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Home Defense, Geek Style? 2514

Yo Maing writes "So my mom got lives alone, and got her car broken into last night. We have a motion sensor light in the driveway, and the car has an alarm but apparently both of these deterrents were ineffective. Crime has been rising around her neighborhood, and only action the police can take is to file a report. So I ask you, Geeks of Slashdot, what tricks do you guys have to defend yours and your loved ones homes against crimes like this? Not looking for anything that would get someone injured, but more in the area of detection and repulsion. Anyone have a holographic Yeti generator to scare away intruders? :)"
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Home Defense, Geek Style?

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  • by taxman_10m ( 41083 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:18PM (#10229456)
    Buy a gun.
    • by Randy Wang ( 700248 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:19PM (#10229474)
      Buy a phaser.
      • Laser Defense Sheild (Score:5, Informative)

        by awtbfb ( 586638 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @07:42PM (#10230810)
        My high school physics teacher had problems every Halloween with kids blowing up his mailbox with fireworks. He finally took a laser home from school, set up some mirrors and ringed his mailbox with laser tripwires. This was hooked up to a freakin' loud alarm. You get the picture.

        If you wanted to take it a step further, you could set up strobe lamps and a camera like the intersection ticket boxes. Multiple view angles would help in case the person has their back to the camera. That way, when the police came by you could hand them glossies and a DV tape of the guy.
        • A mate of mine... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by leonbrooks ( 8043 ) <SentByMSBlast-No ...> on Sunday September 12, 2004 @11:16PM (#10232104) Homepage
          ...(hi, Bruce!) rigged his car up with a pair of sirens under the dashboard rated at 105dB at 3m. One night while he was at work, he heard the sirens from downstairs and went haring down to see. He found:
          • His car, a Holden HZ sedan, with the door open; and
          • His steering column partially disassembled; and
          • Traces of blood and hair on assorted knobs and corners under the dash and on the door; and
          • No car thief.
          You see, 105dB at 3m in free space equals 117dB at about 40cm, which was the approximate distance between the screamers and the thief's ears as he lay in the footwell jiggering the ignition switch on the steering column.

          This is in a mostly-enclosed hard-walled space, which has to be worth at least another 12dB. And there were two of them, so add another 3dB as icing on the cake, draw a line, 132dB.

          The threshold of pain, for reference, is 120dB.

          If you're going to bother building a car alarm, get it right. (-:
          • Re:A mate of mine... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, 2004 @06:29AM (#10233738)
            your mate is a smart one.

            every car alarm I installed was this way, install the siren INSIDE the car.

            Nobody pay's attentino to car alarms, so you need to annoy the hell out of the bugger that is trying to steal from you.

            I personally liked what a friend of mine did, he set up a flashpot in the car.

            alarm went off, you had 10 seconds to shut it off before the flashpot was ignited and filled the car with sulfer smoke.

            we found his car thief lying on the ground gasping for air, and the police and fire were called by someone that ignored the car alarm but thought a car was on fire.

            People will call for a fire right away, but they dont care if your stuff is getting stolen.
      • by sporktoast ( 246027 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:11PM (#10231699) Homepage

        I'm as geeky as the next slashdotter, so I'm down with spending $1000 on a color laser printer []. But I don't really see how that's gonna help you defend your home.

    • Occam's Razor (Score:5, Insightful)

      by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @03:34AM (#10233252)
      Follow Occam's Razor. Think of the simplest answer you can possibly think of and find a way to achieve it.

      In my case, I moved to a safer neighborhood. It took me two years to effect the move to one of the two neighborhoods I had in mind, but the wait was worth it. My neighborhood is now safer and cleaner, and yet I didn't have to sacrifice on the amount of rent I was paying, nor did I sacrifice on the amount of time I was spending on the commute. It took a while, but my patience paid off.

      Now, I don't know the age of your mother, but assuming she's getting older. Do you think her neighborhood is going to improve, or get worse? And as she does become older, do you think it will get easier for her to move, or not? It's never easy to move and it's never a good time to move, but it's usually one of the best and healthiest solutions.

