Burglars keep coming up with new tricks to make it easier to get into people’s homes or avoid getting caught. One of the strangest we have seen is the use of bleach. There are several cases of burglars spraying bleach on the floor and other surfaces during a burglary.
The aim is to remove DNA and fingerprint evidence, making it harder for the police to trace them.
Below, we explain why burglars use bleach and what you can do to protect yourself and your valuables.
Cases of Burglars Using Bleach
Burglaries involving the use of bleach are not new. One of the earliest reports we found is from 2013. The Evening Standard reported that there was a spate of burglaries targeting gold jewellery, with most of the victims being from the Asian community.
The burglars would pour bleach around the doors and windows to ensure they were not identified via DNA or fingerprints.
Another report in 2018 also involved jewellery theft. In that case, the burglars sprayed bleach on the floor and walls.
In 2019, there were several burglary cases involving two brothers. They would break into homes and douse the floor and other surfaces with bleach. In one case, they poured bleach on a woman’s wrist to erase any traces of their DNA or fingerprints.
Why Do Burglars Use Bleach?
At first, it doesn’t make sense why burglars would use bleach. It doesn’t help them break into a house or find a way to get into safes and lockboxes.
Burglars don’t use bleach for any of these reasons. Instead, they use it to erase their DNA and fingerprints from the scene of the crime, thus making it harder for police to catch them.
So, does it work? Yes, it usually does. Most of the time, bleach will damage evidence to the point that it’s difficult or impossible for the police to identify them. This is especially the case if there is no blood evidence, which is true for most burglaries (regular chlorine bleach doesn’t completely damage DNA in blood).
There are advanced techniques detectives can use to lift fingerprints, but chances are slim that the police will use them to try and catch a burglar.
So in many cases, burglars are able to get away with a crime by using bleach. When they are caught, it is because of some other evidence such as video from a security camera.
Why You Should Use Smartwater To Protect Your Valuables
Once a burglar gains entry into your home, there’s nothing you can do to stop them from using bleach. Not only can they wipe away their DNA and fingerprints, the bleach can also damage your furniture, floor and other surfaces.
The best solution is to deter burglars from getting in in the first place. The next best thing is to make it easier for your valuables to be recovered after they are stolen.
Most smartphones nowadays have security features that allow tracking and recovery in case of theft. Check if you can set up similar security settings on your laptop or tablet.
For other valuables, consider using GPS tracking tags.
Another solution that police recommend is SmartWater security. This is a special forensic liquid sold by DeterTech that makes it easier to recover stolen items.
You apply just a tiny bit of the liquid on things like jewellery, gadgets and other valuables. In case an item is stolen then recovered somewhere (e.g. in a pawnshop or after a burglar is caught), police can trace it back to you using SmartWater.
SmartWater contains a unique forensic code. Police use UV light to find whether it’s been used on an item, then use the code to trace the rightful owner. Don’t worry, it can’t be easily wiped off.
By the way, you can also use SmartWater on your car, lawnmower, and anything else you want to secure. Each SmartWater package includes tags that you can place around your home or on an object to deter thieves from stealing it.
Here’s a video showing how SmartWater works.
Other Home Security Tips
The best home security involves multiple measures and layers to deter, detect, deny, delay and defend your home from burglars.
Here are some allround tips to protect your valuables from burglars.
1. Make Your Home Unappealing to Watching Burglars
Burglars case homes before they strike. They will often do it from the street, either by walking or driving past a house several times. They are looking for the easiest targets.
So if you make your home as unappealing as possible, it will drastically reduce chances of a burglary.
One of the best ways to make your home unappealing to burglars is making sure it is clearly visible from the street. Burglars want to do their dirty business without anyone spotting them. So if your front and rear doors are clearly visible by neighbours and passersby, burglars will likely move on to another target.
Here are a few other tips.
- Don’t leave valuables where they are easily visible or accessible. Bikes and tools on the lawn make for easy burglary targets. An unsecured outdoor shed is essentially a welcome sign to burglars.
- If you recently bought an item like a TV, don’t leave the box/packaging where it’s easily visible. It tells burglars there’s something valuable to steal inside.
- Avoid making your home look deserted, even when you are away. This is especially important if you’ll be gone for a few days. At the very least, leave the lights on timers or use smart lights that you can turn on remotely in the evening.
- Make sure you have secured all the possible entry points. Some burglars will walk up to your front door and actually ring the bell pretending they need help, but are actually checking out your security.
2. Use Deterrence As Your First Line of Defence
Deterrence is probably the most important part of home security. It not only prevents burglary, it also reduces the risk of unnecessary damage to your doors and windows when burglars try to break in.
Visible home security cameras are excellent deterrents. Other good ones include an alarm system, a dog, good outdoor lighting and security signs.
It doesn’t take much to discourage most burglars. If there’s a good chance they might be spotted, they’d rather not take the risk.
3. Protect All Entry Points
This seems obvious but you’d be surprised at how easy burglars can enter your home even if you’ve locked all the doors.
Don’t just use any lock for your front and rear doors. Burglars can easily defeat cheap or older locks. Upgrade to something more secure like a five-lever mortice lock or a deadlock.
The door itself should be strong enough to defend against force. You can reinforce the door with a security bar installed inside the door to keep it from being forcefully opened.
A sliding rear door is usually an easy job for burglars to break into. Replace it with a more secure door and make sure it is always locked.
Don’t forget the garage door. Add an extraInstall a garage defender to prevent burglars from prying it open.
Also lock all the windows. In high-risk areas, you may also need to add bars for extra security.
4. Outdoor & Indoor Security Cameras
In addition to outdoor security cameras, add a few inside your house as well. Just in case the burglars make it inside, you’ll have evidence that makes it easier to catch them and get your valuables back.
Modern indoor security cameras will even alert you on your phone when they detect an intruder. So there’s a chance you can call the police and catch the burglars in the act.
You can stop burglars from using bleach to wipe away their fingerprints and DNA, but at least the police will have another way to track them down.
5. Secure Your Valuables
Finally, make it hard for the burglars to find your valuables even if they manage to get inside your home. Remember that most burglars want to be gone as quickly as possible. If it’s too hard to locate or access your jewellery or money, they’ll likely give up and take less valuable items instead.
A safe is a great solution especially for things like jewellery. We recommend a wall or floor mounted safe to ensure the burglars don’t decide to take it with them.
A cheaper alternative is to disguise your hiding places as something else. You can buy different kinds of fake items where you can stash money and other items. These include fake books, soda cans, a can of beans or soup and so on.
But for highly valuable items, we still recommend a safe. Not only do they protect against theft, but also fire and water.