A harmless chalk drawing on the house wall, symbols carved into the letter box or on the garage door ... upon discovering these kinds of signs, some people automatically think of the thieves' code. In recent times these supposed secret signs for burglars have often been discussed in the media and on social networks.
Whether the thieves' code is actually used is disputed. But many believe that the thieves' code is not used as often as reports in the media would have you believe. However, anyone who discovers these kinds of signs near their home or their premises should take a closer look. After all, copycats are still out there. Or children may be inspired by these signs and scribble them on walls or floors.
Have you found this kind of drawing on your house or somewhere close by? Take a photo of the symbol and the location and then wipe away the suspected thieves' code. Also report your finding to the police. If it is a thieves' code, the specialists may be able to provide some tips on what to do next.
A huge number of thieves' code symbols are swirling around in the media landscape and social networks. Examples include symbols for 'Single person', 'There is something worth taking here', 'No man in the house' or 'Old people'. They reflect people’s concerns about their personal sense of security as singles and the elderly are often considered easy targets. This is especially true for single women as well as older people, as they live alone or often seem more vulnerable due to their age. Because it is assumed that they have valuable material assets, burglars also like to target the well-off.
Whether secret beggar, gypsy or arsonist signs, the thieves' code has a long tradition. It appeared in the 16th century and helped beggars and crooks quickly communicate using simple symbols. The signs were often carved. This is the reason why the symbols used in the thieves' code are often jagged or round: to make sure that they were easy to carve.
This lets you know which thieves' code symbols are used most frequently. You can use them for comparison if you find these kinds of drawings on your home.
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