5 Things Burglars do NOT Want You to Know

By: SafeHome.org Research Published: April 14, 2021

5 Things Burglars do NOT Want You to Know

According to the FBI, a burglary occurs every 26 seconds in the U.S. That’s 3,500 burglaries every single day!

With this in mind, we recently caught up with retired burglary detective Travis Goodreau and picked his brain about all things burglary and break-ins.

Detective Goodreau has worked on over 5,000 burglary and theft cases, and he was kind enough to share all sorts of juicy insight about the mind of a burglar.

For instance, did you know a burglar is less likely to target a home with an American flag hanging outside? It’s wild, but true.

Burglars associate the red, white, and blue with patriotism, and they figure the homeowner is locked and loaded and armed to the teeth (hello 2nd amendment).

Interesting, right?!

5 Things Burglars do NOT Want You to Know

Here are 5 More Things Burglars do NOT Want You to Know…

#1 An Open Garage is an Open Invitation…

It might seem like common sense, but you should never leave your garage open for the world to see. Oftentimes, burglars and thieves will case a neighborhood, specifically looking for open garage doors.

They’ll have a field day rifling through your car and taking your golf clubs — and let’s not forget the garage is an ideal entry point into your home. It’s best to keep it closed when you’re not around and vigilant.

Don, the Vivint Installation Technician, installing our Smart Garage Door Opener

Don, the Vivint Installation Technician, installing our Smart Garage Door Opener

FYI: Vivint smart home security is one of our top picks for complete home protection, and they sell automatic garage door controllers that you can manage with your smartphone.

#2 A Dark Home is a Prime Target, So Be Sure to Do THIS

Gone for the day? Leave the TV on. Away on vacation? Leave the TV on. Home alone at night? Well… you get the idea.

Would-be burglars are looking for signs that your home is empty, so we recommend going out of your way to create the illusion that your home is actively occupied — especially when it isn’t.

The flicker of a TV through the blinds is often enough to deter a bad guy. Besides, the family dog won’t mind watching “Gilligan’s Island” reruns while you’re gone. On second thought, go with “Lassie.”

Pro Tip: Along with leaving your TV on while you’re away, you should also keep a few lights on inside and outside your home to keep burglars at bay. Remember, a dark home is a prime target for a burglar, so you want to create the illusion that someone is home and awake.

One of the best ways to deter burglars is with motion-activated lighting/camera combos. Ring offers affordable and highly effective options in their Spotlight Cam and Floodlight Cam.

Other security cameras with built-in LED lights include Arlo and Nest Cam. The point is to expose the criminals in action. They’re likely to scram once you blow their cover and shine some light on the situation.

Remember, most burglars aren’t looking for a struggle or a fight.

#3 This Simple Device Makes Burglars Think Twice…

We’re talking about a doorbell camera with two-way talk. You see, it’s a common tactic for burglars to knock first to ensure nobody’s home. So here’s how to beat them at their own game…

Lorex Doorbell Camera

Lorex Doorbell Camera

With a video doorbell camera, you’ll be instantly alerted of the burglar, allowing you to open the app and “answer” your door from virtually anywhere in the world.

Sunbathing on a beach in Barbados? Often, all it takes to scare away an intruder is a simple “How can I help you?” using the two-way audio feature in the mobile app.

Let’s be honest, porch pirates are bad enough — but burglars can steal thousands of dollars worth of valuables in a matter of minutes. And the psychological toll it takes can be a lot to deal with.

So doorbell cameras are a surprisingly effective way to add an extra layer of security to your home. And they’re so cheap we wonder why every home doesn’t have one.

Vivint Doorbell in the Vivint App

Vivint Doorbell in the Vivint App

Check out our latest roundup of the best video doorbell cameras on the market.

Pro Tip: Look for a video doorbell camera with ultra-sharp HD resolution and DIY setup. Two of our top picks, the Ring Doorbell and the Nest Hello, only take 30 minutes to install yourself.

#4 Home Security Systems Cost Less Than You Think…

Burglars really don’t want you to know just how affordable home security systems are these days. Some brands like SimpliSafe and Cove have systems with intrusion sensors, a base station, a motion sensor, and other gear available all for under $200.

With your home security system armed and ready, the burglar will be greeted with an ear-piercing siren the moment they open a door or window. You can also sign up for 24/7 professional monitoring, so the police won’t be far behind.

Our top picks for affordable and effective home security systems:

  • SimpliSafe: This budget-friendly security system starts at $150 and integrates with Alexa and Google Home. Keep an eye out for their free security camera promotion.
  • Cove: Cove’s professional monitoring is only $14.99 per month. It only takes 20 minutes to set up and comes with all sorts of neat customizations. And it really, really works (trust us, the police came to our house one night).
  • Ring Alarm: Who could forget Ring? These guys basically put DIY home security on the map back in 2012. The Ring Alarm system starts at only $199 and can stop burglars in their tracks.
SimpliSafe Base Station at Night

SimpliSafe Base Station at Night

To learn more about these and other burglar-stopping home security kits, have a look at our list of the best home security systems.

Did You Know: Even stickers and yard signs can help deter burglars from targeting your home. We call these passive deterrents. Most intruders look for the path of least resistance, so the whole idea is to use deterrents to create friction and cause more resistance.

#5 A Little Yappy Dog is Better than No Dog at All…

We’ll keep this one short and sweet, as it relates to our previous tips on how to thwart burglars. Detective Goodreau says that big dogs are best, but even small yappers like a chihuahua can help to deter burglars.

Arlo Pro 3 Indoor Video Quality

Our Ferocious Guard Dog on the Arlo Pro 3

Barking dogs call attention to the dirty deeds of a burglar, and so it makes sense that criminals are less likely to target a home with a dog (or dogs!) on the property. In short, dogs are a man’s best friend, and a burglar’s worst nightmare.


So there you have it. The 5 things that burglars do NOT want you to know. We hope this has empowered you to secure your home and family against thieves and intruders.

Remember, if you really want to remain protected, we highly recommend a combination of home security equipment including security cameras, doorbell cameras, and a home security system with intrusion sensors.

And for extra protection — keep your garage door closed, leave the lights on, get a barking dog, and consider flying the American flag!