New to the board but willing to share our story...
We have been broken into 3 times in 51 weeks. We're guessing it's the same people each time.
We live on a very busy street with lots of traffic both day and night. There are street lights on the street in front of our house and on the side streets. However, we do have an alley behind our house which has no street lights.
Our first incident was on May 3, 2008. We had gone out of town on a Friday night only to come home on Saturday evening to find the glass in our back door busted and lots of stuff missing in the house (mostly guns, jewelry and electronics). Our back door was a steel door with a window. It had a deadbolt lock on it but we didn't use it so they simply broke the window, put their hand through and twisted the handle lock and opened the door. Pretty simple. They unscrewed the light bulb in the back which leads us to believe they came in the night some time. They then used our pillow cases, gym bags, etc to carry our belongings out the back door. They were not destructive thank goodness but they did take a lot stuff most of which was not covered on our insurance policy (needed a separate rider for the guns and jewelry). They exited via the alley behind our house. Neighbors didn't notice any activity which is kinda surprising as our alley is busy too as many neighbors garages incluing our own detached garage faces the alley. They didn't bother our attached or detached garage. However, they were nice enough to close the back door on their way out.
We replaced our back door but being dummy's we replaced it with the same kind of door. I like being able to see out into the backyard. However, we did start using our deadbolts on the back door and detached garage. The deadbolts are dual keyed. Well, four months later we went out of town for Labor Day only to be called by our son who was staying with a friend that we had been broken into. We had a 4 hour trip home early from our vacation to meet with police and fill out a report. They entered the house in the same place as before only since they couldn't get past the deadbolt they simply broke out the window in the back door enough to climb through and then exited through the front door with much more of our belongings. Again, the bulb in the light out back had been unscrewed which leads us to believe it must have been dark when they had come this time. However, they didn't unscrew or turn off the front porch light when they carried stuff out front unless they screwed it back in or turned it back on when they left. They did shut the front door. Remember, I live on a busy street both day and night and they walked out the front door with a 52" flat screen tv and 2 large racks of DVD's. I mean, they took the rack and all. They walked it almost to the front sidewalk to get around a pickup truck parked in our front driveway to get through the gate and enter the back yard. Unbelievable!
Both times the police looked for finger prints but found nothing. They said it appeared they were wearing gloves. There were foot prints out back but they didn't take any pictures or anything. Said it was a waste of time.
At any rate, we were pretty frustrated. We had been looking at a security system but hadn't had the money to get it put in yet. Well, we now have one and we probably went a bit overboard but we have it. We have glass break detectors in every room (including the attached garage) except the living room which has a motion detector. The front, back and attached garage door all have door sensors. We have one wireless motion detector in the detached garage. We also had smoke/fire detectors installed in the basement, upstairs, attached and detached garage. We don't have a landline as we use Vonage internet phone service. Due to the possibility of problems with the phone service (which would still exist with a landline if they cut the line) we also went with the radio backup service to ensure we are able to communicate with the monitoring service at all times.
Well, our new security system was put to the test just a month ago. On Friday, April 24 at half after noon my husband received a call from the monitoring service stating that our alarm was activated. We both work full time and our son was at school so we had them dispatch the police. The alarm montioring service had notified the police that the living room motion detector had been activated. When my husband arrived home a police officer was sitting in his vehicle in front of the house. He stated the house looked secure so he hadn't done anything. Well, my husband entered through the front garage which was our normal and deactivated the alarm. No one was in the house. He then went outside to the back and noticed pry marks in the door frame of the detached garage. We at first got upset with the monitoring service thinking they told them the wrong thing and therefore the police didn't go around back. Well, after the police left we called the monitoring service and they stated the living room detector is the one that was activated. After further investigation we found pry bar marks on the front door as well. We couldn't believe it. They had actually gotten the front door open enough to enter the house and activate the alarm. We are guessing there must have been at least two of them and the 2nd one was trying to gain access to the back garage at the same time. At any rate, they didn't get anything this time. Thank goodness so the security system did it's job. Of course, no one saw or heard anything again. We couldn't believe it. We have one neighboor on the side streen where the lady of the house doesn't work and their backyard lines 1/2 the alley behind our house. She didn't hear or see anything. Ugh!
We now have an external siren installed. Hopefully if they ever try it again someone will hear the siren and maybe see something when trying to figure out where the sound is coming from.
We find it hard to believe they came back to our house again. We have a bigger security sign on a stake right by the steps leading up to our front door. We also have a security sticker on every window in our house. Doesn't look good but hey, if it gets the point across then... We also replaced out 4' chain link fence with a 6' wooden fence. We put a big security monitoring sign on the fence facing the alley as well. In addition we put a no tresspassing sign on the fence. We eliminated the gate to the alley but we still have a gate to the front of the house (need to get the mower back there somehow). However, it has 3 locks on it. The one on top and bottom are simple slide locks. However, the latch has a padlock on it that requires a key. The gate has a no tresspassing sign bolted to it as well. They actually scaled the 6' wooden fence out back to gain access to the back yard. I guess they figured if they gained access to the garage that they would simply carry everything out the garage door itself. We have noticed that they have bent our garage door along the top of it trying to gain access to the pull cord to disable the automatic garage door opener to allow them to open the door. However, we have that wired up pretty good so I don't think they are gonna be successful. We have installed 3 motion detector lights out back. One above the garage door facing the alley and 2 in the back yard. They come on at dusk only 1/2 illuminated but go to full illumination when motion is detected.
We have also installed patio pins in all of our windows of the house as well. There is no way for them to get any of our windows open without breaking them. We have no tresspassing sign in our front picture window. We painted the windows of our front door with frosted paint so you cannot see in them. We also put up new blinds in all our windows to block all views in the house.
We almost feel like a prisoner in our own home sometimes. It's awful but what else do you do?
We are now looking into some cameras. We are thinking of installing 1 in the house, 1 in the attached garage, 1 in the detached garage and at least 3 of them outdoors. Possibly more. We are looking at network, megapixel cameras and an NVR. I have posted in the CCTV forum looking for any advice. I have been doing a lot of research on cameras and learning a lot about them and their acronyms. Whew! I am not a camera person at all but do know computers so figure this is a good way for us to go.
I feel for anyone that has had to go through anything like we have. We have lived in our house for 12 years now and never had any problems. Now in the past year we have been burglarized 3 times!!!
I do hope they get caught soon. It's just not right. And it's a fairly traumatic experience.
We just purchased a couple of new signs for the house off ebay. They state "No Tresspassing. Violators will be shot. Survivors will be shot again."