  • by panic911 ( 224370 ) * on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:18PM (#10229458) Homepage
    First I would suggest watching Home Alone 1. That kid is pretty damn clever and easily fended off joe pesci and that ugly guy. Next I would buy an outdoor webcam with some motion detection software [].
  • Dog (Score:4, Interesting)

    by flossie ( 135232 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:18PM (#10229462) Homepage
    If you don't have any pets, consider getting a dog.
    • Re:Dog (Score:5, Informative)

      by Veridium ( 752431 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:38PM (#10229659) Homepage
      I highly recommend this route. To avoid having to go through training issues and increasing demand on the puppy factories out there, seriously consider looking into a rescue dog. These are dogs that typically are taken from shelters before their time runs out. The volunteers who run rescues tend to pick dogs who have exceptional traits like intelligence, affectionate, etc...

      In the rescue system, they are typically potty trained, given obedience classes, speyed or neutered, screened for diseases, full immunizations, and are socialized with other dogs. I adopted a 2 year old pit bull a few years back(I went to see a germen shepherd but this dog suckered me). I couldn't have asked for a better dog. She came potty trained(mostly) with basic obedience training and she's extremely loyal. She does really good with my infant children and she scares the crap out of strangers.

      I highly recommend rescue dogs after this experience.
      • Re:Dog (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Binky The Oracle ( 567747 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @06:28PM (#10230119)

        I talked about my rescued German Shepherd earlier in this thread (up in the shotgun discussion) and what you say is very true. Our GSD was abandoned and possibly abused. Yet within 24 hours she was definitely my dog - she bonded with both me and my wife, and almost immediately started protecting the house.

        She was approximately 4-5 years old when we got her, and had seen some hard times (worn teeth, heartworms, etc.) but she's been a fantastic dog and everyone in my family keeps trying to steal her from me.

        Not too bad for a dog that we were just taking in to prevent having her put down while we looked for someone to adopt her.

    • by cjsnell ( 5825 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:40PM (#10229690) Journal

      If you decide to get a dog, PLEASE rescue one and do not buy a puppy. Too many great dogs are euthanized every day because nobody wants them.
    • by Draconix ( 653959 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:45PM (#10229740)
      I'm not kidding. Watch geese make a whole lot of noise when they spot an intruder, and they're aggressive, too. They also have the effect of confusing the hell out of some would-be criminals.
    • Re:Dog (Score:5, Funny)

      by pyros ( 61399 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:50PM (#10229787) Journal
      Dogs are for weenies. What you really want is a guard baboon. Seriously, who's going to mess with this []?
  • Great (Score:4, Funny)

    by mkro ( 644055 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:18PM (#10229465)
    Summary of all the "Home Alone" movies in 3... 2... 1...
  • Ninja Style (Score:5, Funny)

    by ChopsMIDI ( 613634 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:18PM (#10229466) Homepage
    I wait on the roof dressed in all black with my ninja sword.

    That's worked pretty well for a few years.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:19PM (#10229469)
    I live on an air force base. No problems. :)
  • by rokzy ( 687636 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:19PM (#10229472)
    Guns. Lots of guns.
  • by w.p.richardson ( 218394 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:19PM (#10229475) Homepage
    and land mines in the front yard are effective deterrents, especially if advertised conspicuously.

    Geek it up some by controlling the shotgun trap with an old pentium running BSD.

  • Never fails (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:20PM (#10229479)
    drive a yugo
  • by Jeffv323 ( 317436 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:20PM (#10229480)
    the extra "got" in his first sentence. Now everybody move along now.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:20PM (#10229481)
    My cousin in Texas has outdoor motion sensors around his house, hooked up to a PA system than when activated, play a recording of a pump shotgun being cocked. It sounds real as hell, and you can't really tell where the sound is coming from.
  • by Anonymous Luddite ( 808273 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:20PM (#10229484)

    How bout a full sized cardboard cut-out of goatse in the front hallway? I'd run....
  • by lothar97 ( 768215 ) * <owen AT smigelski DOT org> on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:20PM (#10229487) Homepage Journal
    You'll get in a lot of trouble. I'm an IP attorney, but all of us have to learn about trespass & defense of property in law school. This blurb from the Utah Cooperative Wildlife Management Association [] sums up the law on this aspect pretty well.

