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burglar-proofing my apartment

grungeboxgrungebox Registered User regular
edited September 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
Three apartments close to where I live have recently been broken into by burglars. My gf and I (we live together) wanted to try and add some measure of protection to our place. Peace of mind and all that. We live on the second floor, which helps, but there's the kitchen window and the patio sliding glass door that could be broken into easily. An alarm system is sort of cost-prohibitive (the quote was $150+$25/month, which is a lot on top of our other monthly bills), so I was thinking maybe a one-time cost like storm-proof windows might work. I have no idea what brands are good, where to get them, if they cost an arm and a leg, and so on...any help is appreciated.

Also, any other general tips would be good. Right now we make sure to keep the laptop hidden while we're gone, as well as the digital camera, and we don't have lots of loose change lying around or anything.

BTW, she owns the place, so don't worry about us violating lease agreements or anything.

grungebox on
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Posts

  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    For starters, you can get a sticker saying that you are protected (even if you aren't). Dead bolts or a chain may help some. Even one of those proximity lights can be helpful.

  • powersspowerss Registered User
    edited August 2007
    Okay, little - cheap - things.

    Buy fake alarm system stickers online, put them on all windows.

    Buy aux sliding window/door locks. They clamp onto the rail of the window/door and prevent forced entry.

    Get nice, heavy roman shades or curtains or something. Vault your place.

    Reinforce your main door - put these brass plates over your deadbolt that bolt into the door, making them much harder to kick-in.

    Also, many places cell DIY alarm systems. Pretty nifty, for a lot cheaper (you don't really require 24/7 monitoring, just a loud noise)

  • RiemannLivesRiemannLives Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Also: Get good renters insurance. It's cheap (I pay $140 a year for a really good policy). Check for things like whether it uses "replacement" or "fair market" value when reimbursing you. Also if that $20,000 of coverage actually has a limit of $1000 on computers or whatever.

    At least that way if someone does break in you're covered.

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  • RhinoRhino Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Get a big loud dog. They are ussually very territorial.

    Even a small dog would work, as long as it barks loud when people get close to the house... it won't protect them from breaking in, but would deter some thieves and also make you aware of them if you where home at the time.

    Get a "Beware of Dog" sticker/sign... put fake blood on it. :)

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  • supabeastsupabeast Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    When my home was broken into the police told us to have an alarm put in, and even if it is not monitored, the noise will usually scare off a burglar. Alarms just aren’t worth taking chances on.

    Dogs aren’t especially useful at keeping out burglars, because most people just ignore territorial barking dogs. And burglars know that most dogs are not vicious, and will walk right past a dog, steal your shit, and leave. Or worse, they’ll just break in and knock a dog unconscious with whatever hard object is at hand.

    As someone else pointed out, keeping your windows covered is a big help, but if you have small, expensive items around, especially laptop computers, iPods, etc., get a safe and keep them locked up when you aren’t using them. This is especially important if you live in an apartment building where maintenance people, exterminators, etc. can enter when you are not around, because organized burglary rings will get them to case out stuff worth stealing; the same goes for housekeeping services and employees of renovation companies, plumbers, electricians, delivery services, and so on.

  • CimmeriiCimmerii SpaceOperaGhost Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    There is some nifty stuff that you can get to put on your windows that prevents them from from shattering into a billion pieces when broken. It's basically a large sheet of clear plasticky stuff with sticky on one side. So if someone tries to break it, the plastic keeps it in place instead of the glass just dropping away, making it very inconvenient to deal with, which burglers don't like.

    This has been a drunk post by SpaceOperaGhost.
  • EverywhereasignEverywhereasign Registered User
    edited August 2007
    Keep in mind that just like a car, when you are thinking about security for a house it isn't about making it burglar-proof. That's impossible. If they really want to get in, they will.

    The idea is to make your place look more difficult and less worthwhile then your neighbour. So keep them in mind when you do all this. Just by keeping your expensive stuff out of sight and throwing up afew stickers you have dramatically decreased your chances of a break-in if your neighbour has a laptop sitting on his table and his sliding door has a whimpy little hook lock on it.

