5 Types of Burglars

5 Types of Burglars

From listening to our customers and from our own observations, there are 5 types of burglars.

In no particular order here they are:

1. The Delinquent


This is the most common type of burglar you will encounter.

The young delinquent that has nothing to lose.

They are typically a high-school drop out aged 15-25 years old, with substance abuse problems and a history of violence.

The delinquent is motivated by poverty, boredom or peer pressure. They look for an easy mark to prove their worth or increase their status amongst their peers.

They will generally avoid hard to reach places or affluent areas as they don’t have many skills as a burglar.

When looking to steal they will aim for one “trophy” item they can show off to their peers.

Open doors, windows and back doors are this burglar’s dream.

They wouldn’t break down a door or pick a lock but will easily climb into a house with an open window.

These types are not very skilled and generally wouldn’t go through the trouble of concealing their identity or covering up evidence. They can be easily caught or turned away with the right measures.

To protect your home against the delinquent, lock your doors and windows on your way out, and make sure your valuables are out of sight.

The delinquent will avoid your home or business if it looks like  too much trouble.

2. The Opportunist


In some ways the opportunist is similar to the delinquent but they generally have more experience and may posses a skill such as picking locks.

Any burglar will take advantage of unlocked doors and windows but the opportunist will go the extra mile to steal something of value.

The opportunist is known to scour a neighbourhood looking for vulnerable properties. Unlike the delinquent, who is out prove their worth, opportunists are more motivated by making quick cash. They will likely grab several things of value that sell well on the black market, not necessarily the most expensive.

To protect against the opportunist you need to more than simply lock your doors and windows.

Consider investing in deadlocks for your doors, motion sensor lights outside and security cameras. You never know when you might need evidence!

Don’t forget to hide all valuables (especially electronic devices) out of plain sight of open windows.

3. The Smasher


This is the more aggressive but equally impulsive type.

They will not hesitate to break down a door or window if they have a hunch that something valuable is inside.

Due to the noise a forced entry can make, they spend the least amount of time in a house or business.

These criminals can sometimes come off as comical because they are in such a rush. They will steal anything in-sight, even items of low value.

These criminals often rely on income generated from stealing items to support their drug habits or gambling addictions.

Unlike the other types of burglars, their approach can be spontaneous or pre-meditated. These criminals are known to smash into a home to steal car keys for the purpose of taking your car.

A lot of the time these robberies happen during broad daylight as loud noises at night attract more attention.

To protect your home against the smasher is difficult. These criminals are harder to protect from than most others as they are not opposed to using force.

With this type, the strength of your locks and windows is a serious concern. If you want to re-enforce your house invest in some good quality deadbolt locks and install bars on your windows.

4. The Prowler


The prowler is possibly the most experienced and dangerous burglar a home will encounter.

These are seasoned criminals that have started as opportunists and developed a skill for staking out a properties.

These types will search neighbourhoods, looking for a good “mark”. Once found, they will scout their “mark” for days, studying schedules, planning entry points, investigating security systems and getting the layout of the house.

They likely know how to pick locks, disable security systems and force entry without alerting the neighbours.

These types are usually well connected with a trusted “fence” to sell their stolen goods. Depending on the skills required, these types may take “steal on demand” jobs to gather unique artefacts for their “clients.”

This criminal will do almost anything to not get caught and often bypass the suspicion of others by disguising themselves as tradespeople or door-to-door sales people.

The prowler may only make one attempt to break-in as after that their cover is blown.

Anything you can do to thwart their attempt helps. That’s why we suggest a good security system in addition to strong locks, light sensors and bars on windows.

If a break-in is attempted, you want to know straight away and collect as much evidence as possible. This is where security cameras with an alarm can help.

Regular maintenance of your yard is important to ensure there are no easy hiding places. Motion activated lights and alarms are also a great way to deter these criminals.

Remember to stay vigilant, if you see suspicious activity contact your local Police.

5. The Professional


These type of burglars typically work in groups and target business with high value goods. Think Oceans Eleven minus the cool fashion.

These type of criminals often steal high powered sports cars to use as get away vehicles or use stolen cars to smash into shop fronts.

These criminals are usually part of organised crime groups and the drug trade often fuels their motivation.

To protect your business or high end home against the professional a back to base system with guards on call may be required. This is in addition to strong security doors and locks.


As you can see, security basics go a long way to protecting you no matter the type of burglar.

Of course, the more investment you make in security, the more you’re covered.

Always start with the basics such as strong door and window locks, and then decide if you need an alarm and/or cameras to protect yourself from every type of burglar.

Want to know more about burglars? Check out our Infographic.