House Robbery Markings

Have you ever seen a strange marking on the side or nearby your house, such as on the curb or on your bin? Have you ever come across the term “burglar code”? Did you know that burglars have been thought to frequently use a symbol code to mark out residences they wish to break into? Burglars seem to be increasingly relying on codes, symbols, and markings to assist them in choosing houses to target and in recent times there has been much speculation about these signs, which is wittily dubbed the ‘da pinchi code’.

Although the comedic name is something to be wary of. You might be asking what do these signs mean and what should you do if you are worried about being burgled? Read through our blog to answer these questions and more!


What are House Robbery Markings?

These ‘robbery markings’ or ‘burglar signals’ are basic sketches and forms that are supposedly used as a ‘code’ to determine whether a house is worth targeting. These illustrations are also supposed to indicate to other thieves what type of person lives at the property, such as whether the residents are vulnerable, elderly, or live in a single-family home. Read below to know more about all thief signs on houses and how to protect your house!


The ‘Da Pinchi Code’

The da pinchi code is the name that has been used across social media sites and news stories over the last few years that have claimed to crack the code on burglar markings! The meanings behind the markings are deemed to mean things such as ‘vulnerable occupant’, ‘alarmed house’ and ‘wealthy’.

Recently, there have been new news stories related to the ‘da pinchi code’ which rules out these findings as being burglar code based on police research, instead the meanings of the markings being much more innocent. Check out our image below to see the markings, their supposed meaning and the true meaning behind them.


infographic house markings


What Do Burglars Use to Mark Houses?

Chalk is the main material burglars use as it is easily removed and not as noticeable as materials such as spray paint markings outside the house. As well as burglar chalk signs, burglars mark houses with almost anything they can; it may be a small blob of paint or a piece of string tied around a lamppost!

White and blue spray paint markings outside the house are the most common colours used by burglars. Make sure you keep an eye out for both colour pains to avoid getting burgled!

There was also a stint in 2018 mainly found in Dublin where burglars would place clear tape over the keyholes on the exterior access doors. If the tape is left intact for the next couple of days they would know the house is currently vacant!

As well as markings, burglars also may disguise themselves as door to door salesmen; this is what we call distraction burglary. They may also post fake Locksmith contact details through your door for example, always do your research before calling trades people to ensure they are legitimate! If you need a trustworthy Locksmith, contact us here!


Where are these Burglar Signs Usually Located?

The burglar signs themselves are often left somewhere on the property, such as a garden wall or driveway, but are also found somewhere nearby. Chalk marks on pavement, bin, lamp post, or curb are all examples of where you can find them nearby.


How do Robbers Pick a House?

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Burglars who place these signs on houses or in the neighbourhood have usually already scouted the area and determined which residences are potentially the best targets. In most cases, planned burglaries will have had the house watched for a few days to learn who lives there, their daily schedules, whether they have up-to-date home security system, and whether there is anything of value within the property. Learn more about how to avoid attracting robbers to your home in this guide!


How Do you Know if your House has been Marked?

You might find a few different symbols around your property that seem odd or strange, in odd places that the council or workmen wouldn’t leave markings for official work. If you happen to find marks on your property that seem out of place or like an illustration, this will be burglar signs!

What Should I do if there are Chalk Markings Outside my House?

So, you may have noticed strange chalk markings outside your house or nearby? First of all, take a photo of the suspected burglar sign, make a detailed note of its location, when you first noticed it and then wash it away as best as you can.

Next, we recommend that you contact your local council to ensure the markings weren’t left by their employees doing work along the street.

Following on, if not left there by the council contact the police using the non-emergency number, 101. They may advise you to keep an eye on and record suspicious activity in your neighbourhood, including strangers frequently walking up and down the road and looking or photographing yours or your neighbours’ homes! Take into consideration that burglar road markings are very common and therefore talking to your neighbours about this can also indicate whether they have noticed anything strange and you can ask them to keep an eye out moving forward.

Finally, it is strongly recommended that you upgrade your home security to be on the safe side, continue on to see our suggestions.

Myth Busters

Although you should always be wary of any strange markings that have appeared on your home, over the last couple of years some police forces have found that in actual fact these markings are harmless! Their investigations often conclude that these markings have been used by utility firms and broadband companies to plan upcoming works. So if you do happen to find weird markings round your property don’t panic!

Is the “Da Pinchi Code” the Only Robbery Markings used by Burglars?