    The duty of care owned by landowner or person in charge to a trespasser is to refrain from willfully, maliciously or recklessly injuring them. In other words, a landowner or person in charge cannot set traps for trespassers. A trap is a hazard that is known to the landowner or person in charge, but concealed to others. If a trespasser is injured by a trap, the landowner is open to liability for the injury, even though the trespasser violated he law by trespassing. The following have been held unlawful traps for which the landowner can be held responsible: (1) setting a spring gun, (2) creating obstacles on a public roadway, (3) installing a cable gate across a private road known to be used by he public. To reduce he liability risks for #3, the road should be posted as private access. If a cable or chain is used o close a road, it should be flagged with brightly colored flags or other materials.

  • Get a dog (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rustin_ross ( 146106 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:21PM (#10229494) Homepage
    Studies have shown a dog with a good bark scares away most would-be attackers. There have also been studies showing dog companionship actually lowers the blood pressure of seniors.

  • Go minimalist (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smoyer ( 108342 ) < minus cat> on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:21PM (#10229496)
    If you don't have anything of value, then you don't have to worry about someone ripping off your valuables. The things in life that are worthwhile are rarely tangible. If you're living in the crossfire of someone else's greed ... Move!
  • Don't overthink (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Skyshadow ( 508 ) * on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:21PM (#10229502) Homepage
    IMO, this isn't an area where there's going to be some trick that's going to magically solve the problem. The best solutions are the time-honored solutions.

    It sounds like you're concerned primarily with property crime, yes? That's actually pretty darn easy to prevent if you think about it logically. Don't leave anything in your car if you park it outside. Keep your garage door closed even during the day so people can't see in. Plant thorney bushes under the windows. Put up a couple of flood lights to take out the shadows in your yard. Keep your yard neat so it's obvious somebody lives there.

    In terms of detection, nothing beats a well-trained dog. Train 'em to give a couple of barks whenever someone enters the yard (although just a couple so it doesn't get irritating).

    This isn't a complicated problem, but as with a lot of things the best solutions are the obvious solutions.

  • As always (Score:5, Funny)

    by yffe ( 187902 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:21PM (#10229503)
  • by EngMedic ( 604629 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:23PM (#10229512) Homepage
    ... 10 guage loaded with rock salt seems to do the trick for me.
  • I vote (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ssclift ( 97988 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:29PM (#10229558)

    Recognizing that crime is often (not always, but often) a product of personal desperation I vote for candidates who will do things like:

    • Reduce the gap between rich and poor by progressive taxation and ensuring every working person has a living wage.
    • Reduce the incentive to steal to support drug habits by making programs such as doctor-prescribed methadone (or even heroin) available.
    • Reduce the incentive to commit crime by reducing the factors that force people into desperate poverty, like making medical care universally available.

    At first, it may seem that, economically, you are better off keeping more of your dollars in your pocket (especially if you need them to pay the fees for your gated compound or personal home defense equipment). There is another equilibrium, which does mean higher taxes but on the other hand, makes the streets safe and crime less common, which is to reduce the societal risk factors that promote crime. Most wealthy Americans, for whom gated life and home defense is a minor cost, call this "rampant tax and spend looney pinko socialism". Many Europeans call it "responsible government".

    Admittedly, shooting the "perp" and/or throwing him in jail does lead to a satisfied feeling that you have avenged, say, your Mum's honour. As many non-white citizens of your country can tell you, and good research has shown, your current system does actually promote, rather than prevent, the crime you wish to stop (cf. recent Cringly article as a starting point).

    Want a safer society? Make sure it's one where everyone has a genuine chance, which doesn't oppress you if you're poor/black/unlucky, which is based on sound research and reasoning about policy (not 4000-year old policies promulgated in middle-eastern nomadic herding societies). Keep the police around to keep the hard-core cases under control.

    It takes a little longer, and you guys nearly had it in the 60's, but it's worth it.

    • Re:I vote (Score:5, Insightful)

      by aelbric ( 145391 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:57PM (#10229852)
      Oh god, here goes my Karma.

      I am so sick and tired of people saying that, because I am successful, I need to be taxed ridiculously to carry people who aren't (more than a third of my income at last count). What the hell happened to personal accountability?

