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Old 09-11-2011, 05:24 PM   #41
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Our neighborhood is quite safe, and it's a good thing, because our house is insecure. We have a dog that barks (but doesn't bite), but other than that, it's wide open. To get in through one of our windows would just require a slight push on the screen. We don't lock our doors, except the back one, which has a broken lock, anyway. That idea of using stickers to lie about the security firms protecting us sounds good, to me -- just about my speed.
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Old 09-11-2011, 06:29 PM   #42
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For home security we do practically nothing except not have anything of value in the house. We often leave the house unlocked because we don't know if the kids or spouse left the house without keys.

In 17 years, the only incident is that someone looked inside our car in the garage and left the car door open. This caused the battery to go dead, but a jump start fixed that. The reason I know it was someone and not me accidently leaving the door open is that the glove compartment was open and a few days later the neighbor mentioned calling the cops for someone in their garage. The cops did catch a person a couple days after that doing the same thing, so I suspect it was the same person in our garage.

Our dog would not even bother to get up from his nap if a stranger came into the house whether we were home or not. If he did get up, he would not bark, but would show the perp where the dog food was in an attempt to get a handout. That is, CyclingInvestor's photo would match the before, during, and after burglary time points.
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Old 09-11-2011, 06:30 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by Dimsumkid View Post
Calmloki,
I setup a portable radio to turn on at night at my 2nd home that I was remodeling for sale. Had it loud enough to hear if you were outside the house. You could also setup a small tv in a bedroom on timer, people seem to assume you're home when they see the flickering of the tv when you're outside the home.
Most TVs these days don't come on automatically if the electricity goes off, as in when they are on a timer. It takes an older TV with an actual on/off switch to do that. If the TV is on all the time, burglers will pick up on that when they case the place. I did see a device that simulates the flicker of a TV, but I don't remember where and doubt it is worth much.

We've got the monitored security system with motion detectors for when we're away. Double keyed deadbolts, outdoor lighting, yappy dogs. I stop the mail when we're away. I also have a number of inside lights on timers. They go on and off the same time every night, whether we're there or not. I think that should make it harder for a burgler to detect a different pattern. I don't know if that's a valid theory, but it makes sense to me.

We've only had one break in in our neighborhood, and it was a seldom used second home and the crook was the lawn guy (and his girlfriend) who knew the place was vulnerable. They broke the side glass, turned the single side deadbolt knob, pulled a truck into the garage, painted the windows black so no one would see lights, and emptied the place over a period of 6 nights. Took everything down to the refigerator and beds. Then, when no one had noticed the break in after a week or so, the lawn guy told the neighbor he thought he'd noticed a broken window. If he hadn't done that the robbery still might not be detected. I think that's what made him the prime suspect too.
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Old 09-11-2011, 06:56 PM   #44
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...I also have a number of inside lights on timers. They go on and off the same time every night, whether we're there or not. I think that should make it harder for a burgler to detect a different pattern. I don't know if that's a valid theory, but it makes sense to me.
This type of timer is great for simulating people at home, moving between rooms, turning the lights on and off at intervals.
Amazon.com: Intermatic TN311C 120 Volt Heavy Duty Grounded Timer: Home Improvement

Consider the effect of 1 timer attached to a lamp in 1 room, and another timer in another room attached to another lamp, each with completely different and multiple ON/OFF time settings.
A third timer could be set for dusk to 10 PM in the main living room.
Using time offset lighting settings assumes that there are blinds turned at a steep angle or solid curtains to block a peek in at ground level.

Turning off your land line ringer volume while away is another method to disguise an empty house.
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Old 09-11-2011, 07:12 PM   #45
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I looked up "dog barking alarm" but didn't find any with really good reviews.

A few months ago I installed a front porch light switch that automatically tracks sunset times and knows about daylight savings. It also has a small replaceable battery backup. Easy to install and has worked like a charm so far. Available from Amazon.

Also those solar cell pathway lights together with a porch light make the place look a bit more occupied -- am counting on criminals to be not too observant.

