Home security: Protecting your tech from theft

What is the best way to keep your stuff safe?

Several weeks ago my place was broken into…a very good set of cameras and lenses, my brand new hi-end Dell PC, and a number of other items of significant value including cash I was saving for a car were taken.

Now…in retrospect, I´m thinking about the various things I could have - should have - done to
a) prevent such a break-in
b) protect my possessions directly
c) be able to track and maybe find them again.

What do you all do…?
What suggestions do you have that may help others?
Have you experienced a similar problem?

Tips about software, hardware, alarms systems, video surveillance, hiding stuff, decoys, keeping pet alligators, guns under pillows, choosing safe friends or paying the local mafia…etc, post it here…

Could start by not advertising what you have -and a alarm systems great if you can afford another hundred bucks a month,thats for a company to monitor your home. A cheaper system just sets a larm to go off and hope it scares the jerks away.Any way if they want in they will get in ,just have a good insurance policy.Good luck

Yo Deano-

Keeping lights on outside in front and back and inside are the best initial deterrants.

Also helps the bad guys find stuff easier-eh!! :wink:

The light is a good one methinks:
I usually keep one on, but maybe better is one plugged into a timer, so that the light goes on “by itself”, and maybe a radio is plugged in too…

An alarm is def a good idea (I didn´t have one of course), and maybe doesn´t need to be too expensive: a burglar isn´t gonna know if it´s just a siren or if it´s connected to the local police station etc…so if it goes, there´s a good chance they´ll split immediately…I think.

What about a video camera system…real or fake?

It depends on where you’re situated and what your property is like but here are some of the things that the police recommend here in the UK.

[li]Install a security alarm with a visible box.
[li]Fit good locks to all your doors and windows. Door locks should be of the five lever mortice type.
[li]Remove all keys from locked windows.
[li]Keep valuables, valuable equipment or any keys (particularly car keys) out of view from doors and windows.
[li]Install security lighting but don’t make it too bright as this can dazzle onlookers and create dark shadows for burglars to hide in.
[li]Leave a light on in the house when you’re out or use a timer to control the lights.
[li]Gravel paths are a noisy deterrent and disliked by burglars.
[li]Thorny hedges are also a good deterrent.
[li]Lock ladders and tools away.
[li]Get a dog.
[li]Never leave a spare key under the mat/flowerpot etc. as burglars know all the standard hiding places.

Oh and has been said earlier get a good insurance policy in case none of that works. :wink:


A buddy of mine recommended a decoy idea

For example he leaves 20 bucks or so on his desk, and a worthless PC in his office whenever he is away for a few days. He reckons if anyone breaks in they´ll take the easy stuff and not think there is something more important hidden away, like the Macbook Pro under the mattress and $5000 hidden under a floorboard…

By the way, my thief took a failry cheap digital camera and didn´t even move the antique Leica camera directly beside it! :doh:

I got a great idea marry this gal she’ll brake their arms and legs.(7’4" and 320 lbs of fun)

[QUOTE=marloyd;2580599]I got a great idea marry this gal she’ll brake their arms and legs.(7’4" and 320 lbs of fun)[/QUOTE]

Dang! I reckon I know already who´s gonna be cleaning the bathroom and changing the diapers eh…:doh:

You do now don’t you(smile)

O on the security set ups it’s on how much you what to invest in.they have systems with switches on every door and window .and they have just a motion detector but it would not work if you got a pet.They have different alarm -bells- sirens too. On the door and window switches they have to run a lot of wires.

Solar sensor lights are also a good deterrent and are usually quite bright also, equiv. to 40 or 60 watt bulb for those priced £30+. These have the advantage of not requiring wiring, don’t cost anything to run and will also work during a power outage. For extra brightness, replace the supplied Ni-MH AA’s with pre-charged Ni-MH AA’s such as Sanyo Enloops. These don’t self discharge and have 3 times the capacity of the supplied batteries and thus the light will work very well through the winter. The last thing a criminal needs is to be made visible unexpectedly. :disagree:

I don’t think dummy cameras are worth installing. In my opinion, they give the impression that the household must guard something serious to be using CCTV.

Bell alarms tend to work best in rural areas where the neighbours know each other or where there is a good neighbourhood watch. For built-up areas, a monitored alarm would be better, as chances are that the neighbours will just ignore the alarm until it’s too late.

