This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
You’ve probably walked past your neighbor’s yard and wondered if those fake security signs they’re sporting actually work as deterrents. Can you just slap a home security alarm company’s sticker on your window and keep potential thieves at bay?
The answer is yes. Home security signs of any sort can work to discourage burglary. Until they don’t.
A study conducted by the University of North Carolina interviewed hundreds of professional thieves and found that more than 60% of them said evidence of a security system led them to select an easier target. Unfortunately, that’s not the end of the story.
The drawbacks of fake signs
While getting a cheap yard sign off eBay takes minimal effort on your part, it also has some clear drawbacks.
- It’s like waving a gigantic red flag that says “the good stuff is in here.” Having a security system or evidence of one, especially in certain neighborhoods, could pique interest in your valuables.
- You want your sign to look real, but there’s a fine line. If you get one from an actual company, burglars familiar with how to disarm its particular security measures might see your home as fair game.
- Faking it is a big risk to take. In 74% of home robberies where there were alarms, burglars fled without committing theft. Property loss is also significantly less in homes with security alarms. On average, homeowners with alarms lost $3,266 versus in a home burglary versus the national average of $5,343.
- As more and more homeowners opt to use fake signs, this commonplace strategy is becoming less of a deterrent. Call it the boy-who-cried-wolf syndrome.
A burglary once every 15 seconds
The United States leads the world in most robberies per capita, with a burglary once every fifteen seconds. Home burglaries make up 19.8% of property crime, and more than 60% involved forced entry. You may assume you’re getting away cheap by advertising a security system without actually investing in one, but once you’ve been the victim of a robbery, you’ll feel differently. The thousands of dollars of valuables you’ve lost will no longer make that bare bones yard sign seem like such a great bargain.
Investment in additional security measures doesn’t have to be a huge commitment
Many companies offer DIY kits, and you can put together your own system from components on Amazon if you have the expertise and technical know-how. Because 34% of all thieves come through your front door, small common sense measures—like installing door sensors or getting a security camera — can reap big benefits without taking a chunk out of your monthly budget.
In fact, most homeowners report that they’re pleased overall with the additional steps they’ve taken to secure their homes. Among people with home alarm systems, 94% say they’re happy with their system, and 93% report satisfaction with the home security company they use. So along with putting up signs, consider investing in a few simple security devices. You’ll reap thousands of dollars of savings if you do get robbed, and you’ll have something you can’t put a price on: the satisfaction of a secure home.
Worried that faking it with a sign is too big a risk to take? Come see the top security providers recommended at SafeWise— where we do the research, so you don’t have to.