P.S. Amusing story on your neighbor's break in Harley and good out come too.
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Old 09-12-2011, 03:51 PM   #46
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When I was going to graduate school, we lived about a block off a drug trafficking main drag. We had a German Shepherd who "trained" the neighborhood to cross the street before reaching the hose and then cross back once past. She would sit on the deck and when someone was coming up the hill, she'd run down to the fence corner, hidden by bushes. When the person got to the corner, she'd rear up barking, all a game to her. The result was, we were never broken into while our neighbors were burglarized 2-3 times each while we lived there.
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:30 PM   #47
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We used to live in a cul de sac where people's heads turned to follow strange cars coming in and the mayor's relations, a couple cops, and several gun nuts lived. Now we live on a slightly busier street with a public trail backing the yard (albeit on the other side of a 6 foot fence with no gate). I don't think we have significantly increased risk, especially with my crack security guard (a 50 pound bear-hunting dog who sounds like he is 100 pounds when he barks, seen below on mobile patrol). DW is home a lot and since we are now in a state where I can feasibly acquire such things, we have a taser and will be adding a firearm or two soon.

We do have a specific weakness that I need to correct: really crappy doors/locks/frames. What do I need to get (besides new doors and locks) to make it tough to just open one of the doors with a kick? There is the front door and a flimsy back door in a pretty private backyard where I imagine someone could get in without anyone noticing.
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:33 PM   #48
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In 2003 some neighborhood teenage pre-felons kicked in the door to the back of the garage and broke a kitchen window but did not enter the house. We were home, cars in the garage, lights on, etc. It made a lot of noise, loud enough for a neighbor to come outside, see people running and notice what they were wearing and where they were going. The police picked them up within 20 minutes.

We lock all the doors and windows when we leave and before going to bed. No alarm system or firearms, but I'm another one who sleeps with a golf club behind the bedroom chair.

At the juvenile hearing for one of them I told him (and his parents) that he was incredibly stupid, we could have grabbed a kitchen knife or the crowbar in the garage and confronted them. Maybe his next victim will have a gun.
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:44 PM   #49
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We installed exterior rolling shutters (aka hurricane shutters) on all ground-level windows. They insulate as well during winter and offer protection during storms.

Also, a friend likes his "fake TV burglar deterrent" http://www.amazon.com/opto-electroni.../dp/B001G3RGKM
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Old 09-12-2011, 05:04 PM   #50
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We do a few things, but none extraordinary.

When we're home:
1. All exterior doors stay locked at all times (including the garage door and sliding patio door to the backyard).
2. No soliciting sign - I will only open the door for UPS, FedEx, etc. If you look like you're selling something, so sorry, door isn't answered (soliciting is a no-no in our gated community so we don't get many of those).
3. TRUMAN - our 110 lb Newfoundland/Akita cross looks like a small black bear and barks like he means it. Our front door is leaded glass so you can see his outline through the door.

When we're away:
We're in a gated community and many of our neighbors are retired and stay home all day, so not much happens that they don't know about. We watch each other's houses but beyond that we don't have have anything specific (like alarms). We've had alarms before and they were more trouble than they were worth....it's just stuff and it's insured so we'll deal with it if there is ever a break-in. And heaven help them if the break-in happens on Truman's watch!
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Old 09-12-2011, 05:12 PM   #51
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We do have a specific weakness that I need to correct: really crappy doors/locks/frames. What do I need to get (besides new doors and locks) to make it tough to just open one of the doors with a kick? There is the front door and a flimsy back door in a pretty private backyard where I imagine someone could get in without anyone noticing.
I have no idea but I just wanted to enthusiastically praise metal doors. I had never had any before, but got a couple about 4 years ago and they are great. They look just like wooden doors and I wouldn't be able to tell the difference if I didn't know. However they don't warp so they open and close as smoothly and perfectly now as they did the day they were installed. Pretty cool.

In my case, I didn't choose metal for security (mine are on outdoor tool closets that don't lock), but because the labor costs were less for installing metal doors than wooden ones, for some reason, and my handyman recommended them. I'm glad he did.
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Old 09-12-2011, 07:04 PM   #52
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...

We do have a specific weakness that I need to correct: really crappy doors/locks/frames. What do I need to get (besides new doors and locks) to make it tough to just open one of the doors with a kick? There is the front door and a flimsy back door in a pretty private backyard where I imagine someone could get in without anyone noticing.
Something like this bar would help on all but one of the doors - or all of them if someone is home. Makes flimsy frames & locks a non-issue I believe.

Amazon.com: Master Lock 265DCCSEN Dual-Function Security Bar: Home Improvement
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Old 09-12-2011, 07:06 PM   #53
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I concur with the advice to install metal doors AND FRAMES. Also make sure that any glass in the door is tempered or safety glass - best don't have glass in the door. If you need to see who is at your door install an eye-ball. Make sure the hinges are on the inside (you wouldn't believe the number of times this error is made).

Invest in substantial lock-sets (not the kind you buy at Home Depot).

