View Full Version : Preventing a Break In

May 9, 2012, 04:38 PM
There's a little crime wave going on in my area. I live in a rural/suburban area. There is no police department in my town, we rely on service from State Troopers. I know that help is at least 45 minutes away, so do the bad guys.

So that rules out an alarm system, I don't see the point in one. I've got a ten month old Shepherd/Dobie mix. I think she's helpful, but I've never been willing to put complete faith in a dog's ability to stop a determined thief.

The current pattern of break-ins have all been during the day when no one is home. I'm looking for advice on how to deter criminals when I'm not there. Thanks.

May 9, 2012, 07:06 PM
You've already hit on two of the basics. A good dog and a good alarm. An alarm connected to a security company may not be practical but an alarm that makes a lot of noise might still help. This would start the dog and probably the neighbors dogs barking. Thieves don't like a lot of noise.

Make certain that all the doors and windows are securely locked. Dead bolts are good. Depending on your budget home improvement stores sell steel security doors. Pricey but effective.

These are some of the basics. There is no limit to what you can do to deter thieves. But the question is how far do you want to go and how much do you want to spend. You could put up cameras and security bars on all the doors and windows. But then most people don't want to live in a home prison.

One other thing. A good heavy safe to keep your valuables in when not at home is a good investment.

May 9, 2012, 07:14 PM
You just have to make your house harder to get into than your neighbors.

Blue Duck
May 9, 2012, 07:29 PM
I live in a rural area, and face the same problems. It's also a half a mile to the nearest neighbor. Why even lock the front door, if someone wants in, you will just end up having to fix the door too. The house is too difficult to harden that much, anyway.

Have a good safe, and good insurance, however hidden motion cameras might be a good idea. Fortunately these days, I usually do have someone home 99% of the time. However, one thing I have always relied on, and I do think it helps, is I own several vehicles, so even if I am gone, I still have 2 or 3 rigs parked in front of the house. This is benificial, if the thieves don't know you, because it hard to determine if everyone is gone. Of course if you live in a town, this might be more difficult, since there are often rules on parking too many vehicles in front of the house.

A dog might help some, if it's one that barks at strangers.

May 10, 2012, 12:15 AM
A relative of mine recently had a break in.

The police said that alarm system stickers on the windows are helpful, even if you don't have an alarm system.

They also suggested using game cameras as security cameras. They are easy to set up for the less tech savvy. They can be visible, or tucked up into the eaves. If they see cameras, or if one goes off on them, it will hopefully discourage them and they will move on. Most thieves are looking for a fast and easy break in.

You also don't have to make it easy for them. Locks that have keyholes on both sides, valuables secured in the safe, etc.

May 10, 2012, 01:35 AM
I would at least get rid of the cheap kwikset and other cheap lock brands, and go for full accountability with abloy or bilock deadbolts. They can't be bumped/picked unless you are one of a very small number of lock experts. Copies can only be made in certain certified locations, and only if you have the wallet card that came with the lock (or contact the company and verify identity in the case of lost card, etc.)

I also recommend a product called the strikemaster ii, I use them on my external doors. It adds 6 feet of spring steel anchored with 4" wood screws along the entire length, assuring that the screws make it into structural 2x4 studs. It doesn't remove the ability to kick the door, but it slows it WAY WAY WAY down, and turns it into a ridiculous ruckus.

Alarm stickers,definitely.

Alarm, definitely.

Barking dog,definitely.
Trained guard dog, if possible.

Those magnetic cheapie alarms that stick to the door and go off when the internal reed switch loses the magnet; these are great for when you ARE home, especially if you are a heavy sleeper. Not much good for when you're absent though. If you do use these, mount them with screws and a bracket, or use plumbers putty. every other kind of glue fails, including epoxy.

I've went so far as to bar my external windows, but i'm in phoenix, we all have them. Probably not something you'd want on a nice rural house.

Cameras/DVR Definitely. I like the game camera idea also.

If not, at LEAST buy some fake cameras that look real from fry's. They buy the same housings and everything as real cameras, they just don't put any electronics in them.

Vehicles at home of course would be good. A routine that cannot be easily determined would be good.

Trying to brainstorm other stuff.... sorry so long

May 10, 2012, 09:40 AM
A LOUD alarm does wonders. Sure it won't stop them, but a 130 db siren ringing in their ears is certainly distracting to the point that it could be to your benefit

Glenn E. Meyer
May 10, 2012, 09:43 AM
About the alarm - even if the police are far:

1. It alerts you!
2. A loud alarm, esp. in the house disrupts the mental processing of BGs entering the house.

3. If connected to a security system and notification - it indicates that you were broken into - aiding in establishing your legal status later. A mistaken entry might not continue in the entry while a BG would

4. If the alarm is loud - you should have a pair of muffs near your HD equipment.

5. Start the police rolling as soon as possible. If you get hurt, you may not get to the phone after the incident resolves. "I've been shot and I can't get up".

