Is your home secure?

Hello everyone!

Today, I will be talking about something which we generally ponder about when it is already too late. When I say “too late”, I mean that most probably, thieves have already paid you a visit and carried away a big fortune. Nothing illustrates that better than the creole expression: “Après la mort, la tisane”.

Some years back, when returning home back from work, my parents noticed that the back door was open, with the door lock in pieces. Nearly all jewellery and some cash have been carried away. We never got them back. Within a week, we got an alarm system installed, all doors secured (because since thieves came in, they probably made copies of the keys) and an additional lock (Cadenas) on some doors from the inside.

Since then, we feel much more secure while leaving home everyday. The first days after the installation, it is pretty painful because the alarms keep going on now and then. After some fine tuning, the alarm still goes off a few rare occasions (probably because of a window left open or some lezard or insect moving inside the house).

How does the alarm system work?

Technology keeps changing. New things are introduced, existing ones improved and more efficient. I will just rapidly go through a few techniques used :

The PIR (Passive InfraRed) sensor is a motion detector that uses infrared light. You probably seen them in bank : they have a red led light which goes on when you go pass them.

The Vibration sensors are installed on window security bars. The alarm goes on when the structure vibrates in the event a burglar is trying to attack the structure to enter the house or even when a huge lorry is passing by, causing windows to vibrate. That’s why there is some fine tuning to be done after the installation.

Magnetic field sensors are used on doors or windows. If the system is armed, the alarm is triggered whenever someone tries to open the door or the window.

Finally, each alarm system has access control keypads which allows you to key in your pass code to arm, disarm or trigger the alarm. Configuration of the alarm system is sometimes also done via this keypad. And just as your car alarm, you also get a pair of remote controls.

Don’t become parano by watching thieves disarming alarm systems in banks etc. Be prepared to face them. Are you?

Bad things happen when you really don’t expect them.

Bon weekend!

 

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  • Unfortunately this is a sign of our times in society, the necessity to protect. Remember the old days when backdoors were left open and neighbours were friendly? Nothing much left of that today. Economic hardship means that crime increases. What is alarming is that many of today’s burglary incidents are accompanied by violence. Which means we are now more likely to install security systems. However, as with any security system the weakest link in the chain is the human factor. People tend to compromise the system through error or by negligence. I read, in the newspaper, about a tourist in Mauritius who checked the security of his home, thousands of miles away, through his smartphone. The tourist witnessed his home being broken into and managed to alert neighbours who in turn called the police. The criminals were apprehended which has got to be a success story for the home security system.

  • Dogs, the cheapest of all alarm systems (if you’ve trained them). 🙂

    Got 8 of them posted in every direction of the house, all belonging to the… neighbours. 😀

  • selven

    Mine is secure 🙂 24 hour Neighbour Surveillance. 

    🙂 Burglars usually end up in hospitals there, and they know it 😀 for certain houses they prefer to just remain hungry for yet another day or be without drugs for yet another day.

    La Sourdine is kinda awesome in that sense, maybe your neighbour might be a hypocrite, but when it comes to show that he can beat your burglar to death or he can be better than you in detecting burglars they are the number 1. Plus .. whenever there’s such a thing :p usually its when you’ll see for the first time.. none hypocrite conversation between neighbours “ki pou fer ar li la, bizin taille so poignE sa, li vinn kokin ici!”

  • Sun

    Exactly same ‘configuration’. Except that there might be much more than 8 😛

  • Bernardo

    Do you have panic buttons in each of your rooms or your important rooms?
    And i’m sure you must have the ‘Silent Alarm’ code which would make extortionist think you have un-armed your security grid while you have actually sent a panic signal to your security team.

    You have also raised a good point in your article i.e. that the thieves were never caught. How about installing some cheap IP cameras connected to an old PC powered by a UPS. With that you’d be able to know the identities of the thieves if ever they forgot to put a mask or referred to themselves using their own names by inadvertence. These should not be too complicated to install yourself (DIY).
    There are also a couple of limited but nice Android software (example SpyCam) which start’s recording when motion is detected through the phone’s sensor. When recording starts, the screen stays black to avoid attracting attention. Nice stuff..

    Lastly you could set up classic booby traps like in “Maman j’ai raté l’avion/Home alone” and inflict some damage to the burglars in such a way that they’d be unable to carry their bounty back where they hideout. You’d have to be careful of not getting caught in your own traps though..

    Cheers,
    B.

  • Oh, the “Maman, j’ai raté l’avion” films. I love them!

