haul at your home, you are now on "the sucker list." They did so well the first time that they'll be back in six months or a year to see what you bought as replacements. This went on with my rural home for several years. I had multiple vehicles so they chanced someone being home or working nearby on the farm, BUT they still tried.

Unfortunately my wife didn't like dogs, so that asset was not available.

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Old December 10th, 2011, 04:36 PM   #4
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Most B&Es are going to be during the day when kids in school & parents at work. Perps will enter threw a window not visible from the street. Exit will usually be threw a door. So door dead bolts you want them to be required for a key both inside & out.

You do want you place set up emergency responders get get to atleast the front door. So atleast fencing the sides & back will help. Now, as per dogs, atleast one that is outside when noone is home. Some breeds have a natural instinct to protect what is theirs. No dog should be left outside all the time, they need to socialize with the family.


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Old December 10th, 2011, 04:45 PM   #5
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motion sensor activated flood lights come on when movement is detected and in what zone of property threat is in, motion sensor for driveway or gate if you have fence so when something passes by silent alarm will alert to threat. dogs are great's are cheap now and can send info to email or dvr,/ hunting/trail cams for outside or nanny cams for inside will help but only after the fact.small cams for perimeter now are about the size of 12 gauge shell and i.r. night cams are slightly larger. now with smart phones "droid" i pad you can look at you house from anywhere on the go or have program that alerts you to any motion activity. any puter can have a cam linked to it and most have cam built in so set it up when gone to send to email or remote turn on from inet.



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Old December 10th, 2011, 05:03 PM   #6
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I would be glad to give you what I know. As you may have guessed, crime is the same, but different depending on what part of the country you live in...if that makes any sense. I am an LEO here in Central Florida and I can tell you that 9 out of 10 burglaries that occur in my area are:

#1. Randomly chosen
#2. Targets of opportunity
#3 Usually are a quick "in and out" job

Understand for others reading this post, this is how it is in MY area. It may vary in other cities, counties and states. This is based on my 6 years experience in this general area. For the most part, here is the scenario as I commonly see it.

Burglars are usually one or two man teams and typically live in the same community or within a few miles (in the same town at a minumum). Suprisingly, despite what television shows have you believing, most of our burglaries occur during the day in broad daylight. The burglar usually drives through a neighborhood and looks for the house that is most inviting...that is, the house that appears unoccupied at the time. Once said burglar chooses the residence, some have even been known to knock on the front door waiting for a response. If the burglar gets a response (like say your home but your wife has the car), he/she will ask for someone by name that they know doesn't live there. You tell them no and they go find another house somewhere else.

If they do not get a response, they will usually do a quick look around through your windows and doors, ensuring that no one is home and seeing what goodies are in plain view. When it comes to entry, well that depends on the burlgar...some will simply use a door or window you have left unlocked...some lift the sliding glass doors off of the track (common and easy to do)...but in my experience, most just kick in the front door in, breaking the door frame and giving them instant access to your house.

Once inside, the burglars usually respond to the bedrooms first. Once there they begin opening most of your dressers, cabinets, closets, etc. (the common hiding areas for most people). Jewelry is almost always taken, as well as cash and change. They will also take small electronic devices (ipods, gaming consoles, etc.). Now what they take really depends on how they arrived on scene. If they are on foot, it is usually money, jewelry and small items that they can carry on their person. If in a vehicle, electronics are most often the target, inlcluding your televisions, gaming consoles, movies, stereos, firearms, tools, etc.

For the most part, if a burlgar feels comfortable that there is no alarm or reason to rush (sirens, phones ringing, etc.), he/she may spend as much time as needed...especially if he is on foot. This is because there is no vehicle outside to raise suspicion from neighbors and passer-by's. Essentially, no one knows he is there because the house appears normal.

If he/she is in a vehicle, they are usually very quick, grabbing items in plain view or in obvious hiding places (sock drawer, under your matress, etc.). Once they have the items, they throw them in the vehicle and they are gone. If he/she is on foot they put everything in thier pockets or in backpack and leave out the back door usually. Most of the burglars that are on foot usually know the area and use pathways, cut throughs, etc....staying off of the main roads.