Many people ask how to tell of a burglar is watching your house? Although the “da pinchi code” are thought to be the main markings used by burglars anywhere on or close to your house, there are other ways that is worth considering that burglars can use to keep an eye out on your property and test whether it is frequently occupied. If you have found a stone in front of your car wheel, then you should know it could be a test from a burglar to see if you use your parked car or not.

Another scenario that has been experienced by some residents is thrown food cans on your doorstep; it is another way to leave a mark on your property and undoubtedly if cleaned then the property is occupied while if it’s left for days then they assume it is not and find it a good burglar opportunity.

There are also some common signs which you should consider when thinking about your home security.  One of the most common indicators can be a random knock at your door. This can be done by burglars to see whether you have a dog or a security system that will alert them if they break in.

Random acts of vandalism may also be observed, for example a shattered window in a remote portion of your house could be a test to see if the house is occupied. Also, if you find your trash rummaged through or strewn about, it’s possible that someone is looking for information to see if you’re a good target.

If you have experienced any of the other mentioned signs, we suggest you do a quick search to see if your house is marked.

Make sure you consider the many types of markings a burglar can leave as it is not restricted to the ‘da pinchi’ code. What you can do in this case is join your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme if you are away from home for a while!


How to Protect your Home Against Burglars

Here are a few quick tips that you can apply today to avoid house robbery.

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Upgrade your Home Security Knowledge with Keytek® Locksmiths

We are dedicated to helping you keep your home secure and avoid house robbery here at Keytek® which is why we are continually updating our security content on our website. If you were interested in this blog we recommend that you take a look at our Home Security Guide here where we break down home security into sections such as your front door, garden gate, outdoor lights and more.

Already checked out our Home Security Guide? Take a look at our blog page here; we aim to upload a new blog for our readers weekly!

Top Locksmiths FAQs

We have created our top FAQs based on what our customers ask us on a day to day basis. This guide will give you all the answers to the most commonly asked questions that you might ask when you need a Locksmith on the double.

How Quickly Can you Get Out to Me?

The type of job can affect the response time of a Locksmith due to its urgency. However, we here at Keytek® have an emergency response time of 30-60 minutes, where possible, and for non-emergency cases will always try to get out to you within 1-2 hours.

Do you Have a Call out Charge?

Some Locksmiths will charge for call outs, some don’t. But we here at Keytek® Locksmiths we don’t have a call out charge, we only charge for Labour (the time on site) plus parts if they are needed plus VAT.

Find out more about our pricing here!

Can you Gain Access without Needing to Replace the Lock?

In the majority of cases, you can gain entry to a property without having to replace the lock. Most locks, including uPVC and wooden locks, can be bypassed by picking or other non-destructive entry techniques with relative ease when carried out by an expert Locksmith.

Our Locksmiths at Keytek® will always prioritize non-destructive entry techniques to help you gain access to your property and as experts with both uPVC and wooden locks and mechanisms can easily bypass locks to get you in as quick as possible. In some rare cases, it may be necessary to replace the lock, but this will depend on the circumstances of the lock out and the lock itself.

How Much will the Parts Cost?

Factors such as door type and lock type will affect the cost of any parts required when hiring a Locksmith and the price you can be charged will differ from company to company. For example, the cost for a new lock on a uPVC door will change dependent on size, make, model, and the level of security it holds as there are different standards of locks. See below for a brief overview of potential costs for parts.

Door TypeLock TypePrice Estimate*
WoodenYale Cylinder ReplacementFrom £119+
WoodenComplete Yale ReplacementFrom £140+
WoodenMortice Lock Replacement (5 Lever)From £125+
WoodenMortice Lock Replacement (2-3 Lever)From £145+
uPVCStandard Cylinder ReplacementFrom £125+
uPVCHigh Security Cylinder ReplacementFrom £150+
uPVCMulti-Point Locking MechanismFrom £220+

*These prices can vary and are only estimates. The exact cost of the lock will depend on size, make, and model.

For a detailed and expansive overview of the costs of hiring a Locksmith, head over to our Locksmith Prices page. Take a look at our guide on Fixing a Broken uPVC Door Lock Mechanism here.

How Many Keys will Come with a Replacement Lock?

Each lock will differ with the number of keys that it comes with, but you should expect to get 2-3 new keys with the installation of a new door lock by an expert Locksmith. Again, it is always best to check the number of the keys with your Locksmith in case you will need extra copies.

Does the Work Come with a Guarantee?

