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How safe is your home?

Discussion in 'Tilted Life and Sexuality' started by Borla, Sep 4, 2014.

  1. Borla

    Borla Moderator Staff Member Donor

    I happened across this article today:

    14 ways to make your home more secure - Yahoo Homes

    It made me contemplate a few minor adjustments. First, we are bad about making sure windows are locked. That is a pretty minor problem with an easy fix. Second, I leave my garage door opener on my visor in my SUV, which stays parked in the driveway most of the time. It would be easy for someone to bust the window out of that, open our garage door, and walk in, since we are in the habit of leaving the door between the garage and house unlocked.

    The town we live in is very low crime, and pretty much all of the thefts are from random unlocked cars or the like. We also have good neighbors that are fairly observant. The woman who lives on one side of us works from home, the one on the other side doesn't work and is almost always home, and the woman across the street is a stay at home mom. I also work from home some, and come home and leave at inconsistent hours due to my work, so it would be hard to find a true routine as to when the house is empty.

    There is also the Stanley factor. I honestly don't think he would care if someone broke in and started carting stuff out the door if we weren't home, especially if they stopped to scratch his ears or pay attention to him. But the 'Beware of Bullmastiff' sign and his rather large presence probably would make most casual thieves go elsewhere.

    In the end, I think a determined burglar could defeat almost any casual/moderate precautions. It's not THAT hard just to kick in a door or bust a sliding glass door out. But making it inconvenient or easy to observe such things wipes out most of the risk in many decent neighborhoods.

    What about your home?
    How high risk is your area?
    What precautions do you take?
    What do you need to improve on?
    How much thought do you give it?
  2. Stan

    Stan Resident Dumbass Donor

    My house is generally unlocked. I live in the middle of nowhere, using a sledgehammer on the door wouldn't get any attention.

    Everything is insured, I have a spreadsheet with models and serial numbers and a pile of pictures to match. Mostly, we have security by Molly. She's big, she's very vocal, and she intimidates everyone that comes to the door. If you toss her a dog biscuit and use her name, she'll show you where all the good stuff is.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. snowy

    snowy so kawaii Staff Member Donor

    I used to watch a lot of It Takes a Thief., y'know, back when Discovery had shows that were actually semi-educational. I learned a lot from those guys about how to secure my home, about what thieves look for, and what I can do to discourage property crime. I live in one of the safest small cities in the United States in terms of violent crime and property crime rates, but I still take precautions. In an apartment, there is not a lot I can do, but there are a few things. I know my neighbors, and I lock my doors and windows. I also have tabs in the windows to block them from opening too far; I keep these out even when the window is shut. According to It Takes a Thief, most burglars will give up if they have to struggle to get in. My only complaint is that unlike our last apartment complex, there are no discouraging plants underneath our back windows. Our last place deliberately had thorny bushes under every bedroom window.
  4. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Very Tilted

    Yucatan, Mexico
    Ok, off topic and admittedly nothing to do with securing your home.

    My daughter went through a "screw you guys, I'll do what I want phase." I know... every teen goes through such a phase. Mine just tried to take it a little past the normal. At one point she during a heated discussion where my Ex and I told her she couldn't run off to Arizona with a meth head so they could get married (she was 14, he 17) she bolted out the front door. We found her at the neighbors (who never called us or the sheriff) a few hours later where she'd been telling them we beat her and I was 'abusive" to her. She refused to expand on what exactly she meant by "abusive." Anyway when I was young I might have slipped out to a party once or twice so when i built the house I planted the most nasty torn bush I could find under what would be my daughters room. When I planted it she was 5. By the time she was 13 or 14 and rebelling at warp speed it was large enough to cover a 4 by 7 space that made exiting her window a miserable endeavor. But she manged to do it twice. I decided to reroute some water from a creek/pond water fall I'd built in the front yard so a percentage of it went under her window and soaked the ground. One night my Ex and I heard a shriek and went down to find my daughter over knee deep in mud yelling "these are my favorite jeans! I hate you people!!" I responded "too bad about your jeans and I love you."

