Your security system is like the offensive line on a football team and you are the quarterback. Even when every lineman does his job if the quarterback steps out of the pocket he’ll still get sacked. Often you are the weakest link in your home security system. Here are a few of the methods burglars use to trick you into leaving your house unarmed and what you can do to prevent it from happening to you. These methods all have one thing in common, tricking you into leaving you house disarmed, unoccupied and vulnerable.
Inducing False Alarms
If your alarm keeps going off when there is no burglary you are likely to get frustrated and stop using it all together. Burglars know that annoying usually trumps secure and that’s how they get you to stop arming your alarm system. The trick they use is to intentionally set off your alarm on a regular basis until you get sick of dealing with it and stop arming your system That’s when they finally break in. This attack is often used against police as well as property owners. If burglars keep triggering the alarm and hiding to make the police think it’s a false alarm, most officers will eventually become desensitized to your alarm and pay less attention to it. How can you prevent this from happening?
First, hire an alarm company that pays careful attention to making sure your security alarm can’t be tripped from the outside. Make sure doors close tightly so they can’t be wiggled or partially opened while locked. Make sure door contacts are mounted securely in place so they can’t be knocked off or jarred loose. Make sure motion detectors are high quality with false alarm prevention features and that they are mounted securely on a wall that can’t be shaken from the outside. Make sure all your windows are locked so they can’t be opened to set off a window contact or a motion detector. Don’t allows any security wires to be exposed outside the house.
Second, if you are getting what you think are false alarms DO NOT stop using your security alarm. Instead, make it a priority to find the source of the problem and fix it. If you don’t see the problem yourself then call your alarm provider and make them investigate it right away! If you’re getting tamper or trouble alerts don’t let that stop you from arming the system either. With the prevalence of wireless alarm systems burglars may try to jam the wireless signals to create a trouble alert. Treat a trouble alert like an alarm and have your alarm company investigate it.
If something smells fishy it just might be a fish. If you’re experiencing unexplainable false alarms when the equipment is testing correctly and and there is no plausible reason why a sensor keeps getting tripped it may not be a false alarm at all, it might be a social attack on you and your alarm system and the burglar might just be waiting for that opportunity when he trips the sensor and the alarm doesn’t go off, then he knows you’ve given up and have stopped using it.
Exploiting the Exit Delay
One of the most vulnerable times for alarm system is the exit delay period – the 45 or more seconds your alarm gives you to get out of your house after you arm the system. It usually takes a lot less than 45 seconds to exit after you arm your alarm. That means there is some time right after you leave when your house is empty and the system is not yet armed.
Burglars can use this time to get in quickly before the exit delay time is up and therefore before the system is actually armed. They’ll hide in the bushes near your garage door and wait for you to pull away. As soon as you are no longer looking they’ll roll under your closing garage door to get in the garage. Many people don’t even lock the door from the garage into the house and those that do often don’t have a deadbolt and door frame reinforcement on that door so it’s easy to quickly gain entry. As long as they disable or destroy the alarm before it fully arms it won’t be able to detect the break-in and call out for help. How can you prevent this from happening?
Watch your garage door fully close as you leave and make sure no one got in. Use a 45 second exit delay, the shortest allowed by most city regulations, and don’t let it be any longer. Have an armed status light on the outside of your house so you can see that the alarm is armed before you pull away or use an interactive alarm service like Alarm.com so you’ll get a conformation on your smart phone that the alarm was armed.
Bypassing a sensor is when you tell your alarm to ignore a specific sensor even when the system is armed. Bypassing is normally used when you want to arm your alarm system at night with a bedroom window open, so you bypass the sensor on that window and arm the system without it. If a burglar or one of their accomplices has access to your home during the day they may be able to bypass a specific sensor while they’re there and plan to return later when you aren’t home or are sound asleep knowing that sensor won’t be active when the system is armed. In addition to programmatically bypassing a sensor, a burglar or accomplice can physically bypass a sensor by shorting the contact leads or putting a permanent magnet next to the sensor. How can you prevent this from happening?
Use an alarm system that clearly and obviously shows you when a sensor is bypassed. With our 2GIG Alarm.com systems the touch screen shows yellow instead of green when a sensor is bypassed to warn you that the system isn’t fully being used. Make sure your alarm provider programs your system so that you have to enter your code before you can bypass a sensor. Bypassing sensors is risky, you do not want everyone to be able to do it. Test all your sensors regularly. If you have strange people in your house to perform work or even as guests, test your alarm sensors after they leave.
Sometimes burglars will work together to distract you into leaving your house unarmed. For example, the decoy might come to your front door posing as water meter reader and ask you to come outside and show them where your meter is. You’re thinking this will only take a second so you walk around to the side of the house leaving your door unlocked and your alarm system disarmed. On the side of your house the decoy carries on a conversation with you for a few minutes to buy his partner time. While this is going on the partner is quickly robbing your house while you stand outside with the decoy. There are many similar scams like this but they all boil down to the same principal – tricking you into leaving your house with the alarm system unarmed, even if only for a few minutes. How can you prevent this from happening?
It’s up to you whether you feel comfortable with the person asking you to come outside. A safer bet would be to stay in your house but of you are going to go outside don’t be afraid or embarrassed to lock the door and arm the alarm behind you. This is a stranger asking you to come outside and presumably leave your house unprotected. You don’t owe it to anyone to do that. It’s your house and it’s your job to protect it. Any real service man will have see this a hundred times before and won’t think twice about it. The only people who will judge your for protecting your house are the ones that are planning to rob you.Share