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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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  • Re:Don't. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lgw (121541) on Friday May 16, 2014 @01:56PM (#47019341) Journal

    Understand how thieves work and think. I've live in bad neighborhoods (bullt holes in the walls bad) before without worrying about my place getting burgled thanks to leveling on the second floor. Seriously. A staircase to climb is sufficient deterrent for a sufficient % of criminals looking for a quick score.

    Plus, a thief looking for a quick boost doesn't want to spend much time in your place. The electronics I care about are kept awkwardly large and heavy, while a couple of valuable-seeming small items are left scattered about.

    I don't have jewelry, and some robbers will ransack the place until they find the goods, so I leave about $200 in cash in a drawer where it's easy to find. According to the experts I've read, that's an ironclad defense. The thief will take that wad of cash as his victory and leave promptly, as long as the place doesn't seem nice enough that he keeps looking for more.

  • Re:Don't. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jeff Flanagan (2981883) on Friday May 16, 2014 @02:19PM (#47019587)
    That's unfortunate. Your friend is now responsible for any harm caused by not securing his gun. He'll never know it, and probably isn't evolved enough to care, but he's likely to be responsible for murder.
  • Re:Don't. (Score:5, Interesting)

    You're right about leaving a windfall in an easy to find location, but I've got a few stories that go against your main argument.

    When I was living in a ground floor suite, someone grabbed a ladder, propped it up against the 2nd floor balcony, and then proceeded to move everything of potential value onto a blanket in the middle of the tenant's living room floor. I interrupted the job by coming home early, so they only made off with what they could carry in their hands -- which happened to be a CD organizational case with the jewel cases loaded and a jar full of pennies.

    Unfortunately for them, the tenant had just moved all of their CDs from the cases to a binder, so all they got was the cases and a jar of pennies.

    But the point is that you have to be on the third floor or higher and away from the stairwell (I've been in a number of places where there's been forced entry to the apartments beside the stairwells) if you want to avoid being low hanging fruit.

    You have a number of types of house thieves.
    1) addicts looking for something to pay for their fix. These are by far the most common. Give them something easy to take that appears to be worth more than their next drug fix, while not looking like a good place to return to is a good defense here.
    2) professional thieves who case out an area and raid it methodically. They'll often come back to the same place multiple times, giving you time to get your stuff replaced by the insurance companies first (as they know your place will now contain brand new items). Not having expensive stuff easily visible from the street is the best defense here. Oftentimes, these guys pose as security system installers (or sometimes ARE contract installers), or something similar, to get a view inside the houses.
    3) people you know somehow, often related to #1. Someone who for some reason has had opportunity to case the inside of your house. Oftentimes, these people steal purely based on opportunity (they know the alarm's off and you have something valuable in place X that they can easily walk off with, right when they need the money).
    4) gang related thefts -- often also related to 1, and sometimes 3. This is the biggest "pick your friends" item.

    So don't leave your electronics in plain view and don't have a reputation with friends for having really expensive electronics, leave $100-200 worth of replaceable stuff that is just the right size to carry (without allowing to grab for anything more easily) around within easy access of a quick exit, have steel door frames and decent locks, secure your windows decently, and live beside someone who's a better target and in a neighborhood that isn't a good target. The closer you can get to that, the safer you are.

    Of course, being an electronics geek, you could make your own perimeter defense system -- I did that for my room when I was a kid; a few optical sensors, contact plates, etc. and a simple electronics kit and I had a very effective "don't touch my stuff" system. It was also useful for protecting against people that might just want to "borrow" or play with it, which is the more realistic threat to electronics than a burglary.

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