UK & World News
'Professional' Burglaries On The Rise
Burglars are taking an "increasingly professional attitude" towards their crime, according to research.
More than 100 recently reformed burglars were questioned for home security firm ADT.
Almost three-quarters (72%) said they planned a break-in by researching a property beforehand, with many observing from gardens and bushes nearby.
Bob Turney, who gave up stealing from houses three decades ago, said they often work in teams.
"They will pick on an area and they will then three-handed go through a house like a swarm of locusts, and they'll all know what their own little job is, and they know where people hide things, so they just go for the obvious places and they can be in and out in five minutes and gone," he said.
He added that householders who have not secured their property properly are considered "fair game". Particular green lights are valuables in clear view, partially open windows, unlocked sheds and a lack of outside lighting.
Mark Shaw, residential director for ADT, said: "There's an element that there's no human victim here - it's just taking property that can just be claimed back on insurance.
"But the reality is there are victims and the feeling of violation that they're left with lasts a lot longer than any insurance claim."
Nubur Gupta's home in Middlesex was broken into last month. The thieves took around £20,000 worth of jewellery, electronics and clothes.
"It's a really big hassle, it's a feeling of unsafety, plus it's all the stress you have to go through, plus the emotional loss.
"So it's hurting, especially now with the baby, I feel unsafe for the baby because he's at home with the child minder so I think they could have come while he's here, they could have hurt him, they could have hurt me."
The survey found burglars are well aware of traditional hiding places many people use - including biscuit tins, cereal packets, fridges, freezers, washing machines, ovens, behind wardrobes, under mattresses, in pillow cases and at the back of sock drawers.
However, key deterrents include gravel driveways, dogs, new-looking doors and locks, sensor lights and CCTV cameras. Some 94% of ex-burglars say a monitored alarm would put them off.