Burglar Signs: Cracking the Da Pinchi Code

Could chalk-written burglar signs be the mark of a future burglary?

Burglar Signs blog image
Know The Signs: burglar signs could be the mark of a future raid. They are usually written in chalk. Image by Paul Michael Hughes (via Shutterstock).

You may have come across an unwelcome fad that has arrived on our shores. It is one that could be bad for your home if you fail to heed the signs. Over the last five years, police forces throughout the United Kingdom have raised awareness of what are known as burglar signs.

Burglar signs are very similar to signage codes that have historically been used by homeless people. They are also similar to the tracking codes used by Cub Scouts and Scouts. Burglars would typically chalk signs on the sides of houses. Here’s our look at some examples.

Know Your Burglar Signs

Beware Of The Neighbours
1. Beware of the Neighbours: this implies that neighbours are likely to scupper the burglars.
Burgled Already
2. Burgled Already: this implies that the property has been burgled before.
Empty House
3. Empty House: the diamond symbol means the house has been unoccupied for some time.
Good Target
4. Good Target: the dwelling offers easy pickings for potential burglars.
Nervous Occupants
5. Nervous Occupants: the chain implies that neighbours or residents are huddling together.
6. Nothing Worth Stealing: household may have few possessions that are of interest to potential thieves.
Too Risky
7. Too Risky: burglars may be familiar with occupant if part of a gang. Or, the occupant could have a ferocious dog.
Vulnerable Female
8. Vulnerable Female: the screen implies that the occupant may be frightened.
Wealthy Occupant
9. Wealthy Occupants: the trappings of wealth may be apparent. The cluster represents pound coins.
Alarmed House
10. Alarmed House: the house is fully alarmed. There’s half a chance they might have had their doors secured by a certain Locksmiths in Oxford (if so, good for them!).

Water Maintenance Signs?

Though many police forces have regarded these as burglar signs, there’s another police force that has thought otherwise. In an article in the Daily Mail (19 January 2016), West Mercia Police claimed that the burglar signs were used by water maintenance engineers. Therefore, instead of Bill the Burglar, they claimed it was Severn Trent Water and other water engineering concerns.

  • Alarmed House: drop kerb;
  • Burgled Already: details the amount of cables and equipment required for cable equipment;
  • Good Target: water source;
  • Nothing Worth Stealing: proposed new lamp post position;
  • Too Risky: manhole cover needs locking;
  • Wealthy Occupants: details the number of cables inside the cable duct;
  • Nervous Occupants: potential movement of manhole;
  • Vulnerable Female: unknown.

Whether you regard them as burglar signs or otherwise, it is best to be on guard. Always.

CPPM Locksmiths, 30 August 2016.