A Burglar’s Universal Search Pattern – How a Burglar Robs Your Home in 8 Minutes

Affiliate Disclosure

The following is a guest post. But first, I wanted to make a few notes of my own. I was personally always very resistant to having a home alarm. It seemed to be a way to say that I do not have enough faith or something, but after a rash of break-ins and thefts in our neighborhood, Duncan and I agreed to have a home alarm installed. I actually cried the day they came to install the system. It seemed like we were giving up, giving in to the idea of being a victim of a crime. Once I got used to the idea, I actually love having it. When we go on date nights, we know our house is secure. If a problem should arise,we and the police will be immediately alerted. Also, when their were tornadoes in our town recently I learned that our house alarm gives weather alerts. It started to alarm every several minutes until the tornado warning was passed. Since I was completely unaware of the threat, this system could have saved our lives. So, not in a spirit of fear, but in a spirit of preparedness, I share this guest post from Simplesafe.com. – Malia

What a burglar is doing once they are inside your home

Guest Post by Kevin of Simplisafe.

There’s a lot of things that a person can do in 8 minutes. For example, wash the dishes, make a sandwich, check your email, or make a cup of coffee. Eight minutes is all a burglar needs to rob your home. That’s pretty fast considering this is a new environment for him, because all homes are different. Burglars don’t like to hang around inside your house for long. The longer they are inside, the higher the chances they’ll end up on the inside of a jail cell. These tips will slow them down and hopefully get them out of your home with less of your valuables.


Synchronize your watch to “the break-in clock.” By the time you finish reading this article, the burglar has already moved onto the next target.

The Break-in Clock: 1-2 Minutes: Once a burglar has gained access into your home he or she will primarily use the same search pattern, this is if the burglar alarm hasn’t gone off yet. The first stop is directly to the master bedroom. They will look for cash, jewelry, or anything that might be valuable.

People often make the mistake of leaving money or jewelry in the most common areas such as a dresser, under the bed, the closets, or bedside table.

Keeping a safe in your home is probably your best bet to keep all of your cash and jewelry secure. Burglars won’t have enough time to break into the safe, but if it’s not bolted down, chances are the burglar will be taking it with him.

3-4 Minutes: The next room of your home is the bathroom. Burglars will always check your medicine cabinets to see if there is any narcotic prescriptions. Try putting these in a first aid kit tucked under the sink or behind the toilet.

5-6 Minutes: The next stop may be the living room, kitchen or family room, so don’t leave easy-to-sell, high-value, compact items such as laptop computers, iPods or cameras lying around or you can be sure to lose them as well. Interior locks on the doors leading to your study or gaming rooms would frustrate a rushing burglar’s ability to cash in on your electronics.

Valuable personal information is often stored in your personal computers. It’s always safer to have your computer password protected, and ideally only store important files offsite in an online data cloud storage website such as Dropbox. To protect your online passwords, credit card information and more, try 1Password, a password generation and encryption software.

7-8 Minutes: After the burglar has gathered everything he may need, he will usually call a partner to meet him and load up all of your goods into the car or van. Once all of the goods have been loaded, the burglars drive away to their next target. It’s a never ending cycle.

“It usually takes me about 8-12 minutes to get in and out of your home. It’s as easy as that!” boasts burglary professional Pat O.

In closing, there are a lot of things that you can do to avoid a home burglary. A security system is a no- brainer. If that’s not an option, leaving a TV or stereo on during the day usually helps burglars avoid your home. This usually indicates someone is home. Also, most burglars won’t even attempt entry if they know there’s a large dog in the home.

Burglaries can result in loss of both valuables and peace of mind. Therefore, it is important to take adequate steps to protect one’s home and increase its security. Begin by accepting that all homes are vulnerable to theft and burglary and then, act to step up security and keep one’s home, family and belongings safe and secure.


  1. Patty@homemakersdaily.com

    Our house has been broken into twice – once without an alarm system and once with. We have a large black dog. She wasn’t a deterrent at all! The police told us the only kind of big dogs that might stop a burgler are scary ones like German Shepherds, Rottweilers, etc.

    Since the break-ins, I definitely live differently. I do not keep my jewelry on my dresser. The first time I had a jewelry box and they took the box and all the jewelry. The second time I just had a little dish on my dresser with a few pieces I had collected since the last break-in and they took that. I will never again store my jewelry on or near my dresser.

    I also never leave my laptop or camera out. When I leave the house, I hide them. Even if the robber finds them, I want him to at least have to work for them.

    We also added an outside siren instead of just the inside (police officer’s recommendation) and a glass break sensor. We’re doing everything we can to protect our home and make it hard for robbers. But they definitely are fast and thorough.

  2. Patty@homemakersdaily.com

    I want to add that I understand exactly how you felt about getting the alarm. We got ours after our first break-in and I hated it! I felt claustrophobic at first. It was a pain turning it off and on. And when I was alone and had it on, I was terrified I would forget and open a door (which I did quite a few times). I felt trapped. Eventually I got used to it and definitely felt safer. When I am home alone and jumpy, I turn on the alarm. I know it won’t necessarily keep someone out but it will warn me that they’re trying to get in.

    I would also highly recommend that everyone do an inventory of their possessions. You can do it with pictures or video or lists. But if you ever have a break-in, it’s a lot easier to deal with the insurance company if you know what you had and have documentation. Serial numbers and product descriptions are extremely helpful. Since the break-in, I keep an inventory of all new purchases along with the receipts (bigger stuff or stuff that might get stolen). I also have photos of items that could be stolen. If you have a lot of dvd’s, it’s really helpful to have a list of what you have (or a photo). When ours were stolen, we pretty much just had to guess at how many we had. If we had had a photo, it would have been a lot more accurate and easier.

    Also, during our second break-in, because I had hidden my laptop, they didn’t get it! I felt stupid hiding it every time I left, but after they didn’t get it, I don’t feel stupid anymore. I had a lot of personal information on the laptop and I didn’t want them to have it. Plus it might seem like a nice idea to get to get a new one but it isn’t. It’s a big, fat pain.

  3. Kevin Raposo

    @Patty, sorry to hear that you were a victim of a burglary TWICE! I could imagine the peace of mind you lost. To comment further regarding a inventory of all your items in the household, I recently found this great website that it made for that! Check it out here:

    Thanks for the comment!

  4. Yuva

    Home alarms can also be used to mointor the people in the house, especially if you get one that has a medical alert system built into it. These contact a call centre or designated number to alert them if something has happened.

  5. Anon

    We are dealing with this in our neighborhood. Our house has never been broke in to but our neighbors has. It’s a serious problem and really keeps me from enjoying the neighborhood. I make sure we never keep the windows or blinds open. It’s scary how often people drive by, walk, bike ride by with the intention of looking for a house to steal from. I’ve read articles that say neighbors are culprits too. They watch to see who lives in the home and what their schedule is and go in when they know they are gone at work for the day. It’s unbelievable. It affects me and seems to affect a lot of people so I’m trying to understand how to relate to this emotionally. Unfortunately, burglary will be around until the end of time.

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