      I grew up inside the city of Detroit on the low side of the economic chain. My prospects getting a high-paying job handed to me or a college education as an entitlement were exactly zero. You know what I did? I joined the military at 17, got myself educated, Got a job at 22 making 16K a year, worked my ass off for over a decade and MADE SOMETHING OF MYSELF.

      You are now telling me that I have a social responsibility to "share" the fruits of my hard labor with some dumbass who made the poor decision to throw their life away on drugs or being too irresponsible?

      Now I agree that people who need healthcare and the elderly and very young need assistance. However, these able-bodied societal leeches that suck down money from those of us that are middle class can rot AFAIC. Lock them up and throw away the key. If they are illegal deport them. Quit acting like being stupid and irresponsible is some kind of disease.

      Want a safer society? Quit coddling our youth and giving them the idea that success will be handed to them. Teach them that you can only get ahead by trying your best and that there will always be someone out there better then you. Motivate them to reach their potential and not expect the government or anyone else to take care of them.

      The only way to improve society is to make human beings independent of the political structures that are likely to hold them down. Anyone who says differently has a hidden agenda.
      • by Grendel Drago ( 41496 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @08:19PM (#10231064) Homepage
        However, these able-bodied societal leeches that suck down money from those of us that are middle class can rot AFAIC. Lock them up and throw away the key.

        You do know how expensive it is to imprison people, right? Especially since we have to make room for a hojillion non-violent weed smokers, and thus build new prisons?

        It's cheaper to educate and train someone than it is to imprison them. But both cost money, both are social spending. It's just that the latter option doesn't even pretend to have a positive effect; it just tried to prevent future harm.

        --grendel drago
    • by argoff ( 142580 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @09:36PM (#10231508)
      I find your attitude offensive. There are so many honest people in the world who have had desperate circumstances, unequal wealth, and bad situations - and who were good honest and even productive inspite of it all. In fact, the history if the United States is made of such people. You really slap these people in the face when you suggest that "well all we need is the right circumstances"

      The best way of all to stop crime it to show people that they are destined by choices and not curcumstances. The second best way is to set a good example.

      Taking money from one set of people just because they have more - is a great way to teach people why it's ok to steal and take things - just because you percieve you need it more than they do. Making social programs that center arround circumstance is a great way to teach people that it's not about their choices but their situations. It would seem to me that all of those would have the exact opposite effect as intended.

      Not to mention that history has shown that the only effective way to reduce poverty and bad situations is to increase freedoms - especially economic freedoms, a progreesive tax does just the opposite. It's like that saying - if you can shit on one wealthy man - then you can shit on 10000 poor men.

  • by rtilghman ( 736281 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:35PM (#10229615)

    1. Motion sensing lights at proper heights placed for full coverage of important areas

    2. Motion detector webcam with pre-programmed scanning capabilities (the wireless Toshiba unit is superb

    3. Alarm system securing all major entranced points, and if you can afford it all the screens as well

    4. Dog. Even if its a cuddly licker like a lab, dogs can hear and sense things no alarm system can handle. I'm constantly amazed how my lab KNOWS when someone is coming to the house, even when the car is still in the road!

    Under no circumstances get a gun. It is a stupid precaution that only serves to increase your risk substantially. Killing someone is a tough thing, and your more likely to get shot with your own weapon (or get sued by someone you shoot) than you are to successfully defend your home.

    Or as my friend always says, if you DO end up having to shoot an intruder make sure you finish the job... ;)

  • True Story (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Duke Machesne ( 453316 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:42PM (#10229710)
    While living in downtown Miami, my passenger-side window was bashed out one night at a time when I lacked the funds to replace it.

    Nearly every night thereafter for several months, there were intruders into my vehicle. Bums slept in it, random shady passersby stuck their heads in for a look just in case anything good might have been forgotten there; the crappy broken CD player was ripped out of it (I should have thought to stick a little post-it on the thing that said 'only the radio works on this one, please ignore') which sucked because it left me to drive in silence (aside, of course, for the blaring wind and driving rain which couldn't be helped.)

    I was living, at this time, in an apartment directly above the busy street (Biscayne & 24th, for those familiar) on which I left the car parked, and became obsessed with running to the window to see if anyone was rooting through my poor little car, and dialing 911 and giving them descriptions of the people in the car right then.

