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Former burglars reveal how sticking a fake key under your doormat can ward off break-ins

A fascinating viral thread among former thieves and those who have been burgled has revealed the best hiding places for valuables – including a fire extinguisher – and the spots to avoid.

Discussed globally on Reddit and compiled by Bored Panda, it proved that even safes aren’t a fool-proof option when it comes to break-ins, with one burglar admitting that it was the first thing they tackled.

Elsewhere an ex-carjacker explained that you should never save your address as ‘home’ in your car’s sat nav because they would likely have your home keys along with your car keys and know that you are out.

Meanwhile clever forum users  revealed they had dummy safes, surveillance cameras and jewellery boxes to confuse robbers – and one even told how sticking a fake key under your doormat deters thieves because they immediately feel ‘rumbled’.

A fascinating viral thread among former thieves and those who have been burgled has revealed the best hiding places for valuables – including a fire extinguisher – and the spots to avoid

Kicking off the thread, which received thousands of replies, one Reddit user shared their unusual tip for warding off break-ins.

The crafty user wrote: ‘Glue a spare key (not one that opens something important) under your door mat. Weird right?’.

He explained: ‘A few years ago I did this in addition to installing cameras. Over the last couple of years I’ve seen this exact scenario play out: thief walks to the door, checks under the mat, unsuccessfully tries to grab the key, backs up, looks around to see if anyone is watching (presumably because they think they have fallen for some trap/prank where they are being surveilled), and LEAVES. They don’t even search for another way in because it spooks them.’

Meanwhile clever forum users revealed they had dummy safes, surveillance cameras and jewellery boxes to confuse robbers and shared the best hiding places for valuables

Meanwhile clever forum users revealed they had dummy safes, surveillance cameras and jewellery boxes to confuse robbers and shared the best hiding places for valuables

One user told how sticking a fake key under your doormat deters thieves because they immediately feel 'rumbled'

One user told how sticking a fake key under your doormat deters thieves because they immediately feel ‘rumbled’

But if a thief does get into your house, an array of users had helpful suggestions of where to store your valuables.

Suggesting two unusual hiding places, one woman said: ‘Former crime reporter here. Tampon box and kitty litter are good. I’ve also seen false outlets that are safe as a safe.’ 

And plenty of users suggested installing real or fake cameras, and ‘Beware of the dog’ signs.

Meanwhile the messier users of the post claimed their lack of tidyness had in the past saved them hundreds of dollars.

One wrote: ‘Someone broke into my family’s house and checked everything – took all money and jewelry they could find.

Except my room, which was a mess to begin with. I had 800€ and golden earrings on my desk, just sitting there. The burglars opened the doors. and didn’t move a thing.’

Agreeing,  another added: ‘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.’

Taking to the thread, a former burglar highlighted the importance of keeping your doors, windows and sheds locked, using security film on your windows and advised planting flowers with thorns under windows.

They added: ‘Any safe that’s not bolted down and is small enough for 1-2 people to carry isn’t safe at all.’ 

And many users suggested creating a diversion, with one revealing: ‘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.’  

Good hiding places 

  • Plug socket
  • Washing machine
  • Plain sight (decoy safe/ jewellery box) 
  • Under dirty laundry
  • Fire extinguisher 
  • In a curtain hem
  • Spice drawer 
  • Tampon box
  • Cat litter 

Hiding places to avoid 

  • Bedside cabinet
  • Portable safe
  • Doormat 
  • Locked drawers 
  • Closet
  • Freezer
  • Medicine cabinet 
  • Oven
  • Pot plant 

Elsewhere another former thief revealed that anything taking longer than one minute to open wasn’t worth his time, adding: ‘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.’

He continued: ‘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 s**t 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.’ 

And another burglar warned against locking drawers, explaining that it was a clear sign pointing to where the valuables are and he would simply use a crowbar to open them.

The thread finished with users warning home owners against sharing holiday posts on social media in real time to avoid sharing the house is vacant, and investing in automatic lighting so the house looks occupied – even when it isn’t. 

Warnign against key bowls by the door, one user concluded: ‘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.’

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk