Reporters from KGW News, in Portland, Oregon asked 86 convicted burglars to respond anonymously to a written survey at the Oregon Department of Corrections. The team hoped to discover information such as how the convicts invaded the homes they chose, what they wanted to find, and the time of day of the crime.
“I’ll never be able to give back the sense of security I destroyed but I can help prevent others from losing theirs,” wrote one convicted home burglar.
The survey was composed of 17 questions with most questions having multiple choice answers. Some questions contained an “Other” check box with a blank line to prompt an explanation and some were essay only.
Just as all burglars are different, so were the responses to the questions. However, several prompted nearly unanimous answers.
All of the inmates responded that they knocked on the front door prior to breaking in
If the homeowner answered the door, the burglars had varying stories. The following are their responses as written on the surveys:
- “Act like I was lost or looking for a friend.”
- “I would approach the resident as though they had posted an ad on Craigslist.”
- “Say wrong house, sorry and thank you.”
- “Ask if they’d seen my dog and leave.”
- “Sometimes I would wear nice clothing and print a questionnaire off the Internet and carry a clipboard and see if they could spare a moment for an anonymous survey.”
In addition, all intruders said they selected homes that allowed them to be inconspicuous
They looked for overgrown trees or bushes, especially surrounding the house. An even better target would have poor lighting and be located away from other neighborhood houses.
If there was a car in the driveway, many said they’d go elsewhere.
“Most of the time that is a sure-fire sign of someone being home,” wrote an inmate.
Many inmates agreed that security systems deterred them
If they saw security cameras, lights on inside, heard a radio or TV, or a big dog, they went elsewhere.
When asked what homeowners should do to prevent their home from being a target, these were some of the responses:
- “In my opinion, I think homeowners should always leave a TV or radio on,” said one inmate.
- “Get a camera and make it visible!” wrote another.
- “Put bars on your windows and doors, get an alarm, keep an extra car in the driveway, keep lights, TVs and radios on when you leave your home,” read one questionnaire.
- “Home alarm, know your neighbor so they can report suspicious people around the neighborhood,” said a burglar.
SOURCE: KGW News site