Seven Things a Burglar Won’t Tell You About Your House

Thieves have more than a few tricks up their sleeves. Read on to see what they are thinking while staking out your house when you’re on vacation and learn how to outsmart them.

  1. Hey, thanks for broadcasting your trip on Facebook, and leaving your online privacy settings nice and open. Keep those beachy Instagrams coming. Now I know exactly where you are and how long you’ll be away.
  2. My favourite pastime is peeking into windows to see if you have anything worth my while. Don’t bother hiding valuables like jewellery, or putting them in a safe deposit box. Just leave them on your dresser or in your sock drawer. Much easier for me to find.
  3. Want to really show me you care? Leave the lights out, driveway empty, let the mail and newspapers pile up and sidewalk unshovelled. I hate those pesky electrical timers and motion detectors that turn the lights on and off.
  4. Do you know the most common places for homeowners to hide spare keys? Because I do: under the mat, in the mailbox, on top of the doorsill or under the potted plant on the porch. Be a gem and leave it in one of those spots, and not with a friend or trusted neighbour.
  5. No need to let your alarm company know you’re going to be out of town, or ask any of your friends or neighbours to keep an eye on the place. Just leave town and forget about providing anyone with an emergency contact number.
  6. Or better yet, leave a window unlatched. A garage or shed door would be great, too. Plenty to steal in there. Attached garages and sliding doors are my favourites – everyone forgets to double-check that they’re locked.
  7. Do me one final favour? Leave boxes for your latest purchases in the recycling bin so I know you have stuff worth stealing. My picks: TVs and small electronics. Thanks, bestie!

Tip: If you’re planning to be away for more than a couple of days, make sure you either turn off your water supply or get someone to check your house to make sure the pipes haven’t frozen. This is a requirement for your home insurance, but the time frame could vary depending on your policy so check with your insurer for exact details.


Westworld is the award-winning magazine of the Alberta Motor Association. It offers a mix of travel features, auto trends and special member savings.