Crook prongs: the language of thieves © ABUS

Myth or truth? Secret markings

We have compiled the most important facts about the secret markings for you.

In this section of our ABUS burglary protection guide, you will find information on the following topics:

A harmless chalk drawing on the wall of a house, carved symbols on a letterbox or garage door ... Some people who discover such symbols immediately think of secret markings. After all, these supposed secret signs of burglars have often been a topic of discussion in the media and on social networks in recent times.

The use of the symbols is controversial
Whether the secret markings are actually used is controversial. However, many believe that secret markings are not used as often as one might assume from the reports in the media. Anyone who discovers such conspicuous signs near their house or flat should nevertheless take a look at them. After all, there are always copycats. Or children are inspired by the signs and scribble them on walls or the floor.

Have you found such a drawing on your house or elsewhere in the neighbourhood? Take a photo of the symbol and the spot. And then wipeaway the supposedly secret markings. Also report your observation to the police. If it is a secret markings, the experts can give you tips on how to proceed.

Many secret markings reflect people's fears A multitude of secret markings are buzzing through the media landscape and social networks. For example, symbols for "single person", "there's something to get here", "no man in the house" or "old people". They reflect people's concerns about their personal sense of security. Singles and senior citizens are often seen as easy victims. The same applies to single people, especially women, and older people, as they live alone or appear more defenceless due to their age. Because they are assumed to have high material values, burglaries seem to be most worthwhile for well-off people.

Note: The following lists do not claim to be exhaustive. The sources are taken from the daily press and publications in social networks.

THE TOP 10 Secret markings

Here you can find out which secret markings are frequently used. If you find such drawings on your house, you can use them for comparison.

© shutterstock- PhuShutter

One sign often has several meanings. The reverse is also not uncommon: Different signs can have one and the same meaning. Here is a selection:

These secret markings provide clues to the occupants of a house:

  1. Single woman
  2. The house is always occupied, people are at home.
  3. Dog (in the yard)
  4. Only women in the house
  5. Only men in the house
  6. Unoccupied house
    Unoccupied flat
  7. Two children, two women, one man
  8. Religious residents / Religious house
    But also: There's something to eat here
  9. Unfriendly people
  10. Socially minded women
  11. People call the police
  12. Active police officers
    Here is the police in the house
  13. Public authority employee
    Public authority member

These secret markings provide clues to the material values of houses and residents:

  1. Already robbed
  2. A break-in is worthwhile
    Fat booty
    Worthwhile object
  3. Favourable for theft
  4. There's nothing to get here
  5. There is something to get here
    Good object - In preparation for burglary
    Further meaning: begging prohibited
  6. Nothing interesting
    Other meaning: There's nothing to get here
  7. There is money here

These secret markings are warnings and other tips for fellow crooks:

  1. Hands off - dangerous
  2. Caution: do not audition
  3. Watch out, spanking!
    Attention, brutal homeowner
  4. Threat from weapon
  5. Avoid this community
  6. Donations for work are only available in return for labour
  7. Work for hire
  8. Overnight stay possible
  9. Be quietly intrusive
  10. Playing sick pays off

These secret markings indicate favourite times of day:

  1. Break in during the day
  2. Break in in the morning
    Break in in the morning
    (from the French: le matin = in the morning)
  3. Breaking in at night/evening
  4. Breaking in on Sundays
    (from the French: dimanche = Sunday)
    Other meaning: too risky
  5. Break in on a Sunday morning
    (from the French: dimanche avant-midi = Sunday morning)
  6. Break in on a Sunday afternoon
    (from the French: dimanche après-midi = Sunday afternoon)
  7. Break in in the afternoon
    (from the French: après-midi = afternoon)
Teaser- Tageszeit Gaunerzinken

Burglary protection: knowing what's important

Whether secret markings are truth or myth is not certain. But with ABUS you are on the safe side. As a rule of thumb, mechanical security systems in combination with electronic solutions provide all-round burglary protection. Find out more in our guide to burglary protection:

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