    She eventually turned things around. Actually did so within a month or two period of time. I'd like to think part of it was the way my Ex and I dealt with her- never yelled at her, never became overly emotional, certainly never hit her. Just consistently- "these are the rules, they are not unreasonable. You need to follow them or we will have to find a "program" or boarding school for you to go live at until you can follow the rules." But I think the fact she found out the guy she wanted to run off to Arizona with wanted to use her as a trade to pay off a debt he owed to a bike gang and had no intentions of marrying her and the husband of neighbors she ran to was arrested and convicted on some 90 counts of child sexual abuse. At first she didn't believe "Bryan" didn't love her and want to marry her, they were soul mates. I had a lead State police investigator come to the house to show her a stack of letters seized from Bryan when he was arrested for cooking meth. Something he swore to her he would never do. In the letters in his hand writing was comment after comment like "this bitch thinks I love her, pfft" "don't worry I'll get her down there and you can have her to do with as you please, she's a pain in the ass." She sat in her room for days depressed and stunned. Of course she at first said we forged his hand writing. The video tape from the interview room was something she had more difficulty discounting. Then a month or two later the neighbor she ran to was arrested and his wife came over to explain to my daughter "that's why when he wanted to speak with you alone in his office I wouldn't let him take you. I took a pretty bad beating that night but I couldn't let you be another of his victims." After hearing that she had a stunned look on her face for a day or so. Within a week her and I began to become very close. That summer I taught her to weld and how to tear down and rebuild a engine out of an old ford truck I owned. The next summer she took an engine rebuild class at the local community college. Out of 8 students hers was the only one that stared on the first try. That shut up a group of young men who spent four months telling her a "girl" had no business being in "their" class. According to them she should be baking them cookies while they did the man's work. After her engine started she told them they might want to look into getting cookie recipes from their moms... or dads, who ever does the woman work in their homes.

    Sorry for the thread jack.
    • Like Like x 6
  5. redravin

    redravin Cynical Optimist Donor

    I lived in a trailer park for almost twenty years.
    We rarely ever locked our doors and it wasn't because we didn't own anything that couldn't be stolen.
    The trailer at the end of our block belonged to the treasurer for the local chapter of the Hell's Angels.
    Nice quiet guy, owned a tow truck, his daughter was right between my two age wise.

    Some people decided to set up a meth lab in a trailer a few sections over.
    There were a few of us who kinda guessed what was going on but weren't really sure.
    I asked Dirt if he knew anything about it and he said no, not something he'd want in the neighborhood.
    A couple of days later the trailer burned to the waterline.
    A terrible accident, I'm sure.
  6. ralphie250

    ralphie250 Fully Erect Donor

    Jonesboro ga
    honestly, i normally never lock my house, if you walk out to my truck the keys are laying in the passenger seat
  7. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Very Tilted

    Yucatan, Mexico
    I never used to lock my home either. In fact when I had my neighbor watch my house while I came down here to look for a place to live he was stunned when my answer to "where's the keys?" was "don't know, don't think the house has ever been locked." It's on a gravel private drive where when an ex co-worker showed up to go fishing one Saturday our phone rang from four separate neighbors asking if everything was alright. Nothing happens there without it being observed and reported.

    I did take some safety precautions since I had a construction/cleaning business that generated cash. for example- I had a basic Costco safe in my office that I always kept unlocked with about $100 cash and two non functioning pistols. In another room, under a moveable (if you knew how to move it) cabinet I had another larger safe cemented into the floor where I kept all my actual valuable items. Even my wife didn't know about the second safe. In fact three families have rented the home since I moved south, none have ever asked about it or mentioned it. If anyone has moved the cabinet above it they've examined it and returned it and two "tells" so it's exactly the way I left it. It's completely empty but hey I may want to return there to live someday.
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Street Pattern

    Street Pattern Very Tilted Donor

    This city has over 100,000 people, but very little crime by US standards.

    For example, during the seven years from 2005 through 2012, there was a total of 2 murders. If we were at the national average, there would have been about 70.

    There are hundreds of burglaries per year, but they are heavily concentrated in student apartments near the university campus. The monthly crime map, which I always examine, rarely shows any burglaries within a mile of our house.

    We moved to this house 15 years ago. It's a modest early 1950s ranch house, probably in the bottom 10% in square footage for houses in this part of town. It's one of a row of similar houses, all owner-occupied, all on 75-foot-wide lots, on a busy street.

