Ways to make your home safer | NevadaAppeal.com

Ways to make your home safer

Sam Bauman
Staff Writer

This may not be the right time of the year to talk about home security; after all, most homes are pretty well buttoned up in winter. Still, crime never takes a holiday and security (not the kind FEMA fools around with) is a constant worry. So just what is home security?

Basically, it’s making your home safe from intruders and protecting yourself and your property. You can keep a burglar away by obvious defenses such as motion detectors (burglars shy away from homes displaying such), or you can scare a burglar away, such as with a trained dog.

It’s true that there is no impregnable defense against burglars; it’s deciding what level of defense is enough for you. An automatic device to turn lights on and off during the day and night is not a lot of help as burglars notice patterns. Alarm systems to police can be costly, so perhaps that’s more than you need. Only the homeowner can decide what level of protection is adequate for the home. Here’s some of the categories of security:

Protection

This includes such items as locks and window bars, plus electronic aids such as alarms connected to an outside agency. In major metro areas, double door locks are common and are always helpful if you remember to use them.

Deterrent

This is the idea of scaring a burglar away before any attempted break-in. Outside lights and clear spaces around the house, a neighborhood watch program and motion sensors attached to outside lights are part of the deterrent concept. Burglars are averse to situations where lights come on without warning and indicate an intrusion.

Monitoring

Here the burglar isn’t aware of surveillance. TV cameras are a significant item for monitoring property but of little use if no one is watching them. Included in this category are heat sensors and breaking-glass detectors.

Outside assistance

This can be little more than a cell phone with a programmed number to the police or a security agency. Don’t hesitate to call police if you have suspicions. They won’t mind.

Protecting yourself

When all else fails, doing something about intruders can be as little as simply trying to escape from a situation. Planning for an escape route can be of double benefits, such as when a fire breaks out.

You can also pretend to be someplace else or that help has arrived, even if you’re still all alone with the burglar. You can also offer the burglar something better than yourself, such as cash or jewelry. And you can also think of ways to disable your intruder – pepper spray, guns, knives or dogs. This may be a risky avenue as police records show homeowners using guns are more often hurt by them than the burglar.

How does all this reflect in Carson City? Chief Deputy Steve Schuette took time out to discuss home security here.

“Most burglaries here take place because homeowners have left a front door, back door or garage door open. Or a slightly open garage door for pets. Simple as that. Burglary is most often a crime of opportunity, not a carefully planned event.

“Open sliding doors are another flag for burglars. Most often burglaries are not a planned crime. Burglars look for easy entry. In Carson City, burglars most often do not use burglary tools. They don’t need to,” Schuette said.

What seems to work best here?

“Motion sensors on all sides of the house are great. They are big deterrents. Lights go on and people can see what’s happening. They alert neighbors. Burglars don’t like that.”

How about TV cameras and monitors?

“These can be expensive and often cost more than the loss in a burglary. If no one is home watching the monitor they are no good. Adding recording devices boosts the cost and often doesn’t really help.

“High-quality deadbolts and inserts in locks of sliding doors are very good. Trim bushes below window level so residents have a clear view of the area. Make sure back yard access is locked up.”

What about when there’s been a wave of burglaries in the neighborhood?

“That’s an indication to make sure you keep things locked up. Most times waves are local teens. They know when people go to work or leave the home.

“That’s why Neighborhood Watch is such a good thing. Your neighbors know who belongs in the area. If they see someone out of the ordinary, they can call the police. We don’t mind if it is a false alarm; we never know until we make a check.”

Leaving on outside lights doesn’t have much effect, Schuette said. “But leave your curtains open so neighbors can see if something is going on.

“But most importantly, just don’t make it easy for a burglar.”

Crime nationwide has gone down annually. Best idea is to keep it going that way by locking up.

— Contact Sam Bauman at sbauman@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1236.

Home security systems:

SafeWatch EZ Package, $249

1 Safewatch EZ touchpad

1 Motion detector (built into touchpad)

1 Indoor sounder (built into touchpad)

1 EZ alarm-activating deadbolt strike cup

1 iFob reset key

2 Door/window sensors

1 Manual police/fire emergency button

1 One-time telephone connection fee

Essentials Plus Package, $349

1 Safewatch® Pro 3000 Touchpad

1 Motion detector

1 Indoor sounder

2 Door/window sensors

1 Manual police/fire emergency button

1 One-time telephone connection fee

1 Chime feature

Touchcenter Package, $499

1 Safewatch TouchCenter home console

1 Safewatch Pro 3000 touchpad

1 Motion detector

1 Indoor sounder

2 Door and/or window sensors

1 Manual police/fire emergency button

1 One-time telephone connection fee

1 Chime feature

The Core Security Package, $69

Includes: master control panel, keypad, 3 door/window sensors, motion detector, lifetime service guarantee, back-up battery and free key fob

The security + smoke package, $99

The Core Security Package includes: master control panel, keypad, 3 door/window sensors, motion detector, lifetime service guarantee, back-up battery, monitored smoke detector and free key fob

The Interactive Voice Package, $169

The Core Security Package which includes: master control panel, keypad, 3 door/window sensors, motion detector, lifetime service guarantee, back up battery, interactive voice verification and free key fob

The Total Life Safety Package, $219

The Core Security Package includes master control panel, keypad, 3 door/window sensors, motion detector, lifetime service guarantee, back-up battery, plus interactive voice verification, monitored smoke detector and free key fob

Options and Services for systems may include:

Two-way interactive audio verification

When an alarm is activated, customers receive live and hands-free communication with a Monitoring Center operator.

Jasco SmartHome Wireless Black-and-White Indoor/Outdoor Security Camera