Author Topic: Tips on preventing a home break in?  (Read 396 times)

fallstoclimb

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Tips on preventing a home break in?
« on: March 20, 2017, 08:33:40 AM »
We are moving downtown and renting a detached townhouse, in an area where break-ins are not exactly uncommon.  For the most part, we don't own anything worth stealing, with the notable exception of a whole bunch of bicycles.  None of these are $3,000 racing machines, but we have a sentimental and logistical attachment to each of them and a mass theft would be fairly devastating.

We will be keeping all bikes in the walkout basement, which leads to a fenced in yard with a privacy fence.  Behind this is an alley.  Other access points to the home include a front door on a fairly well traversed street and a back door leading into the kitchen, plus first floor windows.

My biggest concern is the basement door, which has inset windows, and a turn (not keyed) lock, following code.  The property manager actually suggested that we kind of just quietly change it to a keyed lock, breaking code but protecting the bikes, without mentioning anything to the owner.  I'm wondering if there's an alternative we can do -- install a deadbolt or latch perhaps?  I don't know anything about locks and we are not handy. 

Who would we call to do this?  What should we ask for?

Our current crime deterrents / planned deterrents include:
1) A medium sized dog who is harmless but will bark at intruders
2) Window treatments to hide view of the bikes
3) Keeping all first floor windows closed and locked
4) Potentially adding the additional lock to the basement door, maybe other doors
5) Get some security system stickers?

What else can we do? 

I don't want to spend too much money on this - most crime is petty & opportunistic.  I don't think anyone will be casing out our bikes, and I think our dog will be a major deterrent (if he's home).  Still, I like to follow the rules of making your house just a little harder to get into than your neighbors house. 

ketchup

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Re: Tips on preventing a home break in?
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2017, 08:35:49 AM »
Maybe some of those motion detector lights that wait 10 seconds to light up when they detect movement?

Dave1442397

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Re: Tips on preventing a home break in?
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2017, 08:46:26 AM »
How about something like this for the door?

https://www.amazon.com/Buddybar-10311-Door-Jammer/dp/B002BQ4VBU

That one's no longer available on Amazon, but I'm sure there are other options.

researcher1

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Re: Tips on preventing a home break in?
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2017, 08:47:10 AM »
We are moving downtown and renting a detached townhouse, in an area where break-ins are not exactly uncommon.

How about moving to an area where crime and break-ins are uncommon!

Curious why you would want to move to an area where break-ins are a common occurrence?

fallstoclimb

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Re: Tips on preventing a home break in?
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2017, 08:55:37 AM »
Because the possibility of petty crime doesn't deter us from all the other benefits of the city, such as stronger social ties, better walkability and bikeability, more restaurants and amenities?  Theres lots of reasons to want to be downtown. We are happily taking on this risk, would just like to mitigate it as much as possible because of how much we depend on / love the bikes.

I'd rather be robbed than spend the rest of my life lonely in the suburbs.

researcher1

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Re: Tips on preventing a home break in?
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2017, 10:04:57 AM »
I'd rather be robbed than spend the rest of my life lonely in the suburbs.

Then it sounds like you are selecting a perfect place for you and your partner to live.

Scortius

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Re: Tips on preventing a home break in?
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2017, 11:01:42 AM »
Most of the time it's just about being prudent.  Criminals are not going to want to be conspicuous by breaking glass or forcing doors.  You want to make sure you 'tighten the hatches', but you probably don't need to go too much further.

I would recommend wooden dowels in all windows.  Buy 1" ones at any hardware store and cut them to allow for a few inches of opening.  Remove them as needed while in the house yourself.

I would go ahead with the suggestion to change the lock, and simply be prepared to change it back if/when you move out.

A dog in the house isn't a bad idea.  But you should really only do it if you want a dog.  Otherwise, absolutely not.

Our neighborhood is similar.  The robberies that do happen seem to be from people who know the property.  Maids that 'forget' to reset the security system when they leave.  People who throw parties and allow strangers into the house (who then return later).  We've had a few instances where random people try to knock on the door and simply walk into the house under the guise of selling something.  In reality they're probably trying to case the property.  Just be smart.

In the end, if you're careful, you should be fine.  Use physical barriers (like the wooden dowels) where possible and don't allow people you don't know or trust access to your home and you'll be ok.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 11:03:44 AM by Scortius »

fallstoclimb

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Re: Tips on preventing a home break in?
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2017, 11:24:45 AM »
Oh, the way I phrased that was unclear, but the dog is already a member of the family.  The potential crime deterrence is just an added bonus (he is not the dog you would pick out for those purposes!). 

Thanks for all the concrete suggestions so far, I especially like the idea of delayed motion lights and dowels in the windows. 

trollwithamustache

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Re: Tips on preventing a home break in?
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2017, 11:38:06 AM »
check out security film. I used the 3M product, but there are others out there.

http://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/home-window-solutions-us/solutions/

If someone tries to smash the inset windows, its harder to break and the window will shatter but stay together.  Youtube taught me how to install it and there is an option to add a structural foam seal around the edge of the film to secure it better to the window frame.