Reformed burglar offers home security tips

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A man who used to break into multiple homes a week in Memphis for nearly two years is now offering home security tips.

William Golden could commit a burglary in a matter of minutes.

It all started when he was a teenager.

"When I was 14, I was just stealing out of stores," he said.

Shoplifting from corner stores quickly escalated.

When his mother was diagnosed with HIV, it left Golden fending for him and his sisters.

"Eventually we ran out of food," he said. "I felt like I can't hear that. I can't hear my little sister tell me she's hungry."

The first home he hit was in Frayser. He was just 16 years old.

"I had to learn how to think bigger," he said. "It became so addictive. The money was the main object."

His luck finally ran out in 2012 when a neighbor spotted him and turned him over to police.

He spent a month in jail for aggravated burglary.

"That's how I was able to get away with it for so long, because I paid attention to stuff that was never paid attention to," he told WREG.

Golden chose to start a new life. Now reformed, he's agreed to go into different neighborhoods to show us what homes he used to find attractive.

Within seconds, he pointed out a failing: blight.

Golden said it made the job easier.

Thieves can hide their loot in the abandoned home or hide in there and case their targets.

"You see the gap right there between the fence and the shed," he said pointing to a backyard.

He said he used to hide behind sheds that don't back up to a fence.

"I can squeeze myself in and watch from that corner," said Golden.

He also told us dogs can help as well as tall windows that are hard to break.

"It's too much work. That window is too tall," he said pointing to a home.

Golden also warned us about closing your blinds. He recommends turning your blinds up, because if they're pointing down, it's easier to see in.

He said exposed breaker boxes should have heavy locks, so no one can get in to cut the power.

He said other deterrents are fences with spikes and wires. A thief doesn't want to scrape himself and risk leaving DNA.

Also, professionally-installed alarm systems and cameras work.

Golden repeated though: tight-knit, visible neighbors will keep the most savvy thief away.

Remember, that's how he finally got caught.

"I'd rather starve than go back that way," he told us.

Golden chooses to forget his former life.

Now, he focuses his attention on Lifeline to Success, a program dedicated to helping ex-offenders re-enter society.

He hopes his choice to help you keeps you from becoming the next victim.

Memphis Police says nearly 25,000, people in Memphis reported home break-in since 2014.