May 10, 2012, 11:46 AM
Thanks for the advice. A co-worker who lives a few miles away was the victim of a break-in this week. She had a dead bolt on the door that they kicked in.

I'll have to think about the alarm, you've raised some good points.

And I like vehicle idea, and this might be a way to talk my wife into a yard truck.

I spoke with a local town official who told me that our area is popular with drug addicts because they know that one State Trooper covers five rural towns. The bad guys drive around with police band radios, and several homes with alarms have been broken into.

May 10, 2012, 12:49 PM
A friend has that situation complicated by a do nothing police force . Solution ? Game cameras - not just one and hidden. When you show the video of a BG if they still don't do their job notify the media [sometimes they are useful] to get action.
Another way which was done in my area is to catch the BG and permanently neutralize him. Crime rate in the neighborhood immedialtey dropped to ZERO !

May 10, 2012, 01:03 PM
One thing my uncle did after he was too old to handle the dog was keep the big bowl outside the door. Also acts like an alarm sticker. The bigger the better. Let them wonder how badly they want to mess with a dog.

May 10, 2012, 01:08 PM
These are good alarms to have on windows. (Where the cats can't reach them.)


They are available from many sellers. 130db Alarm W/door Alarm PAL-1 (http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=130db+alarm&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=2061222310169405768&sa=X&ei=IAOsT8vPH8TOgAfs7tXNAQ&ved=0CKIBEPMCMAI)

These aren't the dinky units powered by button cells, these use a full 9v battery to power them. Like I said before, may not stop them, but a 130db siren pounding in their head will be very distracting.

May 10, 2012, 01:38 PM
I don't have a strikeplate on the front door, so I set up a chair by the window and crack the curtains some so the dog can go to the window and snarl at them while I'm gone.

Cameras..you can get a decent camera setup for 2 or 3 hundred dollars now. You do not have to be tech savvy to run a wire! These camera systems are not complicated and easily installed by first timers. They are easier to install than a phone jack (as far as wiring goes).

Dogs..A dog is always good. Two dogs are better. Some may think about dealing with a seemingly mild tempered dog, but two dogs will egg each other on and be more aggressive than if they were a single dog. Not many people would want to take on two dogs at once. Instead they will go to your cat lover neighbors house. :)

May 10, 2012, 03:19 PM
Another way which was done in my area is to catch the BG and permanently neutralize him.

I don't want to be the next big news story, so no thanks on that one. The cameras are a good idea.

My big dog will bark, she's too young to do much more than that now. I got her from the pound, and don't think she has the temperment for real guard work. And my Boston Terrier will certainly leave a slippery puddle of pee somewhere if someone tries to break in.

One tip I'll share is that when I installed a new motion detector dual floodlight recently I pointed one lens towards a bedroom window. So when it goes off the light wakes me up. Not very useful during the day when I'm not home, and to be honest I get less sleep when the deer come close to the house.

May 10, 2012, 05:18 PM
Keep a radio or tv going, too, as another way to appear to be home.

May 10, 2012, 09:37 PM
I cannot have a large dog (long story), . . . but I can have a large dog dish, . . . a large dog chain, . . . tied to a large dog post, . . . with a large dog collar, . . . that seems to have been slipped.

All this by the front steps.

It won't deter all, . . . but I can say for a fact, that it would definitely deter me.

May God bless,

Onward Allusion
May 10, 2012, 11:15 PM
Cameras are always a good deterrent. FTP the footage into the cloud.

May 10, 2012, 11:33 PM
Pull a couple or three of the short screws out of the door hinges, replace them with long US-made screws, door and jamb both. Run some more long screws from the jamb into the king studs. Take off the door trim if you want and run a metal strap around the king stud beneath the jamb, then screw through the jamb and metal into the stud. Be sure to have deadbolts, good ones, on each exterior door. I put a deadbolt on the door from inside the garage into the laundry room, and the same from laundry into the main house. That's three stout doors to get through. Get some stout dowels, cut them to length, drop in each window frame so it won't slide open. Put alarm stickers on the windows and an alarm sign out by the street so they'll drive on by, maybe. Do a cellular alarm system, mine cost $453, no fees, it dials me and the sheriff when tripped.

May 11, 2012, 08:50 PM

motion sensors, alarms, cameras, monitor via computer, cell phone. It seems the way to go these days.