    Always compare your security to those around you, thats exactly what someone looking to break into your home is going to do.

    "What are you dense? Are you retarded or something? Who the hell do you think I am? I'm the goddamn Batman!"
  • noobertnoobert Registered User
    edited August 2007
    The idea is to make your place look more difficult and less worthwhile then your neighbour.

    Yep. Keep small expensive things out of sight, try and make it sound/look like someone is always home. Leave a light on when you go out, leave MP3's on random while you are at work etc. If you can bluff well enough you won't need to worry about actual security.

  • RohaqRohaq Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    When night falls and you switch the lights/TV/laptop/computer on, close your fucking curtains/blinds, people. Just as you can see pitch black outside with the lights on, people can see you clear as day with the lights on, and TVs/monitors in the dark just show people how much awesome stuff you have to steal.

    Spoiler:
  • JPArbiterJPArbiter Registered User
    edited August 2007
    For the front door in addition to the deadbolt you can get a latch style lock that exists only on the inside, (and can only be locked on the inside) that resists anything but a shotgun with a 3 oz slug. and if a burgler is using that you let them take what they want.

    Good strong screen on the kitchen window. a smart burgler will look at it and say "that is going to take to long to get into" some one intent on robbing a house is very time concouis. as far as the patio door, is it floor to celing glass?? You could replace it with a french door that has some bars over the window (they can be stylizied so it does not look ugly) Otherwise keep a metal rod and drop it in the area where the inner door slides. Triple paned storm proof glass will help too.

    You can get what are called "chirpers" which are basicly cheap wireless alarms for doors you can turn on and off by a switch. You open a door and seperate the magnetic connection, it will make a loud screech until the connection is made. it is not tied to a alarm company, but it can often stop an attempted robbery by scaring the fuck out of your potential assailant. Again people who prefer on robbing homes tend to want to get in and get out quickly and quietly. Home Invasions (robberies with the homeowner in the house) are rarer then media leads us to believe.

    Finally if you are willing to, and comfortable with the fact that you may just have to use it, get a gun liscecnce. a .45 hollow point round will ruin a robbers day, but you have to be ready to pull the trigger. otherwise ignore that last bit of advice

    Sinning since 1983
  • qnx_guyqnx_guy Registered User
    edited August 2007
    I just wanted to point out that getting a gun to prevent burglaries is a poor idea at best. If you aren't home you just gave a brand new gun to a burglar, and if you are, you aren't going to get the gun, load it (because you shouldn't keep it loaded for safety's sake), and pointed in the right direction before the burglar has already beaten you up, or shot you himself.

    I also wanted to pass along that my house was burglarized about a year ago. It was winter, so there was snow on the ground. I had a back door that was glass down to the halfway point. I knew that was dangerous, so I put one of those deadbolts with a key on both sides. The thought behind those is that the burglar will break the glass, not be able to unlock the door, and move on. Well, my burglar broke the glass, couldn't unlock the door, broke out more glass, and then crawled through the opening. Oh, and did I mention that I have a 70 pound rotweiler / German shepherd that barks at cars parked across the street? I only lost $2,000 worth of stuff, but I think that was because they had to walk out the front door because they couldn't find my key to get out the back door.

    Basically, you can't make your house burglarproof. Put a dowel in the rail of the sliding glass door at night. Even better would be to get a real locking bar for it. On the second floor you don't really have to worry about anyone breaking in a window or that glass door. If they're carrying a ladder around to get into a second floor apartment, they don't care what anyone sees or hears them doing.

    If you're going to reinforce the locking areas of your door, don't forget to reinforce the door frame, not just the door. Also, make sure your deadbolt is one of those 1.5 to 2 inch ones, not a puny 1/2 inch one. Other than that and the suggestions above, there's not much you can do if someone really wants in (as my story above shows).

  • grungeboxgrungebox Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Thanks for all the tips. I'm almost certainly not going to get a gun, but the pseudo-alarm system sounds good, as does renter's insurance. The back patio door is floor-to-ceiling glass, with a screen door that also slides. I'm most worried about that; the kitchen window takes some acrobatics to sneak through, and the other windows are not close to a ledge. The bar/dowel is a good idea, and I'll get that this weekend.

