17 Apr, 2015 @ 11:28
1 min read

Cracking the crime code: Police release burglars’ symbols

Burglars code

BURGLARS are using a cryptic code to help fellow criminals target wealthy and defenceless homeowners.

The secret symbols indicate whether a home offers rich pickings, has already been burgled or, more disturbingly, is occupied by a vulnerable female.

Burglars code
Click image for larger version

English expat Debbie Porter contacted the Olive Press after she discovered markings on her Sabinillas home.

“A neighbour saw a man writing on the wall outside our house,” she said.

“He told us that he had heard that it was a secret code for burglars and that he thought the house has been made a target.

“We have been a little worried and feeling on edge. For the first time since I have lived here I don’t feel as safe as I did.

She added: “What is even more worrying for me is that the ‘X’ marking on the house indicates that it is vacant, which it clearly isn’t, but I worry that they will attempt a break-in while we are in.”

After reporting to the Guardia Civil, Porter was advised to paint over the markings.

The N332, the Guardia Civil’s English language support group, has now released a chart of the most commonly found symbols to help residents stay one step ahead.

“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 analyse the data to gather intelligence,” said spokesman Francisco Morales.

“We do not want to alarm people, only inform them.”

As well as identifying prime property, the secret code also warns burglars away from homes which have nothing worth stealing or are too risky to break into.

Rob Horgan

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  1. Not rubbish at all, it’s a fact. Alhaurin Golf has had lots of burglaries, in fact the road from the r’about to Mijas, almost every sd villa between the 2 roads by the golf course has been targeted. They all have either of wrecker bars, shutters, alarms, video cameras, 2 large guard dogs and most have been or are for sale as a result. A couple have even had gas pumped in from cylinders under shutters to knock people out then robbed. The guys that do this put these symbols on pavements outside the properties, guys with binoculars have been caught by Guardia up in the hills behind watching residents. Voltarado further up has had lots of burglaries and same signs were marked outside properties there.

    Nothing to do with welfare of other thieves, they work in gangs and mark for other members later on.

  2. We use a number of these codes in our walking group to mark a trail. The walking group is part of a worldwide organisation with international symbols and I don’t think any of us are burglars. :o)

  3. Seeing as the Police have released these well known criminal signs so I am amazed you also use a number of them. Have just looked at them again and most refer to ‘robbing’ ‘woman alone’ ‘dog’ whether ‘house occupied’ ‘contact police’ etc etc

    The signs I see around Alhaurin and Valtocado areas are exactly as indicated by the Police.

    No-one has suggested you walkers are burglars so could you explain which of the signs listed your walking group use and your method of marking them on your walks.

  4. Hello Mike.

    I am a member of the Hash House harriers, a walking/running organisation that was founded in 1938. History here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hash_House_Harriers

    The markings are “laid” by “Hares” before the run so that the runners and walkers know which way to go. The way marks are marked in chalk, flour or salt usually and personally I have used the plain circle and the circle with a cross through it. These are placed on the ground… although if we are running through a residential area then of course sometimes they will be outside houses. I’ve never seen them put on walls, but that may vary regionally. Here is a link to the ones that our local group uses: http://indaloh3.freehostia.com/indaloh3_007.htm

    There are a number of localised groups around the world, including several around Spain such as the Indalo Hash House Harriers, of which I am a member. We run or walk around a trail before heading off for a singalong and some good food and drink at a local eatery.

    Symbols: http://www.instructables.com/id/Creating-Hash-House-Harriers-Trail-for-1st-time-Ha/step1/Chalk-Talk/

    Not only are they used by Hash House Harriers, but one or two are also used as electrical symbols in diagrams: https://www.edrawsoft.com/electrical-design-software.php

    Kind regards from a Non-burglar Hash House Harrier

    E x

  5. Interesting Elle, I notice some walkers in France use red and white signs too but not like the crooks’ signs.

    But thank goodness your group are not using the signs as indicated by the Police which specifically refer to which properties to rob. Another difference is that crooks don’t use salt and flour, normally marker pens from those I’ve seen.

    I personally think the article is good in that it makes people aware of how certain crooks operate in Spain, and kind regards to you to from someone who who also does not burgle.

    Mike (can’t find an emoticon)

  6. This chart is a long-standing internet myth from the USA.
    It has been swilling around the internet for donkeys years.
    Why the reporter didn’t check with the internet-mythbusting sites I do not know. But all this report has done is to continue to spread the myth.
    It’s nothing to do with Spain at all.
    It actually comes from facebook members in the USA originally, where it swilled around for years.
    It then got spread across to the UK, where more people have been simply “sharing” it to their facebook friends instead of checking whether it was true; and spreading it there for 10 years or more now.
    Then a couple of weeks ago some ex-pat who hadn’t checked it for validity shared it with the Spanish Costa Blanca “N332” Trafico facebook group.
    They also didn’t check it for validity but instead just posted it on their page. And so the myth rolls on, spreading unnecessary paranoia; because many people believe it just because it’s in writing, and sounds plausible.
    There are plenty of secuirty issues to worry about in Spain, but having imaginary burglars travel from the USA to put one of these marks on your house, so that their mates can travel over in a weeks time and break in, really isn’t one of them.

  7. Having lived in the areas around Alhaurin el Grande (big problem of burglaries in that town), and also in Valtocado I can say with certainty that these signs were not a myth at the time. They were evident and many people were robbed in the developments I mentioned, and as I said before, the hills above were used as look-out areas for gangs to target properties. We are friends with an ex Guardia officer who lives there and he knows full well what went on with robberies and signs!!

    Hence the Police (is their knowledge based on myth? Lol) making people aware of the signs!!

  8. Just to add to Elle’s comments about the Hash House Harrier marks, they are big and bold (not secret) so they can be seen by the Hashers, whereas the burglars’ signs would be small & discreet.

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