Cover image for The complete idiot's guide to home security
The complete idiot's guide to home security
Davidson, Tom.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Indianapolis, IN : Alpha Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
xix, 279 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes bibliographical references (p. [263]-266) and index.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TH9745.D85 D36 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



In today's world of gated communities, security is more sought after than ever. Most new home owners think about installing a home security system shortly after moving in, but are confused by the maze of choices available. This guide tells you all you need to know about keeping your home and family safe. The author, a former FBI agent and security expert, gives you the skinny on everything from basic systems to inexpensive measures you can install yourself. He also tells parents what's legal and what's not in the area of nanny-cams and monitoring.

Author Notes

Tom Davidson has 27 years of law enforcement experience with the Indiana State Police and has worked with the London Metropolitan Police Department. He is a practicing attorney, educator, and certified police Master Instructor, as well as a graduate of the FBI National Academy
Lorna Gentry specializes in explaining technical information to people who aren't interested in technology

Table of Contents

Part 1 A Closer Look at Home (In)Security
1 Why You Need a Home Security Planp. 3
Somebody Call a Cop!p. 4
It Won't Happen to Me!p. 6
Isn't That Why I Have Insurance?p. 7
Reducing Your Insurance Premiump. 8
What Insurance Can Do for Youp. 8
How Much Is Your Home Security Plan Worth?p. 10
2 Principles of Protectionp. 13
A Quick Sketch of Crimep. 14
Crime Is a Three-Way Streetp. 14
Think Like a Crime-Stopperp. 15
Do I Smell Smoke?p. 16
Only You Can Prevent Most House Firesp. 17
Think Fire-Freep. 18
Strong Threads in Your Security Netp. 19
3 Home Security Snafusp. 21
Is There a Burglar in the House?p. 22
Case Study #1 A Get-Away for Victim and Crookp. 22
Case Study #2 We Have New Stuff!p. 24
Case Study #3 The Check Was in the Mailp. 26
Case Study #4 That Darn Cat!p. 28
Playing with Firep. 31
Case Study #5 I Think I'll Smoke for a Whilep. 31
Case Study #6 I Like My Kitchen Well-Done, Thanksp. 32
Case Study #7 Kids Love Firep. 33
Case Study #8 Look up in the Sky! It's Handyman!p. 34
Say Goodbye to Your Carp. 35
Case Study #9 I Was Just Warmin' It Up for You!p. 36
Case Study #10 Can I Take You for a Ride?p. 37
Not in Your Backyard, Eh?p. 38
Part 2 Risky Businessp. 41
4 Calculating Your Risksp. 43
Is This Really Necessary?p. 43
Do-It-Yourself Assessmentp. 45
Stage 1 Fact-Finding, Sleuthing, and "Neighboring"p. 45
Stage 2 Analyzing the Factsp. 47
Stage 3 A Good, Hard Look at Your Weaknessesp. 47
What Do You Stand to Lose?p. 48
People vs. Thingsp. 49
Is It Replaceable?p. 49
The High Price of Worryp. 49
Is That a Risk You Have to Take?p. 50
Say Bye-Bye to That Riskp. 50
Encouraging Risk Sprawl by Spreading Risk Aroundp. 51
From Me to You: Transferring Risksp. 52
Accepting the Risks That You Can't (or Choose Not to) Losep. 52
5 Pulling Together the Factsp. 55
How to Fill Out the Checklistsp. 55
How Safe Is Your Neighborhood?p. 56
Look Around Your Neighborhoodp. 56
Check the Police Blotter, and Chat Over the Fencep. 57
How Safe Is Your Home or Apartment?p. 60
The Great Outdoorsp. 60
Down on the Farmp. 62
Inside Your Castlep. 62
How Safe Is Your Lifestyle?p. 64
And Now What ...?p. 67
6 Grade Your Public Safety Agenciesp. 69
Tracking Down Your Local Agenciesp. 69
Local, County, and State Police Agenciesp. 70
What's Cooking at Your Local Fire Stationp. 71
Useful Utilities Informationp. 74
Emergency Help Is on the Wayp. 75
7 What Your Assessment Revealsp. 77
Putting a Face on Your Security Risksp. 78
Your Neighborhood Risksp. 78
Your Home or Apartment Risk Assessmentp. 79
Your Lifestyle, Baby!p. 80
What Are My Risks?p. 83
Adding Up Crime Risks and Susceptibilitiesp. 84
Adding Up Fire Risks and Susceptibilitiesp. 84
Adding Up Your Susceptibility to Accidentsp. 84
How Much Can You Lose?p. 85
What's the Worst That Could Happen?p. 85
How Good Are the Rescuers?p. 86
Adding It All Upp. 86
Bam! Your List of Must-Fix Security Issues Is Readyp. 87
Part 3 Home Security Doesn't Have to Break the Bankp. 89
8 Calculating Your Security Budgetp. 91
Options for Reducing or Eliminating
The Risks You Facep. 92
Stay on Your Side of the Fence, Pleasep. 92
The Classics: Locks, Bolts, Pins, and Titaniump. 93
Alarm Systems and Other Hooplap. 94
For a Really Moving Security Experiencep. 96
Somebody's Watching Youp. 97
Step Away from the Car!p. 98
In Your Own Estimationp. 98
Price Checkp. 99
Don't Forget the Savings!p. 99
