Big problem with vandalism...Ideas please - Posted by Mike

Posted by Kent on November 18, 2001 at 14:26:41:

You are exactly right. It was in reference to my residence. It was a talk about someone who had been prowling around after my home I had been broke into.

You are also right about lying in wait. It just kinda sounds premeditated. But I disagree.

What is the difference about me staying up all night at my home with a shotgun “lying in wait” and staying up all night at another property I own. I am waiting in both scenarios and I am protecting in both scenarios.

The only difference I see is the rent house is seen from the street as empty or abandoned so it might lean closer to entrapment. Of course this assumes that a thief can tell the difference between breaking into a persons home residence and breaking into a rental. I dont think the thief differentiates. He goes for my home for guns, tv’s and play toys, he goes for my rentals for tools or vandalism.

I dont think I would want to kill someone over a few tools at a rent house under construction. I also dont want to kill someone at my own home who is taking my TV. I also dont want to kill someone who wants my wallet. But they set the stage, if it escalates and happens, so be it. I DO bear arms.

But I’ll bet if you hired a security guard to “lye in wait” inside a rent house and someone came in and he shot him, there would be no repercussions. So why would I not be allowed to act as security guard on my OWN property rental or otherwise. I am not there waiting and wanting to shoot someone. I am there in hopes they go away. I am there to PROTECT what is mine.

Things get trickier if this was a rent house. This would be a house of which you have given key to many people. But if have changed locks to not “entice” them in and you are CERTAIN there is no way they might feel they have claim to this property (recent history), if they break glass, they are trespassing and should be viewed as a threat.


Big problem with vandalism…Ideas please - Posted by Mike

Posted by Mike on November 17, 2001 at 15:48:36:


I’ve been rehabbing in marginal areas for a few years now and have my share of break-ins. For the most part, they’ve all been pretty minor (a few broken windows, some stolen materials…) This time, they got me pretty bad. They stole 9 windows (after they were already installed), 2 sets of kitchen cabinets, 2 toilets, 2 bathroom vanities and medicine cabinets, plus a smattering of light fixtures. All told, the damage will probably cost me around 3-4k.

I’m worried that they are going to keep coming back every time they see my contractor repairing what they just stolen and/or destroyed.

Other rehabbers in the area just board up the house as tight as they can, but if the vandals are persistent enough, they’ll get in.

I’m interested in getting some feedback on other security mesasures other’s have used. How about ADT? This seems like it may be the best bet, but then again I’m worried about the robbers cutting my phone line once they realize the security system is in place.

Any feedback is appreciated.


Re: Big problem with vandalism…Ideas please - Posted by agurley

Posted by agurley on November 20, 2001 at 24:51:13:

I am a Police Officer in the south east. In my town (about 50,000 res.), we have had a recent increase in business and residential burglaries of this sort. As a Police Officer, I would love to be present when someone was in the process of breaking in somewhere. If the burglaries are consistent enough to be reliably predictable, contact your Police Dept. Chances are, they would love the catch these guys, get them into the interrogation room and clear some burglaries (You’d be amazed at what people will confess to when caught red-handed). Dont take the law into your own hands. Let us do what we are paid for. WHY DONT PEOPLE THINK OF THIS!! I’m so sick of taking a burglary report and have a witness come up and say that they heard glass breaking at 2am but did’nt bother to call us. Then they say we better catch these guys because they are tired of having stuff broken into. (???)

ADT - Posted by GlenSoCal

Posted by GlenSoCal on November 19, 2001 at 18:15:55:

I know an investor who alarms his houses and claims it works for him.

The alarm system adds to the value of the house, so he recoups the cost easily.

Don’t shoot anybody.

Re: Big problem with vandalism…Ideas please - Posted by Ronald *S tarr

Posted by Ronald *S tarr on November 19, 2001 at 01:25:33:


I like the lights idea and Kristine’s suggestion of the on-site person.

For lights–motion-sensing lights might help. When somebody approaches and the lights come on, they are not sure but that there is somebody there. Maybe hook up a tape recorder with your voice saying somthing like “I think I heard somebody out there, Bill. You want to go out, or just wait?” Then another voice: “When he gets in the house, we shot and call the sheriff.” Have about a half-dozen similar scripts so they sound different if the same person shows up again.

Use a cheap tape recorder, in case it doesn’t work. You don’t want a good one stolen.

Good Investing**********Ron Starr***********

How about… - Posted by Paul_MA

Posted by Paul_MA on November 19, 2001 at 01:02:12:

…leaving a light on, some curtains on the window, etc…

ya know, make it look like someone is living there.

