As a reformed burglar I probably should not be doing this but I am feeling pretty inspired right now after reading O.J. Simpson’s book If I did it. That book, if you haven’t heard, is a hypothetical description of how O.J. Simpson would have killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman if it had been him. It can’t be overstated that the entire book is hypothetical and he was not admitting guilt for anything. I have never killed or even hurt another person—I want that to be totally clear—but I did have a slight problem with robbery. Now, in the non-violent spirit of If I did it, I will describe 5 steps that I would have used to break into a house if I had wanted to.
Step 1 – Find an ideal target. The best target is a home that looks as if no one is home and will not be home for some time. Look out for multiple newspapers on the front porch or one of those notes on the front porch telling the UPS guy to leave a package at the door. Another big thing to look for and avoid is the home security signs such as Vivint, APX, ADT or any others, in the front yard.
Step 2 – Look for an easy entrance. A rock or brick can open up a window or glass sliding door if need be, but the best way is to look for an unlocked door or a cracked window. This is much more likely during the late spring or summer months. If the door or window is already open slightly it will not trigger any home alarms systems and will also be a lot less suspicious. If none of the windows or doors is unlocked then make sure to smash a window in the backyard.
Step 3 – Wear a mask. Not so long ago home security systems rarely had cameras and when they did they were easily disabled and less difficult to access. Now a home can have 4 or 5 easily hidden cameras that can be monitored through the owner’s smart phone or laptop. It can be hard to anticipate, and luckily many houses are dangerously unprotected, but if a house does have hidden cameras, a mask can be the only thing that keeps you out of handcuffs.
Step 4 – Be quick and efficient. Once inside the home you should only stay for a few minutes, even if you know no one will be home for hours. Pick small, valuable things. T.V.’s are usually too big and would attract too much notice in the neighborhood if moved during the day. The first place to look is the master bedroom. Jewelry is easy to conceal and can be very valuable. Money, as well as small electronic equipment like cameras or ipads, can be stored in drawers. The next place to look is the living room because people often leave laptops, ipads and smartphones in the living room (where they were watching television). The final stop is usually the basement or garage. Golf clubs or hunting equipment are usually stored in these two places and can be a valuable score.
Step 5 – Once you have what you wanted you need to make a quick, but unsuspicious get-away. Have the car parked nearby (but not in front of the house you are robbing). Walk casually to the car as if the things you were carrying were your own. Put the stuff in the trunk, get in and drive away.
And that is how I would have robbed a house. It is quick, less risky than you might think, and fairly easy. This isn’t the kind of high profile heist that you would see in a movie but it is a lot more common and successful.
With that said, I would like to remind my readers that this is a hypothetical robbery and I do not encourage anyone to follow these steps. If anything I would encourage anyone to read this to look to protect your house as much as possible, especially through home security companies such as Vivint or ADT.
Cal Jacobs is a freelance writer and security consultant who specializes in home security and fraud protection. He currently works with many local and national security firms to help create more effective home protection systems.