This week, a Reddit thread asked former burglars: "Where is one place people should never hide their valuables?"
The thread quickly went viral, as ex-criminals — and some of their victims — started chiming in with their tips on how to avoid being robbed.
Here are some of the best responses:
1. First of all, that safe you bought? Not as safe as you think:
Any safe that's not bolted down and is small enough for 1-2 people to carry isn't safe at all.
2. And that goes for fire safes, too:
Fire safes only are safe from fires.
3. Closets are a known "gold mine":
Closets — gold mine for jewelry.
4. Careful what you put in your medicine cabinets:
The medicine cabinet or bathroom. I'll just scoop all the drugs out into a bag.
5. Don't hide anything in the nightstand:
We had our apartment burglarized. Guy kicked down the door, and apparently was in and out pretty quickly. I came home from work, and the cop told me, "Never leave valuables in your nightstand." Might have even said bottom drawer. Sure enough, mine were checked, i could tell because my envelopes were moved from where i placed them.
6. Be careful what you stash in your foyer:
DON'T USE KEY RACKS OR BOWLS NEXT TO THE DOOR! The amount of stolen cars where the burglar takes one step into the house, picks up the keys to the family car and leaves immediately is just sad.
7. Lock your house's windows:
As a troubled teen, I robbed schools. I can say this: lock your damn windows. 99% of the time we got in with unlocked windows.
8. And lock your car doors, unless you want your car stolen:
You’d be surprised at how often people leave their cars unlocked with nice things inside. A lot of people actually leave them unlocked with the keys inside. It’s how the majority of cars are stolen.
9. Oh, and lock your shed while you're at it, too:
Your shed. Seriously. LOCK YOUR FUCKING SHED. Even if your house is well-locked, if your shed isn't, I likely have access to a plethora of tools I can use to gain access.
10. But maybe DON'T lock any drawers inside your house:
Oh, and thanks for locking drawers. That way I know exactly where the valuables are. I can open that cheap wood drawer as quickly with a crowbar as pulling it open.
11. Just bought a fancy new gadget? Careful what you do with the box, or you might tempt a burglar:
Don't leave things out that people can see from outside your home or car. If you buy a new TV or computer break down the box it came in. Don't just leave it by your garbage bin.
12. And get a little more creative with where you hide your spare key.
Don’t keep your spare key outside near the front door — under a pot plant, under doormat, top of door frame etc.
13. Don't leave anything valuable inside your car:
Don’t leave stuff in your car. When I was in high school, we did our fair share of carhopping.
14. ...Including your college textbooks:
For the college kids that might read this, don't keep your textbooks in your car. On the day of my finals I had about six textbooks I was gonna sell in my car. Came back to find someone broke my window and stole the textbooks. Cop told me that it's very common and unlikely they will catch the guy, so I was out ~$700, which was huge as a college student.
15. Keep some lights on when you go on vacation:
LED lighting is cheap these days. If your house is gonna be vacant for a while, consider investing in one of those smart-lighting systems where you can set different rooms to turn on and off at different points in the day. (Kitchen during dinnertime, bedrooms at night, etc.)
16. Hide things in places robbers wouldn't want to touch:
Had my house burglarized by a so-called friend. He missed by far the most valuable thing. it’s just a safe sitting on the laundry room floor. He missed it because I’m a scumbag and had it covered with a mountain of dirty clothes and towels. So not being tidy saved me upwards of $35K.
17. Decoys can work wonders:
My cousin lives in a bad neighborhood, so she went to a thrift store, bought an obvious-looking jewelry box and a bunch of expensive looking costume jewelry that’s actually worthless and put it in the box. She keeps this in a conspicuous place. Then she leaves a few 20s on top. This way if someone breaks in, they will grab this and run, ignoring some of her well-hidden valuables.
18. You might have to get REAL inventive with the hiding spots, TBH:
I've seen people make false outlets for hiding valuables like cash and jewelry. Just an idea, a burglar would have to be at your home for a long time to start checking outlets.
19. And finally, there was this former burglar, who summed things up pretty well:
I'm going to look under your bed, I'm going to dump out any drawer I find. I'm checking your freezer. I'm looking under the bathroom cabinet. Think that incredibly smart hiding spot you saw in a spy movie will work? We watch spy movies too. It's really going to be a matter of security versus convenience for you. If it takes me more than a minute to get to something (and don't forget I'm more than willing to break shit to get to stuff) then it's not worth my trouble. I want to be out of your house in less than 15 minutes tops.
So do YOU have any tricks to thwart would-be thiefs? Share your tips in the comments below.
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.