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Old 01-23-2016, 03:25 PM
 
Location: Earth, a nice neighborhood in the Milky Way
2,542 posts, read 1,607,483 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pikabike View Post
Thank you for that thoughtful reply.

This is our only home, so the risk of being burglarized is less due to more time occupying it. One troubling factor is that a new house with out-of-state "immigrants" tends to be lumped into the category of "rich" even though we are not, and even though it is not a second home. (There are plenty in this town.) I have actually heard comments made that "All YOU people coming here from X and Y are rich", which was ridiculous since he knows nothing about either our assets or the other couple he alluded to.

I only recently put on two ADT stickers despite having had them a long time ago. We prefer to not stick out (most people do not have any alarm system) but I have decided it is better to warn away intruders in the first place. The outdoor lights can be set for dusk to dawn with auto activation but I detest all-night lighting, so it will be motion detectors instead. I know those things at a neighbor's garage get MY attention when they are triggered.

One thing I wish we had done was to get the ADT outdoor siren instead of just the indoor one. We had an outdoor one at our old (rural) home and I worried that a false alarm in this more closely settled neighborhood would be too annoying here. I am beginning to not care about that, frankly.

Sticking a rod in the garage door track is a great idea! We already do that for a sliding porch door, in addition to the normal lock. That site would be a prime location for both motion detector lights and videocam.

OK, so set a radio on a timer, add 4 MD lights, add 2 or 3 videocams, put rods in garage door tracks. I'll keep stuyding what else to do that doesn't cost a lot.
Pikabike, you can get "astronomical timers" for controlling your lights and/or switched outlets, such as the ones by Intermatic. They replace a normal light switch, and are programmable. They can be set to vary the time they turn on/off with some jitter so it is not timed at the exact time each day. Here is one example, though they have several different models. Since they are wired in to line voltage they should be installed by "qualified personnel." Of course there are the run of the mill wall timers too. Maybe there are programmable, plug-in timers. There ought to be.

The advice to have someone, either a neighbor or friend, check on the place daily, is spot on. They can make sure no flyers, mail, whatever accumulates to indicate you aren't there. You must have some friends willing to check on your place.

ETA: I guess, before someone says so, I should point out that the old simple plug in timers are programmable for a 24 hour cycle. But there's no variability on a daily basis, and they "fail" when the power goes out, i.e. they have no battery back-up. However they are (crudely) programmable.

Other things that don't cost a lot: rigging a door barricade using lumber to block kick-in, on all but the most visible entrance. There are also simple pin systems for window sash to make them harder to force. Not costing a lot, in this instance, assumes you can do some of the labor.

Last edited by ormari; 01-23-2016 at 04:12 PM..
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Old 01-23-2016, 05:02 PM
 
1,077 posts, read 647,592 times
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Is it worth all the money and paranoia? I.d be scouting a new place to live while out of town.
You can only hope it.s a dumb criminal1 who may do a break in. A seasoned one knows how to trip ADT, outsmart cameras and dogs. And never leave a trace.
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Old 01-23-2016, 05:27 PM
 
Location: Earth, a nice neighborhood in the Milky Way
2,542 posts, read 1,607,483 times
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^Well yeah. But aren't highly skilled burglars going for high end homes in quasi-tony neighborhoods? Is that what the OP is referencing?

I am with you to some extent, though I think the advice to "scout(ing) a new place to live while out of town" is a little extreme. OP seems extra cautious, though I don't know their reasons and neither do you. I'd do some basic things to make the home look lived in, get help from friends, and play the odds. I try not to let fear run my life, and I probably live in an area that statistically has higher crime than the OP.
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Old 01-23-2016, 06:08 PM
 
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The money would not be that much unless we rig up a professionally installed multicamera system, which is not on the list. Moving to another home would be far more expensive than staying here since we built a new house on an undeveloped lot in a highly desired location, and besides, the area is generally safe. That doesn't mean one of these bursts of burglaries could not hit our street. The thieves don't just target seedy neighborhoods. If it were an area of constant crime, we would never have come here in the first place. And even though a seasoned criminal can get past many security precautions, every item described is one more obstacle that he has to consider. If nothing else, ramping up protection will reduce the odds of being hit. Nobody ever claimed that antitheft systems are a guarantee. I don't believe in just rolling over when there are things we can do to fight the sh*theads.

Our old home, where we lived for 15 years, did get burglarized once. We were at home and the break-in was in a different building. That was BEFORE we got the motion detector lights, deadbolted doors, solid doors, ADT system. The burglary was among a huge number within a 15-mile radius targeting DINKs who went to bed early, had a separate building which had been studied thoroughly beforehand, and were in quiet, rural settings. The crimes were tied to coke and meth users. That was our wake-up call. It can happen anywhere, especially when drug abuse is involved.

I don't live in fear. Violent crime incidence is very low throughout town. All I need is to add some more precautions for when we go on trips, when absences tend to get noticed.

Thieves will sell anything they can sell fast. That means you don't have to be a fur-wearing, jewelry-bedecked, Mercedes-driving person to have your house targeted.
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Old 01-23-2016, 06:19 PM
 
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Ormari, we have Intermatic Smart Timers both front and rear. They can be configured several ways, but I want to replace the rear one with a motion detector unit that can be manually overridden. Plus add a motion detector light in another location.