All work carried out by a Keytek® Locksmith, including any parts supplied comes with a year guarantee.  Any professional Locksmith should give you a variation of a guarantee to ensure that all work is completed correctly.

Are your Prices Fixed or Estimated?

Locksmith jobs vary significantly, for example burglary repair could cost more than a lock replacement, so different parts can hold different prices which will then impact the overall price of the job. With the different parts needed and time needed to be spent on job, most Locksmiths will provide you will an estimate upon booking in.

Do I need a Locksmith to Change Locks?

Many customers get confused when it comes to changing locks, whether they should go down the DIY route or call a Locksmith. It’s always a risk to do something you are not specialised in as it can cost you a lot more in the long run if it failed and could even invalidate your home insurance. Therefore, it’s always wise to call out a Locksmith.

How Will I be Able to Pay?

Most Locksmith companies will take both card and cash payments. Some Locksmiths will be limited to only accepting cash while others can only accept cards. It’s important to ask what form of payment your Locksmith accepts before you hire them..

Keytek® Locksmiths

Keytek® Locksmiths are the largest Locksmith community providing local emergency Locksmith services across the UK… no matter where you are we have a local mobile Engineer servicing your area!

Christmas Safety Tips 2021

That’s right! The most wonderful time of the year is upon us again and with things being a bit more normal, you may be venturing on holiday or to family member’s houses for the big day. So, it’s a time that you need to be more vigilant about home security, especially if you are super organised and already have all your Christmas presents hidden away at home.

It’s not nice, but it’s not a surprise to know that the rate of burglaries does spike over the festive period, so check out our top Christmas Security Tips for 2021 below:

  1. Hide Presents Away
  2. Keep Quiet on Social Media
  3. Cyber Security
  4. Christmas Lights
  5. Don’t Leave Your Door Open for Santa
  6. Store Bins and Ladders Away from Your Property
  7. Hold your Mail if You’re Away on a Christmas Holiday
  8. Join a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme
  9. Keep unwanted Reindeers away!
  10. Plan Ahead if You’re Going Away for Christmas Holiday

Keytek® Locksmiths


1. Hide Presents Away

Its best practice to not leave your valuables in sight of your windows all year round. But we would suggest holding off putting all your expertly wrapped Christmas presents under your tree for all to see. Now we understand the urge to show of your professional wrapping skills but try and hold off until the night before. Burglars like to be in and out of a house as quickly as possible so if your gifts are hidden away, they hopefully won’t have time to find them. Never leave your presents (or any valuables) in-view of the windows. Many chance burglars are tempted by the shimmering of the wrapping paper and it will instantly make your home a target.

A burglary infographic from Tesco Compare showed that the top 5 most stolen items included:

  • Money (17%)
  • Laptops (15%)
  • Cameras and MP3 Players (13%)
  • Jewellery and Watches (11%)
  • Mobile Phones (6%)


2. Keep Quiet on Social Media

We all like to post pictures of our homes looking festive and full of gifts, or even show off what our families have given us. However, its surprisingly easy for a burglar to track down where you live, if they see something they want to steal on your social media. Realistically we know that people are going to post lots of pictures of Christmas, so if you are one of these people, review your privacy settings on all your social media platforms. Make sure you are set to private and that you know everyone that is on your friends lists, get rid of anyone you aren’t sure you know.


3. Cyber Security

It’s not just the presents you need to be aware of at this time of year, it’s also your online transactions. Online scammers know that people do a lot of Christmas shopping online and can target you to steal your bank details. You could see more dodgy looking mails in your inbox offering you discounts or links to cheap websites, but you need to make sure you are shopping securely.

One thing you can look out for is that the website the correct web address. To be sure that you are on a secure website, look for a web address that starts https:// rather than http://. The ‘S’ means it’s usually secure. Never open an attachment from an email address you don’t recognise and is very important to remember that when shopping online that you should NEVER be asked for your pin number.


4. Christmas Lights

Christmas lights are one of the best things about Christmas, seeing all the houses looking festive on the way home from work should perk you up! However, if you are planning on decorating your own home with Christmas lights, then make sure you don’t leave a window open to do so. A burglar will be looking out for things like this to gain entry to your home. If wires are going to cause you an issue, then you could always use solar powered Christmas lights, these will also save you money of electricity as well!

We also recommend that it’s a good idea to leave a light on or on a timer, especially during the Holiday season when you’re more likely to be out Christmas shopping or attending a party! Leaving a television or radio on is also a good alternative to leaving the lights on.

