back to article Smart doorbells on business premises make your property more attractive to burglars, warns researcher

Installing a smart doorbell on your abode could actually increase your home's attractiveness to burglars, researchers from Britain's Cranfield University have said. The defence 'n' security-focused institution's findings fly in the face of heavy marketing from companies such as Amazon's Ring, whose video-enabled doorbell …

  1. Chris Gray 1
    Devil

    Geeks too!

    Well, the home might not contain a lot of stuff that is of normal value to burglars, but instead contain a bunch of geek gadgets. A friend of mine likes this type of thing (can't remember if he actually bought electronic locks or not), and has bought lots of tools and gizmos. I don't think his place has much in the way of normal expensive stuff like fancy stereos, jewelry, keys to fancy cars, etc. Actually I don't think it has *ANY* of that sort of thing....

    And yes, I do realize he is in a small minority of buyers for this sort of thing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Geeks too!

      You forgot to post his address plus the hours he is usually not home. Asking for a friend.

  2. captain veg

    It's not cool or trendy, but it'll make a real difference

    > As with everything in security, it's no good securing the property's front but having the rear of the property being vulnerable

    And your garage. And shed.

    Burglars love a garage. It provides cover and a source of hardware which might be useful in breaking in to the house.

    I used to install alarms systems. Get one if your insurance company insists or offers significant discounts on that basis. Otherwise spend the money on locks

    -A.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: It's not cool or trendy, but it'll make a real difference

      "Burglars love a garage. It provides cover and a source of hardware which might be useful in breaking in to the house.

      I'd expect a pro to have what they need already. Opportunists might use what they find.

      "I used to install alarms systems. Get one if your insurance company insists or offers significant discounts on that basis. Otherwise spend the money on locks"

      Should that be a visible alarm? I've always thought, as per the article, that visible signs of protection are just indicating that you are protecting something and have the extra cash to afford to pay for that visible protection. Would you recommend a system that doesn't put a brightly coloured shiny "bell box" on the wall?

      1. Shadow Systems

        Re: It's not cool or trendy, but it'll make a real difference

        They wouldn't like my garage, it's where I keep the 800 pound Orangutan Librarian & his supply of bananas. $Deity help whomever disturbs the Librarian!

        1. Guido Esperanto

          Re: It's not cool or trendy, but it'll make a real difference

          Pass them a friend 'Ook' from me

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: It's not cool or trendy, but it'll make a real difference

          "Cute garage, all those books, where'd you find the mon....."

      2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Re: It's not cool or trendy, but it'll make a real difference

        Interestingly we had some locals checking doors to see if anyone left them unlocked down our street.. They tried the ones with ring doorbells.

        Took one look at our house with the couple of working cctv cameras (you can see the nice glow from the infrared lights) and noped off. The second time they thought about it but then spotted the gravel path and also thought better of it.

        Make life difficult and they tend to leave it.

      3. captain veg

        Re: It's not cool or trendy, but it'll make a real difference

        Almost all household burglary is opportunistic. They go for whatever appears easiest. If your house is the only one in the street that doesn't have a prominent bellbox on it, that might be a reason to get one.

        -A.

      4. teebie

        Re: It's not cool or trendy, but it'll make a real difference

        "I'd expect a pro to have what they need already."

        But a pro would know they don't want to be carrying a crowbar with them when they are stopped by police.

        (I...maybe be overestimating how much pre-planning goes into household burglaries)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's not cool or trendy, but it'll make a real difference

          overestimating how much pre-planning goes into household burglaries

          Or you overestimate how much the police cares... I have a crowbar lying around in my car's trunk for several years. Our office is one of the few not equipped with a crowbar, and at some time we had a lot of wooden crates to open, so I went and bought one, which has remained in my car's trunk ever since. I always worried it might raise questions, but actually it doesn't. Everybody just assumes it's against zombies I guess.

          1. Danny 14 Silver badge

            Re: It's not cool or trendy, but it'll make a real difference

            Crowbars are for headcrabs, you need a shotgun or axe for a zombie.

      5. wyatt

        Re: It's not cool or trendy, but it'll make a real difference

        Problem with 'going equipt' to commit crime is that it can be used against you if you're stopped. Using what's about reduces the chances of that happening.

        If I was a criminal I'd go round with a hammer or spray paint and destroy all the Ring door bells. Less chance of being on camera when you do look to nick something.

        1. ThatOne Silver badge

          Re: It's not cool or trendy, but it'll make a real difference

          Wouldn't it be much more simple to wear a ski mask?

          1. batfink Silver badge

            Re: It's not cool or trendy, but it'll make a real difference

            Stay up to date please - nowadays you can just wander around in a mask and nobody comments...

    2. Giles C Silver badge

      Re: It's not cool or trendy, but it'll make a real difference

      Yep agree with the locks entirely. Mind you having said that the garage is strong (4 point powered main door and a 3 point lock steel side door) but the shed well, I need to do something about. Especially as the previous occupants installed it with the window facing the neighbours garage and not into the garden. That is besides the fact that it is not very secure.

      Maybe time for a newer stronger model (or at least a better lock)

      1. terrythetech

        Re: It's not cool or trendy, but it'll make a real difference

        I locked my shed and lost the key. I discovered that it is trivially easy to remove shed windows. I don't think average garden sheds are ever very secure.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: It's not cool or trendy, but it'll make a real difference

          Unless you're going for a lockable metal shed with no windows (which is going to advertise that there may be something worth stealing inside), you should consider a garden shed as merely a means to keep (some of) the weather off your tools.

