How to (Cleverly) Secure Your Home Against Intruders
You don’t have to dig a moat around your home and install missiles on your rooftop to keep the bad guys away. In fact, the missiles might suggest you’ve got something very, very valuable inside. The DIY experts at Q&A site Stack Exchange chime in on a few ways to keep burglars from invading your personal space.
How can I make my home more secure? Right now we have a GE Simon XT alarm system, but it doesn’t respond to broken windows. We put some PVC pipes in the tracks of the lower floor windows, to be sure, but what other suggestions do you have?
Top Answer: Appearances Matter
- Don’t have anything valuable. Or at least, don’t appear to.
Look like you care about upkeep and security. You don’t have to outrun the bear, etc. Secure your air conditioners if they’re in-window. That’s so easy to do. Avoid doors which have glass near the doorknob. I watched an episode of This Old House where they installed a beautiful glass door in a crappy part of Boston. All I could think was smash and twist. A large dog door (or cat door) can be a way in; secure it.
But mostly, don’t look like a target.
Alternative Answer: Tips from a Burglar
Some tips I remember from an interview with a burglar:
- Make it difficult for someone to conceal themselves while breaking in. Avoid tall/thick shrubs around your windows and doors. Avoid privacy fences.
Having good exterior lighting on a timer helps, but the best thing is a motion sensor floodlight. When a motion light kicks on, it says “Hey, something’s going on over here.” Avoid having stuff in plain sight that says “We have lots of $$$.” If you have an expensive car, keep it in a garage. If you have nice stuff in your house, keep your blinds closed. If you just bought a flatscreen, trash and conceal the box. Burglars case a neighborhood before they rob it. They know when you leave for work. They know when your neighbors leave for work. If you have neighbors that are home during the day, it will make your house a riskier break-in. If you have a security system, don’t put one of those “Protected by ADT” stickers on your door. Knowing which brand of security system can provide enough info on how to disable it. Get a generic sticker. Get a dog. The bark is more important than the bite. A little yappy dog can be more of a deterrent than a German Shepard. Remember, the goal isn’t to make your house completely break-in proof. It is simply to make your house a less attractive target than the other houses in your neighborhood. Look at the surrounding houses and adjust accordingly. Don’t be the lowest-hanging fruit!
Alternative Answer: Smash-Proof Your Windows
You could add some inexpensive window break alarms (such as the Mace 80202 Security Alarm) to supplement your current alarm system.
Alternative Answer: Motion Sense & Illuminate
I would suggest installing motion-activated flood lights near major entrances (basement door, garage, front porch). You can program them to turn on for a specific length of time.
They also make some solar models that would be easy to install. I just bought these Rosewill lights from Newegg for around $25.
There are also motion sensors that you can plug right inside the light socket (at right).
Alternative Answer: Cheap, Easy Pickin’s
Buy a crappy, broken laptop from a flea market for $5. Leave it in the entrance hall. Leave the front door unlocked.
Most intruders just want to grab something valuable and get the heck out. The faster you can give them something that they think is (a) portable and (b) valuable, the faster they will leave.
Alternative Answer: Turn Stuff On (Remotely, Randomly)
Set up lights to go on/off using a Lamp/Appliance timer outlet.
Hook up your TV, too. And for added effect, loop this.