Here’s an idea! - Posted by Bill¶

Posted by Bill¶ on November 18, 2001 at 11:51:31:

Ok, try this:

  1. Get someone to plant land mines in the front and back yards.
  2. Rig the windows so that when armed, whomever touches them gets shocked with 10,000 volts of electricity.
  3. Bear traps underneath newspapers in the living room.


In all seriousness, my first instinct would be to contact the local police and run a few of the ideas past them. They should know how to handle the situation the best. If you are in a gun-friendly state(like I am in PA) and it is LEGAL to shoot an intruder in this type of situation, do it. Do not fool around with warning shots or you will be the one who gets shot. If you live in an anti-gun type of state like CA or NJ, try the dog or ADT idea. Just remember, if someone really wants something, they’ll find a way to get it, unless the risk is higher than the reward.


ADT is actually a good idea… - Posted by IB (NJ)

Posted by IB (NJ) on November 18, 2001 at 04:36:40:

If it’s centrally monitored, a cut phone line will still be detected and the police would be called. Whenever we had a contractor stop by one of our houses, one would somehow get the code messed up and the police would show. They would usually hold and question the guy for about 10 minutes before letting him go. This served as a good deterrent for those in the neighborhood who were thinking about ripping the place off. Trust me, it works. Just make sure your buyer takes over the ADT contract which is usually not a problem.

Dogs. - Posted by Redline

Posted by Redline on November 17, 2001 at 21:57:41:

In “my area” I’ve seen several investors that apparently rent guard dogs from a service. They post a sign at the door, something like “Guard Dogs international” with a warning sign. You can hear them barking if you get near the place. Usually large german shepherds or the like. Might be an option.


Re: Big problem with vandalism…Ideas please - Posted by NCPaul

Posted by NCPaul on November 17, 2001 at 20:48:22:

Depending on the laws and the area, I have a friend who did something when he had your problem that might work for you. He stayed in the house overnight after a delivery, like your hoodlums seem to be watching for. When the guy went to break in the back door he got behind the guy and let off a 12 gage round just over head of the would-be theif. He never had any more trouble in that neighborhood. He was very careful not to be seen going into the house and his car was parked elsewhere. For what it’s worth, I think this would be a good deterrant as long as you don’t hit the theif with your “warning” shot. Good luck with whatever you do.

Re: Big problem with vandalism…Ideas please - Posted by Kristine-CA

Posted by Kristine-CA on November 17, 2001 at 17:08:08:

I used to live in Jersey City and investors/rehabbers had the same problem. Some neighborhoods were so abandoned there were no neighbors to speak of. If there is anyway you can let someone camp out in your properties, either in the residence or in a trailer in the driveway, that does seem to deter vandalism and the b&e. There are people in every community who live responsibly but don’t like to pay market rents. And a lot of these people come with their own trailers/equipment.

Sincerely, Kristine

Re: Big problem with vandalism…Ideas please - Posted by Bill

Posted by Bill on November 17, 2001 at 16:57:58:

Pretty tough to keep someone out that wants in. A couple ideas

  1. Ask the neighbors to keep watch. Even pay them to call the cops if they see or hear anything.

  2. Lots of light, inside and out. Ask utility company if they will install outdoor security lights on poles. Some of them will for a modest price. Southern Californi Edison is one of them.

  3. If there is a fence, contract with someone to put a couple of “Junk yard” dogs in each night. Make sure you have lots of signs on the fence. If there is no fence, contract with a temporary fence company to install one. Pretty expensive tho.

Lots of light and friendly neighbors are my favorite. I dont even board the place up, just leave all the lights on.

I do run the risk of broken windows from neighborhood kids tho.

Re: Big problem with vandalism…Ideas please - Posted by Julius Levai

Posted by Julius Levai on November 20, 2001 at 12:56:03:

Do not take the law into your hands… Sounds good. But when you call police out and they show about 1 hour later, then just be a victim. That is the idea behind it, to take a report. If you guys show up on time, then I go for that, otherwise… It has happened to my friend, with two small kids and no husband. (died just recently) Julius.

Re: Here’s an idea! - Posted by Bill

Posted by Bill on November 18, 2001 at 16:29:51:

Bill, check out this site. Its the law in your state.

Re: Dogs. - Posted by Bill Scott (Ohio)

Posted by Bill Scott (Ohio) on November 18, 2001 at 04:07:20:

Dogs are good but there are a couple of problems. One is to make sure that the dog is going to behave and not chew up stuff and damage the property.