Then you come home to find out that your front door is broken or your slider is opened and items are missing. A terrible feeling I can imagine, as I see it on thier faces all of the time. BUT - Like you suspect, there are many things you can do to help prevent burglars from entering your house. I can tell you in the last 6 years of continuous weekly burglaries, I can't recall one burglary that occured where the owner owned a large or aggresive dog. I really can' IMHO, that would be the #1 burglar deterant. Here is a small list of things you can do before leaving your home.

#1.) Make sure all windows and doors are locked. It's very easy to turn a handle or remove a screen and lift the window.
#2.) Close all of your blinds and curtains. This eliminates the burglar from seeing your toys inside.
#3.) If you have an alarm system, buy a VERY LOUD audible alarm that sound immediately. The burlgar may damage your door, but will typically run when it sounds.
#4.) If it is at night, make sure you have motion lights or at a minimum leave a few small lights on inside. I like leaving the tv on with the volume up.
#5.) DO NOT HIDE YOUR INHERITANCE UNDER YOUR MATTRESS OR IN YOUR SOCK DRAWER. Get a safe...a real one. You may be able to hide your jewelry in a pistol sized safe, but guess what...the nice handle it comes with makes is easy for the burglar to carry it out.
#6) When you buy high priced items (TVs, Gaming Consoles, Guns, etc.), do not place the boxes out by the road with the trash (break the boxes down and put them in garbage bags)...better that the two houses down doesnt know what you have in your house.
#7) Lock any entryways into your house (e.i. the door inside your garage). It is very easy to defeat a garage door locking mechanism, so lock the interior door as well.
#8) If your going to be gone for an extented period of time and you have a neighbor your trust, let them know and have them keep watch. Give them your number and specific instructions (like to call the police if there is a car parked in the driveway, etc.).
#9) It may be cheesy, but put an alarm company sign out front, even if you dont have an alarm. It may not prevent a burglary, but may make them think twice.
#10) If you can afford it, buy a video security system and a good DVR that records 24/7. I have solved several burlgaries with footage (tags, faces, suspects, direction of travel, etc.)

There are probably a million different precautions you can take but remeber this. Short of your house being armored, if a burlgar really wants in, he'll find a way. But that doesn't mean you can't make it difficult for him. Keep your valuables in a safe, give FIDO all the love he requires and lock your doors...those small things can change a burglars mind.

Even though I am an LEO, I still take several preventive measures when I leave my house. I first conduct a walk through checking to make sure all of the doors and windows are locked. I shut all of the blinds and curtains. I turn on a light or two and usually turn on the tv. If at night, I flip on my porch light and make sure the switches are on for my motion lights. When I leave from the garage, I lock the interior door (both handle and bolt lock) and when I press the clicker, I watch the door go all the way down and close. Dont assume because you pressed the button the garage door will close. Wait 5 extra seconds, its not gonna kill you.

I hope that this has helped in some way and undertand this is just my opinion and experience. These are not rules to live by, but are recommended. Just a simple 3-5 minute walk through everytime you leave may mean the difference between being burglarized or preventing a burglary.

* I also forgot to add something in my first post. Record EVERY serial number on anything in your home that has one...especially your firearms. With no serial numbers, the chances of recovery are usually cut in half. If you have serial numbers, you can at least have them entered into FCIC/NCIC for the future. That way if the idiot tries pawning anything or a good officer decides to run a serial number, it will come back as a hit and you will get the item back. I say this because no sh*t, my second year on the road, I recovered a nickle plated S&W .38 special from the trunk of a car on a traffic stop. I arrested the driver for possession of cocaine and when I searched his car I found the pistol in the trunk. I ran the serial number and BAM! It came back as a hit...the gun had been missing for over 10 years and the victim lived in Tennessee I believe. The pistol was worn, but he got it back. So take that for what its worth. And when you record your serial numbers, dont just write them down. If you have a computer, write it in a document, save it in several different places and put it on a flash drive (in case burglar steals your computer). Am I paranoid? Maybe, but I feel better.

Last edited by SAPPNASTY; December 10th, 2011 at 05:17 PM. Reason: Added to narrative
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Old December 10th, 2011, 05:25 PM   #7
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SAPPNASTY, excellent post. I'm very good friends with a Hillsborough County Sheriff Office detective that has said what you have almost word for word.

