Affordable Home Security Techniques

A couple weeks ago our quiet neighborhood was turned upside down by a burglary in broad daylight. It seems a trio of opportunists broke into the back of a home and were in the process of loading up the content of the house into their car before a neighbor spotted them and notified authorities. It is unknown whether or not the homeowner had a security system, but it was a great reminder for neighbors that this is the time of year when many break-ins occur, which means it is time to consider home security.

Beware of Dog Sign

Cheap Home Security

One of the things that turns many frugal homeowners off from signing up with a security company are home security prices. Plans range from those with cheap, self-installed components to high-end plans with 24/7 monitoring.

Home security plans can certainly be a big deterrent to would-be burglars, but there are several affordable home security measures you can implement to your home safe.

1. Get a dog. Not only do they make a great companion, but dogs also make a great deterrent. As for the type of guard dog, the noisier the better! While a great big attack dog might scare away a prowler, most guys would be just afraid of a loud chiahuaha. In this case it really is the bark, not the bite, that is most important.

2. Avoid putting large boxes by the street around the holidays. This really applies any time of the year, but it is something I see most often around Christmas. People place two or three large boxes from a new plasma screen, a computer, and a stereo system down by the street. Looks pretty inviting to someone driving through the neighborhood looking for a target.

3. Make sure all windows and doors are locked. Sounds like good common sense, but it seems like nearly every crime report you hear says burglars entered through an unlocked window or door, often times on a second story or basement level. Just because the window is difficult to access, don’t assume the bad guys won’t take the time to try it rather than making noise breaking glass or forcing open a door.

4. Consider adding window and door alarms
. In terms of affordable home security components, these might be the cheapest things available, and the most effective. All you are really looking for is something to generate a lot of noise. When the seal of a door or window is broken, these alarms squawk a deafening alarm which alerts you, and nearby neighbors, that an alarmed entry point has been breached.

5. Get a gun, learn to use it, and store it safely
. So this one isn’t so cheap, but I fully believe in the right to possess a gun in your home. I also believe that gun owners have a responsibility to make sure they know how to use them, they are kept out of the reach of children, and made safe at all times.

Oddly enough, guns are one of the most sought-after items in burglaries, so it makes sense to keep them somewhere safe like in a locked safe bolted to the floor in a closet. Because they must be kept locked up tightly, you may not have time to access them in an emergency, so don’t ignore other home security methods just because you own a gun.

Comments

  1. Great suggestions, right up to the last one.

    I’ve got no beef with gun ownership, but getting a gun to keep your home safer is barking up the wrong tree. Especially if one follows your recommendations. A gun stored in a locked case bolted to the floor of your closet will do absolutely zero to DETER a break-in, and will be useless in some kind of show-down. And an easily accessible, loaded gun will be a prime theft target — or worse — as you pointed out.

    Keep a gun if you want, don’t keep a gun if you want, but don’t keep a gun for home security.

  2. A cheap way to make a door alarm is to go to the local hardware store or farm supply and purchase the loudest cow bell for each door. This might deter a burglar with the shocking sound long enough to give you time to react if you are a retiree.

  3. @maa: We agree that a gun locked away is not a deterrent, however, it does provide some level of protection if you have reaction time provided by the other methods mentioned.

    I saw a story on Twitter just the other day where a wheelchair-bound man shot and killed a would-be intruder attempting a home invasion. After hearing a knock late at night, he retrieved his gun before going to the door, and when they rushed him, he shot one of the intruders while the second man fled. Without his gun, it could have had a much more unfortunate ending for the homeowner.

    Follow-up: Here’s the link to that story I mentioned above: http://www.gainesville.com/article/20091215/articles/912159977

  4. I would have to say that the best advice you are giving is contained in numbers 2, 3, and 4. For anyone who is serious about learning how to safeguard their home I would encourage you to watch a few episodes of “It takes a Thief” from the discovery channel. You could probably find some of these on the internet. The premise of the show is a former burglar breaks into houses on camera to show how weak peoples security is, everything from unlocked doors/windows, to security systems not turned on, to old/weak doors and locks that are easily kicked in.

    Research shows that security system signs are a huge deterrent. It I have an ADT sign in my front yard and in my window, and my neighbor doesn’t, whose house is going to get hit? Common sense says the neighbor.