    JPArbiter, do you know if triple-pane glass is really expensive or not?

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  • FatsFats Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    One thing that hasn't been mentioned, take a look at the screws in your deadbolt strike plate. They should be 3+ inches long, so they go through the door jamb and into the frame, but in most apartments I've lived in they're not. A 1 inch screw that's only in the door jamb won't hold anything out.
    load it (because you shouldn't keep it loaded for safety's sake)

    That kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

    Edit: Oops. emot-can.gif

  • qnx_guyqnx_guy Registered User
    edited August 2007
    Of course keeping it unloaded defeats the purpose of stopping a home invasion. But, if you keep the gun loaded you're much more likely to accidentally shoot yourself when you forget the gun is loaded than you ever are of actually being involved in a home invasion. And that doesn't even go into gun safety if there's a child in the house (which I doubt, but the OP didn't mention one way or the other).

    Basically, unless you have a reason to think you'll be attacked in your house at any moment, breaking gun safety "rules" just doesn't make sense.

  • arod_77arod_77 __BANNED USERS
    edited August 2007
    qnx_guy wrote: »
    Of course keeping it unloaded defeats the purpose of stopping a home invasion. But, if you keep the gun loaded you're much more likely to accidentally shoot yourself when you forget the gun is loaded than you ever are of actually being involved in a home invasion. And that doesn't even go into gun safety if there's a child in the house (which I doubt, but the OP didn't mention one way or the other).

    Basically, unless you have a reason to think you'll be attacked in your house at any moment, breaking gun safety "rules" just doesn't make sense.


    This isn't how it works.

    At all.

    glitteratsigcopy.jpg
  • qnx_guyqnx_guy Registered User
    edited August 2007
    arod_77 wrote: »
    qnx_guy wrote: »
    Of course keeping it unloaded defeats the purpose of stopping a home invasion. But, if you keep the gun loaded you're much more likely to accidentally shoot yourself when you forget the gun is loaded than you ever are of actually being involved in a home invasion. And that doesn't even go into gun safety if there's a child in the house (which I doubt, but the OP didn't mention one way or the other).

    Basically, unless you have a reason to think you'll be attacked in your house at any moment, breaking gun safety "rules" just doesn't make sense.


    This isn't how it works.

    At all.

    Exactly what was wrong with what I said? Are people getting attacked in their home all the time, and I'm just missing it? Or was it the part about keeping it unloaded?

    I'm pretty sure if you're worried about a home invasion, you're probably worrying about the wrong thing. Now, if it was the unloaded advise, that is more up for debate. I'm not one of the crazies that think you should keep the gun locked in a box with a trigger guard in a closet, with the ammo locked in a different box buried in the back yard, but you should take some precautions. If you're careful, keeping a loaded gun is no big deal. Just keep the safety on and remember. Besides, you should always check a gun, even if you "know" you don't keep it loaded.

    But, if the only reason you're keeping it loaded is to react to an unlikely occurrence, you have to ask yourself, if someone breaks into the house at a random moment in time, are you likely to be able to get the weapon and use it before they've had a chance to overpower you? It's just not likely keeping the gun loaded is the real issue there.

    But, this is seriously derailing a thread that's already been "solved", so there's really no point in continuing.

    P.S. Feel free to PM me if you feel I'm seriously mistaken on gun safety.

  • Omnicron9999Omnicron9999 Registered User
    edited August 2007
    Aside from all of the gun related info, take that as you will. The other advice here has been great.

    I was broken into a few months ago. My GF and I left our bathroom window unlocked while we were both at work. We reported it to the police and had a really nice detective come and investigate and give us some tips. We were really lucky and lost nothing valuable, but we learned alot.

    I'm not sure how it is where you are, but obviously keep any vulnerable windows and doors always locked and curtained. We got broken into because of an unlocked window on the fire escape.



    THIS ONE IS IMPORTANT!
    Any significant personal documents should be hidden! IDs, Passports, Blank Checks, Social Security Cards, etc. We were advised to keep all of these really hidden. Identity theft is bad.



