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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Panic Switches and '0 Dark 30

Panic switches come in a variety of ways. They can be as simple as this:

 Or a bit more complex:

Or even more complex:

Although all of these devices are well and good, lighting up the house immediately or automatically calling a UL listed alarm monitoring center for help, sometimes it is not enough. 

Last night at "0 dark thirty" the door bell rang. Occasionally friends will drop by unannounced at these hours, but it is not the norm. 

Although I have all of these devices at my command the technology protecting myself and my house is myself in this instant. An older middle aged man ringing the door bell holding a one gallon gasoline can is asking for a half gallon of gas. The motion detector outside has already noticed the presence of him and has lit the garage door floodlights, the front yard lamp pole, the front porch light, and the interior foyer lamp. Looking through the side window at the front door, I see him and I get the story. Something is wrong. There is a convenience store 1/4 mile away and visible from the road.  

I tell him I will call anyone he likes. He really lays it on that he needs a half gallon of gas. I offer to call the Sheriffs Office at this point. I am really not that concerned as he must get through the storm door and then the metal front door to get to me. I am however listening to the alarm for the presence of someone at the back door. 

Oh, the storm door is not your average door. It is equipped with laminate security glass and three locking points, here is one of them:

As he continues to tell me his dire condition I hit the "all lights on" button. The house is awash in lights as all exterior lights and the majority of interior lights come on. Now he is belligerent and calmly says F**K YOU! and leaves my porch. 

Ok, I had the last panic switch in my right hand all the time:

The telling thing was that after he left I lit it up with the mag light on my front porch and I noticed that two people were leaving! One was on the blind side of my door viewer and the side windows I am sure! I would have been bum rushed if I opened the door. 

I called the Deputies and they promptly arrived. I told them where they were headed and a general description. 

I really did not expect all of this here. So now some more work here is needed:

This is one of the nerve centers for the house. I will now add an intercom to replace the doorbell that will ring the phones in the house and I can have a two way conversation with anyone at the door on the telephone while not being at the door. I will also add cameras on the front and back doors that I can see from any TV in the house by selecting a routine cable channel. 

Intercom looks like this on the porch:

Paranoid? I think not. The old joke is how many paranoid people does it take to change a light bulb? "Who wants to know". 

I because of location am a target of opportunity. No one had to get in dire straights last night. 



  1. You did absolutely the right thing. I've only had one break in at my home. It was teenagers the cops said, they had an idea as to who, they hit 3 houses on the road I live when they knew we had left for work. Smash and grab electronics, change and booze. Barkley AND the alarm scared them off. The police called me, I was on my way to work. Other than the door, no damage. Still scared me, but I have the rules drilled in.

    Do NOT answer the door for anyone. Offer to call for assistance.

    I have thorny rose bushes in front of the windows. I HATE roses, but they'd be a bear to crawl through. LOTS of lights. Motion sensors.

    The fact that you saw two people is troubling, I think they were up to something, and it was no good.


  2. @Brigid- Thanks for your analysis. After last weekends adventure that was just icing on the cake for me. I do trust many levels of technology and I am glad to have them at my disposal.

    I feel I must answer the door or the home invasion is imminent! Most home invasions are planned to overcome the increasing prevalence of good alarm systems in my opinion!

    Thanks again!

  3. @Brigid- How about holly instead of roses! They hurt!

  4. So wise! I am glad you weren't foolish about it. But it might be a good idea to pass along news of the ruse to the neighbors...

    I do not open the door without gun in hand, period. Yes, it's sometimes irksome to have the .45 digging into my ribs while watching TV. But I had this dream, see, of a door kicked in and my gun wayyy over across a kitchen counter and nearer them than me.

    I am so glad you've upgraded the security. Well done!!

  5. Kelly - Glad you are safe and that you take precautionary measures.

  6. Frickin' A, sir.

    You did the right thing. If the door would've opened, who knows what you've had to deal with!

    I had a similar experience a few years back while watching SNL; about 11:45 the doorbell rings and a guy is pushy, saying his mom is in the hospital and he needs a few bucks for a taxi. My hubby says no, that he will call the Sheriff and get the man a ride. Our subdivision is rural and detached from the city, being in a township; even so, the hospital is about a 30-40 min walk from here.

    He got more and more insistent, and then eventually did the eff' you and left... You better believe I had my Smith with me the whole time hubby was telling the guy to GO.

    Of course, we did call the Sheriff, as we did not want him trolling a neighborhood of mostly elderly folks.

  7. @LauraB- The prospect of fighting in your own home to get to your weapon or even worse an assailant using your own weapon on you is indeed a nightmare!

    @Supi- Thanks!

    @Brooke- Thanks! I am in a "sorta" rural area, but I am real close to a medium sized city.

  8. Great. Now I have a dilemma.

    While the Ithaca 12 gauge pump is dandy for convincing a$$holes they need to go find something else to do, it's not something I'd prefer to have in my hands every time I open the front door at night. Since I just moved out into the country, it would probably give the neighbors the wrong idea about me.

    Wrong time to have to deal with the expense of a pistol. You know, having an ex-wife to support and all...

  9. Steve, Yeah I know all about the payment plan! I have completed mine however. You could just go for the whole "Get of my yard thing" persona with the pump though!

  10. Roses are good. I wanted razor wire, but my sister and girlfriend overruled me. We compromised on raspberries. They have thorns and they give fruit.

  11. I want a front-door video peephole that does IR and takes pictures. But I wouldn't answer it at 0'dark thirty - I'd get a weapon handy but there's no reason to answer it here.

  12. @DirtCrashr- Great Idea! I think you could house everything in a traditional large door knocker!