  5. @prufock: No, it doesn’t. But depending on the type of safe it wouldn’t take long to grab it. Some safes have a simple 4-digit code keypad, or a fingerprint reader. Not all of them have an elaborate combination spinner, or a require a key.

    @Mike: I enjoy that show, It Takes a Thief. Two things you learn from watching those guys. If someone is motivated enough, and has enough time, any security system is vulnerable. Second thing, the simplest forms of deterrent are often the most effective. Security company stickers, a sign in the front yard, and a dog will keep away most burglars.

  6. Ha — I am married to a retired USMC. Think there are guns in my house? He bought me a handgun when we were first married. (Glock 9mm) and I took a course from our local police department in how to handle it. I was able to have practice shooting it at the firing range against moving targets. They were VERY good at explaining all aspects of handgun ownership and instilling respect for the weapon. I am so glad I took that course.

    As for dogs — I don’t think dogs are necessarily going to be there to attack a burgler, but they make GREAT alarm systems. I have four dogs, three shelties and a big black scary German Shepherd. Guess who barks the minute a car even slows down at the end of the driveway?– you got it, the shelties. The shepherd looks intimidating, but the shelties are the ones who work better for home security. And we have a flock of turkeys. They make the most noise when visitors stop by. Nobody could make it to my front door, back door or windows without some kind of animal “alarm” going off. I sleep very soundly at night knowing I’ll hear if someone comes prowling around.

  7. Jason, I am glad you believe in the right to bear arms. I am a single, older woman, don’t have a gun at present but do know how to use one and do agree with all your suggestions on home security! i enjoy your daily blogs too!!!

  8. In regards to guns – we have one within easy access for security that the children can not reach that looks like a decoration but is most certainly not. The rest of the guns are kept locked safely away.

    I love the big dog idea – we got a mastiff/ridgeback cross two years ago for just that reason! He’s 165 pounds, has the big dog bark, and lets us know when anyone is around… We couldn’t ask for better security than that!

  9. Hurray!! Hurray!!! Finally a open suggestion for someone to own a gun!! I tell my daughter, who lives alone, to keep her shotgun next to her bed. They even make a holder that tucks between the mattress and box spring. What’s more frightening than the sound of a shotgun being shucked in the dark! Probably won’t even need the shells!

  10. A properly stored home-defense gun is stored in a method that is available to the owner, but not the children. A quick-access safe, a bedside table with a locking drawer that gets unlocked at night, etc. There are a number of ways to do it.

    I wrote a series on basic home security.

    It’s in 7 parts here: http://su.pr/2E3NcO
    Or 1 part here: http://su.pr/1aoARb (down for maintenance)

    The short version is a well-lit house with good locks, good doors, and a good dog is more hassle than it’s worth to most burglars. A good plan and a gun can help with the rest.

  11. I loved “It takes a Thief”. One of the repeated messages of that show is that dogs usually don’t do that much. Sure, they’ll defend their owners, when the owners are there, but when the dogs are alone, most of them won’t defend the TV. Some would hide, some seemed to pretend not to notice, some would follow the burglar around. A few were aggressive but the burglar always could deal with them. Also, once you add up food, toys vet bills etc. they may not be that cheap. (I do love dogs – just not for this purpose.)

    Guns are good for home invasions and attacks – if you get to the gun before the attacker gets to the gun or to you. Guns aren’t so good when you’re not there because guns are among the favorite things for burglars to steal.

    Keeping all the bushes and trees trimmed so your windows and doors are visible to your neighbors can make you house unattractive at a burglar’s first glance.

  12. I disagree with dogs being cheap. I have 2 dogs and they are great at letting us know when anyone gets anywhere near our house, but they certainly aren’t cheap. Vet bills can add up quickly and if you aren’t willing to spend the money to properly care for an animal you really shouldn’t get it.

  13. Dogs can be expensive too. Two years ago we got a medium size dog for the kids. I recently did a cost analysis of owning our pets (we also have a cat, hamsters and fish), and a medium sized dog runs over $1,000 dollars a year!

    Make sure you break down those boxes your HD TV come in (along with your other new toys :) ), then put them in a black garbage bag (or a trash can if you city trash collectors use those). That way, nobody will know what you got. It doesn’t take long to do!

