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Burglar Hacks: How to discourage prowlers

Occasionally when I chat with folks — especially strangers — I’m reminded that living in a central-city neighborhood poses certain risks that those in middle-class suburbs escape. Truth to tell, most of the time I don’t dwell on the dangers presented by the meth colonies directly to the north and to the west of us. My house is secured, I have a barking dog, and I’m armed to the teeth, so…well…make my day. 😀

Today, though, in response to a Quora query, I was led to articulate the steps I’ve taken to secure my home. These are strategies most of us can use and, with the exception of the security doors and the drill-resistant deadbolts, modestly priced. And none of them include owning a shotgun or a baseball bat…

Assuming you live in a place you own, as opposed to a rental…

  1. Install motion-sensitive light fixtures outside all the doors.
  2. Also install, motion-sensitive floodlights that will light up each of the exterior walls. Place these up under the eaves, where a prowler can’t easily reach them to unscrew the bulbs.
  3. Install good-quality steel security doors on all exterior doors, and equip these with tamper-resistant, drill-resistant locks such as Schlage or Medeco.
  4. Equip exterior doors and windows with “screamer” alarms that you can set to squeal if the door or window is opened (this assumes you’re not fond of whole-house burglar alarm systems).
  5. Or, if you don’t mind the expense and nuisance, call a burglar alarm company and sign up to have them alarm every entrance and send you a bill once a month.
  6. Attach timers to a few lights and a radio inside your home. Set these to go on and off at various times (for example, to make it look like you have moved from the living room to a bedroom or family room). Leave the radio playing just loud enough to be heard through a closed window…but put it on a timer, too, because most burglars are smart enough to know you don’t have the radio blatting 24/7.
  7. Get a dog with a gawdawful bark, if you’ll be around enough to take care of it. If you’re unable to care for a dog adequately or don’t want the expense, then try this sort of thing: The 5 Best Barking Dog Alarms Reviews for 2019 (Expert Advice)

Some of these, such as #4, #6, and #7’s barking dog alarm gadget, apply to rentals, too. Also, you can get motion-sensitive light-bulbs, so if your apartment has porch lights, in theory you could replace the regular bulbs with these — I’ve found they don’t work very well, so personally would not spend the money on them. But nothing ventured…