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Ask Slashdot: Anti-Theft Products For the Over-Equipped Household? 408

Posted by timothy
from the exploding-dye-packs dept.
First time accepted submitter Dufflepod (3656815) writes "After yet another hardware purchase last week, I realized with some alarm just how drastically an enterprising burglar could increase the crapulence quotient of my life if they ever made off with my hardware. The house is alarmed, but much to my annoyance it isn't always set when people go out for any length of time. Ideally I want to 'alarm' the expensive items among my various PCs, UPS, NAS box, test equipment, and some of the sundry other gadgets & gizmos I require to stroke my inner geek. Over the past few days I have spent hours Googling for every combination of "anti-theft perimeter alarm radius motion detector vibration wireless" etc etc.. I have found various possible solutions, though the cost of some of them does make my eyes water (eg SonicShock @ €150/box). Has anyone out there decided to bite-the-bullet and protect their kit with decent alarms, and do you have any suggested 'do's & don'ts'?" So how would you secure valuable items, as opposed to securing the entire place?
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Ask Slashdot: Anti-Theft Products For the Over-Equipped Household?

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  • Don't. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mythosaz (572040) on Friday May 16, 2014 @01:44PM (#47019199)

    Yeah, don't.

    You can install FindMyWhatever on some items, but for the most part, you're wasting your time.

    Thieves look for targets of opportunity. Make your home less friendly. Place a camera in plain view and out of reach. Put up a beware of Doug sign and get a Glock window decal.

    If someone comes for your electronics specifically, it's an inside job. You can avoid that by screening your friends better.

    In the meantime, just do regular backups offsite.

  • Re:Don't. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by danomac (1032160) on Friday May 16, 2014 @01:46PM (#47019227)

    It kind of boggles my mind that after spending how many thousands on geek stuff/tech toys he balks at another 150 to try to protect them...

  • Re:Don't. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FuegoFuerte (247200) on Friday May 16, 2014 @01:50PM (#47019271)

    I disagree about the Glock window decal... That tells a certain percentage of burglars "hey, I have guns in my house... come steal them." Yeah, they could be in a safe, but that safe might not be bolted down, or they might not be in a safe because safes are expensive. So do without the decal.

    Totally agree with the camera though. Another option is to realize that if you're that concerned about your stuff, your life is probably pretty miserable. Keep a good itemized list with pictures and serial numbers, make sure your insurance company has a copy of that list and your coverage is sufficient, and go on about your business. Maybe sell some of it and get out more.

  • by JD-1027 (726234) on Friday May 16, 2014 @01:52PM (#47019287)
    1) Very consistent off site backups for data
    2) Full inventory of items you own
    3) If theft occurs, use home owners insurance to get your money back. You'll probably end up with a free hardware upgrade in the process.

    What is better?
    a) 100% chance of giving up your time and money now securing your items.
    vs.
    b) (very low)% chance of having to give up time if a theft does occur

    The cost of securing your items may balance out any deductibles you have to pay to have home owners insurance cover the lost items.
  • by guruevi (827432) <evi@smoking c u be.be> on Friday May 16, 2014 @01:56PM (#47019361) Homepage

    First of all, you balk at the cost of some of these solutions - yes, they are expensive and yes, they'll be mostly for added assurance that IF someone breaks in and IF the alarm wasn't set and IF the thief is even interested in it and IF the thief then decides to take it (lot's of if's). If your setup is mobile (eg. you're a DJ or mobile contractor) then those solutions are useful. But for the rest, they are merely added insurance and typically useless.

    I'd say, use an alarm system that you can connect to (some of the DIY systems do run Linux) and use some type of motion sensing timeout to set the alarm or use BT to check if someone is still in the house etc. etc.. There are a lot of cheap and creative solutions to this problem.

    Most thieves won't break in if you have an alarm (sticker), there are other, lower hanging fruit. A thief won't break in when you have a dog (again with the fruit thing). A thief will only take what's small and valuable (what's easily sold, what's easily carried). Most thieves aren't smart nor tech savvy and doesn't know that little black box costs $5000 but they'll sure destroy it regardless of whether there is an alarm attached to it (especially if there is an alarm attached to it).

    I'd say, stop worrying, take backups of your data off-site, get homeowners or renters insurance. The laptops/tablets/phones will disappear in any case, the UPS/PC/NAS most likely won't unless there is a group and they are actively clearing out the entire house (posing as movers to the neighbors). Thieves are also very destructive so regardless of what they take, they may destroy whatever you're trying to protect and a destroyed NAS is just as good as a stolen NAS. Theft recovery systems don't work because the police won't put in the legwork (see the recurring stories on MacBooks and iOS devices being located by the customer). The insurance will pay you back for the 'stuff', they can't recovery your data however and that is the case for fire, flood and other damage as well.

  • Re:Don't. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AdamThor (995520) on Friday May 16, 2014 @02:09PM (#47019491)

    Copying down serial #'s for your equipment is the action nobody ever takes. It's the low-hanging-fruit when it comes to theft preparedness.

  • Re:Don't. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lagomorpha2 (1376475) on Friday May 16, 2014 @02:34PM (#47019725)

    He's no more responsible for any acts committed by criminals than the gun itself is responsible for "causing" murders. You may as well say that if you don't shoot a burglar in your home and instead let him escape you're responsible for any homes he breaks into in the future because you could have stopped him.

    The only people responsible for crimes are the criminals committing them.

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