Former Burglar Shares Six Common Security Mistakes That Everyone Makes

A former burglar has shared the six common security mistakes homeowners make that put them at risk of home invasion.
Credit: @‌realpeoplehacker/Instagram & Alamy

A former burglar has shared the six common security mistakes homeowners make that put them at risk of home invasion…

For many of us, someone breaking into our homes to steal our belongings is one of our worst nightmares.

Not only do we want to keep our stuff safe, but the very idea of someone getting into our home without our permission just feels violating.

However, there are certain things homeowners can do to try to minimise their risk of burglary.

A former burglar has shared the six common security mistakes we all make that could be putting us in danger…

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Jenny Radcliffe opened up about her former life of crime to the Independent.

“There was a big old empty house on the corner, a beautiful old house. We’d test ourselves to see if we could get in, not to steal anything. Just to have a look around because we were bored,” she says.

She still works as a burglar for hire, saying: “People don’t suspect me, because I don’t appear threatening. But you never know if someone is who they say they are.”

And who better to let us know the major risks we might be accidentally taking with our homes?

Here are the six biggest security mistakes…

1. Posting Our Holidays

“People don’t realise that your online life is connected to your physical property,” says Radcliffe. “Every time we go on holiday, we post about it on social media. You wouldn’t have a sign on your front door saying ‘this house is unoccupied’ but we do in the digital realm.”

“Someone can very easily start putting patterns together or weaknesses together. And it’s just a case of making yourself a harder target than that. Don’t make yourself the easiest target in your area.”

2. Foliage

“Be careful of having cover around the perimeter of the house; that can look like trees or an unlocked shed. Don’t have a garden with lots of places that someone can hide,” says Radcliffe.

“They don’t want to be seen or heard. You have to make it a pain in the neck for them.”


“Information is tracked and shared by providers, and any connected device can be hacked and this is a concern,” Radcliffe informs us.

“Provided you take care of your own security and privacy around the actual device. They are a good tool overall in home security, provided people don’t see them as a substitute for alarms, other cautions and general common sense,” she adds.

“Remember, burglars hate being slowed down, being noisy and being seen so anything that does one or all of these is very welcome.”

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4. Unlocked Areas

“Mistakes include leaving a lot of tools and equipment around the house,” she says. “I’ve seen houses where they have left ladders outside or unlocked garages full of equipment that could be used to break in.”

She advises you pretend to lock yourself out and then try to ‘break in’ to your own home.

This will help you to identify “what we call weak spots in security.”

5. Spare Keys

Many of us are guilty of being a little too cavalier with our spare keys.

“I do online research on people first and always ask them for a reference,” Radcliffe advises.

“Then I will make sure to tell a neighbour that someone will be in the house, and won’t leave them alone in the house for a while.”

6. The School Run

“Every September, parents will post a photo of their child in their school uniform on the first day of school. You are basically telling the world, ‘I will be out of my house every day between these hours’. Don’t show people your routine,” Radcliffe warns.

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Written by Annie Walton Doyle

Annie Walton Doyle is a content editor at IGV who specialises in trending, lifestyle and entertainment news. She graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a degree in English Literature. Annie has previously worked with organisations such as The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Harvard University, the Pulitzer Prize and 22 Words.