A grassroots organization focused on the intelligent and sustainable development, preservation and revitalization of Tulsa.
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
February 25, 2020, 08:52:27 pm
Pages: [1] 2 3   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Porch Light, Yard Light, and Security  (Read 14568 times)
patric
T-Town Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 7479


These Aren't the Droids You're Looking For


« on: October 19, 2010, 02:17:08 pm »

(Moved from the PlaniTulsa discussion on street lighting)

Ha! I didn't listen to Patrick about outdoor lights. Silly me. Friday
night a young couple parked their car in front of the home next to me
and proceeded up the steps to my front porch where they commenced taking
all the Halloween decorations my lovely wife had smartly arranged. This
was about 8:00pm. I had left the front porch light on, the car port
light on and of course my motion detector floods activated.

That made it very easy for them to see what they wanted. Unfortunately
for them, I was at my desk using the laptop and I saw them clearly
through the partly open blinds. They looked in the front door but
neglected to seem me in the office.

So, I jumped up and chased them off the porch. Tackled the young man
while his girlfriend jumped in her car and tried to leave. By the time
we hit the street he had lost his hat and glasses and started making
lame excuses for their behavior.

I had the jump on him but let him go. His girlfriend came back to get
him. He returned twice more and once attempted to engage me in
fisticuffs. Even though I had a couple snorts of a very fine Vodka, he
knew he had imbibed even more and wasn't up for it. I gave the hat and
glasses to the cop who responded.

Sooooo, now I keep the lights off and depend on the motion detector to
tip me off. It lights the yard but not the house. Even old farts learn
eventually.

WB, I think you got a couple who evolved from the shallow end of the
gene pool.  I still think a porch light is a great deterrent to
most potential thieves or vandals.  Given a choice I personally
believe most burglars would prefer to have as little light to be
identified by as possible.

I know this will probably make Patric pass out but I have two (front and
back) mercury vapor lamps that shine like the sun in my yard.  Turned on
at night; have a photosensor to turn them off during the day.  I prefer
safety.

Conan, I agree a modest porch light serves a useful purpose under most
circumstances, if installed correctly.
Waterboy's case was an exception because, as he noted, it made goods
easier to spot from the street, creating an opportunity.

By "modest porch light", I would be suggesting a lower lamp wattage just
bright enough to be able to safely navigate the porch, steps, furniture,
and be shielded in a way that it doesnt cast glare as you approach, or
shine in/on your (or your neighbors) windows.  Less is better here.
If a motion-detector light accomplishes the same goal, that's worth
considering (You can even buy porch lights that brighten as they sense
motion).

The reason you would not want to over-light your porch or entrance is that your eyes
will adjust to the brighter foreground, and everything beyond that will
appear darker -- which some people mistakenly try to "fix" with an even
brighter porch light, only making the problem worse for themselves and
their neighbors.

That's part of the flaw in Hoss's setup with the Mercury Vapor lights
that "shine like the sun" in his yard, and likely his neighbors yard and
windows.  The neighbors may be too polite to say anything, and just use
thick drapes or blinds to deal with the problem.  Unfortunately that
solution eliminates those neighbors as "friendly eyes" that could have
otherwise observed any suspicious activity on Hoss's property, as does
the blinding glare of the unshielded fixtures make it harder for
passersby and police to see anything amiss.  Look at all the cars that
are vandalized in glaringly-bright car dealership parking lots, or the
air conditioners stolen under bright floodlights at schools; all lit up
and no one looking but the bad guys.

On a broader scope, Mercury Vapor "farm lights" are out of scale with
residential neighborhoods, their presence implying "high crime area" and
possibly reducing property values.

"Farm Lights" wouldnt have helped in Waterboy's case, either.

The bottom line on any sort of lighting intended for security
is that lighting alone isnt a deterrent, but rather the expectation that
being more visible will contribute to detection.


The most massive light you can install wont repel evil, unless there is
someone nearby who is able to make use of that light to detect a
problem.  The key then is to arrange lighting to optimize human vision
-- to make it easier for you and your neighbors to be able to look out
your windows and see any activity.  You do that by eliminating glare and
maintaining a brightness that supplements -- not overwhelms -- the area.