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Old December 10th, 2011, 05:29 PM   #8
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The vast majority of the ones in my jurisdiction occurred during the weekday during the daytime hours. The intent is when no one would be home. Only one individual committed the entry during the early evening hours which tended to really get our attention. We were concerned that he didn't make an attempt to avoid contact with a homeowner.

Turned out the guy was just stupid. One homeowner actually confronted him with a handgun but did nothing as the actor fled quickly.

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Old December 11th, 2011, 07:12 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone! SAPPNASTY, that was an awesome response; really appreciate you taking the time to write it out. I'd like to give you all a bit more back ground to generate any further ideas.

I'm situated in the middle of the woods on some acres, at the end of an almost 1/4 mile drive going up a hill. The house is not at all visible from the road, nor from any of the few neighbors. Before the house was built (Started the main construction early this spring and getting close to done just now, though I'd been working on the lot and building the barn for about 4 years prior.) I've found sets of foot prints coming up the drive and going off into the woods. That had me concerned that someone may have been doing recon to see what was going on back here. Now it could have just been curious neighbors, but also could have been potential threats.

I've been up here full time only since the end of September living out of an RV, but have been here everyday since spring doing the building. There have been a lot of different construction trades, sub contractors, delivery trucks, etc. over the last year, so it's got to be know far and wide there is a nice, new house going up way back in the woods. So, as much of a low profile that I'd prefer to keep, it's been beyond my control that many outsiders have been here. I don't mean to generalize, but some of the subs were from cities out of the immediate area with no ties to this community; people talk and word gets around.

The last of our 4 large dogs (Rotts and Akitas) died last year, so likely we won't have another till spring at which time we can start to build up a pack again. I'd heard stories about burglars bringing bags of burgers and such to distract dogs long enough to gain entry. I know they can be trained to not accept food from strangers, but every dog is different and I don't think that can be counted on 100%. It would also be pretty easy for someone to shoot a dog in the head with an air gun or whatever (safety of the dogs is very important to us).

I've installed motion detector flood lights all around, working on the alarm system, getting good locks, have a good safe, etc. I'll go through every point in all the replies and try to improve the situation best I can. I'm just really bugged out lately and can't get these concerns out of my head; like some kind of premonition or whatever. Thanks again for eveyones' input.

Regards, Jim

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Old December 11th, 2011, 07:23 AM   #10
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In the past, I've had solicitors come to my door under the guise of "donations for at risk kids in the ghetto" or something along those lines. They scope the inside of the house from outside the door and test whether or not you open the door. I've even caught a few talking to my wife at the front door while one or two snoop around the back

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Old December 11th, 2011, 07:55 AM   #11
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A big +1 on everything that Sappnasty posted. The thing to keep in mind is the resburgs are committed by people that want to be as quick as possible. The longer that they are in your residence the more chance they have of being caught. So make it hard for them.

Since you live in the country I would recommend gates and fences. Don't let some dirtbag drive right up to your front door and load up on goodies. At my place I have layered security. Two gates, natural terrain that only allows access via my driveway. Alarm system, reinforced entryways, lots of locks, motion sensor area lights and last but not least a large, hungry German Shepard Dog waiting inside to welcome any miscreant who makes it past my security. I've also posted a sign prominently by my front door that says "Knock Loudly, Day Sleeper" which is true some of the time.

Also lock up any keys for vehicles that may be around your place. There's nothing worse than coming home to a looted home and having had the putrid punk having driven off in your car with your property.

As Sappnasty stated, most thieves will just kick in your front or back door to gain entry so spend some time making it hard for them. They hate making noise which draws attention to them. Add security film and shatter sensors to any accessible windows.

Most of them will also dump every drawer that they can pull out to see what's in them or may be taped on the bottom of them. It's pretty heart breaking for the victims to come home and find their precious personal property dumped in a pile on the floor.

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Old December 11th, 2011, 08:36 AM   #12
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Not a LEO... but I have been hit several times.

The first case, at night while I was sleeping. Veerry creepy. I left the garage door open on a summer night and somebody came in, grabbed a purse, took the cash, left the purse and credit cards outside. Later it turned out that we had a neighborhood cat that would simply go around the neighborhood checking doors at night. If sighted he would simply run, using the terrain to his advantage. Police came to my door one night asking to camp out in my back yard, which was part of the escape route. We had the feeling that the perp was either mentally off or a thrill seeker. Don't know what ever came of it. Police never came back to fill us in.

