Info such as this is all over the internet if you look for it, and I doubt there is an original author. It’s more a compilation of different ideas, much like the lists of Murphy’s Law statements you see online and elsewhere. 

That said, there’s plenty of good information provided in this list, and it will make you think, regardless of whether it’s the first time you’ve seen it or the 20th.

I mention it a lot—situational awareness. This is a real lifesaver skill, and it should always be practiced at whatever level of volume called for by a given situation. Check out the list below—written from a burglar’s mindset—and see if any of these situations seem familiar.

  1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.
  2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier.
  3. Love those flowers. That tells me you have good taste . . . and taste means there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out, even the basketball hoop, makes me wonder what type of electronic game systems they have inside.
  4. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it.
  5. I love it when it snows because drifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway you’re not home. Safety tip: If it snows while you’re out of town, get a neighbor to shovel, or at least create car and foot tracks into the house.
  6. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don’t let your alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it’s set or not. That makes it too easy for me.
  7. A good security company alarms the window over the sink and the windows on the second floor, which often access the master bedroom—and your jewelry. It’s not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there, too.
  8. It’s raining, you’re fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to lock your door—understandable. But understand this: I don’t take a day off because of bad weather.
  9. I always knock first. If you answer, I’ll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters. (Don’t take me up on it.)
  10. Do you really think I won’t look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet.
  11. Here’s a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids’ rooms unless I’m looking for those games.
  12. You’re right: I won’t have enough time to break into that safe where you keep your valuables. But if it’s not bolted down or too heavy, I’ll take it with me. Safety tip: Check out our Cannon Safes (link to and GunVault (link to: products to prevent this one!
  13. A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system. If you’re reluctant to leave your TV on while you’re out of town, you can buy a $35 device that works on a timer and simulates  the flickering glow of a real television. (Find it at
  14. Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.
  15. The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors. A close third are security lights.
  16. I’ll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If your neighbor Jack hears one loud sound, he’ll stop what he’s doing and wait to hear it again.  If Jack doesn’t hear it again, he’ll just go back to what he was doing. It’s human nature.
  17. I love looking in your windows. I’m looking for signs you’re home, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems I’d like. I’ll drive or walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds, just to pick my targets.
  18. I can’t believe how many families announce vacation plans on Facebook. It’s easier than you think to look up your address.
  19. To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way to let in a little fresh air. To me, it’s an invitation.
  20. If you don’t answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in.