An ex-burglar has revealed we’re all making a key mistake which makes our homes prime targets for burglars.
Jenny Radcliffe first started her life of crime as a teenager, initially trespassing on empty properties in Liverpool back in the 80s.
“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 told the Independent.
The slippery slope could have led Jenny down a path of lifelong crime, but she instead decided to use her specialist knowledge as a force for good after meeting a footballer in a bar.
“He asked us to test out the new security system on his house,” she said. “I got in just by talking to his cleaner.
“People don’t suspect me, because I don’t appear threatening. But you never know if someone is who they say they are.”
Now, Jenny is a burglar for hire. Sounds strange, but who better to test out your home security system than someone you’re trying to keep out of it?
Jenny has devised a list of all the things people should avoid when trying to protect their homes and their belongings from theft.
Radcliffe says that people are too eager to share their homes and belongings on social media, as well as what they’re doing and when.
For example, if you’re regularly posting that you’re out at gigs in the evening, but you just got a brand new TV and gaming system for Christmas, burglars will know exactly which times to target to avoid any disturbance.
“People don’t realise that your online life is connected to your physical property,” said Jenny.
“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.”
Another common mistake is posting about the school run.
Jenny said: “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.”
- Not protecting your CCTV system and monitoring it regularly
- Leaving tools around in accessible areas (such as an unlocked shed)
- Being too quick to trust your neighbours or cleaner with a spare key
- Forgetting simple deterrents (like having your lights on a timer to make it look like someone is home)
- Having foliage around the house which could be used to hide in – instead, keep a spacious perimeter around your home