As the Holidays approach many of us will be out of the house for long periods of time whether that’s for at an office party or simply doing the Christmas shopping. Outdoor lights are extremely useful both for returning home late at night and for deterring burglars.


5. Don’t Leave Your Door Open for Santa

We know you hear this a lot, but it’s important that you don’t leave your doors unlocked, whether going out, at night or even just when you are pottering around at home. Most burglaries are unplanned and if you have an open door, an intruder won’t hesitate to enter. If a burglar does gain access through an unlocked door, then you might find your home insurance policy is invalidated!

Hertfordshire Constabulary recommends by shutting and locking any gates and making sure you lock away any garden tools as these can be used by burglars to break in.

A survey by showed that the average value of a British garden’s contents was £1,457, this included garden tools, lawnmowers, patio furniture and barbecues. All these items are easy pickings for an opportunistic burglar, so lock them away!


6. Store Bins and Ladders Away from You’re Property

Don’t give a burglar a leg up! The majority of leading home insurance providers will recommend that it is always a good idea to lock up anything that can be used by a burglar to gain entry to a first-floor window or climb over a fence i.e. wheelie bins and ladders.

Home insurance provider Saga advises that all ladders should be securely locked away in a garage or shed. If you are using a garage or shed with windows to store anything that can be used by a burglar to gain entry it is also good to have curtains fitted to stop anyone from seeing in!


7. Hold your Mail if You’re Away on a Christmas Holiday

If you are going to be away for a long period of time, ask Royal Mail to hold your mail – they will do this for up to 2 months. We always recommend getting the Royal Mail to hold your letters to prevent them from piling up reducing the likelihood of a burglar knowing you’re away.

The Royal Mail operates a Keepsafe® service that consists of the Royal Mail holding onto any parcels and letters whilst you’re away for up to 100 days and will deliver them to your home once you have returned.

This is supported by The Home Office Identity Fraud Steering Committee as it reduces the risk of identity fraud when you are on Holiday as the service ensures that you do not leave any obvious clues to your absence such as a mountain of letters piled up on your doormat.


8. Join a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme

Neighbourhood Watch works to bring neighbours together who want to look out for each other, creating strong, friendly, active communities where crime and antisocial behaviour is less likely to happen. Find out about your local Neighbourhood Watch, or get information on how to start a Neighbourhood Watch scheme now.

Alternatively, if you don’t have a Neighbourhood Watch in your area and are going away for Christmas, tell a trusted neighbour so they can keep an eye on your property.


9. Keep unwanted Reindeers away!

It’s always a good idea to have a spy hole or door chain fitted to


10.      Plan Ahead if you are Going Away for Christmas

If you know that you are going to be away over the Christmas period then there are a few things you can do help prevent your home becoming a target.

Make sure to cancel any newspaper or milk subscriptions – nothing tells a burglar a house is empty more than built up newspapers and several bottles of untouched milk. If you have a good relationship with your neighbour, you could ask them to leave a car in your drive to give the allusion someone is at the property and ask them to check in on your home sporadically, picking up any mail or parcels that might have come through.

To help protect your home whilst away you could also:

  • Consider installing a security alarm with a siren which can alert neighbours if someone tries to force entry to your home.
  • Install indoor and outdoor smart security cameras. You can usually access smart security cameras anywhere you are and with some models can even be notified if a parcel is left on your door step. With a smart security camera, you can not only keep an eye on your home, ask a neighbour to pick up a newly delivered parcel and feel more secure but the physical presence of a camera makes your home a less attractive target to burglars.
  • Install an automatic light switch timer or smart timer to randomly turn lights on and off. Burglars can sometimes watch a house to see if anyone is home or if the property is currently vacated but one way you fool them is to have a few random lights throughout the home on a timer which will come on and off to give the illusion that someone is home.


Keytek® Locksmiths

There is nothing that can make your house 100% secure, but by taking some simple measures you can deter thieves giving you a stress-free Christmas. Hiring a professional Locksmith is the only way to be sure that your locks are insurance compliant.

Keytek® offer a free home security check with every job we do, so if you book us in for the day you move we can appraise your home and give you our best advice on how to keep the burglars away. Talk to the Locksmith about anti-snapping locks and any other doors you need securing such as a garage, gate, or shed as our professional Engineers carry a wide variety of locks on every job.

We wish you all a happy and safe Christmas 2021. If you liked this blog why not check out our others including our Top Ten Security Checklist