Why Home Security Advice Hasn’t Changed That Much


I remember being introduced to the basics of home security when my parents first started locking our doors before going to bed. That was in the mid-1970s, at a time when neighbors still knew one another, and kids could safely play outside until dark. How things have changed. Ironically, much of the home security advice experts passed out 50 years ago hasn’t changed all that much.

The way we implement that advice has changed along with emerging technologies. Yet the fundamental principles remain the same. Home security is about two main things: deterrence and opportunity. Increase deterrence and limit opportunity and you have a more secure home.

Advice for Deterring Criminals

Preventing crime is better than cleaning up afterward, right? Absolutely. So it makes sense to discourage criminals from even thinking about hitting your home. That is what the deterrence principle is all about. Deterrence strategies force a criminal to think long and hard about whether hitting your house is worth the risk.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Confuse – You can confuse criminals by making it more difficult for them to tell whether someone is home. Programmed lighting, moving cars around, and other strategies do just that.
  • Make Noise – Anything that will result in a lot of noise is highly effective at keeping criminals away. That is why alarm systems are loud. They draw attention to an unauthorized breach in progress.
  • Monitor – Keeping an eye on your home is another good strategy. Back in the 1970s we used to do that with community watch programs and neighbors watching out for neighbors. Today we do it with wireless cameras and monitored home security systems.
  • Create Threats – The threat of getting caught is a powerful deterrent. That’s why video cameras and security system monitoring are so effective. Criminals are less likely to hit a home protected by cameras and remote monitoring.

Companies like Vivint Smart Home offer all of these deterrents, and more, in complete and fully integrated home security systems. Some of them offer professional installation and monitoring while others are designed around the DIY concept.

Advice for Limiting Opportunities

Deterrent strategies are fairly effective at keeping criminals at bay. But more determined criminals might be willing to take their chances if the right opportunity presents itself. What does that mean to homeowners? It means limiting any such opportunities whenever possible.

A rudimentary example is closing the garage door. Believe it or not, an open garage door is an invitation to enter and look around. Things in the garage can quickly grow legs when there is an experienced burglar in the neighborhood. So why give burglars that opportunity? Keep the garage door closed whenever you are not entering or exiting.

Porch piracy is another fantastic example. Porch pirates succeed because opportunities abound. You do not have to give them any shots at your house. There are ways to handle package delivery that don’t involve leaving unattended packages on the porch. Take away that opportunity and you will never fall victim to a porch pirate.

Criminals Haven’t Changed

Wrapping all of this up is the reality that criminals have not changed over the last five decades. They still commit the same types of crimes much the same way they were committed 50 years ago. That explains why home security advice has not changed much.

Property crimes are pretty basic. Fortunately, preventing them is easier than it seems. By focusing on deterrence and limiting opportunities, any homeowner can win the fight against criminals. It just takes some knowhow, a little bit of diligence, and a few pieces of technology.

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