    With respect to guns, make sure you don’t tell your friends that you have them! I know at least 2 friends of friends that have had their house/apartment broken in just to steal the guns!!!

    I always think about buying a outside security sign and putting one in front and back of my house. Sometimes, that is enough of a deterrent.

  14. Living in a rural area/small town, well known for hunting areas, it’s a forgone conclusion that MOST homes have a gun in them, and that the owners KNOW how to use them. I think it’s a good deterent myself. We also have a very high percentage of concealed handgun permit carriers in our area.

    My pistol is loaded and within reach in the middle of the night. It’s unloaded if the grandkids are visiting, and put out of reach, but they have all been instructed to handle ANY gun they happen across as if it is loaded, and are not to touch one, and to notify an adult. While there is no guarantee they will follow their teaching, it has been taught time and time again, as it should be. Every child needs to know gun safety – because they might run across one outside of their home, in a friend’s home, or on the street.

    when I lived in a more rural area, with no kids in the house, the shotgun was always loaded and at the front door. It came in handy a few times.

    And as you said, the best deterrent is good locks on the doors and windows, and to use them :) And good snoopy neighbors :)

    And…. keep the brush cut back away from the windows and entryways – do not allow would be burglers a place to hide while trying to gain access.

  15. I read this and thought “Oooo — the anti-gun crowd will love this.” Some people just don’t understand. More children are killed by Pine-Sol or swimming pools each year than gun accidents in the home.

    Check out http://www.gunfacts.info
    From the page:
    “Gun Facts is a free e-book that debunks common myths about gun control. It is intended as a reference guide for journalists, activists, politicians, and other people interested in restoring honesty to the debate about guns, crime, and the 2nd Amendment.

    Gun Facts has 98 pages of information. Divided into chapters based on gun control topics (assault weapons, ballistic finger printing, firearm availability, etc.), finding information is quick and easy.

    Each chapter lists common gun control myths, then lists a number of documented and cited facts (with nearly 500 detailed footnotes). Thus when a neighbor, editor or politician repeats some sound bite about firearm control policy, you can quickly find that myth then rebuke with real information.”

  16. I agree that dogs/pets in general can get kind of expensive with cost and upkeep. If you’re really just getting a dog for the bark I’d suggest a cheaper route, RoboDog http://www.x10.com/products/x10_pk9.htm. For 60 bucks you can get a fake dog, that doesn’t need to have it’s poop scooped! Another good tip for single women is to leave a large pair of men’s shoes outside to fake the appearance that male is present.

  17. I love the security tips – my big black lab sounds like he would tear off someone’s arm when there’s a knock at the door, and since I’m home alone quite often, he makes me feel secure. I’ve had quite a few comments from people about how vicious he sounds.

    Since my daughter is grown and on her own (she’s 24), I keep a loaded shotgun handy, as well as a .357 magnum tucked away near my bed. I hate the thought of using it. I live in a rural area, and we have part time township police, so calling 911 if someone was breaking in could result in a 30 minute, or more, wait until police could arrive. I’m not sure that drug addicts or others who break in to steal items or money to support their habits would wait around for the police to arrive. I also have a handgun carry permit.

    I always lock all the doors when I am home alone, even if I’m out mowing the lawn or puttering around outside. It’s sort of a nuisence to lock/unlock the doors when going in and out, so I will assign the dog to “guard duty” at the door I’m using most.

    About package deliveries – our local newspaper reported that three families nearby experienced thefts of boxes that came via UPS and Fedex. It appears the thieves are following the trucks and taking the boxes right after they’re delivered. Our township police suggest shipping boxes to a friend or relative’s house (if they will be home during the day) if we will be at work when the packages arrive.

  18. OK. That’s it for me and this blog. Can’t believe you would actually suggest buying a gun is an appropriate solution for cheap home security.

    I really hope that other bloggers stop linking to your site now too.

    This advice is creepy, down right dangerous and is, to me, stark evidence of the scary trend that your blog has started to have of late.

  19. As a Certified Financial Planner(tm), Dad and Grandfather, nothing is more important than our family and the safety of our family and home. All of the above suggestions stemming fromand including the main article are wonderful: Don’t forget to check your homeowners policy and make sure it’s up to date on coverages and addendums.

