Burglar code: what are the giveaway symbols you should look out for?

Have you ever heard of burglar code before? Did you even know that burglars often use a code of symbols to mark out homes they want to target? Code, symbols and markings have become widely used tactics among burglars to help them break into homes. European police forces have even put together guides to these symbols and codes, to help home owners protect their houses from crime. These codes usually take the form of new markings (possibly chalk markings and symbols) that you might notice drawn onto your home, your garage door, your post box or your storage unit. Get to know the markings and symbols used in these codes and you’ll be able to better protect your home from thieves.

Why would burglars choose to target your home?

Burglars will often take a look at a home before they carry out a crime. The more the thieves know about the house and its security, the more likely they are to rob the home successfully.

But what is it that these potential thieves might want to find out about your home?

Often, they’ll use a code of drawn symbols to mark up information on the house. That way, they know what they’re dealing with when they come back to the home.

Home without a security system: If your home doesn’t have a security system installed, your house will become a more obvious target for thieves. The reason is simple: low levels of home security mean they’re much more likely to get away with the burglary.

Home owners on holiday: If your house is obviously empty for a couple of days, burglars are more likely to target your home. There are some simple steps you can take to increase your home security while you’re away: for example, you could leave some lights on, or a shutter or two open, to make it look more like there are people at home.

Obviously visible valuables: thieves will scope out a home before they commit a crime. They want to know whether there are items in the house that will be worth stealing. If possible, store your valuable, easy to carry items away from easy view of the street. They might be expensive music systems, laptops, games consoles and other gadgets, jewellery or watches, and so on. Store these items smartly and it could help protect your home from thieves.

If you notice any new or unusual chalk markings or symbols on your home, or on your neighbours’ houses, get in touch with the police. If you notice burglar markings on buildings close to your home and you report them, you might be able to prevent upcoming crimes from being carried out.

How do potential thieves get this information about your home?

Burglars operate in ways you might not expect. To get useful information about your home, they need to get up close.

Here are some of the tactics thieves might use to find out more about your home security:

  • Walk around the neighbourhood, so they know the layout of the houses well
  • Track when the houses’ occupants are at home or away from home
  • Take note of doors and windows that thieves could use as entry points into the home
  • Take note of alarms, security cameras or other home security systems operating in the neighbourhood’s houses
  • Call your home phone to check if anyone is in the house at certain times of day or night
  • Pretend to be a door to door seller, to get up close to the house and take a look inside the front door
  • Check if your home’s letterbox is very full, or if the house’s lights are off and its shutters are closed: these are signs that the home is standing empty

Netatmo Info

Smart home security systems are becoming increasingly popular options for savvy home owners. Install a smart home security set-up and you can receive real-time notifications to your mobile devices about movements on your property. You can also set up timers to switch the lights on and off in different rooms, to make it look like there’s someone at home while you’re away. Get real peace of mind, even when you’re not in the house!

What are the most common signs and symbols in burglar codes?

  • Circle: an easy house to target; maybe as it has no home security system set up
  • Barred circle: a house to avoid burgling; maybe the home has effective alarms or CCTV cameras, or a family dog
  • Triangle: a single woman in the house; thieves may target women or the elderly as they’re seen as more vulnerable targets
  • Ladder-like lines: valuables visible in the home; there are items in the house that are worth stealing
  • Cross: occupant who will respond to religion; be aware of persistent religious canvassers, as they may not be who they say they are!
  • Two barred waves: a man who will respond to women; burglars who do their research are likely to use a home owner’s weak points to gain information and access
  • Letter code: M for empty in the morning, N for empty at night – the symbols could be as simple as that, as burglars are likely to take note of your movements in and out of the home