Seeing your home: Through the eyes of a criminal

“When I knocked on somebody’s door and I heard a dog barking, I turned around and left. Didn’t matter what size of dog, I’d just walk down the street to another house where there were no dogs.”

“Can you explain how you went about breaking into houses?”

“Sure. Was pretty easy. Did it for about ten years before I got caught.

Getting in was the easy part. I would dress in a nice suit and tie, carry a briefcase and I had identification showing I was with a major insurance company. If I was questioned by a neighbor, I would show my ID and say I was soliciting home insurance business. Actually, that is how I was caught. A neighbor asked me what I was doing, I gave him my pitch and he left. Little did I know he called the cops. They stopped me a few blocks away and checked my ID with the company.  I was arrested and did 5 years in jail.

But getting back to getting into houses, I would jimmy the front door with a small crow bar I had hidden inside my jacket. I took only jewelry and cash. I’d fence the jewelry in Vancouver after a day of stealing and then board a flight to Toronto where I would live quite well for four to six months and then return to Vancouver and do it all over again.”

“Now that you are out of jail and giving lectures on home security in conjunction with your parole regulations, do you have any advice for homeowners and ranchers?” asked the Rural Crime Watch interviewer.

“Actually, I can do better than that, here are some tips provided by the RCMP to which I can attest.”

“• Keep house doors locked even when you’re inside or in your yard.

• Ensure that your exterior property is well lit. Having a home security system is                                                 an effective deterrent.

• Lock all doors to your vehicle, and remove all valuables including garage door openers.

• Record the serial numbers of electronics and take photos.”

“I’d also suggest Rural Crime Watch property signs in front of your house,” noted the reformed thief. “I’d often find Crime Watch signs where I planed to steal and would just move on to another area where the residents were not so alert and supportive of each other. I’d respond the same way with homes that displayed security company signs, I’d just go to another house. Why chance it, was my motto. I always had thousands of unsecured homes to rob.

I could enter any house that didn’t have a dead-bolt. If the bolts had long screws, it slowed me down when I apply the pry bar. If I couldn’t break in within a few seconds, I’d leave.  Every home owner needs to use solid interior locks/levers to secure all windows. I can lift up a sliding glass door if the lock at the bottom isn’t in place, and most aren’t.  I never entered homes at night. I didn’t want to take the chance of a homeowner confrontation, but many thieves will, so I recommend using timers on interior lights so that the lights will illuminate at different times, indicating movement from room to room.”

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Article by Jonathan McCormick and Denny Fahrentholz.