    He suggested kitchen items. Put them in a box of cereal (outside the plastic), in other empty boxes, etc.

    Renters insurance is also necessary. Take pictures and an inventory of expensive and important items.



    Just a small note. Pets can work against you. Pet owners are more likely to disregard strange noises.
    *Strange Noise*
    "Oh that was just the (cat/dog/whatever), we don't need to investigate."

    -Life stolen-

    It can totally go both ways, I'm not saying no to them, I'm just saying keep this type of anecdote in mind.


    I'm in a pretty B&E heavy area. If you want any more info let me know.

  • ChlupululuuChlupululuu Registered User
    edited August 2007
    yeah, i dont think dogs are that useful... My dad had a friend who lived in a really bad part of town. His house was broken into 3 times over the period of a month, so to try and deter these crimes he bought 2 dobermans. Next time his house was broken into, they just stole the dogs too...

  • WeeSneakWeeSneak Registered User
    edited August 2007
    The best idea is probably to get alarm stickers, see, unless youve got some golden bars and a sofa made out of 20 dollar notes the burgular will take or leave your house. Its all about deterrents, if they think it will be too much hassle, then they'll just find a house that has no security.

    Get a fake Alarm box, they even have lights and everything.
    Alternatively get a fake CCTV Camera, again, these usually have lights so people think they are working.
    A chain for your door with a padlock, these are really only useful for double doors (Wrap them around both handles).
    The best thing i can reccomend is door alarms, these are pretty cheap, they are basically magnets, one part goes on the door and the other on the doorframe, if the door is opened while its activated, the alarm goes off.

    sigmh7.jpg
  • Peter PrinciplePeter Principle Registered User
    edited August 2007
    "A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business." - Eric Hoffer, _The True Believer_
  • corcorigancorcorigan Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Cimmerii wrote: »
    There is some nifty stuff that you can get to put on your windows that prevents them from from shattering into a billion pieces when broken. It's basically a large sheet of clear plasticky stuff with sticky on one side. So if someone tries to break it, the plastic keeps it in place instead of the glass just dropping away, making it very inconvenient to deal with, which burglers don't like.

    My school installed those just before I left. Stops little kids running at 1st floor windows and falling 3.5m onto concrete. They just shatter instead and stay in place. Useful (although less so if there's a fire or something and you need to get out).

    They can also be got in reflective versions, which is good for stopping people seeing in, and for climate control inside. My school also got rid of all of its dirty, 30 year old blinds at the same time.

    Ad Astra Per Aspera
  • Peter PrinciplePeter Principle Registered User
    edited August 2007
    Cimmerii wrote: »
    There is some nifty stuff that you can get to put on your windows that prevents them from from shattering into a billion pieces when broken. It's basically a large sheet of clear plasticky stuff with sticky on one side. So if someone tries to break it, the plastic keeps it in place instead of the glass just dropping away, making it very inconvenient to deal with, which burglers don't like.


    Link?

    "A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business." - Eric Hoffer, _The True Believer_
  • JPArbiterJPArbiter Registered User
    edited August 2007
    grungebox wrote: »
    Thanks for all the tips. I'm almost certainly not going to get a gun, but the pseudo-alarm system sounds good, as does renter's insurance. The back patio door is floor-to-ceiling glass, with a screen door that also slides. I'm most worried about that; the kitchen window takes some acrobatics to sneak through, and the other windows are not close to a ledge. The bar/dowel is a good idea, and I'll get that this weekend.

    JPArbiter, do you know if triple-pane glass is really expensive or not?

    typically about $189 before labor per window

    Sinning since 1983
  • ThomamelasThomamelas Bro!Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    WeeSneak wrote: »
    The best idea is probably to get alarm stickers, see, unless youve got some golden bars and a sofa made out of 20 dollar notes the burgular will take or leave your house. Its all about deterrents, if they think it will be too much hassle, then they'll just find a house that has no security.