    As is typical on a street with heavy traffic, people keep to themselves. We know our immediate neighbors, but not beyond that.

    Down the street is an apartment complex (more than 150 units, renovated/renamed/"upscaled" a few years ago), a high-end day care center, and some professional offices. There's a bank and retail stores about 200 yards away.

    This house had just cheap doorknob cylinder locks on the front and back doors. We added deadbolts to both. The house is locked when we're not home. There has never been any hidden key.

    We have a partially enclosed carport which attaches to the house at one corner. We call it "the garage," but it doesn't have any doors. We park in the driveway, which is T-shaped. There isn't any place you can hide a car. If both of our cars are gone, it's obvious.

    We do have a dog (2 years old, 70 pounds, long muzzle, short black hair, very active) who barks like crazy when anyone she doesn't know approaches the house. Or when anybody walks a dog on the public sidewalk past our house.

    All told, I don't think there's much to worry about.

    I feel bad for people who have to tolerate much higher crime risks than we do.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2014
  9. Chris Noyb

    Chris Noyb Get in, buckle up, hang on, & don't criticize. Donor

    Large City, TX
    We don't live in a great area. We keep the windows locked, and have two twin cylinder deadbolts on the front door & the back door. I firmly believe that if it weren't for us having large & noisy dogs over the years we probably would've been burgularized. Several of our neighbors have been.

    One night when I was out of town someone tried the handle on our backdoor. Fortunately my wife heard them, and immediately called the police and the Citizens On Patrol group in which we were active. Two guys from COP were at our house in a few minutes, the police arrved a shortly later. The possible intruder was long gone. The strange part was I rarely travelled for work, but this happened the first night that I was away.

    Another time a guy distibuting flyers tried our front door handle, but left once he found it locked. I got after my wife for not calling the police. I would've been on the phone with the police while holding the guy with my .357.
  10. Borla

    Borla Moderator Staff Member Donor

    I can't remember if I've told this story here or not, but I guess it is relevant to the topic at hand.

    Many years ago, when I was around 19-20 I had a friend ask me if I would house sit for the weekend. They lived a couple miles outside of town in an old farmhouse. I get in late the first night, watch some TV, and lay down on the couch and start to fall asleep. It is maybe midnight or so. All of a sudden a noise startles me from half asleep to fully awake. I'm trying to figure out if I was just imagining things or not when I hear footsteps on the back deck.

    Immediately I think to myself 'of ALL night someone decides to break in, they have to pick the night that *I* am here?!?' I get up off the couch and step into the kitchen area (kind of an open floor plan between living room and kitchen). As I walk towards the back door, I can see the silhouette of someone coming towards the door, but the shade was drawn so I couldn't see much detail. This is one of those times that you get the answer for 'what would I really do in X situation?' So I'm standing there about 4' from the back door as the person steps from the deck onto the enclosed porch and steps to the door. I tell myself 'the SECOND they open that door, I'm taking a flying leap and tackling them right back out the door and we're gonna fight'. I figure I'll have the element of surprise, at that age you think you are invincible, and I'm a reasonably big/strong dude. The thought of them having a gun, or me grabbing a knife out of the kitchen, or whatever, never really entered my mind. All of these thoughts were probably in a 7-10 second window.

    So just as I'm waiting to charge the door, I hear keys. I think to myself that anyone with keys might be legit. So as the person on the other side fumbles with keys I turn the porch light on and pull up the shade. It was my buddy's brother-in-law (wife's sister) who was a year or two younger than me. They had told him that he could stay there for the weekend too, but never communicated to me that they told him that. *facepalm* The kid was like 5'6" or 5'7" and probably weighed all of 130lbs, not athletic or strong at all either. I probably would've almost literally ripped his head off if I'd have attacked him. :p

    So, as far as I know, that is as close as I've come to a home invasion. :D
    • Like Like x 1
  11. MSD

    MSD Very Tilted Donor

    How high risk is your area?
    "Money Magazine's 2006 Best Places to Live Survey ranks Fairfield as the second safest municipality in the United States."

    What precautions do you take?
    I locked the doors once last year and my guns are hidden and locked up so someone breaking in wouldn't see them.