Motion detector lights are still a good tactic, not so much to "fool"
bad guys but to upset their confidence of not being detected with the
abrupt addition of light.  A light coming on also attracts the attention
of those "friendly eyes" who might then notice more details, such as a
strange vehicle or someone near a door.  Some motion detectors can send
signals through house wiring to sound chimes or turn on other lights.
If you do use motion detectors, adjust them so they dont cast glare at
potential witnesses (or you) and that the detector isnt cranked up to go
off with every passing car or dog.

Back to Waterboy's Haloween decorations...
Holidays are times when we decorate with lights, and those
decorations are vulnerable to mischief, so the game changes slightly.
Had the decorations been on the lawn with a floodlight, it would have
probably been the same.  The only recourse would be vigilance, and some
good neighbors.


Logged

"Tulsa will lay off police and firemen before we will cut back on unnecessarily wasteful streetlights."  -- March 18, 2009 TulsaNow Forum
Conan71
Recovering Republican
T-Town Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 29312



« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2010, 02:37:53 pm »

Patric, good discussion.  One other deterrent, which still is no guarantee 100% of the time is having a security system and having it posted on a small sign and window/door decals.  It's kind of like a lock on the door though, it's good at keeping the majority of people from wandering into my house, but still won't keep out some crazy SOB who wants to know if I really do serve intruders lead for dinner.

If I had to guess, a loud siren is far more effective than a monitored system (I have both) since anyone who breaks into a home with an alarm knows they've got a head start on the cops of 5 to 45 minutes on a monitored system.  If a loud siren goes off, unless there's something of value within a short reach, they will run like hell when it goes off.

Basically, I do these things because I figure it makes my home appear less worthwhile than my neighbor whose house is always dark and has no alarm system.
Logged

"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first” -Ronald Reagan
custosnox
Fly in the Ointment
City Father
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3060



« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2010, 04:39:04 pm »

Patric, good discussion.  One other deterrent, which still is no guarantee 100% of the time is having a security system and having it posted on a small sign and window/door decals.  It's kind of like a lock on the door though, it's good at keeping the majority of people from wandering into my house, but still won't keep out some crazy SOB who wants to know if I really do serve intruders lead for dinner.

If I had to guess, a loud siren is far more effective than a monitored system (I have both) since anyone who breaks into a home with an alarm knows they've got a head start on the cops of 5 to 45 minutes on a monitored system.  If a loud siren goes off, unless there's something of value within a short reach, they will run like hell when it goes off.

Basically, I do these things because I figure it makes my home appear less worthwhile than my neighbor whose house is always dark and has no alarm system.
I think a yard sign is more noticable than a window sticker, which is what we had when the thugs kicked in my door last year.  The (at the time) unmonitered security system didn't do much good either since TNT disables the system completely if you turn off your monitering service, so you don't even get the nice sirens.
Logged
nathanm
T-Town Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 8240


« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2010, 04:54:46 pm »

I think a yard sign is more noticable than a window sticker, which is what we had when the thugs kicked in my door last year.  The (at the time) unmonitered security system didn't do much good either since TNT disables the system completely if you turn off your monitering service, so you don't even get the nice sirens.

That makes me happy the folks who installed my alarm system didn't change the installer code. Tongue
Logged

"Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration" --Abraham Lincoln
SXSW
City Father
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4019


WWW
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2010, 07:48:37 am »

I'd be interested in seeing the statistics of houses broken into that have the sign out front and working security systems.  I would bet it's extremely low.  I asked my neighbors if they had ever been broken into (they have lived in their house since 1968) and they said no, but their car was broken into in the early 90's.  They have a sign and alarm.  They said the neighborhood (Cherry Street/Swan Lake) was more rough in the 70's and 80's before yuppies and young families started moving back in.
Logged

 
Conan71
Recovering Republican
T-Town Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 29312



« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2010, 09:36:18 am »


