Does It Really Take a Thief?

Discovery Channel’s duo Johnston and Douglas miss the mailbox

it_takes_a_thief_logoIn the popular Discovery Channel show “It Takes A Thief,” duo Matt Johnston and Jon Douglas display their keen aptitude for breaking into seemingly safe and secure residential homes, often surprising the homeowners with their ingenious methods. It would seem that there is no doubt they are indeed experts at this. I contend they work entirely too hard for what they get. What do I mean by this?

Their DSC Fansite features an Interactive Home-Security Experience that provides users with a fun tool to learn how to better protect their homes. This tool has some great advice, but it also has one glaring problem: Matt and Jon overlooked the fact that anybody, not just an expert thief, can steal sensitive material from the owners of this house that can be converted to cash… and without even walking into the yard!

The house in this flash demo does not have a security locking mailbox. The Discovery Channel duo do not overlook the mailbox entirely; they only advise to put only your house number on your mailbox, and not your name. They claim that displaying the name on the mailbox would easily allow a thief to get your phone number.

While your house number should be cleary visible from the street for emergency personnel, you should never post your name on your mailbox or on the front of your home. Once they have your name and street address, would-be burglars can easily get your telephone number. If no one answers when they call, they know no one is home.

Now I am not a thief, and by no means an expert thief. But common sense tells me if I want their phone number, credit card account numbers, utility account numbers, or any other personal information, all I have to do is open their unlocked mailbox as I walk by their house. Before the home owners knew they had missed a thing, I could get much more out of them than a little cash and a stereo.

Identity theft and identity fraud is a huge problem and growing fast. Why Matt and John overlooked such a glaring problem, I don’t know. Perhaps they are used to looking for more complicated ways of beating alarm systems and locks without looking at the simple ways. In today’s society, a locking mailbox is a must-have security product, and one that these two should not have overlooked.


  1. Signmaker on July 8, 2008 at 7:57 am

    Great article – I agree, home security should start with the basics. Only when these have been addressed should the homeowner move on to more complicated systems. A lock on the mailbox is simple yet so effective – don’t make it easy for these low-lifes!

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