Home Security Insights from a Former Thief

Introducing Walter T. Shaw, an intriguing character who once belonged to the notorious Dinner Set Gang, a legendary burglary ring that operated in the heart of America. In a recent revelation to MSN Money, Shaw disclosed a startling fact: there’s hardly a home he couldn’t penetrate. He emphasized, “There are weak spots everywhere,” unveiling the unsettling truth about our homes’ vulnerabilities.

Shaw’s life story takes an unexpected twist. A retired professional burglar, he managed to evade capture during his criminal exploits but eventually found himself serving an 11-year prison sentence after a former gang member’s betrayal. Now in his 60s, Shaw has transformed from a mastermind of theft to a co-author of the book “A License to Steal.” This shift reflects his new mission: sharing invaluable insights into home security, gleaned from his extensive experience.

With a staggering record of over 2,200 targeted homes, including those owned by prominent figures like Liberace and the Firestone family, Shaw has gained unique perspectives on home intrusion. His goal now is to arm homeowners with the knowledge to safeguard their abodes from potential break-ins. Drawing from his deep well of experience, Shaw offers practical tips and advice to fortify your fortress and thwart would-be burglars.

By delving into the mind of a former intruder, we can uncover the weak points in our homes’ security systems. Shaw’s journey from criminal mastermind to advocate for enhanced security serves as a compelling reminder that knowledge is our best defense. As you explore his insights, you’ll discover effective strategies to protect your home and loved ones, ensuring that your dwelling remains a haven of safety and tranquility.

Think before you share

When it comes to sharing vacation plans, many Americans freely divulge their whereabouts to anyone who will listen. From the person cutting your hair to the fellow parent on the soccer sidelines, people often unknowingly broadcast their travel intentions. Walter T. Shaw, drawing from his years of experience in the world of burglary, offers sage advice: Keep mum.

“Resist the urge to treat strangers like confidants,” cautions Shaw, who was a participant in the burglary scene from 1969 to the late 1980s. His words ring true in a world where information travels fast, and it’s imperative to be cautious.

Shaw reveals that information is currency among thieves, and their sources of intelligence are surprisingly diverse. Former associates like carpet installers, hairstylists, and even bank employees have served as some of Shaw’s most fruitful informants. “These individuals often became privy to a client’s upcoming trip plans and readily shared those details, unwittingly paving the way for our unwelcome ‘visit’ to their homes,” Shaw reveals.

In a world where sharing every detail of our lives has become the norm, Shaw’s advice is a sobering reminder that discretion can be the difference between a secure home and a potential target. Through his guidance, you can learn to safeguard your personal information and ensure that your home remains a fortress of privacy and protection.

Mind Your Backyard

Whether for display or actual security, front yard signs and window decals indicating a home’s safeguarding measures are commonplace. Walter T. Shaw, however, highlights an often-overlooked vulnerability: the rear of your abode.

In the pursuit of protecting one’s home, homeowners often fail to consider that burglars typically assess properties and gain entry from the back. Shaw’s insight underscores the importance of extending your security measures to all sides of your residence.

“By placing those signs and decals not only in visible front areas but also in rear flower beds, on doors, and windows, you might compel a potential intruder to think twice,” Shaw advises. He further notes that the primary entry point for burglars is often the back of the house, particularly through French or sliding doors.

Having been a part of the burglary scene, Shaw and his team had an astute strategy – they entered and exited properties from the back to minimize detection. “Law enforcement approaches from the front, so I used the back route to avoid an unexpected encounter,” Shaw reveals.

Regarding home alarms, Shaw emphasizes the significance of keeping them activated at all times, even while you’re at home. He notes that it’s a common oversight for homeowners to deactivate alarms while indoors, which is a mistake. Shaw compellingly asks, “Why forgo that layer of security when many burglars will break in even if you’re home? Shockingly, 90% of the homes we targeted had inactive alarm systems.”

Through Shaw’s seasoned advice, you can strengthen the safeguarding of your home, ensuring that all angles are covered. By thoughtfully considering the rear of your residence, maintaining consistent alarm activation, and maximizing security signage, you can greatly enhance your home’s protection.

