Great Cheap Ways To Make Your House Safer Hunt



  • Hi I found a great little freeware program. It is called CATSPY, and basically it uses your web cam as a security camera. when there is no movement in front of the camera the program is in idle, but if anyone or thing should pass in front of the lens the pc starts to record for as long as the movement continues. the image is then saved and can be viewed using windows media player. time overlap can be set manually and the files will be kept for a user-defined length of time, before being overwritten, this should ensure that the hard drive doesnt become stuffed with hours of useless video files. best of all, its totally free............or the cost of a camera if you dont have one

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    These are a good idea - in fact most webcams come with free software to allow you to record motion onto a PC harddrive. The upsides are obvious. The downsides are: you have to leave your PC switched on at all times (at least while you want to record) - naturally this costs extra money. AND if a burglar breaks in, what is one of the things they are going to steal? Your PC!

    The alternative is an Internet enabled video camera (or IP camera). Although more expensive, these ones allow you to connect them directly to a broadband router (modem), so you can have images sent to an external email account when motion is detected. No need for a PC on all the time (although your router and camera need power obviously). Plus if your PC or even the camera gets stolen, the images have already been emailed out of the building. There are IP cameras from Linksys, D Link, and others. Here's one:

    There were a couple of cases last year when people did jail time having been caught by webcams like this. In one the police knew who the guy was when the victim showed them the footage - when they went round the criminals house, he still had all the stuff he'd nicked and ended up doing 11 months inside.
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  • Any advice for my problem would be greatly appreciated.

    I have a wirefree response alarm on 418mhz. My problem is i have attempted to connect my shed to my house alarm, as we don't live on as estate i'm not sure a simple shed alarm would be loud enough. I have put a pir up but spiders keep setting it off, so i end up not setting it. I have though of a contact thingy on the door but there are glass windows down one side which would be the obvious entry point. I thought of putting vibration sensors on the windows but the company i bought the system from don't sell them and i can't find any other ones compatible with my system anywhere.

    I really need to alarm the shed as my husband is a joiner and keeps many tools in there, they are insured but i would much rather they didn't get stolen to start with.

    Any ideas anyone
  • kirstenmcg wrote:
    If you go to your local poice station (in Scotland anyway) you can pick up a little card that you simply fill in and return which notifys the police of your absence from your property whilst your away. Any police patrolling the area will also check on your property (i.e doors, windows, signs of disturbance). Its very reassuring, particularly to my 84year old gran leaving her house to go on holiday!!

    Lucky you Kirsten! years ago our local police offered the same service. Now you're lucky to see a police officer even if you have been burgled! (former PC)
  • skintchick
    skintchick Posts: 15,114 Forumite
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    You could be like me and have one of the local drug dealers move in next door - they don't !!!!!! on their own!

    Haven't read all this thread, but:

    Don't leave keys in locks of back doors

    Hide spare keys in kitchen cupboards cos burglars don;t look there

    Use lights on timers to make your house look occupied

    Have someone pop in when you're away and open/close curtains, turn lights on/off etc
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  • Michelle wrote:
    Lucky you Kirsten! years ago our local police offered the same service. Now you're lucky to see a police officer even if you have been burgled! (former PC)
    I haven't read the entire thread so this may have been mentioned - but it is a good idea to fit and use internal door locks. I was burgled once by someone who got in through a bedroom window. The police who came round pointed out that if I'd locked the bedroom door, once inside he would have stayed in that one room. He couldn't have broken the door down, because it opened into the room. If he pushed on it, he'd have had to push the door and the door frame right out of the wall. If he pulled on it, the door handle would have come off before the lock gave way.

    10 years later in a different flat, I heeded this advice and put locks on all 4 internal doors off the hallway. I went out one day having forgotten to use the front door deadlock, and when I got in, I found a burglar had come in past the Yale. Whoever it was then had a lucky dip of 4 unexpectedly locked inside doors, but no way of knowing which one the goodies were behind.

    After failing to break through the bathroom door (LOL! Pillock!), he did exactly as the police predicted: gave up, and did the neighbours instead. I lost nothing.

    One lock is enough on an inside door. If you drill it full of holes for top and bottom locks, you weaken it to the point where it may give way more easily.

