Basic Home Security

Apparently there are a rash of break-ins happening, middle of the night, in neighborhoods in South Austin. We know one of the families that got hit, 2 laptop computers stolen. I’m still trying to get hard details, but the impression I’m left with is they removed the screen on a window, opened the window, got into the house, took 2 laptops, then left by the back door. Nothing broken, just stolen laptops, and easy access to them.

Like I said, I’m still trying to gather information, but I can think of a few things from this:

  • Lock your doors and windows! So many crimes like this are crimes of opportunity. Yes, locks ultimately can’t keep out a determined enough person, but if a criminal wants an easy target, why make yourself an easier target?
    • Make sure they are locked. Close, lock, then tug and ensure. I’ve had a few times where I thought I closed the window the whole way and locked it, but then when I tug-checked the window came up.
  • If you have an alarm system, use it. I know many people with alarm systems but they don’t use them or maybe only use them when they go away for vacation. Why? Do you know when something bad is going to happen? Probably not, so why are you gambling?
    • One of our window sensors went stupid a couple of weeks ago and had to be replaced. The tech noted to me that he was amazed at the number of “zones” (sensors and other things) we had in our house. He said our setup is rare, most people just get something like their doors and a motion detector. While I understand the cost factor (it wasn’t cheap to put a sensor on everything), I don’t understand how “swiss cheese security” actually works well here. Need to have everything secure.
    • Oh, and test your alarm regularly, at least monthly. Ensure the monitoring center is getting the signal.
    • If you have an alarm system, be sure signs and stickers are posted in the yard and on the windows. Make sure they know there’s a warning system.
  • Got dog?
  • Sure a firearm is nice, but let’s put perspective on it. The one family we knew that got hit, by the time they realized what was going on the guy was long gone. And while legally in Texas you can use deadly force in such a circumstance, should you? It will of course depend upon the exact circumstance at the time, but just remember: maximize beer & TV enjoyment.

A truly determined person is going to get what they want. But why make their life easy? Granted, it’s also a balancing act between making your life difficult in exchange. But there are some simple things we can do to minimize such violation and disruption in life. It behooves us to do them.

9 thoughts on “Basic Home Security

  1. Got dog, give it about 8 months and he’s gonna sound really scary too…..

    …..The breeder has 15 adults on her property, and yes they alert in chorus anytime a vehicle enters the drive, and yes she has a sign on the gate post saying “Guard Dog Loose”, and yes she still gets random idiots pull up the drive and start to get out of the car……

    …..so we also have a shotgun for backup.

  2. in my experience the majority of these types of property crimes are crimes of opportunity. if joe criminal can see your good stuff just by walking by and looking in the window, you’re gonna get robbed.

    • Exactly.

      I had a friend that worked in the Maine criminal justice system for a while. I was surprised when he didn’t lock his car doors. He said, it doesn’t matter. If they want your car, they’ll take it no matter what. If they just want stuff, they’ll take it too (breaking auto glass with a piece of spark plug ceramic is easy). Best solution is to leave nothing visible that they’d want: radio, CD’s, money, cigarettes, etc.. Again, crime of opportunity, or a criminal too determined that nothing will deter them.

      I’ll still lock my car doors, but I leave nothing of worth in the car. Why tempt them?

      • With a plastic wedge and a stick I could be in your car in minutes without damaging it. If I don’t care about damage it can be done in seconds.

  3. I put quite a bit of effort into not leaving stuff of value (or apparent value) in the car, and if I have to its stuffed down into a footwell under a disguising layer of trash before I leave home (not at the place I’m leaving the car, afterall lets not be obvious I’m trying to hide stuff). In those cases I lock the doors behind me when I leave the car. In pretty much any other case I generally don’t bother to lock the doors. I’d rather not have to replace a window thank you very much. Admitedly my car isn’t one valued highly by theives, if it was I might look at it differently.

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