Also Read: how far can ring camera see

Daylight Deceptions

The comforting glow of daylight may give a false sense of security to homeowners. It seems obvious that daylight would thwart burglars, making it easy to spot any suspicious activity, right?

However, according to the seasoned insights of Walter T. Shaw, this assumption doesn’t hold true. Shaw, drawing from his experience, reveals that many thieves operate differently. In fact, an experienced intruder can breach your home in under 30 seconds without causing a commotion.

Shaw shatters the illusion by unveiling a trend: burglars are increasingly active during daylight hours. This might sound counterintuitive, but Shaw unveils the reasoning behind it. “Daytime jobs are becoming more popular among thieves because that’s when homes are often unoccupied,” Shaw explains.

With most men at work and women busy with errands or child-related activities outside the home, the daytime presents a prime opportunity for burglars. “The likelihood of encountering an empty house is significantly higher during the day,” Shaw points out.

Incorporating Shaw’s knowledge, you can adapt your security strategies to cover all hours of the day. Beyond the confines of traditional nighttime burglaries, it’s essential to consider daytime vulnerabilities and fortify your home’s defenses accordingly.

Doorbell Dangers

A malfunctioning doorbell might seem like a minor inconvenience, but according to Walter T. Shaw, it could expose you to a significant security risk. Imagine being upstairs engrossed in an activity or tucked away in the basement, unable to hear what’s happening at your front door.

Shaw’s insight shines a light on a tactic that burglars frequently employ: ringing doorbells. Their seemingly innocent act is a way to ascertain if anyone is present inside the house.

Desperate burglars, often driven by the need to fund their habits, go to great lengths to blend in. Shaw explains how they might even simulate the appearance of legitimate solicitors, securing permits or mimicking them to discreetly scout neighborhoods for unattended homes.

The consequences of ignoring a doorbell ring could be dire. A missed interaction with a genuine visitor could lead to an unintended encounter with a burglar who mistakenly believes the house is vacant.

In the eyes of an opportunistic thief, an unoccupied home presents an enticing target. Shaw’s advice underscores the importance of remaining cautious, as an empty house becomes an invitation for trouble.

Taking heed of Shaw’s expertise can empower you to address even the seemingly minor aspects of home security. Ensuring that your doorbell is functioning could be the small yet pivotal detail that safeguards your home from potential threats.

Hollywood Hype Debunked

Walter T. Shaw dismantles the myths perpetuated by movies and television when it comes to portraying burglars. Contrary to the dramatic disguises and elaborate heists often depicted, real-life thieves rarely resort to wearing president-like masks, pantyhose, face coverings, or clown costumes. Gloves, a staple of on-screen burglaries? Not a common sight either.

Shaw’s candid insight reveals a crucial truth about burglars: their arrogance. Confidence in avoiding capture drives their actions, fueled by a belief they won’t be identified by neighbors or caught by law enforcement.

However, Shaw uncovers their vulnerability. The Achilles’ heel of these overconfident criminals lies in their inability to disable surveillance systems efficiently. They also dread the possibility of their actions being recorded by video cameras, which could end up in the hands of the police or, worse, become sensational news for the community.

This is where your home security measures gain the upper hand. Shaw emphasizes the significance of video surveillance systems. Decorative alarm signs, stickers, and markers in both your front and back yard should prominently mention your use of video surveillance equipment.

Shaw reveals a little-known fact: burglars remain unaware of where surveillance feeds are being stored, leading them to hesitate when targeting your home.

In an age where technology often outsmarts criminals, ensuring your property is equipped with video surveillance can be the ultimate deterrent. By embracing Shaw’s expertise, you equip your home with the power to ward off potential threats and capture any intruders on candid camera, safeguarding your peace of mind.

Your Dog : The Guardians of the Home

“Let your dog bark,” advises Walter T. Shaw, emphasizing that a dog’s bark, rather than its bite, holds a potent deterrent for intruders. But this doesn’t mean you need to invest in massive attack dogs.

Instead of pouring time and money into training intimidating canines, Shaw advocates for the unexpected champions of home security: the small and spirited companions like Bichons and other diminutive breeds.

