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How to Deter Burglars


The burglar has been watching the house for several nights and is ready to strike. The living room lamp surprised him last night when it turned on unexpectedly at 7:43 p.m. Tonight, the burglar figures the pattern will repeat itself and he can enter the empty home. But when the light switches on at 7:36 p.m., he moves on to an easier target.

Although the burglar stalking this home didn’t know it, the residents were actually away on vacation. They relied on lamp and appliance timers to create the impression that the family was at home.

Effective burglar deterrents

Household timers are an important element in securing your home and deterring burglars, but it’s essential to avoid an obvious timer-controlled look. In this case, the homeowners used a timer with a random pattern that varies the on/off times slightly each day. As a result, the intruder was frightened away.

Timers are most effective when they create the impression of movement throughout a home at different times of the day or night. To deter burglars, the best approach is to combine several timers so that they vary the times lamps and appliances operate.

For example, you can program a television or radio to turn on in the living room or den during the afternoon. After dark, lamp timers can be staged to imitate a normal pattern of movement from the kitchen and ultimately to bedrooms.

To deter burglars during vacation, consider using a variable timer that enables you to schedule different on/off times for each day of the week. A programmable 24-hour security timer is ideal for controlling entrance lights and other incandescent fixtures. Designed to replace a standard wall switch, it features up to 24 on/ off settings per day, as well as a random pattern setting.

It’s also a good idea to consider installing low voltage outdoor lighting to illuminate your walk and the perimeter of your home. Homeowners who like electronic devices will find several different electronic timers available.

Deterring burglars during vacation

If you’re planning a vacation, here are some simple home security measures before leaving town:

• Notify the police to check your house regularly during their patrols.

• Have the post office and your newspaper service hold deliveries.

• Arrange for lawn and shrubbery to be cut if you’ll be away for a while.

• Ask a neighbor to park a car in your driveway to give the impression that someone is home.

• Use a telephone answering machine, but don’t indicate you’re away from home.

Following these few simple home security measures can help deter burglars and reduce your chances of being robbed. After all, you want to make sure that while you’re taking some well-deserved time off, an intruder isn’t rummaging through your home taking some of your valuables.

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