  20. Gun owner here. Flaming liberal, too. (Hmm) About buying a gun for the purpose of home protection…isn’t it true that most times in a home invasion it is the gun owners gun that is most frequently used on them?

    Buy guns for the right reasons; hobbies, sport, collector value. I think buying a gun for the purpose of home protection is just a bit…off. If someone breaks into my home to steal my television, I’ll help load it into their damn car before I’d be willing to shoot them. I’m not interested in contributing to the trigger-happy culture that we live in. I’d punch them in the face if I were to do anything.

  21. “isn’t it true that most times in a home invasion it is the gun owners gun that is most frequently used on them?”

    Not even remotely true, no. It almost never happens. Incredibly rare. The Kellerman study was thoroughly debunked within days of being published.

    So how do you know that some meth-head coming into your house at 3am only wants your TV? Really, I’m not going to shoot someone over my TV, if I’m given a choice. It’s not up to me. If someone comes for my family….once again, the choice isn’t up to me.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/24/nyregion/24slay.html

  22. @Josh: We have a sign over our front door that has a pic of a revolver on it that says “We Don’t Dial 911″.

    I keep my little .22 “pimp gun” semi-auto pistol next to my chair, loaded and off safety, at all times. All I have to do is push the clip in, point and shoot. We also have two loaded shotguns (safety on) – one by the back door, one by the front. Would I hesitate to shoot an intruder? Nope. Not for a second.

    Now let me say that we never have children in our home – we have no grandchildren and no friends with kids. And, we live in a small development in a very rural area where nobody except the people who live on our street can even find it.

    The shotguns are more for large animal intrusions – coyotes, bears, cougars – than human. But the .22 pistol is my safety blanket, for “just in case”. And yes, I know how to use it and care for it. My husband and I are two of those people who believe you can have our guns when you pry them from our cold, dead fingers. But that’s just us.

  23. @Marcella: I’m sorry to see you go, but I have to ask…what’s creepy about owning a gun? It’s a constitutionally-protected right, and many people have guns for a variety of reasons, as Steven mentions above.

    I knew I’d take some heat for mentioning gun ownership as a way to protect your home, but I certainly have not suggested you do something illegal. As is true in most things, it’s a matter of choice and personal freedom.

    @Steven: Really? You’d help a burglar load up the contents of your home before shooting them? I guess I could see not shooting an unarmed intruder there looking for jewelry and electronics, but I don’t think I would help them load up my hard-earned stuff. As for the trigger-happy culture comment – I agree. People are far too quick to pull a trigger, rather than settle issues in another manner. But let’s face it, the large, large majority of shootings are done by those committing criminal acts, not a law-abiding homeowner.

  24. I applaud your strength in tackling a controversial issue and mentioning a gun in the home for self-security. You further strengthened my resolve to keep you in my top 3 blogs :) And I recommend you and your links every chance I get.

    I not only keep a loaded 38 special in my home, I carry it on road trips in the truck or car, I carry it in the camp trailer when camping (also for animal invasions), and if I am having to deal with unsavory characters at work, I carry it into work with me. I may be an older woman, but I would not hesitate to use it should I fear for my life or the lives of my family in an invasion situation. There’s no way an invader is there to do me good in the middle of the night, now is there??? (Except on Dec 25th maybe :) – I’ll be careful that night!!!) There is no use in carrying if you don’t intend to follow thru if warranted. And as you said, not only is having a gun your constitutional right, using it in self-defense is a law protected right also.

  25. You might also mention a preprogrammed cell phone – one quick punch and 911 will be called… of course that only helps if you are near quick police protection. Life Alert will also work but it starts at about $50/month for monitoring.

  26. I’m 46 years old and have lived in a household with guns for as long as I can remember. I’ve raised four gun-responsible sons – all of whom were taught gun safety and proper handling of firearms at a very early age. Christmas gifts progressed from BB-gun to .22 rifle to shotgun to deer rifle. My 20-year old son regularly has friends over and they go out back and target shoot. I would estimate that 90% of the homes within a ten or fifteen-mile radius of my house contain guns – of course most of them are for hunting purposes, but I would bet many of them either loaded or quickly accessible. We have a *very low* crime rate out here in our neck of the woods. Coincidence? I think not.

    Those that are “creeped out” by us gun owners need to face facts: there are tens of millions of us out here, we’re responsible, law-abiding citizens, and we’re not getting rid of our guns!