May 11, 2012, 09:13 PM
+1 on cameras. Even dummy cameras can serve as a deterrent. A buddy of mine has a farm and they were having a problem w/ people coming onto their property and going into the out buildings, vandalizing things, drinking, and just making a nuisance of themselves. No one ever tried to get into the house though.

He didn't want to spend a lot on a video system to monitor the entire property, so he set-up a bunch of old security cameras high up on the barns and a few other high positions at critical points. But they aren't even working. He also had a few game cameras mounted at access points where you can't see them.

Apparently that's worked pretty well. They still get trespassers, but they're staying away from the buildings and the central area of his property where the house and main barns are.

May 14, 2012, 09:16 PM
Make it hard for the thieves to get in. For the majority of thieves don't want to work hard or risk capture.
Go talk to the folks at your local hardware store and they can set you up so that only real determined thieves can break in.

Plan on what you will do in case the alarms go off and practice that plan. Make sure your family is involved in that planning and training.

Don't forget to harden the inner doors as well as entry doors. It should be difficult for thieves to knock down bedroom doors.

Remember that you and yours should also have a way of getting away that doesn't involve walking by intruders.

May 14, 2012, 09:53 PM
Natural landscape items work, especially under windows - roses, blackberries, or anything with massive thorns make those points of entry not worth pursuing - that leaves your doors. Steel doors, hardened plates and bolts, lights, alarms, dogs all add to that protection

May 16, 2012, 01:26 PM
A locksmith or lock dealer will try to sell you an expensive deadbolt over a Kwikset or similar device. The truth is, it isn't the lock that fails but the doorjamb itself. It splinters under sufficient force. A burglar with the skills necessary to pick your locks will not be bothering with random homes. He's looking for the mother lode and already knows there's something worth his time before he strikes. I like to run extra long screws through the hardware to insure I'm into the studs and, if there's room, I'll back the doorjamb with a glued in piece of 3/4" plywood, then long screw through that.

There's much information on the net regarding burglary prevention and it is all sound advice, such as not letting newspapers, mail acumulate, cutting back shrubs, etc. Also, most burglars don't want to tangle with noisy dogs whether or not they bite.

I might add, never leave handguns in the master bedroom when you're not home.

May 16, 2012, 01:45 PM
Mainah, the circumstances were an armed BG facing an armed GG .Would you want to be nice to the BG under those circumstances ???

May 16, 2012, 03:33 PM
Large barking dogs work VERY well.

Not a lot of burglars are interested in finding out if they are friendly.

We used to joke that the Cairn Terrier was the alarm, and the pair of labs was the repellent.

May 16, 2012, 07:30 PM
If your windows are exposed you could always run a border of gravel around the house so no one could walk up to a window without (alerting the dog) you being able to hear them.

May 17, 2012, 03:09 AM
lot of really good hardening ideas in here. Every measure helps

ETA: NOT true about expensive locks helping. We need to clear that up ASAP. Lock bumping is HOT right now. using a rake takes less than a second. I practiced for 2 hours (locksport, educational, white hat) and i can pick ANYTHING at a big box store in 5 seconds or less. I'm nothing special. 99.99% of house locks can be bumped.

Invest in good locks. Abloy. Bi-Lock. etc. The master jewel thief thing just isn't true. look up lock bumping on youtube

May 17, 2012, 01:26 PM
Mainah, the circumstances were an armed BG facing an armed GG .Would you want to be nice to the BG under those circumstances ???

No. But to be clear I'm asking about what to do when I'm not home. The recent criminal activity in my area has all taken place when no one is home.
I believe that those responsible are as eager to run into me as I am to run into them.

May 19, 2012, 03:25 PM
Think like a theif. Do you have any valuables or anything that would attract that type of incident. Have fun with it and try to find an easy point of entry and fix it.

Or, put lots and lots claymores around

Mij Scaasi
May 19, 2012, 07:16 PM
Take one of your best grouping targets, with lots of holes in the ten ring, tape it to the closest window to your front door, attach a message in large red letters that says "NOTHING INSIDE WORTH DYING FOR.". Even if they can't read, they get the message of the target with the holes in the ten ring. Shield yourself.:mad:
Even if you don't own a gun, the BG don't know that.:cool:

Glenn E. Meyer
May 19, 2012, 07:24 PM
We've discussed how things like that can work against you in court. In an ambiguous shoot, that sign might be used as premeditation to shoot away.

Bad idea - sounds good on the Internet though.

May 19, 2012, 07:44 PM
There is some good advice here like a dog and the alarm system alerting the residents thus disorienting the home invaders and giving you a warning to respond to the threat. I suggest keeping outside shrubbery close enough to the house to give a burglar concealment as he breaks in trimmed. Motion activated outside security lighting mounted high enough to prevent bulbs from being unscrewed. Good locks on entry doors, and if possible solid doors with no windows and a wide angle peep hole.

