Say “Hello” to Cop Connie! Get used to seeing him around here. He’s going to be answering questions from you on a range of safety and security topics. Connie is a retired Metro Police officer with over 30 years of real-world experience in the world of security and safety. Find out more about Cop Connie here.
For our first Cop Connie Session, we asked him to tell us what burglars are really looking for. We can speculate of course, but who better to ask than a real cop!?
What are Burglars Looking For?
Cop Connie: The first thing to remember is thieves and burglars, just like regular people, leave home during the day. This means that most home burglaries and break-ins occur in broad daylight while you are out of the house and while the thieves and burglars are out thieving. In contrast, most office and commercial burglaries will take place after midnight.
Here are 2 important definitions to remember:
Robbery: The taking of property from a person, by force or threat of force.
Burglary: The breaking into a building/property by force with the intent to steal/take from that property.
1. In your experience, what physical characteristics of a home or business make it an easy target?
Cop Connie: Thieves and burglars are like rats. They love quietness, darkness, and seclusion. Home burglars get very excited when they see a home that has tall shrubs covering a portion of the exterior windows. They also like tall privacy fences, because once they get behind it, it provides cover. Protect yourself by trimming hedges, having good exterior lighting and making sure you don’t have easy access to a fenced yard.
Another thing thieves look for is empty houses (seems obvious, right?). If you still get your news by daily newsprint, do not let your newspapers pile up in the driveway or yard. That is a sure sign to a burglar that no one is home. Even if you’ll only be gone a few days – get a neighbor or friend to pick them up for you.
The thief that breaks into a business is driven by the same motivations as a home burglar. He’s a rat too. They’ll be looking for poor exterior lighting and secluded entrances just to name a few.
2. Do you find that most robberies are pre-planned? or spur-of-the-moment crimes of opportunity?
Cop Connie: Most home burglaries tend to be random and spur-of-the-moment. There are instances, however, where a burglar has done his homework and cases the neighborhood or home.
Home invasions (which are different from burglaries) are usually pre-planned and targeted. They often involve stealing illegal drugs or ill-gotten fruit from a previous crime.
3. What items, in particular, are burglars most often looking for?
Cop Connie: When burglars and thieves break into your home, they are looking for items that have value and can quickly and easily be carried away. These can be items like jewelry, money, prescription drugs, guns, even flat-screen TV’s (and yes a thief will be able to quickly and easily carry off a flat screen). A burglar may even help themselves to the food in your pantry and refrigerator. Businesses are often targeted for specific products they may have in inventory.