• May 7, 2004

Security Bars Revisited

Living without fear, it’s a choice

Restoration Diary,

We have decided to remove the security bars on the front of the house, causing my mother and grandmother much concern.

“What if someone gets into your house while you are home alone? You NEED those bars.”

They do have a point and I have thought about the possibility, but I don’t want to live in fear. Something like what they are imagining could happen anywhere, even in the Midwest where I grew up and my family still lives.

About a third of the houses on our street have no security bars on the front of their homes, some have no security bars at all. While in the minority, they look so nice and inviting – like home. My Grandmother jokingly said, “They can say at your funeral: She is dead but her house looks beautiful!”

David and I researched crime in our area. Statistically our neighborhood is safer in terms of murder, assault and other violent crimes than our old “safe” neighborhood in LA’s Westside. Of course, it did occur to me that crimes might not be reported as frequently in our current neighborhood. There is a prevailing attitude that the “police don’t care” and that “someone would have to be almost dead before the police would respond.”

In coming to this decision we questioned how we would feel while we were away? Would we be constantly worrying that we were being robbed? Would I feel safe in the house alone, especially if David was working late?

We intend to leave the bars over the windows on the rest of the house and keep our security doors. The bars can always be put back on the front windows if we change our minds. We received a post about security windows that were specially made for an old Craftsman style home that were in a Frank Lloyd Wright pattern. I hadn’t thought about having bars made that were attractive.

Our biggest concern is being robbed. The Los Angeles Police Department website suggests drilling a small hole in the corners where double hung windows meet and inserting a pin so that they cannot be opened. The company that put in our security system said that most old windows have been painted shut so thieves break out the glass instead.

The Los Angeles Police Department website also encourages engraving all electronics and valuables with the last 4 digits of your social security number and posting a sign stating that all your equipment has been engraved. I question if a sign serves as an advertisement that you have something to steal? Engraving (or marking) your possessions supposedly cuts down on the price the item can be sold for on the black market and helps to ensure your items will be returned if they are recovered.

We have also tossed around the idea of an alarm that would sound when glass breaks and a security camera. Overkill? I’m not sure if that is really necessary since we have an alarm system inside the house? Our neighborhood is so quiet and our neighbors are so nice that it is easy to forget that this area is considered rough.

Comments { 5 }
  1. Cheryll

    Heather…you are much braver than I am! I guess I have just been lucky. We live in a small town in Illinois. We sleep with the windows open and the doors unlocked. We are both gone all day and usually never lock the house unless we go on a major trip. We have never been robbed. I lived on the East Coast for 20 years from 1971 to 1991. I lived in Charleston, South Carlolina…Newport, Rhode Island… and Fredericksburg, Virginia. We were never attacked or robbed there either. BUT…We didn’t have hookers and drug dealers camped out on the corner a block from the house either and didn’t a neighbor just alert you to that?! I’ve never even seen a hooker, except on TV! I don’t scare easy, but just the thought of living anywhere in LA scares me! Will your Brinks alarm system go off LOUDLY (like loud enough to wake up the entire neighborhood!) and will it go off if a window is broken? If not,can your system be upgraded? Also…a good thing to have are those motion detector flood lights that come on when ever someone gets in your yard. I’d have them all around the house. I MEAN ALL AROUND!!! They can be tucked up under the eaves. Don’t forget the garage. They are very inexpensive and you will like coming home at night and the lights coming on to help you make it to the door. Light the place up like Fort Knox! The lights could be enough to scare off an intruder at night. Intruders like to work unseen and in the dark. The dogs will set the lights off when they go out to potty…but it is a small price to pay for peace of mind and security. I notice you have Brinks signs in the yard. Make sure you have atleast on on each side of the yard. I think you would be safe with the security system and motion lights. Is your yard totally enclosed by a fence? If so, that helps some. Have you thought of a watch dog for the yard? It doesn’t have to be a Pit Bull or a Doberman. Just a good size dog that lives OUTSIDE IN A DOG HOUSE and has run of the whole yard! I had a Husky and she was very protective of our property. Nothing came into the yard with her there. The Meter Reader was terrified of her and would drive up to the meter that hung on the side of the house so she didn’t have to get out of the truck! Here, we can call the figures in, if our yards are locked up. When we lived out on the farm our dog chased coyotes off every night, dug moles out of the ground and chased off coons and possums. She even caught mice and would lay them out in a line on the back porch step. A watch dog could help too. Do you like to open your windows for fresh air? You can open your windows 6 to 8 inches (too small for anyone to crawl inside) and then drive a large nail into the window track so the window can not be raised anymore. That way you can have fresh air but no one can crawl inside through the windows. Unless they break the glass. You also have 2 inside dogs! Don’t they bark at strangers?! Most dogs can sense danger. Take the bars off…I know you hate them. The main thing is this…Property can be replaced but YOU can’t! Do whatever you need to do to feel safe, but surely you can live in that house without the bars. If not…there are always the Frank Lloyd Wright ones…$$$$$$$ If it were my house the bars would have to go! Good luck and may you live in your beautiful home peacefully and safely! Cheryll

  2. mom

    “They can say at your funeral: She is dead but her house looks beautiful!”

    It was your mother that said that.

    I know you hate the bars…BUT….

  3. Jack

    What is the old adage? Always listen to your mother?!?!

    Personally I hate the bars, but I think it depends on what color you choose for your trim.

  4. em

    I say take them off. If you live like you’re going to be broken into, you probably will have problems. I lived in a city that bordered Detroit, Mi, left my door unlocked 90% of the time and never had a problem. The reality is, if someone wants to break into your house they will find a way. I think the biggest deterrents are dogs barking and signs that state you have an alarm system. And saying Hi to everyone in your neighborhood! I think a lot of times the burglars are probably from your own neighborhood, they know who lives where and what they’re schedules are, making their job easier. If they think your cool, or they know you know who they are,they’re probably more likely to rob someone they’ve never had contact with.

  5. Kristen

    Glass break alarms have helped my friends feel secure in their house, which is a high crime neighborhood. (I wrote earlier that they decided to remove the bars.) As far as the suggestion to drive a nail so someone can’t crawl in an open window, my window was open about an inch with a security latch that prevents it from being opened farther and someone stood on my porch in broad daylight and managed to pop the whole window out of the casement to step into my bedroom. I had glass break, but not motion detectors at the time, so my alarm never went off because s/he never opened an entry door. With plenty of time, in addition to robbing me blind, s/he had a lovely snack of spring water and peach cobbler while inside, too. :) Everything gets locked up tight now. It probably wouldn’t take much to add glass break, but might make you feel better.

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