The Illusion of Security – Confessions of a Burglar

The Illusion of Security – Confessions of a Burglar

Editor Note:

Physicalsecurityonline offers readers the opportunity to submit articles related to security issues. This article was submitted by a person claiming to have committed a number of crimes – mostly burglaries. There is no way to know if the author’s name is a pen name or his real name and no way to verify the extent of his criminal history. The article was published largely unedited. It is not “polished” writing, but the information is interesting and offers readers some insight into the criminal’s mindset and some thoughts on how people can better protect their homes and other property.

                                The Illusion of Security – Confessions of a Burglar
By Tyler Freeman

I have entered into a home. I have broken into businesses of all types. I have cracked a safe. I have stolen data from a computer. What I have learned is the more you prepare the longer it takes me to enter. It doesn’t really stop me. From my experience I can give you some pointers on how to tailor security to personal needs and budget.

When trying to protect your home from a burglar, an alert person with a gun is the best showstopper. Most of the time burglars just want to go in and out with no witnesses (easy money). If there is a person or noisy dog people like me will just pick a less risky target.

Close neighbors invite phone calls to the police. A solid deadbolt (with fortified stud) goes as far as a security door.  But security doors are basically useless as the windows of the house will be much easier. I wouldn’t go through the front door if it was unlocked. Too many witnesses. Generally a window with poor visibility to neighbors and second story windows are the way to go.

I am willing to make a loud noise at anytime but it has to be quick and only once. I prefer the noise being at night because most people will be asleep. If you wake up in the middle of the night to a loud crash, you look out the window, see nothing. You go back to sleep. Most people don’t call the cops on suspicion of noise as you will begin to doubt what it was as no evidence appears. Generally opening a window will take 1 second with an odd pop sound, not glass breaking. That’s the lock on the window breaking.

I avoided home invasion at all cost. I figured that if I’m going into someone’s home, I might have to fight someone. My goal was to never be seen or heard. If someone is breaking into your home and you are there, assume they are willing to subdue or eliminate you. If they aren’t then they are stupid enough not to be aware that people are in the house and then are stupid enough to react poorly when they find otherwise. Police are good backup but a lot can happen in the 5-10 minutes it takes for cops to arrive.

I suggest to give them an out elsewhere. Someone goes into your backyard and wants to break into your house, but then they see something of value with even easier access. Not a BBQ. Back porch LCD TV perhaps. Baiting someone into the garage, having a small locked safe with a stack of post-it notes and a pebble or two inside is always fun.

None of this will work if you’re out of town as they have all day.

The only place I didn’t enter but tried was a closed gas station within 75ft of housing. It had a fully burglar proof glass setup, and a singing alarm. We could get through, but not in the allotted time.

1 min to look out window, 1 min for 911 call, 2.5 minutes for arrival time as it was less than 1 mile from police station.

Most locked business doors take 1.5 Seconds to enter with a pry-bar. No visible damage, so it can be locked behind. If you don’t want to damage the setup so a roving security officer checks the door, a string and a paperclip is also required. 2.5-6 seconds depending on the door. It takes me minutes to pick a lock. (depending on complexity) Most won’t try. I will be willing to pick a simple lock, but won’t count on it.

To truly understand how to make a building secure I’d have to see it. Even the gutters play a factor. If you enter a second story window, you have to get there. I can climb buildings well, but poor gutters make the proposition more dangerous. Having a security officer makes the risk of being caught go up, but not by as much as you think. I was in a school taking computers and there is only one entrance to the office. We set off motion sensors and he came to check it out. We just sneaked past him and fled. He didn’t see or hear us, but we were within 5 ft of him. He had 2 officers on duty over a mile squared. 100 would not have been enough.

George W. Babnick, is a 34 year law enforcement veteran with an extensive background in physical security, criminal and administrative investigations, training, school policing, supervision and management, and criminal forensics. He retired as a Captain in the Portland Oregon Police Bureau where he managed the Training, School Police, and Forensic Evidence Divisions. He holds criminal justice degrees from Portland Community College and Portland State University and a law degree from Northwestern California University School of Law, Sacramento California. Mr. Babnick is a longtime member of the Western Society of Criminology and is the author of articles on security and law enforcement, investigations, supervision and management, and risk management related to these subjects. As a physical security expert, George Babnick provides private physical security consultations across the United States and consults with clients outside the United States. He specializes in assessing security problems for small and medium businesses as well as select individuals. He offers independent, honest advice and expertise, with the goal of providing all clients with practical and cost-effective security solutions to enhance security and effectively manage business and personal security risks. Mr. Babnick is also a licensed Private Investigator and conducts investigations for attorneys, businesses, and individuals throughout the State of Oregon. To learn more about security consultation and investigative services offered, please visit Disclaimer: Nothing in any article on this blog should be construed as legal advice. Persons seeking legal advice should seek the counsel of an attorney licensed in their state.