  27. @ steven
    Check the link in comment #16. Using a gun for self protection is anything but “off.” It’s a known fact (substantiated by The National Crime Victimization Survey, Department of Justice) that the probability of serious injury from an attack is 2.5 times greater for women offering no resistance than for women resisting with guns. Men also benefit from using guns but the benefits are smaller, 1.4 times more likely to receive a serious injury.

    Did you know your neighbors, particularly your women neighbors probably have a gun? According to Gallup, 41.7% of women either own or have
    convenient access to guns.

    Firearm availability appears to be particularly useful in avoiding rape. Australia and the United Kingdom virtually banned handgun ownership. During the same period handgun ownership in the United States steadily rose. Yet the rate of rape decreased in the United States, and skyrocketed in the other countries. The UK had a 59% increase in rapes from 1995 through 2003 and Australia saw a 26.5% increase. All while the USA saw a 13.5% decrease. The only major thing that changed was the rate of gun ownership in those countries.

    Don’t fall for the myths about gun ownership being a bad thing.

    According to Dr. Gary Kleck, a Florida State University Criminologist, guns prevent over 6,800 crimes per day in the US, most of them without firing a shot and with no blood being shed.

  28. Have a gun. Know how to use it. Would, most likely, never get it out if I was scared. My dad almost shot me when I was 16 when I came home late from a date in an upper middle class neighborhood.That was the end of my idea of guns for self defense.- Don’t get me wrong- I know lots of other ways of stopping someone who comes to harm me or mine.

  29. I had a break-in a couple of years ago, and he came in through the bedroom window while I was gone. I tried to light up the exterior better, but the solar lights died after a few months.

    I don’t keep a gun because: (1) They’re expensive to buy and license, (2) I have bipolar disorder and never know when I may feel suicidal, (3) I don’t want anyone in my house to shoot themselves or anyone else accidentally, and (4) I realize in a break-in it’s doubtful we would get to our gun before the burglar got to it or us.

    I don’t have a dog because: (1) they’re expensive to feed and care for, (2) they’re noisy and smelly, (3) you have to let them out several times a day and clean up their mess in the yard, and (4) with my luck, I’d get one that hid or licked the burglar.

    What I do have is some signs that say, “Beware of Dog” and “I love my Doberman” and a big leash and collar hanging by each door. I even put a big dog dish and bag of dog food on the porch and a sticker with a doberman’s silhouette on my car.

    I’d add some NRA or pro-gun signs, but I wonder if that would make a burglar more likely to break in and try to pry that gun from my cold, dead fingers. I’ve been trying to find a cheap ADT or Brinks sign for awhile now.

  30. I think it’s absolutely insane that you’re suggesting gun ownership for home security. That is hardly a frugal suggestion. Break-ins usually occur when it appears that no one is home. Start with timers on a few of your lights, so that it will always look like someone is home (especially when you’re away overnight).

    Assuming a thief is only interested valuables, then all you’re risking is material items. Is having a dangerous firearm in your home really worth it to protect them? It doesn’t cost anything but time for you to organize receipts, serial numbers, etc. for all your valuables, so that you can recoup your losses through your home insurance if there is a break in.

    Finally, if someone broke into your house to commit a random act of violence, not a robbery, your safely concealed weapon won’t be accessible to you right away, rendering it useless. Luckily, this almost NEVER happens. You’d have to be severely paranoid to honestly worry about this happening. Get some anti-anxiety meds, not a gun.

  31. >Hannah…..Are you kidding me? Anti-anxiety meds instead of a gun. Yeah that is going to help me when someone is breaking in to not only rob, rape and kill me.

    I am a gun owner and proud of it. Go FD!

  32. Sorry, I’m with Marcella and Hannah on this. I came here to look for ideas to save money, cut debt and live a more frugal lifestyle. The mere suggestion to purchase a gun, no matter how legal, is just not what I was expecting from this blog. My fault, not yours. I just misunderstood the intentions of this site. Bye.

  33. I live in a big city with lots of people. I don’t really have excessive fears about anything–even though we are a major terrorist target. My fear: people such as yourself, who say they are keeping guns in their homes to “protect” themselves.