Security in the Balancep. 100
9 Fast, Easy, Cheap Crime-Fighting Basicsp. 103
Your First Layer of Securityp. 104
Neighborhood Security Shape-upp. 104
Minimum (Cost) Security at Homep. 106
I'm Cheap--but Safe!p. 110
And While You're at It ...!p. 111
10 Low-Cost Commonsense Fire Safety Techniquesp. 113
The Fireproof Hearth and Homep. 113
The Great Detectorsp. 116
Planning Your Great Escapep. 117
11 Be Your Own Bodyguardp. 119
Everyday Security Smartsp. 120
A Word About Self-Defensep. 122
Home-Alone Securityp. 123
Mind the Baby Sitter!p. 125
Home-Away-from-Home Securityp. 126
Before You Leavep. 126
On the Road (or in the Air)p. 128
To Rage, or Not to Rage? That's a Question?p. 129
12 Your Name Here _____: Branding Your Stuffp. 131
So, What Do You Want to Record?p. 132
Take a Picture, Why Don'tcha?p. 133
Taking the Photosp. 134
Putting Together Your Photo Recordp. 135
Beware, the Mark of ME!p. 136
Make Those Lists!p. 138
13 Stir It Up: Start a Neighborhood Crime Watchp. 141
Count the Ways Neighborhood Watch Helps Youp. 142
Get Things Goingp. 143
Your First Meetingp. 144
Things to Watch Forp. 145
Keep the Ball Rollingp. 146
14 What's Left to Do?p. 149
The Way We Werep. 149
How Hot Are Your Fire Security Fixes?p. 153
What Does Your New List Tell You?p. 154
Ready to Take It to the Next Level?p. 155
Part 4 Bells and Whistles: Using Alarm Systemsp. 157
15 The Shocking Truth About Security Alarmsp. 159
All in the Family: Alarm Basicsp. 160
The Four Horsemenp. 160
The Parts Departmentp. 161
Some Sensational Add-Ons!p. 163
Hard-Wired or Wireless?p. 165
Would You Like Monitoring with That?p. 166
You're Ready to Design Your Systemp. 167
16 Choosing Your Alarms and Diversionsp. 169
Choosing Your Componentsp. 170
Eliminating Windows (and Doors) of Opportunityp. 171
I Second That Motion Detectionp. 172
Do You Need an Exterior Alarm System?p. 173
Above and Beyondp. 173
Security by Designp. 174
A Zoned Defensep. 175
Get Out Your Floor Planp. 176
Calling in the Prosp. 177
17 Do-It-Yourself Alarm Systemsp. 181
Using Your System Designp. 182
Getting in the Zonep. 182
Untangling the Wireless Installationp. 183
A Few Basic Toolsp. 184
Everything in Its Place: Siting the System Consolep. 184
Installing the Consolep. 185
Installing the Window/Door Sensorsp. 186
Installing a Wireless Motion Detectorp. 188
Installing Other Wireless Componentsp. 189
Hard-Wiring Made Easyp. 190
Get Your Tools Readyp. 191
Work from Your System Design Floor Planp. 192
Wire It Up!p. 192
Check Your Wiring, as You Gop. 193
Wiring in the Sensor Switchesp. 194
Installing the Control Panelp. 196
Installing Magnetic Door/Window Switchesp. 197
Installing a Motion Detectorp. 198
Installing Panic Alarmsp. 198
Installing and Programming Your Telephone Dialerp. 199
Installing Strobes, Sirens, and So Onp. 199
A Little Troubleshooting on the Sidep. 200
Part 5 I've Got an Eye on You, Babe! Setting Up Home Survelliencep. 203
18 Smile, You're on Hidden Camera!p. 205
Looking at Video Surveillance from Both Sidesp. 205
What Your Video Surveillance System Can Do for Youp. 206
What Video Surveillance Can Do to Youp. 207
Is Surveillance for You?p. 208
What's It Gonna Cost Me?p. 208
Wireless Component Pricesp. 209
A Brief Look at Hard-Wired Component Pricesp. 209
Even Big Brother Needs an Attorneyp. 210
19 Installing That Eye in the Skyp. 213
Is This a Do-It-Yourself Project for You?p. 214
A VSS Installation Glossaryp. 215
Installing a Wireless Systemp. 216
Figuring Out Your System's Point of Viewp. 216
Installing the Systemp. 218
Connecting the Componentsp. 219
Special Concerns for Outdoor Installationsp. 220
Hooking Up a Nanny-Camp. 220
Recording What Your System Seesp. 221
An Eye Toward the Futurep. 222
Part 6 Putting a Lid on Other Issues in Home Securityp. 223
20 Here Comes the Judge!p. 225
A Homeowner's Rights of Protectionp. 226
Let's Be Reasonable About Thisp. 227
Citizen's Arrest! Citizen's Arrest!p. 227
Man Traps, Booby Traps, and Other Ways to Get into Troublep. 229
You Need to Know a Bit About Premises Liabilityp. 231
Limiting Your Risk of Liabilityp. 232
It's a Dog-Eat-Dog Worldp. 233
Some Parting Thoughts on Judgment--Good and Badp. 234
21 I Love My Car: Guarding Against Vehicle Theftp. 237
What Are You Protecting Your Car From?p. 238
Chop, Borrow, and Stealp. 238
Alarm It!p. 240
Some Physical Deterrentsp. 241
If You Can't Stop the Theft, You Might Catch the Thiefp. 242
Don't Forget These "Don't Steal My Car" Basicsp. 243
22 When Bad Things Happen to Good Security Plansp. 245
First Things Firstp. 246
What to Do if a Fire Breaks Outp. 246
After a Burglary or Theftp. 247
Be an Evidence Preservationistp. 249
Be Sure About Insurancep. 250
Talk to Your Neighborsp. 251
Can Lightning Strike Twice?p. 253
Prosecution Without Persecutionp. 253
A Glossaryp. 257
B Resourcesp. 263
Indexp. 267