Then I left my car unlocked and had items removed at night including coins in the ashtray. Could have been the same night cat from before.

When the neighborhood was getting hit again, including losing more coins from the car... we had a situation where the city police had chased away some trolls from under freeway and the trolls came to my neighborhood to camp out. After watching these guys walking around my neighborhood, I raised a major stink with the police. At first the police said there was nothing they could do, so I indicated that I would have to take care of the situation myself. Then the police got more creative and got the camps removed and cleaned out. The thefts then ceased.

BTW, never, ever, leave a gun in a car. I had a friend who kept a handgun in her console. Someone just came along, put a nice rectangular brick hole in the side window and walked off with a boatload of stuff including the gun. Cars are never secure.

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Old December 11th, 2011, 09:12 AM   #13
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Not much to add to Sappnasty's excellent summary. The vast majority of home burglaries here are what we call 'smash and grab' jobs. They get in the quickest way they can, grab what's easiest and quickest to find, and get out. Sometimes they pick their victims at random, sometimes they have some bit of info that leads them to your house - something they heard or saw about what's inside. I won't repeat all the usual stuff about newspapers piled on the porch, etc.

If you're going to the trouble of putting in dead bolts, get the good ones with long steel bolts. I've seen steel doors in steel frames kicked in because a cheap dead bolt bent like a piece of wet spaghetti. Dead bolts that require a key both inside and out are a good idea because they can't carry much loot out a window, but they do have their drawbacks. They can be a pain for the homeowner because you're always needing a key to let the dog out in the morning, answer the doorbell, etc. Leaving a key in the lock just defeats the whole purpose. I also worry a bit about finding a key if there was a fire.

Doggie doors are another point of entry. They send in a little kid who opens a door or window. Window AC units can be yanked out pretty easily to give access. Sliding glass doors can be lifted off their tracks even if you have one of those locking bars to keep it from being slid open. You can put some screws in the upper track to prevent this.

Anything to slow them down is a plus. If you can't afford a big gun safe, one of those $100 locking cabinets from Wally World beats nothing and they can be screwed to a wall stud in just a few minutes. Those things are harder to get open than you think, especially for an amateur.

It never hurts to have a lure - a pile of costume jewelry or a replica gun. I used to have a broken .22 pistol that wasn't worth the cost of repairing. I used to leave it out in the open in my reloading room just as a lure. Sure enough, it got stolen by some kids but they left lots of other stuff alone once they thought they had a big score. (These were kids that my kid had let in the house. There was a fad where I live of several 'new friends' coming over to visit after school but before parents came home. While one would distract the kid that lived there, the others would make a quick sweep of the other rooms.) BTW, that gun turned up a few months later when it was taken off a kid in the next town. They tracked it back to me because of the serial number I gave the police.

There's a whole world of camera systems out there from cheap, motion-activated 'nanny-cams' to complete surveillance systems that transmit to a secure location. The most extensive systems I've ever seen were DIY jobs put in by dope-dealers.

Professional burglars are pretty rare nowadays and that's good because there's not much you can do to stop them. But the typical kids and punks can be scared away or frustrated. Anything that makes noise or slows them down will help.

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Old December 11th, 2011, 04:51 PM   #14
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as someone who has been in the security field, the best advise is to go up to your house from the outside with the idea of "how to break into this house"

When i was a bodyguard, and later an armed guard, the ability to say "how would i rob my self" is important. if you cannot anticipate issues then the criminals will be able to find your weak spots.

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Old December 11th, 2011, 05:38 PM   #15
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Excellent posts all! Snapnasty pretty much summed up my experiences.

In our area, we've had a rash of daytime smash-n-grabs. Between 0900 and 1400 somebody knocks at the door. When no response, they walk to the back of the house and either kick in the door (easy to do most of the time...) or break the window and open the one-sided deadbolt.

I agree with everything in all the posts above, BTW.

I am armed almost 100% of the time and every time I return home I assume there may be a perp inside, so I always take a peek at the garage window and the back door/windows just in case. And I have a 6 foot chain-link fence around the house with a locked gate. I had the fence-man customize the fence by turning the fencing "Upside-down" so that the unfinished spikey ends of the wire are pointing up. :) Works very well, BTW.


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