    In this city, law enforcement officials, who are allegedly trained in when/how to use firearms and do know how to (technically) use guns have shot innocent people to “protect” themselves. If they can do it, and they do, what I fear just as much as their inability to distinguish who is dangerous and who isn’t, is the average person who keeps a gun handy. (and I’m sorry. The “average” person does NOT either keep or think about keeping guns in their home for “protection. There’s nothing “average” about viewing a gun as necessary for personal protection. There’s a lot of other stuff going on with that decision.)

    I could give you dozens of examples when that gun could be misused based on stories told to me by real people (children coming in late; kids losing key and breaking windows to get in…you get the drift, innocent situations that could be misinterpreted by a gun-toting person).

    And I could think of dozens more. I’ve personally known people who were–and I am using this word, a word I never use–stupid enough to keep a gun in their home and lived to regret it. I wish they were reading your suggestion in light of their personal experience. They’ve come to rethink their gun ownership because of the truly high “cost.”

    The idea of a gun in the hand of the average citizen? Makes my blood run cold. I don’t care if you had training in the mechanics of usage, because if even so-called professionals can make life-altering errors, I’m pretty sure a scared-out-of-their mind neighbor could make some pretty stupid and dangerous ones.

    It may be your right to have a gun, it doesn’t mean it IS right to have one.

    I’m pretty sure you knew you’d get heat with this suggestion so I know you aren’t incapable of taking some negative feedback.

    I’m not willing to denounce you for your POV, but I do suggest that on a money/finance/frugality blog, you might want to just stick with those relevant posts. And by the way, a gun is by no means a cheap form of home security.

    For everyone who has a gun in their house: Understand that you are quite capable of making a serious error. Be sure you are willing to live with the fact that you may kill or seriously injure someone who is NOT an intruder. Don’t think it can happen to you? Talk to the people who have had it happen. We won’t even talk about the numerous children injured in homes where guns are allegedly safely locked away!

    And if you can live with it, and take responsibility (including prosecution and jail time), go for it. Methinks that most of you who want guns…it’s not about protection at all.

    Finally, if having guns actually deterred criminals, well, it might even make some sense. But it doesn’t. It only escalates violence, for the most part.

    And if an armed intruder enters your home, what do you think YOUR odds are (again, unless you are working professional who uses firearms in the dark and regularly target practices) of injuring them before they injure or kill you? Seriously, folks. An inept burglar with a gun still has the odds in his/her favor over somebody who just woke up, is disoriented and maybe cannot even see.

    But, since you all believe the odds are in your favor…

  34. Frugal Dad,
    I’m sorry that some of your readers have chosen one small suggestion to focus on, or to allow it to sway them into not reading your writings. I’m sure that they are perfect people who never express an opinion that others agree with :)
    I like your blog, will continue to read, and I’m a gun owner who properly protects my guns in a locked gun safe. I have a security system on my house which would wake me in the event of a night-time break-in, and I can unlock my safe and retrieve my loaded handgun in 27 seconds (I’ve practiced).
    Keep sharing your opinion Frugal Dad, it’s your site and you share lots of valuable ideas, even if not everyone agrees with each individual one.

  35. #22 Steven
    Yes you are more likely to have your own gun used against you if you own one.
    That being said, if you don’t own one it can’t be used against you, and it can’t be used by you ether.
    That is why you should have it well locked if you don’t have control of it, ie not home, have kids that may get to it, ,,,
    Firearms as home security is the last resort, it is for me and my family or them. It is not to protect your house when you are not there.

  36. Substitute the word “car” for “gun” in some of the above postings, and you’d wonder why people ever drive cars…. way more dangerous and kill far more people than guns …. in my opinion….

    About Someone breaking into a home to commit a “random act of violence” as stated above…yes it DOES happen. Regularly. It’s part of the gang initiation rituals – just break in and beat someone up – but they aren’t supposed to steal anything – just assault… And as it happened about 9 blocks from my house this year, in a well policed city area, Yes – it does happen more and more around here.

    Home security system…. $1000 or more.
    plus monthly monitoring if attached to phone.
    Used pistol from gun store… $200.
    So which is the frugal option???

    Being able to sleep well at night – Priceless :)

    It’s a personal choice…and a way of life I grew up with and continue.