          As an allotment holder, we are advised to not put locks on our sheds, because when the local thieves break into the site (which they usually do once a year or so, on a stormy night when nobody is around) they will just break the hinges off the doors if they are locked. Fixing or replacing the door on a shed costs more than replacing whatever low value items they decide to steal. If you're silly enough to keep anything that is valuable, and light enough, to steal with little effort in a shed, then you are asking for a lesson in risk assessment.

    3. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: It's not cool or trendy, but it'll make a real difference

      Burglars want to raid our shed or garage then go for it. I hope they have had a tetanus shot, dont mind wasps and spiders. I wouldnt disturb the asbestos either.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Excellent, on the basis of this, I will be encouraging my neighbours to "invest" in more smart locks, and thus reducing the (already low) chance of scum choosing to harvest valuables or Veblen goods from my property.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Surely the point of a Veblen good is to have it stolen anyway, then it gives you another opportunity to boast to your equally boorish mates in the pub about how much you spent on it in the first place.

  4. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Depends where you live (applies to residential use of smart bells only)

    If it's a generally affluent road with plenty of alarms and smart bells anyway, having either is not drawing attention to your home and burglars will go for an easy target. I'm sure the smart bell won't deter them - it's more an easy way to monitor who's at the door.

    Smart locks- ah that might be a different kettle of ball games.

  5. Chris G Silver badge

    The best security is good locks on secure doors and windows, security won't stop a really determined theif but it may make things sufficiently difficult and time consuming to make them prefer to look elsewhere.

    Alternatively a 'Beware of the Leopard' sign with a genuine leopard behind it can discourage baddies from entering your property.

    When I live in N.Cal I came across one place out in the boonies, with a sign bearing the message 'Trespassers will be buried in an unmarked shallow grave',

    I quite liked that.

    1. Shadow Systems

      At Chris G, re: signs...

      My grandfather used a sign that read "Tresspassers will be eaten. Survivors will be shot." with a set of large teeth marks scoring the edge of said sign as if something had used it to pick their teeth.

      It's amazing what a bit of PsyOps can do to dissuade those with criminal intentions, no?

      *Cackle*

      1. Sceptic Tank Bronze badge

        Re: At Chris G, re: signs...

        Never mind the dog. Beware of the owner.

    2. D@v3

      Trespassers will be shot. Survivors will be shot again.

      or, one that i used to see on my paper round.

      i shoot every third salesman, and the second has just left

  6. don't you hate it when you lose your account Silver badge

    Surprised

    Marketing is based on lies. Who'd a guessed

  7. MiguelC Silver badge

    Re: smart doorbell could increase a home's attractiveness to burglars

    They point to people with more money than sense

  8. OGShakes

    funniest thing I have seen

    Any signs of security can make a property more attractive to buglers as it means you have something worth taking, what it does do is separate the smart from the stupid. I had a former boss who was bugled several times over a few years after putting in cameras etc after setting up to run his company from his house. I saw footage of a burglar looking right in to the camera on the outside of his house, no mask or any attempt to hid their face, while trying to see if the camera was real. Unsurprisingly the police knew where the burglar lived and were able to get everything back that morning. On another occasion a different crew took the camera off the wall while wearing masks and did not even bother to enter the property...

    Anyway, I learned from his mistakes and have small cameras in my home that upload to the internet as well as good locks on all my windows/doors/etc. Nothing on the outside to say 'rob me' but come in and I will have you on film even if you take the cameras. Plus when I did catch a bloke (well I say bloke, he looked about 19) looking in my window last summer at all my shiny toys, he left fast when I picked up the rusty old fire poker I keep on a hook in the corner, surprisingly the old school methods are sometimes best...

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: bugled several times

      Most victims just get burgled. To get bugled as well... and several times... most unfortunate. Most unfortunate indeed. Did it happen it at band camp?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: bugled several times

        Don't knock it until you've tried it.

        Getting Bugled is better than Sax.

  9. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Self contradiction?

    '...the presence of a smart doorbell was "unlikely" to have "any significant effect on residential burglary" rates. Instead, he said [...], smart doorbells and smart locks could actually make things worse'

    If it's unlikely to have "any significant effect", how can it "actually make things worse"? Either one or the other, but surely not both.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: Self contradiction?

      > If it's unlikely to have "any significant effect", how can it "actually make things worse"?

      I think he meant to say "any significant positive effect".

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's about being a hardened target

    We have cameras around the entire perimeter of the house. Including the driveway, backyard, and both sides of the house visible from the street. Motion activated lights as well. Does an amazing job of deterring the professional burglar and the tweaker from paying a visit.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Camouflage works

    If I had the money I'd make my front look as dilapidated as possible. Weed overgrown flowerbeds, apparently rusty gate (only the clued up would spot the hinges to be well oiled), apparently sagging fence (until you tried to move it and found it to be rock solid), somewhat muddy, overgrown path to the back - generally a feast of deception which actually takes a lot to keep up (there's a difference between the actual decline of letting it all go, and maintaining a state of quality underneath).

    From a camera perspective you'd have some problems with me too, because any cameras you would see would never be the ones actually recording..

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Camouflage works

      > I'd make my front look as dilapidated as possible

      And have your neighbors bite your head off for devaluing the neighborhood...

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021