When it comes to breaking into homes, Maxwell Houghton is pretty much an expert. Houghton shared his experiences from Lovelock Correctional Facility in Northern Nevada, and answered how many homes he's broken into.
"In my life? Probably 50," he said. Houghton said getting into a home is easy, and most of the time owners might not mean to, but they help him out.
"Windows, people love windows open, especially garage windows," he said. "Oh and pet doors. People think 'oh someone can't fit through there'. But if your arm can, then you can get your arm in there and then unlock the door," Houghton explained.
Houghton is just one of about three dozen inmates who shared their stories from all over Nevada. Jeffrey Jones who was also serving time at Lovelock was another. Jones explained how he picked the homes he broke into.
"I would find a house with a bunch of bushes, or one that had a fence so nobody could see you." Jones said people think gates and fences make their home more secure but he has seen it help criminals because they can hide better.
Wayne Zucco, an inmate at the Southern Desert Correctional Center said for him, it's about location.
"Homes that are on a cul-de-sac, or dead end, then no cars will drive by," he said. "Or homes that back up to an empty field; they're more vulnerable because you can just hop a fence and be gone."
While all the inmates had different ideas of their favorite homes to target, their most important thing was determining whether or not someone was home before entering a home. Maxwell Houghton shared how he figures out if someone is home.
"I just go ring the doorbell, if nobody answers, no one is home. If someone does answer you say something like 'Oh, we're going around the neighborhood offering estimates for tree trimming' or something, 'Would you be interested?'
These home burglars said the best time to strike a house is daytime, because people aren't home.
"Business hours are the best 9 to 5, but not lunch time, because people come home for lunch," Houghton said.
Because determining if people are home is of the utmost importance for these home burglars, an alarm is a welcome sound to them.
"Ya, ya, because that means nobody is home if the alarm is going off," Houghton said. "And you know it's going to take the security place five minutes to call the police, and another five to get to the house, so what good is that alarm going to do anybody?' Houghton said.
On average, the inmates said it takes ten minutes to get into a home, and grab what they need and get out. Part of the reason they can move so quick is because they said everyone hides their belongings in the same exact place.
"The first place I go is the bedroom, night stands or drawers," Jeff Jones said. He said for him, it's all about what's easy, and what he can grab fast so he suggested if someone is out of town, to hide their things in the attic, or somewhere that will take extra effort for burglars; extra effort they don't want to put give.
The question many are asking is "What can I do to prevent becoming a victim?" For the inmates locked up, they were interested in the home surveillance systems which allow you to remotely answer your door.
"I think it's a great thing because we don't know if you're home or somewhere else," Houghton said.
Beyond that, most of these home burglars said when they are breaking into a home, the last thing they want to do is deal with people inside the home or not, and added if there are too many people out in the street they will choose another home.
"Neighborhood unity is key," Wayne Zucco said. "People aren't afraid of an alarm system, but they're afraid of someone who can dial 911."
Their message, is the harder people can make it for them, the more likely they are to move onto the next home.
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