  37. @Stella
    “Finally, if having guns actually deterred criminals, well, it might even make some sense. But it doesn’t. It only escalates violence, for the most part.”
    Research shows Stella that in states that allow responsible citizens to conceal carry, criminals are deterred.
    “In 1987, Florida enacted a “shall issue” law that has become the model for other states. Anti-gun groups, politicians and the news media predicted the new law would lead to vigilante justice and “Wild West” shootouts on every corner.

    But since adopting a concealed carry law Florida’s total violent crime rate has dropped 32% and its homicide rate has dropped 58%. Floridians, except for criminals, are safer due to this law. And Florida is not alone. Texas’ violent crime rate has dropped 20% and homicide rate has dropped 31%, since enactment of its 1996 carry law.

    Another study makes the moral case for expanding and enhancing right-to-carry laws. A report by John Lott, Jr. and David Mustard of the University of Chicago released in 1996 found “that allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons deters violent crimes and it appears to produce no increase in accidental deaths.” Further, the Lott-Mustard study noted, “If those states which did not have right-to-carry concealed gun provisions had adopted them in 1992, approximately 1,570 murders; 4,177 rapes; and over 60,000 aggravate assaults would have been avoided yearly.”

    Stella, I don’t want to discount the grave results that you have personally encountered from the mis-use or mis-interpretation of a situation in which a gun was involved. BUT, I will point out that more people are accidentally killed by cars than by guns. Yet we all continue to drive every day here and there and wouldn’t consider not driving in order to avoid the potential of my car killing someone unintentionally.

  38. Jingle Bells…. One thing you touched on was alarms on windows… I have bells that jingle loudly on a couple of my doors/windows – set to jingle when they open. Might be enough noise to deter someone.

    Lound Wind chimes also will work to make noise if placed in front of a window so that they would be hit by someone crawling thru a window.

  39. Landscaping…. Spanish bayonet plants, thorny berries or thorny roses – all those placed under windows may help deter someone from crawling thru a window also – or at least give you some warning when you hear their muffled screams from getting poked by a spanish bayonet plant :)

    I’m into being responsible for keeping criminals out of my home in any way possible. And since my neighbor got out of jail for dealing meth from his home (my neighbor) and the traffic has increased around here again…. I have become MORE vigilant in thwarting other’s efforts to get in… but I sleep with the gun within arms reach at night… just in case everything else doesn’t work. It’s a LAST resort. But one I would not hesitate to use.

  40. #40 Dave. It is NOT true that you’re more likely to have your gun used against you. That’s even a misstatement of the Kellerman study. You’re not even correctly using the bad study results. The study–thoroughly debunked–said you were more likely to be a victim of gun violence if you had a gun in the house, which is correlation, not causation. Regardless of the actual study results, it was a bad study. Poor methodology and bad logic.

    #38 Stella. The most conservative estimates state that guns are successfully used for defense close to 1 million times every year. More realistic numbers are over 2 million. Compare that to fewer than 1000 accidental gun deaths and approximately 30-35000 total gun deaths, of which half are suicide. Suicide is pointless to include, unless you want to ban knives, rope and aspirin to boot.

    As to the rest of your post, “projection” is a nasty thing.

    There are more than 300 million legal guns in the United States in the hands of 100 million gun owners. There are only about 35 million hunters in this country. Why do the rest own guns? Most collectors hunt. 65 million people own guns for purposes other than hunting. 1 out of every 3 people you meet own a legal firearm. In some states, 1 out of every 100 have a permit to carry. Carry permit holders are, without exception, the MOST law-abiding adult demographic there is, above priests and police.

  41. Great tips… I really really want a dog but can’t have one in my current apartment building. My building is secure but I just want to add the family member! However the security is an awesome bonus and this goes for personal security too…. Need to go somewhere late at night, take the dog.

    As for the gun…. I am English so the idea that it’s so easy to own a gun scares the living sh*t out of me. It would be interesting to look at the statistics to see how many burglaries have been prevented by the owner of the home pointed a gun at the intruder and also how many of them have escalated to death or even worse!