The other is that a lot of these inner city gangs have gotten good at taking dogs down. They poison them with antifreeze tainted meat or shoot them. In fact, around SoCal for a while one of the forms of gang initiation was to find a guard dog, take it on and beat it to death. That’s how my in laws lost their dog, which was a real pretty Belgian Malinois.

I’m in agreement with staying with the property, and being armed. The other Bill can say what he wants and technically he’s right—but what he forgets is that you have a right to self defense. Just tell the cops, ‘hey, I told them to leave and they were coming in the only door out that I have. One of them looked like he was going for a gun…’ Just remember–BE PREPARED TO USE IT!

I have done something similar to this but my property had a fast police response time. I’d show up, armed, at any time of the day or night to check the place. I’ve caught two sets of burglurs that way—I immedietly called 911 and the cops were there fast. (As soon as they showed up, I quietly stowed the piece in a gym bag in the truck). The odd thing was that neither set lived in the 'hood. Anyway, I’m usually armed anytime I’m out working on my units in a marginal area.

Re: Big problem with vandalism…Ideas please - Posted by Bill

Posted by Bill on November 17, 2001 at 21:01:19:

Good idea in theory, very bad idea in reality.

Re: Big problem with vandalism…Ideas please - Posted by Ronald * Starr

Posted by Ronald * Starr on November 19, 2001 at 01:07:04:


I’ve never had a problem with broken windows.

I put metal window screen material over the windows, held against the building with 1X2 strips screwed in with my cordless drill. I remove them when the renters move in.

Good Investing and Good Posting**Ron Starr

Re: Big problem with vandalism…Ideas please - Posted by agurley

Posted by agurley on November 21, 2001 at 02:20:44:

I don’t really know what the object of your post is. If we get a report of a burglary “not in progress”, then thats all it’s gonna be is a report. That in itself is not necessarily a bad thing, many crimes can be solved by investigators who follow up on effective reports. If it is “in progress” we are gonna be coming like a bat out of hell. My point is that the citizen/victim/witness has got to have some involvement in the process for us to be effective. (When you hear glass breaking at your neighbors house at 2am, call the freakin police; or if your property is regularly and consistently getting broken into, tell the cops, they may be able to set up on the house and catch them in the process) My point is not to tell someone to be a victim. If its your residence, do what you have to do to protect yourself and your family. If its an unoccupied property, then its a property crime and hardly justifies deadly force to keep someone from getting you 2x4s. As police we can’t do everything and be everywhere. The citizen has to take some responsibilty for himself. If that surprises you Gun Control folks, welcome to the real world. Part of this responsibilty is helping us do our job. (Getting tag numbers, noting suspicious activity, recording serial numbers, watching out for your neighbors, security lighting, alarm systems, dont place boxes on the curb for every passerby to see what new equipment you just got,etc) Everyone seems to cry at the top of their lungs “Where’s the police when you need them” whenever they are the victim, but will watch someone tote all of their neighbors belongings out in a pillowcase and never call us because they “did’nt want to get involved”. Its pretty simple folks, if your life or a family members life is in danger or their is a threat of serious bodily harm to either then deadly force is authorized. If the crook is just trying to get a skill saw out of and empty house, it is not.

Here’s my interpretation - Posted by Bill¶

Posted by Bill¶ on November 18, 2001 at 21:16:18:

Hi Bill,

Thanks for the link. The statute really does not make it clear what your rights are. For instance, with a concealed weapons permit, you are allowed by PA law to carry the weapon virtually anywhere in the state with few exceptions(banks, post offices, schools, etc). This would include a residence other than your home. You are also allowed to use that weapon if you feel as though your life is in danger(as in the case of a thug breaking into your home). After all, it’s dark and you can’t quite make out what’s in his hand.

On the other hand, a spineless DA might say that you were provoking an attack by being there in the first place. In that case, you might find yourself strung up on charges.

It really depends on who the DA is and how sympathetic they are to the situation. Obviously, if someone breaks in while you are in the house and you catch them, then execute them while they are defenseless, you will be arrested. However, it’s a rare DA that prosecutes an individual who claims self defense when the facts clearly indicate that it is(As in the case where you are in a situation where an intruder has entered your home).

Like I said, take it to the police and get their opinion.

Re: Big problem with vandalism…Ideas please - Posted by NCPaul

Posted by NCPaul on November 17, 2001 at 21:13:39:

Maybe a theory in your area, but in Scotland County NC, it has been an effective reality at least once. Like I said, depending on the laws and the area. Scotland County is an area where this is not a tremendous legal problem. Your area may present a different legal situation.