According to Shaw, these “little yappers” possess remarkable power to send would-be thieves scurrying away, their tails figuratively between their legs.

Shaw’s expertise unveils a surprising reality: the impact of these pint-sized protectors is tremendous. Their persistent barking acts as a significant deterrent, discouraging intruders from advancing further. The constant noise can also alert neighbors or homeowners, proving valuable during pre-break-in reconnaissance.

So, it turns out that giving Fluffy a bone is not just a treat; it’s a reward for helping maintain the security of your abode. With these furry allies in place, you enhance your home’s safeguarding measures while enjoying the companionship of your four-legged friend.

Your kitchen is a sanctuary

Walter T. Shaw unveils an unconventional tactic for safeguarding your treasures: the kitchen. “Your kitchen is a sanctuary,” he asserts, drawing from his extensive experience in the realm of burglary.

Shaw reveals his strategy of keeping his safe in the kitchen, citing it as the ultimate hiding spot that eludes the attention of intruders. He shares that kitchens typically occupy a central location within homes, often deterring thieves due to the time-consuming nature of their layout and the plethora of potential hiding spots for valuables.

Intruders, Shaw explains, seek efficiency, aiming to swiftly pilfer their targets. Hence, they rarely delve into kitchens, as this would require additional time and risk.

Yet, while the kitchen may be the last on their list, Shaw highlights the master bedroom as the first. This is where precious items like jewelry, smartphones, and electronics are commonly stored.

In response to this insight, Shaw suggests a clever approach: repurpose ordinary containers. He advises concealing your valuables within cereal boxes or mock soup cans, transforming everyday items into ingenious hiding places. This unexpected tactic ensures your treasures remain shielded from prying eyes.

As Shaw’s wisdom suggests, by thinking outside the conventional hiding spots, you can safeguard your belongings effectively, leaving potential intruders none the wiser.”

Guard Against Trash Reconnaissance

Walter T. Shaw delves into a less obvious aspect of home security: your trash. Disclosing a strategic concern, he advises against the seemingly innocuous practice of putting out your trash the night before collection day.

“People love to flaunt what they have,” Shaw observes, emphasizing how individuals unwittingly provide a glimpse into their possessions. He highlights the unwise habit of discarding boxes from recent purchases, such as a new flat screen TV, which practically invites unwanted attention. Shaw further cautions against casually tossing bills and statements, an inadvertent invitation to identity theft and an indicator of the valuable electronics within your premises.

Shaw astutely points out that even the disposal of a new appliance can raise suspicion among potential criminals, as it suggests the presence of valuable assets. He raises the question: “If you can afford a new high-end washer, what other high-priced items might be lurking in your home?”

To counter this vulnerability, Shaw offers a practical solution. When receiving deliveries, he recommends ensuring that the delivering company is responsible for the complete removal of packaging materials. This step ensures that any evidence of your newly acquired possessions doesn’t linger for prying eyes.

By staying mindful of your trash disposal habits, you can thwart attempts at reconnaissance and maintain a discreet profile that deters potential burglars.

Empower Your Home Security

Walter T. Shaw puts the power of protection back into your hands with his advice on fortifying your home against potential threats. Shaw stresses the significance of seemingly “little things” that can have a significant impact on safeguarding your property.

Simple steps, like consistently locking doors and windows, can form a robust first line of defense. Shaw also highlights the importance of maintaining the appearance of an occupied home, especially during vacations. Preventing newspapers from piling up and creating the illusion of an inhabited space can discourage would-be burglars from targeting your property.

Shaw’s attention to detail extends to your outdoor surroundings. He urges homeowners to take control of their landscaping, specifically by trimming bushes and foliage. This proactive measure eliminates potential hiding spots that might be exploited by thieves.

Shaw’s wisdom underscores the effectiveness of attending to these minor yet crucial aspects of home security. “Robbers love it when homeowners forget to do the easy little things that make their jobs easy,” he notes. By embracing these straightforward strategies, you regain control and fortify your home against unwelcome intruders.

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David Coleman
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