  42. I don’t hunt, but own guns. Only for protection. I remember when I worked for the local Sheriff’s office that a deputy told me that cops were only there to show up and draw a chalk line around the victim. The supreme court has agreed. Cops cannot protect individuals. It is up to the individual to protect themselves and their loved ones. I have loaded guns with safety on throughout my house. I have no children in the house. My dog does bark but wouldn’t deter a thief or one intent on doing harm. We have a “make my day” law in this state. In my house if I feel threatened I am able to use deadly force. I carry concealed when I feel I need to (lawfully). The anti gunners just need to be a victim before tehy change their tune.

  43. I’ve been a victim of having been shot at by a shotgun (by an angry farmer) but never been under a real attack in my home…. most people have not however.

    All I can say is that us uk wimps have a very different attitude towards guns…. sadly in the uk too gun crime is growing at an alarming rate and the police may be forced to carry guns as normal soon. BUT I do not feel unsafe in the UK by any stretch (in most places).

    Home security is a hard issue so I am not going to come out and say that guns are a bad idea as I don’t know the right solution, I just wish we had not invented the damn things!

    I’m currently living in Egypt and here for some reason crime is just low. I purchased a flat screen a month or so ago and walked home through the backstreets at 2 in the morning with absolutely no fear…. Something about the society here tends to make crime just a less attractive idea even though so many people are dirt dirt poor.

    The army and police are everywhere with huge guns… however I have been told on numerous times that the guns are not loaded and just for show… So maybe the mere presence of police in ever neighborhood 24 hours a day is enough to deter the majority of crime.

  44. The British responses expressing uneasiness with easy gun ownership here in the U.S. made me chuckle a little bit, considering the Second Amendment is largely a denouncement of King George III’s (and any government’s) attempt to disarm the general populace for intimidation purposes.
    I have asked police officers on several different occasions what the best way to defend myself is. All of them said basically the same thing: “Don’t take risks. Be aware of your surroundings. Buy a gun and learn how to use it properly, because if you’re in real trouble, it’ll be over by the time we get there.”
    Having a gun is like having fire insurance. You hope and pray you’ll never need it, but it’s best to be prepared.

  45. I don’t think I have it in me to shoot someone. Okay, I probably do but I wouldn’t want to live with the guilt of doing so. I have always been of the opinion that if someone is willing to break into my home to steal my Stuff, then it is more important to them than it is to me, so they might as well have it. A TV just isn’t worth a human life. It is just Stuff, things that can be replaced.

    If I were to come home to find my girlfriend being raped or assaulted by someone, I would probably beat them to death with my bare hands. I wouldn’t have the time to get my gun, load it and use it. I think that situation is different than some junky stealing your jewelery for a fix. Sure, it would be frightening to be robbed but it still just Stuff, which to me is absolutely unimportant.

  46. …and to clear up any misconceptions, I am a gun owner. I own 2 pistols and a rifle. I enjoy firearms, they have long been a hobby of mine.

    Me shooting a fully automatic Israeli Uzi this past summer. :) Yes, I’m liberal! Ha, ha!

  47. I agree with the dog. Very good deterrent. There are some great suggestions in the comments (I like the jingle bell one).

    Gwen at Frugal-bugle

  48. The previous owner of my house had a dog. I’ve found the beware of dog signs around the house keep the meter readers thinking twice. I’m sure criminals think twice also.

    Thanks for your gun suggestion, and so openly too. My guns have stopped two would-be invaders will I was home. One of them was apprehended by the police a few blocks from my home. Sometimes it goes badly for the criminal though. Better them than us. A neighbor killed a man Christmas morning. So if you are going to keep a gun, be prepared mentally to go all the way if needed.

  49. This site is suppose to be about home security not shooting people. I agree with gun ownership but i would consider this protection more than security. Protecting your home and family is my most important goal. A couple years ago my wife and daughter were home alone and i was working night shift. I had a camera in the bedroom where i could remote view it and watch them sleep safely. One night i saw a shadow on the camera and soon realized a burglar was in my house with my family. I called 911 and by the time they got there my wife and daughter had never woke up and the burglar has slipped away. Long story short… he though he stole my DVR but instead stole the monitor only (dumb i know). So i started a security company shortly after that and now i design and sell wireless chips that connect to my alarm key panel and DVR. It sends me video snapshots to email so in the event my DVR is ever stolen they can not steal my email. After what happen to me i never leave my family alone at home overnight. I sleep with 2 rifles next to my bed now just in case my security alarm don’t work:) God bless and lets help each other stay safe.

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