Five Common Home Security Myths to Avoid

I wish I could say that I’m providing this information as a general public service announcement, yet as you’ve probably guessed by now, my home was just broken into this week. As always, I’m sharing my experience with you in the hope that you might be able to prevent the same thing from happening to you. So, here are five common home security myths to avoid:

Myth #1: My neighborhood is safe; it will never happen to me.

Trust me, no neighborhood is safe. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Here in Arizona we have pest control, landscapers, and all sorts of random individuals running in and out of neighborhoods unaccounted for. Chances are that you have no idea who is driving or walking around your neighborhood looking for homes to target. All it takes is 3~10 minutes and some elbow grease for someone to break into your home and make off with your valuables. Thieves will generally stake out your home prior to breaking in and strike between 10am and 3pm during the workday.

Myth #2: My dog, cat, cockatoo, potbellied pig will deter thieves.

Unless you have a half-starved tiger and Cujo living in your home, thieves will not be deterred whatsoever by the animals living in your home. My dog is on the verge of being feral, yet I know for a fact that he would rather be munching on leftovers than chasing a crook around the house. All thieves need is a snack (maybe your refrigerated leftovers strewn all over the kitchen floor) to occupy your pet while they get down to business. So don’t count of Fido to be your ultimate home security system.

Myth #3: My security system will keep people out.

True, a security system is a very good deterrent. Thieves will most likely hit up a home that is unprotected before they tango with a home security system. Yet remember this, even the Great Wall of China was only effective in deterring marauders if there were soldiers to patrol it. So even if you have a security system installed in your home, it can’t protect you if you don’t bother to turn it on and consistently make use it. Also, be weary of giving out your deactivation code and password. Most security systems allow you to create codes for other individuals like house sitters or roommates.

Myth #4: My fireproof, bombproof, nuke-proof safe is “safe”.

Having a safe to store your valuables in is better than having nothing at all. Unfortunately, it provides a nice package for thieves to snatch if they believe that they can actually break the safe. And even if they do not manage to open your safe, it’s gone and probably in some dumpster by then. So if you do have a safe (and I do recommend getting one), make sure that it is 1) secured to the floor, wall, et cetera, 2) hidden where a thief is unlikely to look for it, and 3) filled with your prized possessions and LOCKED! If you have one of THESE, then pat yourself on the back, pass go, and collect $200.

Myth #5: My neighbors are home all day and will see or hear the thieves.

I had a neighbor two houses away doing yard work all morning and another neighbor directly across the street who babysits all day, and neither saw nor herd anything. As I mentioned before, neighborhoods are busy and chances are that neighbors become desensitized by all the activity in the neighborhood. So ultimately, it’s up to you and the people who live in your home to ensure that your house is safe and secure.

What happened to me…

In my situation, the thieves jumped a side wall and entered through the back patio door. They made off with a laptop, jewelry, and around $30 in loose change. Due to the nature of the crime, both the police and home security rep that I talked to said that the thieves were most likely older kids (ages 17-23) who lived within half a mile of my home and likely were keeping tabs on my daily activities. They probably knocked on the door then left and waited, then came back and knocked on the door again. And once they saw that no one was home, they took advantage of the opportunity. I was also told that had I answered the door, the thieves would’ve made up some excuse like “We wanted to know if you wanted us to cut your grass, paint your house, et cetera.” The alarming thing is that someone did come by the evening before and do that exact same thing, except that I was too lazy to go downstairs and see who it was. I also had a TV on, which probably clued them in to someone actually being in the house.

The home security rep I talked with was hilarious, he was a cross between Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite and a cheesy car salesman. Admittedly, he has been in the home security business for 10+ years and really knew his stuff. It was actually chilling to hear him go into detail about what most likely occurred, he was spot on from the way the kids jumped the side wall (shoe prints were found) to the way they left through the front door (the front door was left unlocked), and this was before I had a chance to tell him anything. Unfortunately, this type of crime happens everyday in every city in every state. He even told me of new builds (brand spanking new homes) that had all the appliances ripped off before the buyers moved in.

So if there’s one thing you do this year, make sure your home is safe and secure. It’s not rocket science, just look around your home and shore up the areas that would be easy to break into, and secure items that don’t belong out in the open (like keys, money, laptops, iPods, et cetera). As for your valuables, imagine something you own being lost or stolen. If the first thing that comes to mind is “I would be @#$%$$ if someone took this!”, then chances are you better take the time to secure it in a safe or a locked room. Also, make a list of all the items that are important to you; take pictures of them if you get the chance. In the end, security flaws in your home are pretty obvious and pretty simple to fix if you really put your mind to it. Don’t let the same thing that happened to me happen to you!

The Closet Entrepreneur

Post Scriptum: I forgot to mention that your mind will probably play tricks on you for the next several night every time you hear a noise, and you’ll probably suspect every passerby who you do not recognize. It’s not the most enjoyable thing to experience.

» This entry was filed under Advice


  1. Oh man, that’s horrible. Sorry to hear about it. Good thing everybody is safe. Good tips, as well.

  2. TOMAS

    I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed the tips Chris, thankfully all is returning back to normal.

  3. Spend more time with your dog! There are more than enough feral dogs and cats running around.

  4. Wow Tomas, that sucks. I must say that this is crazy timing. Just this last week my wife introduced me to a show on the Discovery channel that I have become instantly addicted to. It’s called “It Takes a Thief and it’s a must see show. Basically, these guys break into a home film the entire then and then tell the home owners how they can better secure their home. It’s very entertaining. Give it a look.

    Again, sorry Tomas that this happened to you. Side note, I’ve heard that Arizona / Pheniox has a high crime rate? Guess the heat gets to people…

  5. TOMAS

    Larry, I’ll be sure to not let my dog out of my sight! 🙂

    Mark, I’m almost ashamed to admit that I watch “It Takes a Thief” on a regular basis. Sometimes you really do think you’re safe and even shows like “It Takes a Thief” look more like a fairytale (an evil one) than true life. Actually, at one point I was praying that it was “It Takes a Thief” who broke in and not someone else.

    As for the crime rate in Arizona, I know that we’re ranked pretty high depending on what the crime is. I think a lot of it has to do with the growth of the city and all the new housing developments which from my understanding are a cinch to wreak havoc on. Other people will tell you that the high crime rate is attributed to other “specific” things, but these conversation are better suited for Borat than this blog.


  6. Sorry to hear what happened its always horrible to hear someone has been broken into but thanks for those tips they will sure come in handy.

  7. Sorry to hear about your misfortune. I hear so often, ‘I was in the back yard” or “I was only out for 2 minutes to get some milk”. Opportunity knocks. Those young people see an opportunity and take it in a flash. My theory to security is to spend time and money on all aspects of security. Tidiness around a house gives an impression of conscientiousness, Trees and shrubs away from windows removes hiding places for a thieve to break-in. Solid doors and locks on all doors and window makes it difficult for lazy thieves, next door might be easier. Security system and window warning stickers to deter the persistent thief. Lock valuable away inside so a thief cannot just walk around inside your house or business and pick up what they want.
    Then don’t stop upgrading your security each year. That way it will not cost you a fortune all at once, spread the cost over time.

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