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Nicholas Kyriazis estimates he's burglarized at least 100 homes, maybe as many as 150. So who better to explain how to protect your home from burglaries?
TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen went inside the walls of New Jersey State Prison, where Kyriazis is serving a 70-year prison sentence, to get tips on how keep your home from being a target for people like him:
- Have a neighbor collect your mail when you're away. Mail in the mailbox signals burglars that no one is home.
- Leave your car outside. "If there's no cars in the driveway, there's a good chance there is no one home," Kyriazis said.
- Thieves often strike in the morning. Kyriazis told Rossen he typically did burglaries between 8 a.m. and before 2 p.m. More than half of convicted burglars surveyed by WNBC in New York also said they target homes in the morning.
- Don't assume an alarm system will protect you. "Alarm system alerts me that the people are not home when the alarm is turned on," Kyriazis said.
- Don't assume home security cameras will protect you. "People got money for security cameras, they got something in there they're protecting."
- Have a neighbor watch your house. Kyriazis called neighborhood watch "one of the best things they ever started for burglary prevention."
- Lock up when you leave. Many people leave doors and windows unlocked, and thieves take advantage. "I've never carried burglary tools," Kyriazis said.
- Dogs can be a good deterrent. Kyriazis said a barking dog would give him pause.
- Never engage a burglar. Thieves and experts agree that if you come upon a burglary in progress, the best option is to leave, find a safe place and call 911 immediately.