    What do you need to improve on?
    I left a car on the street on mischief night and someone put a rock through the back window. I should probably move it into the driveway this year. I also want a wall safe hidden behind a picture frame.

    How much thought do you give it?
    Very little, if it wasn't obvious
  12. Lindy

    Lindy Moderator Staff Member

    When I lived in Boston, (Somerville) I was very careful to keep everything locked down. I had good locks, even on the windows, and rarely left the windows open more than a few inches, and had stops in the tracks. Crime seemed a constant concern. I'm much more lax here in Lincoln, where the crime rate is really much lower. My neighborhood is well policed and I'm just a block off of a major arterial street. Last winter the doorbell range at 3am and it was a police officer wh had notice our attached garage door open. Open garage doors are a common entry for burglars and other ne'er do wells.
    The key is stuck in the ignition in my car - a 2002 SAAB - and it always worries me when I park it on the street. But SAAB ignitions locks are on the center console and most people even if they got in the car would never know to look there. I just leave a hand towel over the key so it's not obvious. Plus it's a stick shift.

    Around here at least, most of the home invasion crimes seem to be either drug related or some kind of personal dispute between people who know each other.
  13. martian

    martian Server Monkey Staff Member

    I'm not really overly concerned about home security to be honest. I live in a big city but I'm on the sixth floor in a secure building. I can't actually imagine a scenario where a casual thief is going to hit my unit -- the way I see it, it's the folks on the ground floor who should be worried. I lock the door when I go out and before bed. That's good enough for me. I've done my due diligence; if someone does decide to take my shit, well, that's what insurance is for.
    • Like Like x 2
  14. Street Pattern

    Street Pattern Very Tilted Donor

    There have been cases of stupid auto thieves trying to steal a manual transmission car and discovering they don't know how to drive one.
    • Like Like x 2
  15. Lindy

    Lindy Moderator Staff Member

  16. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member Donor


    If you get it after all that...then compliments...and I'm still coming after your ass if I can. Then I'll move on.
  17. Charlatan

    Charlatan sous les pavés, la plage Donor

    I leave my doors open all day. I leave them unlocked most of the time when they are closed.

    My windows are all barred, but they came that way.

    When nobody is home, which is rare, the doors are locked (most of the time).

    I just don't live in the kind of place where crime is that much of a concern.
  18. oldtimer56

    oldtimer56 umime

    East Texas
    Knowing higher ups in a local criminal enterprise seems to help, does for me and my family.
  19. Chris Noyb

    Chris Noyb Get in, buckle up, hang on, & don't criticize. Donor

    Large City, TX
    I lived in an apartment complex that seemed to be the home of several black gang members. It wasn't really overt, but they definately knew each other and there was a pecking order. It didn't take a genius to figure out they were dealing drugs. Being a somewhat older (26!) white guy I was viewed with suspicion. One morning I helped a young black girl that I didn't know jump start her car and showed her how to top off the water/acid level in the car battery. A day later the 'leader' of the 'gang' thanked me for helping his sister. We certainly didn't become friends, but after that my wife & I starting receiving "Hey" and "How's it going?" greetings from the members instead of a simple nod.
    • Like Like x 2
  20. snowy

    snowy so kawaii Staff Member Donor

    Tangent to this:

    I had a girl try to bully me in the locker rooms when I was in 8th grade. I was relatively new to the school, a large junior high in a suburb of Portland with a pretty diverse population, both ethnically and SES-wise. My parents have always taught me to be friendly to everyone, so I went in with that attitude, and in this case, it paid off. This girl, Brandy, tried to corner me and intimidate me; she was one of those white girls who dressed like a Hispanic gang member, all dark lip liner and baggy jeans. Another girl in the P.E. class, Summer, caught her at it. Summer scared most of our class; she was African-American, six foot, about 200 lbs., and obviously tougher than all of us. For a minute, I was thinking, oh shit, what have I done to deserve this, when Summer grabbed Brandy, tossed her against the wall of the locker room, and asked her what the fuck she thought she was doing. "Snowy is nice," she told Brandy. "You don't fuck with nice people." Phew. I was never picked on again at that school in that way (other ways, yes).