One Man's Trash: Does the Garbage You Put on the Curb Make You a Target for Theft? - ITS Tactical

Shop the ITS Store!


One Man’s Trash: Does the Garbage You Put on the Curb Make You a Target for Theft?

By Bryan Black


We’ve shared many home security tips in the past here at ITS, from everything on how to prevent garage door break-ins, to how to protect against a Home Invasion.

While what you do with your garbage doesn’t seem very high up on a list of potential home security tips, I assure you it’s more important than you think.

Buying Time

I like to say that all security is “buying time.” A determined criminal WILL gain access to your home, given enough time and opportunity. These two variables are key; time and opportunity. The secret to securing your home is all about making it a hard target. The way this is done is by taking steps to create the appearance of a home without value or one that appears difficult to gain entry into. The goal is for the potential thief to abandon their efforts and move on to a softer target, or one that’s less secure.

Your first line of home defense against a thief is curb appeal. It’s the first thing a potential home buyer notices and guess what? It’s the first thing a thief notices as well. Amongst all the questions running through their head, one of the first they’re no doubt asking themselves will be, “Is it worth it?”

This can be a hard question for them to answer without gathering some intel on your home and brings me to the subject of this article.

One Man’s Trash…

If you leave your TV, surround sound and expensive electronics boxes intact, visible and on the curb, you’re making the potential thief’s job remarkably easy. This goes for boxes and bags from high-end clothing stores or anything of value. By nothing more than a simple drive-by recon on trash days, a thief can cherry pick targets to their heart’s desire.

The root of the issue is the identification of disposable income and the way people live. Yes, we all buy electronics and clothing, there’s nothing wrong with that. However, most people don’t forgo paying their bills in order to buy these things and the astute thief can reverse engineer that information you leave on the curb and figure out what other kinds of goods may be inside.

It also might not be just the one box you leave on the curb, they could have been taking notes for months while scouting a neighborhood and have seen the other boxes you’ve previously left on the curb.

What To Do

Don’t discount the intelligence of thieves, they’re crafty, cunning and more dangerous than most give them credit for. Desperation, which is a common characteristic of the home burglar, equals danger for you and your family. Be it debt or a drug problem, a thief is looking for that smash & grab soft target with goods he can sell quickly for cash. Telegraphing what you have available inside with the boxes you leave by the curb, is just making his job that much easier.


Invest in a box cutter and a roll of cheap duct tape, the cost is minor compared to the trade off. Simply break down your boxes by cutting the tape, fold them over to hide the logos of the companies and tape them into a bundle. Your garbage men will thank you and it will even make it easier to carry them to the curb or fit in the recycling bin.

It’s a great habit to get into and spending just a little bit of time on the front end, will increase your overall security footprint and help make your home a harder target.

Don’t be a victim! For more tips, check out our Ultimate Guide to Home Security and stay vigilant!

Are you getting more than 14¢ of value per day from ITS?

Thanks to the generosity of our supporting members, we’ve eliminated annoying ads and obtrusive content. We want your experience here at ITS to be beneficial and enjoyable.

At ITS, our goal is to provide different methods, ideas and knowledge that could one day save your life. If you’re interested in supporting our mission and joining our growing community of supporters, click below to learn more.


  • Tim Covington

    This why I cut up and black bag all of the boxes I throw away.

    • Karlan Talkington

      Same here, especially when I buy/unbox ammo.

  • Rick Burkhart

    I tell people……
    If they don’t don’t see it…. They wont steal it…………………..

  • Justin Sullivan

    I just burn them.

  • Gabe Benjamin

    Having children, I break my boxes down and stuff the pieces in diaper boxes.

  • Levi Burtner

    File this under no shit lol

  • Lars Mårten Rikard Nilsson

    Why would you put it on the curb? Don’t you have a nearby landfill or something you can drop it off at?

  • Nick Chop

    No worries if you’re military, you keep all the boxes for the next PCS anyway…

  • Jeff Cline

    I leave out computer and wide screen TV boxes even when I don’t own them. Then I throw ten newspapers in the driveway and stop mowing the grass. I then wait inside for the fun to begin after the trap is sprung. U0001f600

  • Stanley Droukos

    Not if you put it out front on the curb of your annoying neighbours house.

  • Bret Turner

    We have a neighborhood cardboard donation dumpster. I remove anything that can be linked to me and donate.

  • Illini Warrior

    Bad enough to break OPSEC during regular “normal” times – in a serious SHTF, disposing of any trash that pinpoints your preparation means & capacity could be a death sentence …. and garbage picking and dumpster diving will become a full time occupation for many ….

  • Comment237

    Don’t knock articles like this. When I was younger and unaware, I did exactly this and was greeted with someone peering in my window the next day.  That evening I found ITS when searching the web.

  • MillieBelstock

    I was having a boyfriend. we had a 9 months relationship, We were known for long time and we promised we will be together for ever but he has always had a drinking problem all his life.. because his drinking habit became so much this made us always have misunderstanding and I quarreled with him and humiliated and i made him realize that his bad habit was hurting me, I wanted him to change. i wanted him to be a good guy, i tried to change him but nothing was working out this made us to departed from each other, until one day i heard about a spell caster called Dr.manifest , i tried his love spell and definitely it worked out perfectly for me, it never took time for the spell to start working, after some few days my lover came to me and wanted us to start our relationship again, our lover is so tight now that nothing can brings us apart, and his drinking habit stopped entirely, this love spell from [email protected] is wonderful.

  • MattBowyer

    Viz tips: Thieves will check your rubbish for evidence that you’ve bought valuable items, avoid this by putting all of your valuables boxes outside your neighbour’s house instead of your own.

  • Njcblguy

    We cut all boxes down, remove address labels, and duct tape them together. Any big ticket items I take the boxes to work and recycle it there. Also black bag all garbage and shred everything.

Do you have what you need to prevail?

Shop the ITS Store for exclusive merchandise, equipment and hard to find tactical gear.

Do you have what you need to prevail? Tap the button below to see what you’re missing.