A web site I stumbled on to claims a house without a system is 2.7 times more likely to get burglarized.  Of course that's a web site for an alarm company.
Logged

"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first” -Ronald Reagan
custosnox
Fly in the Ointment
City Father
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3060



« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2010, 11:11:00 am »

I used to watch this show called "to catch a theif..." which had an ex-theif that would break into peoples houses to show them how unsecure their homes where.  Of course the host of the show would get the homeowners to agree to it, and take them to watch the whole ordeal from a van while the theif broke into their homes and robbed them.  Afterwards they would go back to the house and the theif would bring back everything he took.  Then the host would do a home renovation and bring security up to date and show the homeowners things they could do to protect themselves.  Afterwards the theif would return, at a random point in time, and check the security.  One constant they did was installing an alarm system.  The show was a real eye opener.
Logged
patric
T-Town Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 7479


These Aren't the Droids You're Looking For


« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2010, 01:00:52 pm »

I used to watch this show called "to catch a theif..." which had an ex-theif that would break into peoples houses to show them how unsecure their homes where.  Of course the host of the show would get the homeowners to agree to it, and take them to watch the whole ordeal from a van while the theif broke into their homes and robbed them.  Afterwards they would go back to the house and the theif would bring back everything he took.  Then the host would do a home renovation and bring security up to date and show the homeowners things they could do to protect themselves.  Afterwards the theif would return, at a random point in time, and check the security.  One constant they did was installing an alarm system.  The show was a real eye opener.

I remember that show.  They would break into a home in the afternoon (when most burglaries take place) and for the security renovation, install lots of floodlighting as a cure.  It was very superficial, and the content was heavily influenced by their sponsors.
Logged

"Tulsa will lay off police and firemen before we will cut back on unnecessarily wasteful streetlights."  -- March 18, 2009 TulsaNow Forum
patric
T-Town Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 7479


These Aren't the Droids You're Looking For


« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2010, 01:28:19 pm »

unmonitered security system didn't do much good either since TNT disables the system completely if you turn off your monitering service, so you don't even get the nice sirens.

TNT told me some time ago they only monitor alarms they sell, and will insist on tearing out a much better system so you can buy one of theirs...then they lock you out of the system you just bought.

I've found that local monitoring services like Guardian and TNT are really only interested in selling you service calls.
That Honeywell, Ademco, GE, Moose, DSC etc. alarm panel can be monitored by almost any monitoring service in the world, as long as you can change the toll-free number it dials out on.  You paid for it, no one has the right to assert control over your property.
Logged

"Tulsa will lay off police and firemen before we will cut back on unnecessarily wasteful streetlights."  -- March 18, 2009 TulsaNow Forum
custosnox
Fly in the Ointment
City Father
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3060



« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2010, 01:40:18 pm »

I remember that show.  They would break into a home in the afternoon (when most burglaries take place) and for the security renovation, install lots of floodlighting as a cure.  It was very superficial, and the content was heavily influenced by their sponsors.
Actually the ones I saw they installed deadbolts, bolted safes to solid surfaces, even put in prickly plants under windows in some instances.  Windows were replaced with more secure locking mechinisms, and basic security threats were removed.  In fact, I don't ever remember seeing them install flood lights as part of their renovation. You sure we're thinking of the same show?

TNT told me some time ago they only monitor alarms they sell, and will insist on tearing out a much better system so you can buy one of theirs...then they lock you out of the system you just bought.

I've found that local monitoring services like Guardian and TNT are really only interested in selling you service calls.
That Honeywell, Ademco, GE, Moose, DSC etc. alarm panel can be monitored by almost any monitoring service in the world, as long as you can change the toll-free number it dials out on.  You paid for it, no one has the right to assert control over your property.
But it causes problems when you have a good alarm system, and they refuse to monitor it.  And while they don't have the right to assert control over it, they do, and I don't see a way around it.
Logged
nathanm
T-Town Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 8240


« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2010, 04:41:33 pm »