I hate having to call the electrician to get rid of it, but as you said, the installation was not a DIY one, which means removal isn't, either.

We have a few different plug-in timers for indoor lights.

I did ask a neighbor to check the place when we were both gone. That will continue, but I don't want to make that the only precaution we take. Mail gets put on Hold, so no problem there.

If we add the items I listed in a previous post, that should do it.
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Old 01-23-2016, 06:23 PM
 
Location: Texas
43,562 posts, read 52,689,396 times
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I always have a housesitter.

Watch the dogs, watch the house.

It's not just burglars. People have pipes burst, appliances short, water heaters explode, trees fall through roofs, etc.

If we're going away for a week, someone stays in the house. Total peace of mind for the same price as boarding your dogs.
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Old 01-23-2016, 06:27 PM
 
Location: Earth, a nice neighborhood in the Milky Way
2,542 posts, read 1,607,483 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pikabike View Post
Ormari, we have Intermatic Smart Timers both front and rear. They can be configured several ways, but I want to replace the rear one with a motion detector unit that can be manually overridden. Plus add a motion detector light in another location.

I hate having to call the electrician to get rid of it, but as you said, the installation was not a DIY one, which means removal isn't, either.

We have a few different plug-in timers for indoor lights.

I did ask a neighbor to check the place when we were both gone. That will continue, but I don't want to make that the only precaution we take. Mail gets put on Hold, so no problem there.

If we add the items I listed in a previous post, that should do it.
Why do you need to replace the rear one? Can't you just add a motion detector light and leave the timer be? Set the timer to operate during all nighttime hours and let the motion detector take over from there.
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Old 01-23-2016, 08:16 PM
 
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I don't want to leave lights on all night. As it is now, the SmartTimer kicks it on at sunset and turns the light off at my programmed time. A simple motion detector would make it clear that something there moved, and I think that is a greater deterrent to a thief than a light that people get used to seeing on for long periods. I really liked the MD lights at our old home and only went with something different here because the builder said MD would bug neighbors on windy nights. Should not be a problem in back, but the startle factor will still be in effect for a trespasser.
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Old 01-24-2016, 05:23 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX
14,698 posts, read 8,494,355 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reneeh63 View Post
What kind of nasty community do you live in? You don't think you're doing enough? What do you have to steal? ...I'm not surprised you don't want a housesitter in your home. I guess I can understand wanting extra safety when you're actually IN your home, but you do have homeowner's insurance to cover theft, right?

And when you say "surprises" for the garage doors - you'd better look into whether "booby traps" are illegal where you are.
My thoughts exactly. How much security does OP believe he/she really needs? If OP is that concerned about theft, he/she should just stay home and not go on vacation at all. I don't understand this security paranoia anyway. First of all, a determined burglar will get into your house no matter what. Secondly, people overestimate how much their stuff is worth. How much of your personal items would James the Neighborhood Thief really want to steal anyway? The majority of people's crap isn't worth any money at all, (at least not in terms of how much a person can sell the item on the street or in a pawn shop). We just think our stuff is worth money is because it's OURS and we paid $X dollars for it 5 years ago. But James doesn't want your suede couch, hardwood table, paperback books, pics of Aunt Martha and Uncle Billy, or all your gorgeous bath towels, sheet sets, and fancy clothes. If he's after anything, it would be computers and TVs. OP, if you are truly still concerned I suggest you ask a neighbor to park in your driveway while you're gone so it looks like the home is occupied. But my main suggestion is relax and know you've done enough.
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Old 01-24-2016, 05:35 AM
 
Location: Earth, a nice neighborhood in the Milky Way
2,542 posts, read 1,607,483 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pikabike View Post
I don't want to leave lights on all night. As it is now, the SmartTimer kicks it on at sunset and turns the light off at my programmed time. A simple motion detector would make it clear that something there moved, and I think that is a greater deterrent to a thief than a light that people get used to seeing on for long periods. I really liked the MD lights at our old home and only went with something different here because the builder said MD would bug neighbors on windy nights. Should not be a problem in back, but the startle factor will still be in effect for a trespasser.
My point is that you might be able to use them in tandem to get the effect you are looking for. I don't know which timer you have, but maybe the following would work:

The smart timer controls the time of day that the light can be on, based on your programming. Program that sunset to dawn.

The motion detector light gets wired in downstream of the switch.

When the switch is off (dawn to sunset), the lamp doesn't light as there is no power to the fixture.

When the switch is on (sunset to dawn), the motion detector decides when to light the lamp.

The motion detector lights I am familiar with had the light switch turned on at all times day and night, so it could monitor the field, and a photo detector to ensure it doesn't come on in the day.

But maybe the manual override of the motion detector is the key element missing from the above scheme. I don't know... I think most can be overridden simply by cycling the switch, which I still think you could do from your intermatic.

The above scheme probably only requires replacement of the outside fixture, or possibly you might be able to add a motion detector and keep your existing fixture in back. I don't know what you have.

You might discuss this with your electrician.

Last edited by ormari; 01-24-2016 at 06:30 AM..
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