Give crime a punch in the nose

Six brilliantly easy ways to burglar-proof your home

There are people in my neighborhood who don’t have to look at their stock portfolios to know that hard economic times are upon us. They can just look in their driveway. They can look at the oil stains and beads of broken glass… where their car used to be.

The scourge of crime is on the rise in my neighborhood. Hardly a day goes by without a bad news message appearing in my inbox about a stolen station wagon, an interrupted home invasion, or late-night suspicious activity.

We got our turn two weeks ago when something triggered the house alarm at three in the morning. After a couple of loud beeps, the computer voice barked something about the basement door and then wailed like a banshee. I lurched down the stairs to switch it off.

At first, my swift action was seen as “unselfishly brave” by my wife. But eventually I had to come clean with the fact that I was basically still asleep. And my 25-yard “dash into danger” was just a long distance version of smacking the snooze button.

“What if there had been someone downstairs?” she asked.

It was a legitimate question. I suppose I should have prepared myself. At the very least I should have slipped on a pair of oversized foam “Hulk hands.” As it was, I headed down unarmed. Looking back, the pillowcase creases on the side of my face probably looked enough like scars for me to pass as a “moderate ruffian.”

I headed out back to see if the basement door was blown open by the wind. When I saw that it was still shut, I needed to make sure there were no bad guys in my basement. I grabbed a butcher knife and a flashlight and crept out the back door like a crime thriller cliché. I checked the windows. No broken glass and no muddy boot prints. I pushed on the basement door and checked the knob. Still locked. I aimed the flashlight into the dark corners to make sure the coast was clear and then went back to bed. False alarm.

The next day I found out that my neighbor’s garage had been sacked. It was a strange feeling, suddenly realizing that the night before, there were probably people huffing and puffing on our locked doors.

Once I realized our space had actually been violated, my mind went to work on ways to fortify the castle against outside invaders. I stayed up all night in my studio, scouring the Internet for ideas and drafting elaborate plans on oversized graph paper. By morning I had six solid plans for beefing up my home security. Unfortunately, the fruits of my genius contained one essential flaw: they were too good.

I realized that if I were to implement all of my ideas my property would become nigh impenetrable. And the foiled thieves would likely redirect their efforts and frustrations towards my friends and neighbors. I couldn’t have that. Not on my watch.

That’s why I’ve decided to share. Here now are my six foolproof plans for foiling any unwelcome invader, burglar or evildoer. You are welcome to use them as you see fit.

1. The Big Sticky

Fact: History’s most effective mouse catcher is the glue trap. Fact: Mice and humans share 80% of the same genes. Place giant pieces of plywood near vulnerable doors and windows and coat generously with industrial-strength floor adhesive. Wait for sounds of hopeless struggle before calling 911.

Materials needed: 4×8 sheets of plywood, floor adhesive

2. The Dogpedo

Fact: Prowlers are afraid of scary dogs. Fact: Not everyone owns a scary dog. Fact: Small dogs (and even cats) are scary if they appear to have the power of flight. Fasten animal to harness. Attach cardboard dorsal fins (for improved aerodynamics). Wait for sounds of forced entry.

Materials needed: dog (or large cat), safety harness, elaborate pulley system, cardboard, zip line or tram-strength steel cable

3. The Fake Putt Pit

Fact: Most no-good thieves are male. Fact: All males love golf. Dig a medium to large-sized pit (10’ wide by 15’ deep will do nicely). Cover pit with lattice board and astro-turf. Carefully plant flag and cut a small hole in your “green.” Arrange putter and some golf balls in a casual and inviting fashion. Wait for a “hole in one” before calling 911.

Materials needed: lattice board, astro-turf, flag, putter, and golf balls

4. The Submarine Shocker

Fact: Four out five delinquents skip breakfast. Fact: A hungry criminal makes mistakes. Even shirkers of the law cannot resist a fresh and delicious Subway™ sub. The intruder is sure to forget all about your silly valuables and go straight for the sliced turkey, ham, bologna, and salami on fresh-baked bread. It’s a shame he’ll be too unconscious to enjoy it.

Materials needed: one Subway™ double meat cold cut combo (light mayonnaise), modified extension cord, jumper cables, metal plate.

5. The Golden Diversion

Fact: There is no better “robber bait” than gold. Place an easy-to-read sign in your yard that says, “Caution: Gold Prospecting in Progress, Please Do Not Mow Grass.” Of course, this will drive thieves crazy. Once they find the motherlode of golden whoppers in your grass, they will bid a hasty retreat to the nearest pawn shop.

Materials needed: posterboard, can of gold spray paint, dried dog turds

6. America’s Moat Wanted

Fact: In medieval times, the moat was king. Fact: Nobody ever robbed a volcano. It stands to reason that a moat filled with lava is the absolute bee’s knees when it comes to home defense. Unfortunately, the U.S. government forbids the importing of foreign lava. Which is just as well because the heating costs of keeping lava in its molten state would be astronomical. There is an effective alternative, but it’s not cheap. Surround your home with a chain of in-ground hot tubs. Fill each hot tub with Widowmaker chili. At night, turn the jets on and use red floodlights for added dramatic effect.

Materials needed: hot tubs and chili

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Pete Humes

Pete Humes is a husband, father and writer who lives in Richmond’s North Side. He enjoys coffee and owns way too many records.

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