    Get a fake Alarm box, they even have lights and everything.
    Alternatively get a fake CCTV Camera, again, these usually have lights so people think they are working.
    A chain for your door with a padlock, these are really only useful for double doors (Wrap them around both handles).
    The best thing i can reccomend is door alarms, these are pretty cheap, they are basically magnets, one part goes on the door and the other on the doorframe, if the door is opened while its activated, the alarm goes off.

    The fake CCTV camera is a bad idea. It just opens you up to potential lawsuits if something happens and it doesn't record the event. Which no fake CCTV camera ever will.

  • ppd1000ppd1000 Registered User
    edited September 2007
    Last summer my parents house was broken in to, best idea is to make sure all doors and locked and windows closed at night (they got through the front door) make sure all valubles are out of eye sight, and use those sheets on the windows, this will stop a thef as it could seriosuly delay them, plus a fake burgular alarm is an good idea.

  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    One thing that hasn't been mentioned is don't have scummy friends. The majority of B&E and burglary (shit, most crime in general) is not random -- it's a friend, or a friend of a friend, or an acquaintance of a buddy, etc. People will not break into a house if they have no idea if anything of value is there. Similarly, don't answer the door for door-to-door people, or if you DO answer the door, only open it a crack and shoo them away.

    I live in Baltimore, and while there is some random crime, I'd guess about 99% is drug related. Someone stole from someone else or knows a guy who's messed up and someone gets angry and suddenly blam, another murder. Or they have some friends over who casually do drugs and those friends are looking to score so they tell their dealer a place where they can steal some stuff, giving them the times you're out of the house.

    Random crime is rare, but as mentioned above, random criminals will go for the low-hanging fruit. If someone left $10 out on their front porch, but the neighbor had a $20 on the table in their living room (visible through the window), the criminal would likely just take the $10 because it's easy. That means that they will check a block or two for unlocked windows before even considering breaking one, because it's MUCH easier to just slide inside undetected compared to breaking a window open.

    So don't leave important things lying about, make sure you lock your doors and windows every time you close them, maybe get some stickers if you want to look more like a deterrent.

    || Flickr — || PSN: EggyToast
  • WeretacoWeretaco Cubicle Gangster Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I sort of lucked out in the apartment I moved into recently. We are ground floor, in the worst part of the city (new building, they're tryign to clean up the area and such)

    The first guy who rented the place worked for a security company and would go away for a couple weeks at a time. He spruced up the security nicely.

    A) We have a monitored alarm (most normal alarms are responded to since most of the time it's a false alarm, so a verified response has a better chance of the cops showing up)

    b) On the outside of the sliding glass, you can install something to prevent a thief from just lifting out the sliding door (it's apparently surprisingly easy)

    c) we have locks for the handle and along the bottom of the sliding glass, though a wooden dowel will do the trick.

    d) and lastly, in the bedroom and sliding door we have a bar system up. You can see it here. The fact that it matches the blinds is nice because I don't even notice it anymore and it's nice to have the extra security.
    IMGP1730.jpg

    Oh.. one other thing. Apparently the chains that most people have on their doors are completely useless since they screws usually one going like half an inch into the door so they can be kicked in easily.

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  • LeitnerLeitner Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    supabeast wrote: »
    Dogs aren’t especially useful at keeping out burglars, because most people just ignore territorial barking dogs. And burglars know that most dogs are not vicious, and will walk right past a dog, steal your shit, and leave. Or worse, they’ll just break in and knock a dog unconscious with whatever hard object is at hand.

    This isn't true, at all. A dog is an especially effective deterrent (especially larger breeds, German Shepherds and up). I wouldn't, however, recommend getting a dog simply as a burglar deterrent.

  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    THIS ONE IS IMPORTANT!
    Any significant personal documents should be hidden! IDs, Passports, Blank Checks, Social Security Cards, etc. We were advised to keep all of these really hidden. Identity theft is bad.

    He suggested kitchen items. Put them in a box of cereal (outside the plastic), in other empty boxes, etc.

    I had heard that this was a bad idea myself. I mean, it used to be a good idea, but then everyone caught on, including the thief.
    Instead, invest in a good safe, one that is bolted to the floor (to prevent the safe from being removed and opened at leisure), and then use it.

    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
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