Don't open your door to a stranger in trouble, call the police and they will help them more effectively than you can. I know this sounds mean but assure the stranger that help is coming immediately. If you think is may be valid call your neighbors to come help too before you open your door (security in numbers).
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Old 09-12-2011, 07:24 PM   #54
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Most TVs these days don't come on automatically if the electricity goes off, as in when they are on a timer. It takes an older TV with an actual on/off switch to do that.
My Philips TV isn't digital and actually has a built in timer that allows the TV turn on/off at a specific time. Shocked me when I noticed the TV was on one night and I didn't leave it on.
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Old 09-12-2011, 07:33 PM   #55
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I have a Smith & Wesson 38...but no bullets.
I have a (fake) sign that's in my window near the front door saying, "Beware of Dog".......and no dog.
Now I will go on the net and find a (fake) ADT sign to post on my house.

Yup, I'm prepared.
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Old 09-12-2011, 07:45 PM   #56
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I have a Smith & Wesson 38...but no bullets.
...
What is the logic here?

P.S. Drop by my house and I can give you some hollow point bullets.
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Old 09-12-2011, 07:51 PM   #57
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Speaking of Beware of Dog signs here is a link: Amazon.com: beware of dog sign - Home & Kitchen: Home & Garden

I particularly like these:

"CAUTION: Dog Can't Hold His Licker"
"Never Mind the Dog, Beware of Owner" (with a gun shown)
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Old 09-12-2011, 08:20 PM   #58
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...or this....

Is that a cat peeking under that gate? Must be an 9 second cat.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:41 PM   #59
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What is the logic here?

P.S. Drop by my house and I can give you some hollow point bullets.
But make sure to call first.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:49 PM   #60
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We do have a specific weakness that I need to correct: really crappy doors/locks/frames. What do I need to get (besides new doors and locks) to make it tough to just open one of the doors with a kick? There is the front door and a flimsy back door in a pretty private backyard where I imagine someone could get in without anyone noticing.
The frame is the weakest element. There are crappy doors and locks out there, but 99.99% of the zillion doors I kicked open, or saw kicked open, opened up because the frame failed - either by breaking or not holding the lock bolt/strike plate.

When I bought my current house in the late 80's, I was a detective getting 7-10 burglary cases assigned per day. I worked a guy who confessed to something like 600 residential burglaries in a year - he was good for more but I got tired of all the writing. To say that I was determined to not be the victim of a burglary would be an understatement.

It would have been a professional embarrassment.

When I moved into the house, one of the first things I did was harden all the entry doors. The actual doors were fine - either solid wood or metal clad. But the rest of the situation was the typical cheap and weak builder grade garbage that every home in America is built with. The most useful thing was to replace the strike plate with a high-security one that anchors to the 2x4 studs that frame the doorway (not the cheesy wood that makes up the decorative door frame).



I can't find the exact version I used, they have two solid brass rods instead of one, but they are about the same length and they go through the frame and into the 2X4s. The strike plate is not going to fail unless they hit it with the tank.



Being a belt and suspenders kind of guy I also further hardened the frame by shooting some big 3 or 4 inch screws through the decorative frame and into the real wood framing. The small screws that hold the hinges were all replaced with the larger screws.

The worthless builder grade locks were replaced with quality double-cylinder deadbolts with a 1" throw. Before installing the locks, I reinforced the door around the locks...





and during the installation I used cylinder guards.



And, then I replaced all the lock cylinders with high-security versions that are allegedly pick-proof and bump-proof. I prefer to think of them as pick and bump resistant, because there is nothing burglar proof. BiLock - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

All that was based on 5 years as a patrol officer seeing 2-3 burglaries a day, and two-years as a property crimes detective investigating thousands of burglaries.

Since all that, after spending ten-years in narcotics kicking in doors and being some poor bastard's worst nightmare, I became more scared conscious of the threat posed by home-invaders. So, I added the alarm system so I can maybe get those few extra seconds to wake up and grab a gun if need be. (Hey, it's my phobia and we all have something we are unreasonably afraid of. )

But, if/when I do it all over again in another house (or maybe some new doors as DW would like to have), then I would add one or two tricks that I've been thinking of. An additional deadlock, either on a different axis or at least a foot away from existing locks on the same axis. Something like an exit-only version Locksmith Tool & Supply: 4800 Series Exit Only Deadlock , or a throw-bolt Bright Brass & Aluminum Flush Bolts # SP265B3 by H.B. Ives

Metal frames are something I would love to have - but I'm still debating the cost of that.
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