    Anyway, I finally solved the problem (until I was able to replace the window, anyway) with a home-made, zero-cost, silly-as-fucking-shit system of my own device: I ran a piece of twine down from my window and around the opposite side of the car, such that it was tied to the inside door-handle of the passenger side. That way, if the passenger door were to be opened, the bag of loud things I tied the other end of the string to would jingle! Ingenious, I know! I did this every single night.

    Sure, the system could have been circumvented easily enough, but it wasn't! My car was never entered by another single foreign body. Which leads me to the MORAL OF THE STORY:

    Don't shy away from doing silly shit like this, because it doesn't even matter whether it would work or not: it's the psychology of the thing that's important. If you make people feel like they're being watched--especially if you're able to make them feel like they're being watched by a crazy, potentially violent person (as I no doubt did and possibly was)--then they will leave your shit alone.

    Insightful as all get-out, I know.
  • by WeirdKid ( 260577 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:43PM (#10229723)
    We had an attempted break-in this summer, and man did it freak me out. They didn't get in, but I could see the handprints on the windows they had tried to open. I called the police.

    When the cop arrived, he pointed out a few things that he said could make the house more inaccessible, but he said that in all his years of investigating break-ins that he's never seen anything taken from a house with a dog. Not a fuzzy laprat -- a dog of 40 pounds or more. In fact, he mentioned that the people across the street from me were broken into that night and had some cash and jewelry stolen. They don't have a dog.

    Then, a week later, I received a packet from the local police department, about 50 pages or so on how to protect your home. It included some very useful information. It showed the differences between cheap and useful locks on doors and windows. It showed how thieves try to circumvent most common types of doors, windows, and locks. It covered security lighting, alarms, realistic opinions of subscription security services (i.e. waste of money), landscaping considerations and patio furniture considerations.

    So, rather than ask a bunch of tech nuts, just call your local police department and see if they have such a packet. As much as we hate cops when we get speeding tickets or raided for warez ops, when it comes to protecting your family they're generally willing to help.

  • by kerskine ( 46804 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @05:46PM (#10229753) Homepage Journal
    I bet your Mom is a really nice person because she's got a son who cares about her. She should use that "momness" to get other people in her neighborhood looking out for one another. Here's what your Mom should do:
    1. Get a pencil and notebook
    2. Locate all the houses in sight of her own
    3. Knock on all the doors, introduce self
    4. She tells them her story - car broken into - and then tells them to be alert
    5. Then - most important step - she gets their name and phone number
    6. optional step for bonus bingo points - leave a plate of cookies

    The goal here is to get people aware, know that there's someone in the neighborhood who cares, and get them calling the police whenever something isn't right. Having known a number of police in my lifetime I can tell you that they don't mind checking out a "suspicious car/person" while their on duty. Just like Open Source, many eyes improves security.
  • by reallocate ( 142797 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @06:35PM (#10230203)
    To cut to the chase, about the only thing you can do is make certain the car alarm is working. Consider installing a good alarm system in your mother's house, since a car is expendable, but your mother is not.

    Ignore the testosterone-laden bozos who tell you to buy a gun for your mother. A gun will have no deterrent value. Criminals are not telepathic. They will not know there's a gun in the house they're about to break into.

    Once a criminal is in the house, of course, your mother can wave her gun around. That may, in fact, protect her. It may also involve her in months and months of legal anguish. If you do buy her a gun, be sure you also buy her some training so she doesn't shoot herself.

    Remember, too, that the cops' job is to catch people after they commit a crime. Unless you can talk the local town council into stationing a police patrol in front of your mother's house, I wouldn't expect too much from them.

    In the end, the real solution may be to move, if that is realistic.

  • by stimpleton ( 732392 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @06:44PM (#10230292)
    Its the Japanese student incident. Pity this home owner didnt have a hologram wookie...