May 20, 2012, 12:23 AM
Take one of your best grouping targets, with lots of holes in the ten ring, tape it to the closest window to your front door, attach a message in large red letters that says "NOTHING INSIDE WORTH DYING FOR.".

Is it really the best idea to advertise that you have a fairly good chance of having guns in the home for them to steal?

They are already hitting homes during the day when no one is home. If you make your home a target, it doesn't take a master thief to watch for you to go to work.

May 20, 2012, 07:08 AM
Over the years I have had several Doberman's, they have all had the instinct to protect family members. I went to work part time for the guy I bought them from since he was a professional guard dog trainer and K-9 officer in the local Sheriff dept. He taught me how to train a dog for guard and attack work as well as tracking. I have since trained every Doberman I have had, including not to take any food or treats from strangers. I walk him daily so he is visible in the neighborhood and he spends time in his kennel outdoors when I am home and can be seen by anyone casing the neighborhood. I believe this is a great deterrent to burglars.
I also have the security signs on my doors and windows. Knock on wood there has never been a problem with burglars or thief's in our neighborhood. In the very remote chance someone did get past my dog, I also have a very large and heavy gun safe in my basement. I ran a 220 line into the back of the safe and put a sign on the safe door saying "this safe is equipped with 220 volts to a mercury switch inside that will electrify the safe if any attempt is made to move it or break into it. Naturally it is not connected to power, but would you take the chance ?

May 21, 2012, 12:08 PM
Turns out that digital cameras are quite inexpensive now. I found a pretty good one for less than $100, and I'm mounting it high on the garage facing the driveway with a big sign. I've also put signs warning of recording on all of the entry points.

My co-worker informed me that the police have to suspects in custody, they were caught at the scene of a break-in by a homeowner. They took off when he arrived, he got their plates before they left. They admitted to several local thefts, and told the police that they simply traded what they stole with their dealer.

Nice that they got caught, but they'll be out soon, and there's no shortage of junkies out there- unfortunately.

Thanks for all the advice.

May 21, 2012, 05:17 PM
Alarm and time...I say time because when that pooch gets older..you're all set :)

May 23, 2012, 01:10 PM
A great deal of good info on this thread. Hardening doors advice is top notch. Washington State has had a rash of "home invasions" lately. Some of them have been pretty rough. Some of them tho, have picked on armed citizens and have come out on the short end. When the Manse is undefended by you, other measures must be used. Fortifying is a good start, as is landscaping to protect the windows. Alarms and cameras seem a bit "after the fact". The motion actuated outside lights can be hooked to a radio. Break the beam, the radio goes of giving the impression someone is home. I have the "two dog alarm". They are small and very protective. I have experienced situations where BGs target a house and start by poisoning the dog. Outside food dish may not be a real good idea.
I live in a city park and the world walks by my house. I use something like this in my rear area perimeter. They can be used almost anywhere. Windows, doors, gates.

You can load them with pepper spray, blanks, or whatever. Someone suggested using Claymores?? No, I would not recommend a Claymore

May 24, 2012, 03:25 PM
Alarms and cameras seem a bit "after the fact".

That was my initial thought. However my favorite nugget of advice in this thread was that I should make my house harder to break into than my neighbors.

I know from speaking with a trooper that alarms are not completely effective because the criminals know that the police are usually three towns away. They can get in and out before they need to worry.

They'd have to drive 50 yards up my driveway and park in front of my garage. My relative seclusion makes me vulnerable. But a highly visible sign mounted high on the garage, with a camera would demonstrate that they and their vehicle have been captured, at least in a digital sense. That could deter them.

I like the idea of a motion detector that triggers a radio. My front door has a small frosted glass window, I've placed a lamp on a shelf so that when you approach the door you can see that the lamp is on. I'm hoping that helps too.

And my big dog will bark like crazy. She's going to be a good watchdog for a long time, she's only 11 months old. But folks in my town shoot all the time, and a gunshot during the middle of the day wouldn't raise an eyebrow. So I'm hoping to keep her and my stuff safe.

May 25, 2012, 04:24 AM
Another good idea is to make friends with your neighbors. An extra set of eyes can be really useful. Its nice to know that if I'm not home someone will notice a vehicle in my driveway.

I know from speaking with a trooper that alarms are not completely effective because the criminals know that the police are usually three towns away.^I live 6 miles from one police station, about 8 from the next one. Best response time yet: ~25 minutes

May 26, 2012, 02:04 PM
another idea: cameras fed into your television PIP (picture in picture) so you can notice things peripherally in the small camera window while watching your program.