Sign of Criminal Behavior

Brits Look Out For Signs of Criminals

Burglars are scrawling secret symbols on the street to help other criminals know which homes to target.

The symbols may indicate that a home is  wealthy, has already been burgled or may have nothing worth  stealing.

Chillingly, they may also indicate if there  is a vulnerable female in the home, or if the occupant is nervous, afraid or  easily duped.

Crime code The symbols are used by burglars to help other thieves in their criminal endeavours. As well as saying where there are rich pickings, the code also warns if a property is well-guarded or has nothing  valuable

The meaning behind a number of the symbols has been deduced by officers.

A simple ‘X’ means the home is a good target, while the same symbol outlined with a circle means there is nothing worth stealing in the property.

A capital D with a dash drawn in it indicates that burgling the house is too risky, while five circles in the shape of a star shows that a property is wealthy.

Vigilant: Police say homeowners should report the symbols if they find them as they can be used by intelligence officersOfficers say homeowners should report the  symbols if they find them as they can be used in police intelligence

Other marks reveal if a house is alarmed or has already been burgled.

Police in Torbay, Devon, UK  posted the symbols on Twitter in a bid to warn homeowners that they may be a target for  thieves.

DC Steve Fleetwood warns  the ‘ancient’ symbols are being drawn outside homes by criminal gangs.

He said: ‘The Exeter Neighborhood Team saw them at the end of a few drives, on a few curbs and on gate posts and we want to warn people about them.

‘It is very new to us and we are just asking  people to be aware.’

DC Fleetwood says the code could be a valuable tool in the fight against crime.

He added: ‘Knowledge is power. If we’re aware  of it happening we can see if there have been any burglaries in the area and we can analyze the data to gather intelligence.’

He urged homeowners to report any unusual  markings on low-rise walls, pavements or curbs by dialing 101 or their local police station.


During the Great Depression in America itinerants who travelled state-to-state on the railroad looking for work and living rough – called ‘hobos’ – would use symbols to direct, help and warn  their brethren.

Symbols from the ‘Hobo code’ would be  scrawled with chalk or coal on houses, posts, gates, bridges, railroad yards and  other places.

As well as helpful advice like  ‘housewife  feeds for chores’ and ‘can sleep in barn’, there are warnings such as ‘man with a gun’ and ‘dishonest man’.

Hobos needed all the help they could get as they faced a hard and dangerous life as they rode the railways.

In addition to the problems of being looked down on, poor, far from home and frequently sleeping rough, they also had to face the railroads’ security staff, nicknamed ‘bulls’, who were often quick to use violence against trespassers.

Secret: Some of the symbols used by hobos to help their fellow travellers in America.

Attribution: Sam Webb, Daily Mail