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Law Enforcement Interview, Home Safety; V2

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

Recently I stopped by the local police department to ask an officer if he could help me as I prioritize the money I spend upgrading my security system, after purchasing security cameras and some high-quality locks. I asked if I should consider some sensors for the inside or do I need anything else outside first.

The officer was gracious to spend some time with me talking about some security basics and common devices that he thinks make sense.

Security System Priorities: Answering my initial questions about security systems, I noted that I had some nice cameras and he thought I should also include motion-activated lighting on the outside before focusing on what is needed inside. Criminals don’t like to be exposed. Lights work, both static and motion activated. The Officer stressed that positioning was important, lighting up the shrubs around the house is a good idea. He mentioned a few other things for the exterior. Don’t be shy to post signs that you have a security system, that the property is being monitored, and that you have a dog on the property. Jokingly he said, preferably not mentioning, Fluffy or Precious by name.

Door Locks: When I asked more general crime prevention questions, he focused on getting good locks and having them properly installed and the doors themselves need proper installation. Interestingly, lock installation is something that was brought up by the Deputy Sheriff I last interviewed. I can only assume that the police observe many break-ins by way of poorly installed doors and locks. Remember most burglaries are crimes of opportunity and over half are perpetrated with little to no resistance through the front, rear, and garage doors. Not surprisingly, any additional resistance can make the would-be burglar move to another home.

Garage doors and Cars: About 35% of burglaries are “unlawful entry”, meaning, unforced entry, i.e., the doors are unlocked. When I mentioned that statistic the officer’s discussion went to garage doors, indicating that these doors are very often left wide open with the interior access door also commonly left unlocked. He warned that locking your car door is also important. Some people leave their keys and/or garage door remotes in their unlocked cars which can serve as an easy access point for burglars. Lock the exterior and interior garage doors.

Window: Is fortifying windows an important step and if so, how? He first warned not to leave valuables in plain view. This will reduce the grab-and-go kind of crime but also may dampen the interest of a burglar that has been watching the home. He mentioned some security bar devices that can fortify an otherwise flimsy window lock or rear sliding glass door. (see below).

A product I had not considered came into the conversation. A few companies make a Security and Safety film that can be applied to a vulnerable window. This film prevents the glass from shattering into pieces holding the glass together, making it more difficult to use the window as an access point.

Researching this, it should be noted, the same product may be used to apply to a window at the bottom of stairs to protect against accidental injury from a fall or a child that may be at risk from a window that is low to the ground. I thought some of these devices may be more practical than window sensors. After all window sensors are merely alerting you and possibly others, of a break-in attempt and not directly aiding in the prevention of a crime as much as some of these non-wired products might.

Each time I speak to law enforcement I get some invaluable tips and usually a general principle to apply. Here I note that many of his suggestions were not high-tech items but rather strategically fortify the common access points with relatively low-cost security solutions on doors and windows. Remember, the first line of defense is to close and lock doors and windows, and making that a household routine.

Plan for Safety

Andy, Senior Editor

Source: Law Enforcement Discussion, Unnamed Law Enforcement Professional

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Jun 21, 2023

Andy - something most garage door opener owners don't consider is the age of the opener. The older openers had a "fixed code" determined in the factory. There were only 8 bits of information that can be on or off. For 8 bits, or 8!, there are only 40,000 combinations. These openers can be "picked" by kid toys. This has been demonstrated on many online videos. The newer openers have a 12 bit system, or 12!. These have 480 million combinations and it would take a code picker a long, long time to pick the opener code. Jay Markanich

Jul 12, 2023
Replying to

thanks for that Jay, that's something people don't think about. I am sure most people feel "if it isn't broke don't fix it". Good point. Many people now have the remotes in their cars which helps but I think you are not just talking about the remote but the interior unit configuration. Sorry for the late response

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