  • Crusader

    Get a box that has “24/7 Alarm System” written on it and expose it on a wall, outdoor. Make it look like the one shown in the first picture above. I assure you that, on seeing the box, thieves wouldn’t even dare stepping into your house. And this, my friends, will be the cheapest alarm system you can get.

    OK, no jokes (though, if you think about it, what I said does make sense). I have set up a DVR and IR security cameras at a friend’s recently.

    Moderately geeky paragraph incoming;
    Nothing fancy, it was a made-in-china DVR made from open source hardware (well, you know how these OEMs make cheap products) It has ‘Braun’ written on it (www.brauninternational.com), but it isn’t real Braun, if you see what I mean, and costs a total of around Rs7000. To my surprise, the number of features of the DVR exceeded my expectations. It has 8 channels video input, 500GB of disk space, mic in, joystick for camera rotation, motion detector, siren output port, email sending system on alarm trigger, Ethernet and internet broadcast, and even comes with a Symbian and Android app on a mini-disc. It also has instructions on how to get the iPhone app from the app store so can see what’s going on at your house from anywhere in the world. The Symbian s60v3 app, which I tried work flawlessly. I’ve set up DynDNS with the router to which it is connected, port forwarded its port and could have access to its web interface from other internet-connected computers without any problems. The downside is that its PC app that comes with it works only on WinXP and its web interface requires ActiveX to work. Getting ActiveX enabled on IE, is a bit tricky.

    Anyway, if you have these IR cameras strategically well positioned around your house, and a DVR with software motion detector, you don’t need to have the rest (i.e. IR sensor, magnetic field sensor, etc…). What I’m saying is that if you know you have valuables a home or at your workshop/shop/small business it isn’t costly (~Rs7000 – Rs10,000) to set up a security system and is actually more worth it than you think.

  • Crusader

    I thought of it, but getting 8 IR IP cameras is actually much more expensive than getting an 8-channel DVR with normal 8 CCTV IR cameras.

    Wouldn’t it be cool to have a system where the doors and windows would lock automatically few minutes after a breach is detected and the burglars trapped inside the house. All we’d have to do is to wait to the police to take them out.

  • DemiGod

    not trying to be the odd one here but i guess it must be good to know. Ive got some friends who install alarms.. and they said that those who install those alarms also knows how to deactivate them, without a trace. Well, it sounds kinda logical. 🙂 Coupled with cameras, alarms are certainly the best security method for theft prevention. But i guess, trained dogs are also nice way to keep thieves at bay! 😀

  • Lina

    I believe that an Alarm system does figure among the strategies to discourage thieves from breaking in but above all I think that it is good to keep your mind at peace when you are leaving the house. There are many bungalows where I live which are all equipped with an alarm system as most of the time they are inhabited. When I started to live in this area I would go and look outside each time an alarm would go off as I thought that it was part of my “Neighbour watch” duties but I very rapidly understood that the house owners were very cosy in the “real” house most probably situated in the cities and would not have a clue how many times their alarms went off in a year as they come to their seaside bungalows only for Divali or new year for some cleaning ! So since then whenever I hear their alarm breaking off, I only change position to make myself more comfortable if I am in my bed or in my sofa !
    So people who want their property to be safe, please take a response service along with your alarm system. At least a security unit would come and check if everything is alright. Otherwise you might end up discovering your alarm systen in pieces because your neighbours were fed-up listening to your alarm sirene the whole night and someone really annoyed threw stones, big enought to break it once and for all !

    Otherwise I consider that dogs are the best alarms and motion sensing lights prove to be very efficient as well. And if you happen to be inside when the burglars break in then I would recommend my trick: a defence spray (uh.. its illegal though but you can easily manage to have one from abroad) and always have the cover of your pressure cooker (“couvertire tempo”) nearby. Trust me if you hit any part of the thief’s body with this super kitchen tool, I guarantee that he will blow off just like the air vent whistles when there is “dhal dans tempo”!

  • Moi mo dire nourrit ene toutou race bien feroce!!! Talking of dogs, what was PIF doing at that time hein??? :/

  • Home thefts are very common nowadays, it was about one month ago.. i was at home and someone broke into the garage and fortunately my aunt saw him and screamed before he ran away.. i believe that alarm systems are there for the protection of people when they are alone at home.. but i believe that thieves are one step further than alarm systems nowadays referring to the theft at pamplemousses bank 

    http://www.lematinal.com/mobile/faits-divers/13644-Le-voleur-change-davis-apres-avoir-brise-une-vitre.html
    i believe that alarm systems are not equipped with the technologies they ought to to stop Bulgar from getting into buildings and home.home should be equipped with sensors which are set to a reasonable frequency to detect the presence of thieves.. infrared cameras are ought to be used instead of cctv’s .