    If you are doing up or refurbing the house at any point, I think it is worth paying that bit extra for solid wood doors, rather than the cheaper hollow ones they sell in B & Q and what not. Breaking through a 2-inch thick solid pine door is not trivial. If the scrote has to do that to get into every single room, he is just not going to bother.
  • gromituk
    gromituk Posts: 3,087 Forumite
    kalico wrote:
    Lastly, PIRs are useful, but often the best place to put them in a room (ie for best detection) might not be the place they can easily be seen if looking through the window. This is because they are not so effective if you walk straight towards them. Imagine a fan of invisible beams spreading out from them. Ideally, the intruder should walk across the beams. In some cases, it's worth fitting more than one in a room, if only so one can be seen from the outside.

    You shouldn't fit PIR detectors where they can be seen from outside, because then they can also be set off from outside by passing pedestrians, etc.
    Time is an illusion - lunch time doubly so.
  • gromituk
    gromituk Posts: 3,087 Forumite
    Another thought is to install the loudest possible siren INSIDE the house to make it uncomfortable or almost impossible for the intruder to hang around for long, because of the pain caused to his ears. I understand the limit of the normal sounders is about 125db. I wish I knew where I could buy a sounder which produces nearer to 150db or more.

    Instant and permanent hearing damage is not something you would want to inflict on a burglar, let alone yourself if it went of accidentally. The point about these sound bombs is that they mask other noises from the burglar, who therefore can't hear if the police are approaching.
    Time is an illusion - lunch time doubly so.
  • Chumfatty

    A burglar tried to get into our house last week. My wife heard a noise and went to the downstairs washroom to investigate. Pulled a curtain aside and found herself face to face with the vermin.

    He was not prising the window (PVC) open .... HE WAS REMOVING THE GLASS! So much for window looks. Luckily he decided to run for it. Next day I had all the window glass glued it.

    A neighbour also had this type of entry. They got in and took the keys to his Mercedes which they stole. And he and his family were asleep upstairs at the time.
    stay lucky!
  • kiwichick
    kiwichick Posts: 1,857 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    If you are doing up or refurbing the house at any point, I think it is worth paying that bit extra for solid wood doors, rather than the cheaper hollow ones they sell in B & Q and what not. Breaking through a 2-inch thick solid pine door is not trivial.QUOTE]

    Slightly off topic but the solid doors are much more of a deterent for fire as well. It will take longer for a house fire to burn through a solid door than it will a hollow one.
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  • eels_2
    eels_2 Posts: 41 Forumite
    I have a real thing about security. We have 2 timer lights in the front room & the curtains stay in the partially open position all the time (until my Mother vists!!). The house looks the same from the front whether we are in or not. The big TV is not facing the window & cannot be seen from the street. We have a hedge and you have to walk on noisy gravel if you want to actually peer into the front room.

    Our outside light by the front door comes on low at dusk and off at dawn but if someone approaches it comes on full, unfortunately I don't know who supplies them.

    Never close curtains when you are away. Burglars can walk around undetected.

    We have a velux window in the roof so I have a light on a timer in the hallway which comes on morning and evening. The light through the velux can bee seen from way down the street & also shines through the front door panel. Again, the light comes on and off at the same time whether we are there or not.

    When someone rings the front door bell I open the back door and speak to them from behind my 6 foot high wooden gates (with a line of communication holes cut at eye/speech level). Said gates have a lock and extra bolts top & bottom. They are also annoyingly close to the edge pf the carport roof & so not easy to climb over. I am always accompanied by 2 jack russel terriers who inevitably have a squabble when the doorbell rings. They are more likely to kill each other but any self-respecting burglar can't miss the canine aggression. If someone were to ask to use the phone/loo etc. I "couldn't let them in because of the dogs".

    Our garage windows are sand blasted glass which lets in as much light as usual but you cannot see a thing through them.

    I work from home so when we're away I put a lamp on a 7 day multiple timer in my office with the blinds closed because that light is always on and off at any time.

    Sheds and garage have locks and padlocks. Tools are always locked away.

    When we had to leave a motorbike out of the garage overnight & under the carport I put a windchime where someone would either knock it or have to mnove it if they tried to climb over the gate.

    Finally my next door neighbour empties the mailbox & waters the garden. Bless him, neighbours are one of the best defences.
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