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Old 01-18-2016, 01:11 PM
 
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Our house has deadbolt locks, ADT alarm system, and timers for lights. The mailbox is a locking one, and we have mail held if we leave for a trip.

Without installing expensive multicam video monitoring or a Fort Knox enclosure, what other security measures have you found effective for when you are away?

I plan to get some extra locks and "surprises" for the manual garage doors. Any recommendations for those? (No, we will not install a motorized system to open them.)

A lot of people hire housesitters but I do not want anyone living here in our absence.

There is a surprising amount of property theft in the area (related to methheads cruising around), and with a culture where people are reluctant to call police, I want to take extra precautions when we go away. With so many tourists and other nonresidents present all year, unfamiliar faces are not noticeable...and some of the criminals are locals, anyway.

The police can make courtesy drivebys sometimes, but I suspect that has little deterrence unless done frequently, at random, which is too much to ask.
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Old 01-18-2016, 03:35 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
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I'm on the block watch committee for our community, and I've worked with the police on these issues. Plus we travel regularly, and have left our home empty for 1-6 months sometimes!

First, accept you cannot prevent a break in entirely. Knowing that, I remove anything I cannot replace or would be heartbroken to lose. Good jewelry goes to the safe deposit box, the computer gets backed up and the copy goes to a friends house, and so forth.

Neighbors are the best defense. Ask any cop for verification of that fact. Ask your neighbors to watch the house for you. Ask them to take out your garbage cans on the proper days, and put them back. Ask them to go inside and switch up the timers on the lights (if you are gone for an extended period of time.)

Pack your car in the garage. No need to advertise you'll be going away. Stop the newspaper, and again talk to your neighbors about picking up any of those flyers people leave on doors.

I just re-read your post and it seems that you may be living in an environment that is by definition unsafe (meth-heads, local thieves, and neighbors who won't help?). If your neighbors are not willing to get involved, or I was living in such an environment, I'd personally be looking at moving. And in the meantime, I wouldn't leave anything in the place that I cared about losing.
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Old 01-18-2016, 03:46 PM
 
Location: San Antonio/Houston
37,948 posts, read 55,708,171 times
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You could install few inexpensive cameras inside your home, and link them to your phone, with a motion alert. If any motion is detected you will get phone alert, and then you could call police, or friends/family to take an immediate care of the incident. My friends have this, and they are happy:
http://www.amazon.com/D-Link-Wireles.../dp/B00CL8FA4A (watch for sale and get it cheaper)
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Old 01-18-2016, 06:00 PM
 
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I don't want to be a smart alack BUT ... if you are that worried that your house will be burglarized when you are gone with all of the precautions that you have taken, you really need to look at moving to a better neighborhood.

I am really sympathetic to your situation. My house was in "an up and coming" neighborhood in St. Louis and was burglarized three times in 1988-1990. My only solutions was to 1) glass brick the basement window, 2) add an alarm system, 3) get a German Shepherd, and 4) rent a room to a foreign student who was willing to tell the local kids what his country did to thieves. Still, I was always worried about break-ins until the day I sold the house.

My current neighborhood is very safe because all of the little old ladies have the sheriff's number on the speed dial and a couple of my neighbors carry weapons and will get involved if they see something.
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Old 01-18-2016, 06:10 PM
 
5,405 posts, read 2,813,304 times
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elnina, thanks for the product info. I'll check those out some more. If those things can detect unusual activity outdoors from inside our windows, that would be great. I already have a game camera that uses an infrared sensor--so it has to be mounted outdoors, where it could easily be removed. Great for determining if the yard pest is a coon or a cat, but not good as a security camera.

Jkgourmet, the neighborhood is generally a safe one. The problem is a town-wide complacency that "those kinds of things don't happen here" even though they do, plus the fact that Criminal X is so-and-so's grandson or Criminal Y had a less-than-perfect childhood (oh, waaaaah, so did most people) ...plus "we don't want a police state" attitude...you get the idea.
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Old 01-18-2016, 06:38 PM
 
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jlawrence01, I doubt any of my neighbors carry weapons, let alone be willing to use them to protect property. Our household is probably the exception.

At least one street in town has Neighborhood Watch signs on it, near the high school. I'm not convinced that would deter non-opportunistic crimes.

I always assume opportunistic thefts (unlocked bikes, doors, cars) happen anywhere, but the recent spate of what appear to be targeted burglaries is why I want to amp up the fight against dirtbags. I can't count on neighbors or law enforcement. It's not that they are bad, it's just that people here want to give "less fortunate" or "possibly mentally ill" people the benefit of the doubt. Almost like you deserve to be burglarized if someone poorer "needs" something.
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Old 01-19-2016, 08:16 AM
 
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Having good neighbors who will keep an eye on things is your best bet, after alarms and cameras and so on.

Personally, I'd be reluctant to leave my house unattended for very long. There are valuable items inside and homeowners insurance is basically worthless. They'll gladly take the premiums every year, but then, if you have a claim, they'll do everything they can to keep from paying you.

Anyway, the people living next to me are only home about one week a year. The have a lawn service to cut the grass in the summer, and the whole place is well lit at night. They have an alarm system installed and the entire property has continual video surveillance. As far as I know, they haven't had a problem.
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Old 01-19-2016, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
15,059 posts, read 18,985,577 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elnina View Post
You could install few inexpensive cameras inside your home, and link them to your phone, with a motion alert. If any motion is detected you will get phone alert, and then you could call police, or friends/family to take an immediate care of the incident. My friends have this, and they are happy:
Amazon.com : D-Link Wireless Day/Night Network Surveillance Camera with mydlink-Enabled and a Built-In Wi-Fi Extender (DCS-933L) : Complete Surveillance Systems : Camera & Photo (watch for sale and get it cheaper)
He/she already has ADT who will be making that phone call well before OP looks at his cellphone.
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Old 01-19-2016, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
15,059 posts, read 18,985,577 times
Reputation: 24136
Quote:
Originally Posted by pikabike View Post

Jkgourmet, the neighborhood is generally a safe one. The problem is a town-wide complacency that "those kinds of things don't happen here" even though they do, plus the fact that Criminal X is so-and-so's grandson or Criminal Y had a less-than-perfect childhood (oh, waaaaah, so did most people) ...plus "we don't want a police state" attitude...you get the idea.
Actually, no. I don't get it, I don't understand a neighborhood that doesn't watch out for each other.

You are correct in saying that blockwatch signage doesn't stop crime. It simply warns criminals that they are in a community where neighbors are educated and will get involved and WILL alert police if they see suspicious behavior. Which suggests to the criminals that they should choose another neighborhood to rob. Statistics do back this up - but it's NOT the signage. It's the people.
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Old 01-19-2016, 08:39 AM
 
2,563 posts, read 2,787,535 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jkgourmet View Post
He/she already has ADT who will be making that phone call well before OP looks at his cellphone.
Maybe not. I don't know about ADT, but I've got a few of the Nest cameras set up and connected to my network. The minute motion is detected, I get both an email and a push notification on my cell phone. Sometimes, the notice is delayed a bit, but usually not. Anyway, you can immediately look to see what's going on, and there's a record of everything in the cloud.
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