An indoor pet dog is also a good deterrent. Even if you don’t own a pet, it’s worth sticking a “Please beware of dog” on the door. :slight_smile:

Do your own security check.
Go outside and think of ways to enter your home if you lost your keys.
As you discover a way to get in think of how you would secure it. (make notes as you go so that you will not forget)
As you secure each entry point move to the next until you have come up with a plan to secure the premises.
Make entry to the rear garden/yard difficult, burglars don’t like to be seen while they work in case they get caught. They like to enter through the rear of the house because it is not usually overlooked, this allows them to take their time.
If you have a low wall or fence plant blackthorn, hawthorn or similar and plant a climbing or rambling rose to grow through it. It looks most attractive especially if you plant variety’s of early/late roses. Burglars don’t like to scratch themselves, poor little darlings, climbing through or over it.
Fit a really loud siren/s in the house triggered by sensors or an alarm.
I once entered a warehouse and I could not physically think because of the noise. I found where the burglar was when it went off because he sh*t himself before fleeing the scene.
Always remember though you must also consider safety if there was a fire you must be able to escape easily, your life is more valuable than your possessions.
Best of luck.

[QUOTE=bigmike7;2580581]Yo Deano-

Keeping lights on outside in front and back and inside are the best initial deterrants.

Have to agree. We have a light at the front of our building, and I have one outside my back door (Note to self: replace bulb. Thanks for the reminder Mike :)).

Window locks, and a decent deadlock on any outer door’s a good idea too.

Hehe, you should see the amount of security on my front door - peephole, chain, dead lock, Yale lock, and two bolts. Blame my landlords. :bigsmile:

Gotta protect the Verbies you know. :cool:

Wombler just about covers everything - I also leave my hallway + kitchen lights on.

Sorry to hear you got burgled :sad:, when I was young we got burgled about 6 times in as many months (dodgy area!), and it’s not a nice feeling. :frowning:

I have heard that some Mac users have a software that “calls home”…

…meaning that if the computer is stolen, the minute it goes online it can be traced or located. Does anyone have any experience with this, or know if it´s available for PC´s?

It won’t help now but two programs come to mind: LocatePC and Laptoplock.

As for home security I remember reading that the sound of a dog barking, even a recorded sound, is a very effective deterrent to home break-ins.

First of all, you cannot prevent break-ins. You can only make it very difficult and very time consuming, two things the common burglar hate.

To make it difficult for them, install correct locks on all doors that give acess. Use locks that do not have a single point of failure, like 3-locks. If the lock is stronger than the door, they will kick in the door.

To make sure they are visible, install lights that respond to human movement and place them on difficult reachable places so people cannot disable them quickly. Make sure to cover every possible entry of your house. Doesn’t need to be a big light, but make people visible.

Write down serial numbers of important possessions and store those in a protected environment on the internet.

Use a UV-marker to invisible mark your posessions. If you find them again, you just hold them against a UV light to prove they are yours.

Encrypt all your drives with the lowest encryption so that your data cannot be retrieved.

You could also install a webcam with ip connection to the internet. You can set it up to make pictures when it detects movement. Burglars may destroy your webcam quickly, but you have at least one picture of them. Make sure to protect it a little by puting it behind a glass or something and be as creative as a burglar when installing them (can you destroy or make then unusable with how much time).

And lastly but most importantly: Try to have people watch your house on a regular basis when you’re gone.

The insurance dude visited me today.

Apart from the preventive measures, his points:

[li]keep the receipts.[/li][li]record the serial numbers.[/li][li]photograph everything[/li][/ul]

…and keep these records in a safe place.

Yeah some good tips there.

I’d forgotten that but I’d already photographed all my equipment here myself. It’s been a while though so I must update those when I get a chance.

Needless to say it’s best if those photos are stored online or somewhere else, rather than on your PC, as the PC could get stolen.


[QUOTE=deanimator;2580829]The insurance dude visited me today.

Apart from the preventive measures, his points:

[li]keep the receipts.
[/li][li]record the serial numbers.
[/li][li]photograph everything

…and keep these records in a safe place.[/QUOTE]

Good tips indeed. I never think to photograph stuff, or record serial numbers, but I do keep receipts hidden away.


[QUOTE=Arachne;2581023]Good tips indeed. I never think to photograph stuff, or record serial numbers, but I do keep receipts hidden away.


Just after we moved in here I went around and photographed all the rooms with everything in place as well as keeping details of the more valuable items.

People that have been burgled quite often can’t remember everything that was there but photos of the room are a great memory jogger.