The security company states: “Currently, new symbols are used to know the best time to break into a house. Thieves have techniques to find out whether a house is inhabited or not, so it is advisable to ask a trusted family member or neighbour to enter your home and inspect it to divert the thieves' attention”.

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Securitas Direct has highlighted the 10 most common signals used by burglars to communicate about properties:

  • Two circles with a line joining them: This is the sign used by thieves to identify a house that is a good target for robbery.
  • Rectangle and four vertical bars: This is the symbol that indicates that a house has a dog. Having a dog is a way of deterring thieves.
  • Diamond: Indicates that the house is empty.
  • Cross or X: This is the way to notify that the owners of the house are on vacation.
  • Tie with three knots: This is a very significant sign for burglars. It indicates that the house contains valuables inside.
  • Three circles in a row: Symbol that demonstrates that the house is considered easy to enter and can be robbed at any time.
  • White or red circle: Warning that the area is normally guarded by the police and that you need to be cautious in the event of an attempted robbery.
  • Letter W: Indicates that the house is empty at night.
  • Letter D with a dash underneath: Conveys the message that the house is empty on Sundays.
  • Number 7 or 8 inside a circle: Indicates that in the month the house is empty.

“It is important to bear in mind that burglars will not leave these signs large and highly visible, quite the opposite. You should try to walk around signs such as those indicated with some frequency and pay particular attention to corners, doorbells, flower pots or places that are difficult to access,” advises the company.