If you were a cop, how would you categorize burglars? There are numerous of possible answers, but we believe the best ranking is based on competency. According to our theory, there are the hardcore thieves who specialize in mansions or con people for thousands of dollars. Then there are the semi-pros who target mid-tier houses and are competent enough to carry out the action without getting caught. And lastly there are the rookies and opportunists who act on impulse.
When discussing security issues it pays off to first calculate the attacker’s skill level. A professional home security system is designed to counter even a well-planned robbery, but what about any alternative methods? Is a fake TV light or a dummy camera as effective as an alarm, or will you just paint a target sign on your property by opting for low-cost alternatives?
The Kevin McCallister Trick
A potential excerpt from the ‘Wet Bandits’ Handbook for Successful Robberies’ might claim that empty houses are primary targets for looting. But as seen in Home Alone, faking the presence of grown-ups – by turning on the TV and moving mannequins around on a train track – easily convinces the criminals to drive away. In real life we have more sophisticated tools at our disposal, ready to deploy before heading out for vacation.
Fake dog alarms are a cross between a record player and a motion detector, and when armed it plays the audio of an angry dog every time someone steps inside the sensory range. Leaving the TV on also seems to be a convincing sign that the building is occupied, but it would generate a horrific energy bill. A fake TV light is a much more sensible option because not only does it simulate the varied visual effects of a television but the built-in scheduler switches the device off after dawn.
Cheap Solutions May Backfire
The biggest issue with deterrents like these is that hardened criminals can easily see through them. If a small-time crook passes by on the street and sees the flickering light in the window they will probably choose another building, but pros would keep a constant eye on the neighborhood. Fake TV lights switch on and off at the exact same time and play no sounds, both signs that a careful thief could easily spot. The dog alarm can be just as easily debunked by stepping in and out of the sensory field. And if the jig is up, then the attackers will only double their efforts – perhaps even loot your house out of sheer spite.
There are other signs that could foil your carefully constructed illusion, too: newspapers piling up at the front door; the answering machine happily announcing that the residents are on vacation; or when you carelessly post images and messages about the travel on your Facebook account.
Man on the Curtain
The common mistake in these above-mentioned scare tactics is that they try to emulate the image of a lively household (with lights, a TV, or dogs) and not the residents themselves. Seeing the silhouette of a man appear in front of the window is far more convincing and burglars won’t hang around for fear of being noticed. A Japanese landlord has come to the same conclusion with his crafty invention that projects a literal shadow onto the curtain.
The appropriately named Man on the Curtain involves a smartphone-connected projector that features footage of a man’s shadow on a white background. The videos are 30-minutes long and each of them revolve around a mundane task such as vacuuming, dancing, walking around with a book, and the like. When the projector is pointed at the curtain it creates the illusion of the resident doing household chores, with their shadow appearing in the window. The inventor recommends the product for people living alone so they can fake the presence of a roommate.
Best Home Security Systems of 2018
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