    "A Japanese exchange student, Yoshihiro Hattori, was searching for a party he had been invited to. Thinking he had found the house in which the social would take place, Yoshihiro knocked on the door. Not knowing that they had the wrong house Yoshihiro and his companion startled the proprietor. After having the front door shut in their face the two boys began walking back to Yoshihiro's car. Yoshihiro Hattori and his friend, Webb Haymaker, then turned back towards the house upon hearing the carport door open behind them. Instead of seeing the party's host, these two boys were greeted by a " 'Freeze' " and a .44 Magnum-carrying Rodney Peairs. Yoshihiro, thinking he had found the party after all, stepped towards Mr. Peairs and said, " 'We're here for the party' ". Webb Haymaker then found himself standing over his dying friend, Yoshihiro Hattore, a victim of unintentional homicide." Baton Rouge, Lousiana--October 17, 1992--8:30 P.M
  • by professorfalcon ( 713985 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @07:43PM (#10230824)

    The number one rule of burglars must be to go for the low-hanging fruit. (Wow, same rule applies to performance tuning...)

    I think burglars are smart enough to notice the burglar alarm sensors around the windows. Just the sight of these can make them choose another house instead of yours. I know someone whose neighbors have all been robbed, even during the afternoon with all sorts of people around, but his house has been spared all these years, thanks to the alarm system.

    Get an alarm system with the monitoring through a reputable company.

  • by GuyFawkes ( 729054 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @07:58PM (#10230935) Homepage Journal

    This is like the two guys from the nature film crew, one cameraman and one soundman, filming the lions... one of the lions gets all menacing and starts to make a run towards them...

    The sound guy kneels down and starts taking of his boots, the camera guy starts laughing and says "you won't outrun a lion like that."

    The sound guy says "I'm not trying to, I'm only going to outrun you."

    OK, same principle applies, and I'm being 100% serious here.

    You do NOT need to make yourself 100% impregnable, you only need to make sure you aren't the most attractive to the thieves etc
  • by helix_r ( 134185 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @09:46PM (#10231555)
    I live in Baltimore city in a _very_ high crime neighborhood (albeit one that is rapidly gentrifying ). My neighhors and I have encountered all kinds of criminal activity.

    Some suburban blowhards will say to get a gun first, but there are a number of things you can do that are more effective than having a gun. Simple preventative measures will go much farther than a loaded gun in the closet. If you have to have a gun, fine, but do the things below FIRST:

    1) Keep an eye on things. Call the cops whenever something remotely suspicious is happening. Don't hesitate to call 911. The system can handle a tremendous number of calls and they know how to prioritize. Even if the police don't respond to the call, it is logged and stats are collected. In most urban areas, 911 call stats are used to allocate police resources. When calling 911 be accurate, specific and unemotional.

    2) Don't leave _ANYTHING_ in your car and use a club. Larceny from auto is the hallmark of a drug addict criminal. They want easy targets. Even change on the dashboard is worth breaking a window to them. They don't think like normal people. Be discreet, don't show off wealth or new acquisitions.

    3) Get to know your neighbors. Share information. Talk about what is happening in the neighborhood. The police in your area may offer "neighborhood watch" programs that educate folks about crime. This is usually done through their community relations department. Its a good way to learn about real crime prevention.

    Please don't get a gun because some armchair libertarians on slashdot think its a good idea. If you have a gun, it is only useful if you confront the criminal. In the VAST majority of property crimes, you never even SEE the criminal. In those rare cases where you happen to catch the punk, you will discover something that is NOT what you expect: often a child, or a desparate drug addict who couldn't care less about risking his life and yours to get away. If you have a gun and display it, you have to be prepared to kill someone and face the permanent consequences of a potentially tragic mistake and the tremendous guilt that any normal person will feel even if they kill in self-defense.

  • by bhima ( 46039 ) <Bhima.Pandava@g m a i l . com> on Monday September 13, 2004 @04:48AM (#10233461) Journal
    A few years ago I lived in the US and the previous owner seeing the decline in the neighborhood took a couple of simple steps that in hindsight made a lot of sense.

    Out of sight out of mind: He closed in his carport so you couldn't see his car

    Inconvenience potential burglars: a pet fence around the back yard (with the gate locked), storm windows and storm doors extra locks on widows and doors.

    A thorny defense: All the windows had holly bushes growing under and around them.

    looking like you have nothing to steal: The house wasn't the best in the neighborhood or the worst and all the improvements were either invisible to the casual observer or common place.

    In summary the house was the least attractive target on the whole block with many inconveniences visible from the street, where presumably the potential burglars case the property.

They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant job that has so far been given to them.