Darryl Kennedy, a former burglar who has been sentenced to jail four times over a 50-year life of crime has now reformed and is offering advice on preventing more victims. With burglary being a major crime, accounting for nearly 270,000 reports in 2021, measures to stop the trend could help to reduce the number of offences and protect homes and properties in the process.
Mr Kennedy starts by advising homeowners to hide valuable items in places burglars would not think to look.
These include stashing small items inside bean bags, cuddly toys and other less obvious places.
Mr Kennedy said: “I’m a changed person now and I want to use what I know to eradicate burglary.
“People don’t realise the best ways to protect their homes – it’s more than just putting up CCTV cameras and locking doors.”
Mr Kennedy specialised in so-called “cat burglary” targeting the homes of the rich and famous in the UK as well as abroad.
Released in 2019, the former thief said: “I had a long career breaking into homes all over the world – I’d complete up to 15 in a day.
“I would sell on the jewels and use the money to fund holidays and stays in fancy hotels.
“I never stole from working-class people, I would go for the upper echelons who could afford to lose it.
“I didn’t realise until years later that I would only see the monetary value in the things I stole.
“When I met my victims, I realised I stole things which had been passed down for generations.
“It was traumatic for me and I see now that burglary is a horrible thing.
“Now I want to do my bit to eradicate burglary.”
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Mr Kennedy said one of the best techniques is to team up with neighbours when it comes to using CCTV cameras.
Whereas a burglar may steal the hard drive of a home being burgled, having neighbours with such devices overlooking areas of the property, may be overseen by opportunistic thieves.
Mr Kennedy said: “Burglars know to look out and dodge CCTV on your own home, but don’t think to check for neighbours’ CCTV.
“You’re actually better off protecting the house next door, and letting them protect you.”
He also recommended spending a few pounds on door bolts for your living room and kitchen doorways.
Locking them from the hallway before going to bed at night will mean burglars who manage to break into either of those rooms will be locked inside.
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Speaking to the Manchester Evening News of the need for stealth and avoiding confrontation, as well as choosing which rooms to target, he added: “There probably won’t be many valuables in the downstairs rooms – they’ll be looking for the bedrooms with the jewellery boxes.
“But there’s no chance they’ll risk kicking down the door and disturbing you in bed.
“Remember, you don’t know who is down there, but they don’t know who is upstairs either – it could be a six-foot-six bodybuilder.
“The noise of the door being kicked would also give you enough time to call the police, which they don’t want.
“The first thing I would do after breaking into a house is go to the master bedroom.
“It’s the first thing any burglar thinks of – it’s where all the valuables are.
“They don’t want kids’ clothes, and they especially don’t want children waking up, so they’ll never go for the kid’s bedroom.”
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Adding to the advice, one former police officer suggested other methods to help prevent burglary.
“It’s all about deterrence when it comes to preventing crime.
“For those with a garden, using trellis on fencing is a great way to stop potential thieves climbing into your property.
“The noise the thin wood makes when it breaks is loud and inconvenient to thieves and draws more attention than the sound of an alarm.
“But by far one of the best deterrents is a product called ‘Smart Water’.
“This lets you tag your valuables with an invisible liquid containing a ‘DNA coding’ unique to your home.
“Stolen property with traces of the product can be traced back to owners and returned.
“Should burglars have traces of SmartWater on their hands, clothes, hair or bodies, police can identify exactly where they have been, and the good news is there is a 100 percent conviction rate with no defence.
“Even homes merely displaying the Smart Water sticker on their windows are often left alone by burglars.”
Additional reporting by Amy Reast and Paige Oldfield