Decoys to scare burglars: Worth the money, or are you being robbed?

MGN Online

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Security alarms, home surveillance cameras and a good watch dog are some of the best ways to make your home less attractive to a burglar.

But many homeowners simply can't afford high tech security equipment, or may not want a dog. It may be possible to at least give the impression your home has all these protections without the same cost.

All you have to do is go on the internet, and you'll find a variety of items meant to fool a burglar.

But is it money well spent, or are you being robbed in a different way If you surf the internet for just a few minutes, you'll find a large litter of so-called "barking dog alarms." Most sell for well under $100.
It's a lot cheaper than years worth of dog food and trips to the vet.

“If it sounds authentic, it's probably worth a try, because we do know that sometimes burglars are deterred by knowing there's a large dog in the house,” Michiana Crime Stoppers’ Lt. Cindy Kilgore explained.

Even cheaper, you can also find phony home security system stickers and signs, ranging from $5 to $15, or about half of what a monthly monitoring fee for a real security costs.

“Is it likely a burglar is going to take the trouble to research whether a sticker on a house that indicates it's protected by a burglar alarm is legitimate? Probably not. It's probably worth the expense, and if it isn't, you're out the cost of a sticker, but chances are it will actually deter a burglar. The same goes for anything that indicates that the path could be resistant to them entering the home.”

And speaking of surveillance cameras, there are plenty of inexpensive battery operated fake surveillance cameras all over the internet.

Including one I paid $10 for that sat perched above us during our interview.

“Because it's very hard to tell when you're looking up at a camera, pointing down at you from the ceiling or wherever that it's not connected to anything, so I would say it's worth the effort to try it,” Kilgore added.

Now, while Kilgore says these products may be effective in making your home a harder target, they could never be as reliable as the real thing. Your odds of keeping the burglars at bay are better with a real dog, a real surveillance camera and real burglar alarm.

And there are other benefits for the homeowner by using the “Real McCoy,” so to speak.

Yes, you can't get a discount on your homeowner's insurance by installing a phony burglar alarm sticker or sign. But you will get a discount if you have a legitimate security system.