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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/fwiw-it-is-certainly-true-that-a-truly-20197102.aspx

Subject:  Re: Brinks — is it worth it? Date:  1/22/2004  4:00 PM
Author:  JayDevlin Number:  45025 of 129283

FWIW, it is certainly true that a truly professional burglar can bypass the type of security system that most of us would likely be able to afford for our homes. However, the overwhelming majority of burglars are not professionals in the sense that they are knowledgeable and experienced about such things. Burglars who are that professional are breaking into the homes of multi-millionaires known to have large sums of money, jewelry, furs or artwork (or else they're working for some government agency).

Most burglars will only approach a residence that they believe to be unoccupied in the hope that they can break in unseen, quickly grab whatever easily portable valuables they can find by searching VERY QUICKLY and then get out without being noticed.

I think that security systems can be very valuable (my wife and I just had one installed in her mother's house), especially if they are VERY LOUD when set off. Burglars hate noise. If you decide to get one, make sure you put the stickers on all the doors and ground floor windows to warn any potential burglar that you have an alarm. Why? Because if a burglar has a choice between breaking into a house with an alarm system or a house without an alarm system, he's going to choose the house without the alarm system. He's looking for the easy target, not the hard one.

Whether or not you decide to get an alarm system, things you can do to deter a burglar (besides getting a big dog) are:

1. Have several lights on timers that go on and off randomly (i.e, varying within an hour or so of a set time) to give the appearance that someone is home.

2. Have an outside light on that illuminates the back door and the front door. Also, have any particularly vulnerable outside area covered by a sonar (motion detector) spotlight. Aside from noise, burglars also hate bright lights. The cost of the electricity is cheap compared to the security it provides.

3. Pay the extra money to have decent locks installed on all doors and window locks (the kind that only let the window open a few inches) installed on all first floor or easily accessible windows. Some types of window locks are very easy to release from the inside (hence, no fire hazard), but impossible to reach from the outside without breaking the glass. Can the burglar break the glass?? Sure, but since he'd rather not, don't make it easy for him.

The bottom line is that you are trying to "target harden" your residence to make it harder to rob than someone else's in hopes that the burglar will move on to easier pickings. Nothing will absolutely protect you from being robbed, but all of the above will help to prevent it as much as one can reasonably expect.

– Jay
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