I've found that local monitoring services like Guardian and TNT are really only interested in selling you service calls.
I don't know if Guardian would refuse to monitor a pre-existing system or not, but they're the ones who didn't lock down the one they installed in my house, so when my contract is up, I could very easily switch to one of the $6.95 monitoring services. Well, I could if I had a phone line. Mine is wireless only, so I'd have to pay a couple of bucks a month extra for that.
Logged

"Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration" --Abraham Lincoln
patric
T-Town Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 7479


These Aren't the Droids You're Looking For


« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2010, 05:19:12 pm »

Actually the ones I saw they installed deadbolts, bolted safes to solid surfaces, even put in prickly plants under windows in some instances.  Windows were replaced with more secure locking mechinisms, and basic security threats were removed.  In fact, I don't ever remember seeing them install flood lights as part of their renovation. You sure we're thinking of the same show?

It was a weekly series.  I didnt watch each one, but the one where they installed floodlights in response to a daytime burglary just stood out in my memory...  But otherwise, those are good steps to take.

Quote
But it causes problems when you have a good alarm system, and they refuse to monitor it.  And while they don't have the right to assert control over it, they do, and I don't see a way around it.

Lets say you take your car to a mechanic for regular service, but decide to use another later on, and find out you cant because the first mechanic did something to your car that prevents any other mechanic from servicing it.
...Or the company that sold you your computer password protected all the settings, and charged you to come to your home every time you needed to change something simple like your desktop, or install a program.
 
You would be screaming bloody murder, or at least consumer fraud.
Logged

"Tulsa will lay off police and firemen before we will cut back on unnecessarily wasteful streetlights."  -- March 18, 2009 TulsaNow Forum
patric
T-Town Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 7479


These Aren't the Droids You're Looking For


« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2010, 05:45:10 pm »

I don't know if Guardian would refuse to monitor a pre-existing system or not, but they're the ones who didn't lock down the one they installed in my house, so when my contract is up, I could very easily switch to one of the $6.95 monitoring services. Well, I could if I had a phone line. Mine is wireless only, so I'd have to pay a couple of bucks a month extra for that.

Guardian has changed over the years.  They were once very dedicated to helping customers set their non-company-installed systems up to be monitored, and you could speak directly to a technician over the phone.
If you want to be monitored by them now, you have to pay for a service call to have a technician delete your installer codes and replace them with theirs, permanently locking you out of the system you own.

Like Custosnox discovered, unscrupulous alarm companies can re-program your alarm system remotely to disable them at will, without your knowledge or consent, by phone or wireless connection.  That should be against the law, but that's why they have lobbyists (and that's also why you should never give your monitoring company your installer's codes.) 
Logged

"Tulsa will lay off police and firemen before we will cut back on unnecessarily wasteful streetlights."  -- March 18, 2009 TulsaNow Forum
PepePeru
Guest
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2010, 08:14:05 am »

I've heard that thieves will specifically target homes with security signs in the front yard.
It tells the thieves a couple of things, that by virtue of you spending $ for an alarm system, it's likely that you have items in the house worth stealing...
Something to consider.

I'm not saying alarms are bad or anything but putting the sign out seems to me to be the very definition of a false sense of security.



Logged
Hoss
I'm a Daft Punk
T-Town Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 11240


I might be moving to Montana soon...


WWW
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2010, 08:46:15 am »

My brother put a sign out in his garden that resembles one of those 'protected by xyz alarm company' signs.

Only his reads 'Protected by Smith & Wesson'.
Logged

Libertarianism is a system of beliefs for people who think adolescence is the epitome of human achievement.

Global warming isn't real because it was cold today.  Also great news: world famine is over because I just ate - Stephen Colbert.

Somebody find Guido an ambulance to chase...
Pages: [1] 2 3   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

 
  Hosted by TulsaConnect and Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
 

Mission

 

"TulsaNow's Mission is to help Tulsa become the most vibrant, diverse, sustainable and prosperous city of our size. We achieve this by focusing on the development of Tulsa's distinctive identity and economic growth around a dynamic, urban core, complemented by a constellation of livable, thriving communities."
more...

 

Contact

 

2210 S Main St.
Tulsa, OK 74114
(918) 409-2669
info@tulsanow.org