"We have four boxes with which to defend our freedom: the soap box, the ballot box, the jury box and the cartridge box." - Congressman Larry McDonald M.D.
(1 April, 1935 - 1 Sept., 1983)


God Save The Republic

29 September 2010

Intrusion Detection Alarms

You've conducted a structural security survey, determined what are, and addressed your structure's weaknesses. Now what?

Some subjects, like this one, are difficult to discuss because of the vast number of variables (possible scenarios) one may be prepping to defend against. Call me paranoid, but I tend to discuss and prep for what I consider to be the absolute worse case; A societal collapse, triggered by any of a vast number of events. My thinking is that it's better to have it and not need it than to need it and be woefully screwed if you don't have it. For this reason, I tend to lean toward the possibility that certain forms of life's conveniences (ie. electricity / phone service) could suffer a disruption.

With this in mind, when discussing intrusion detection alarm systems, I think electronic alarm systems are great... right up to the point where the power goes out for a week or more and the backup battery power is depleted, usually in less than a week, rendering the system useless. Then too, any disruption in phone service can quickly turn a remotely monitored system into a monetary waste. I suppose then, I should say; electronic alarm systems are great, while operating under optimal conditions. Otherwise, they provide nothing more than yet another false sense of security.

Of course, an alarm system, even under optimum conditions, is a lot like a padlock. It's only real purpose in life is to keep honest people honest, and low tech criminals looking for "easier pickins." Just remember my wise old sagery; For every security measure you come up with, someone else has already come up with half a dozen countermeasures.

Of Bells, Lights, Signs, Sirens And Whistles

When considering intrusion detection systems, some folks believe having some form of annunciation device mounted outside the structure is advantageous. Flashing lights and / or loud noise will scare off an intruder and alert neighbors... right? I recall an instance where I had come upon a business, in the wee hours of the morning, where the front window was completely broken out and the alarm system exterior mounted bell was ringing loud enough to wake the dead. Neighbors in the numerous apartments above and to either side slept through it or just didn't care enough to call it in. In another case, a neighbor became so annoyed that he or she decided to "reset" a long ringing bell with a round or two from a shotgun.

For the most part, even your thirteen year old, who has watched enough TV crime dramas, knows you can defeat exterior mounted noise makers with a can of expanding foam caulking sold at any hardware store. As for flashing lights, well, that's what God invented pellet guns for.

Posting "warning" signs around your property is a good (and cheap) way for an alarm company to advertise their business. For the customer, it advertises to bad guys (1) you have an alarm system, (2) you must have valuables worth protecting with said system and (3) cut the phone line and get out that can of foam caulking before making entry.

FYI: Professional burglars are most active at night during periods of severe weather conditions. This is when alarm monitoring companies and police agencies are usually being swamped with weather caused false alarms and delayed responses.

Think Mechanical Rather Than Electronic

Subscribe to the K.I.S.S. principal (keep it simple, stupid) applications of mechanics. The first, and most important, idea here is; the only thing of real value you need to worry about is you and your family / co-dwellers lives. So the most practical application for an alarm system is to alert you to an attempt at intrusion while you are in the structure, and especially while sleeping. Something loud that will "wake the dead" and either (a) scare off the intruder or (b) cause him to hesitate, whether it be to weigh the option to enter or not, or to complete a spontaneous colon evacuation, thus giving you the advantage of time.

Creativity works, just plan it out well and test fire it. Then consider anything that would cause a false alarm. And beware of Hollywood ideas. For example, in the movie "Conspiracy Theory," Mel Gibson balances a glass beer bottle, mouth end down, on top of a doorknob. Bad guy tries door knob, bottle falls, breaks and Mel knows it's time to slip out the back. Cute trick, except, way too many variables in real life can cause the bottle to fall. (ie. thunderstorm, earthquake, a fly on the bottle, etc.)

Stacking empty food cans on the inside of a door is a good noise maker. But stick with food cans that are heavier, rather than the light weight beverage cans. Metal cookware suspended from a trip cord daisy chained across windows and a door could create a "protected zone." It's always a good idea to change the arrangement around from time to time to maintain the clandestine integrity of your devices. It's also a good idea to have a backup device in play. Mine is a Chihuahua that barks when he hears a flea fart from a block away.

I suppose at this point, it would be prudent of me to post this warning. Intrusion detection devices and intruder booby trap devices are two very different things. I am not aware of any place in this country where you wouldn't be found liable in a civil case, or guilty in a criminal case, if an intruder (including Osama bin Laden) were hurt or killed while entering a booby trapped structure, occupied or not. It would be totally on you to prove how your life was so endangered to justify a booby trap as a means of self defense.



  1. Big dog, with a big bark and big teeth.


  2. ...yep,Bob said it..."Dog"...never been without one...

    ...boobytraps on the otherhand,hehehe...mostly entry detection devices to the "yard" and driveway,through various paths..."flags" pop,so i know(but 'they' may not)...just enuff critter action to keep me practicing,is kinda cool...could be made anti personnel in,oh say,24 hrs(?)...anyway,detection devices should be all encompassing,if it's yours make sure you will know if it's been/being violated...

    ...Good Post(s) Brother...

  3. My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work! Intrusion Detection