5 home security lessons learned from the big screen

There were 153,054 burglaries in Texas last year, and according to the U.S. Department of Justice, most of them took place in broad daylight with the perpetrators entering a front or back door. While movies and TV shows might not always have the firmest grounding in reality, security lessons can be learned from the criminals depicted on screen.

Reinforce doors and locks.

The Discovery Channel’s “It Takes a Thief” follows two former burglars as they break into the homes of willing victims. They go through the process of a robbery while simultaneously teaching viewers what they can do to protect their homes from thieves.

One lesson they often stress is to reinforce your doors with metal plates and install extra locks. This extra protection will encourage a potential thief to move on rather than take the extra time needed to break in.

Install high-definition security cameras.

In numerous episodes of the TV series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” the team’s audio-video analyst turns to surveillance footage for leads on the cases. Like this analyst, you'll get a high resolution image of someone who breaks into your house by installing a security system with 2K or 4K technologies. In addition to crisper images, there might be other improved features such as a better-quality digital zoom, night vision, wide-angle lenses, intelligent compression, and the capability to handle severe weather.

Outsmart the bad guys.

The holiday season is a lucrative time for crooks, who like to target empty homes while owners are on vacation. The movie “Home Alone” teaches several valuable lessons in home security in a fun way:

  • Put your interior and exterior lighting on a schedule.
  • Leave your TV on. You might just be on an all-day, all-night Netflix binge.
  • Strengthen first-floor windows with locks, sensors, and double-pane glass.
  • Get a motion detector. (Kevin uses a blowtorch in the movie.)
  • Conceal and protect your valuables in a safe.
  • Be informed of what’s happening in your area.
  • Know your neighbors and rely on them to keep an eye on your home while you’re away.

Don’t leave windows or doors unlocked.

In the movie “Ocean’s Twelve,” Danny Ocean’s accomplices attempt to heist the very first printed stock certificate from a well-protected mansion in Europe. To access the home, they sent a security system decoder on a cable through an open window.

The lesson here is to always shut and lock your windows and doors when not home. Even if you are home, be sure you don’t leave them open in plain view. Burglars can live right in your neighborhood.

Know your security measures.

Everyone in the house should know how to work the security measures you have in place, including the kids. During a scene in the movie “The Lost World: Jurassic Park,” a dinosaur is attempting to get through a door that can only be locked via the park's computer system. While the parents are holding the door shut, the daughter is able to activate the security system and lock the doors, thus keeping the dinosaur on the opposite side of the door.

Look at your home through the eyes of a burglar, and take notice of areas where security may have been overlooked.

Anne-Marie Pritchett is a freelance writer, storyteller and idea girl who has lived in six states and two countries.

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