TUCoPS :: Truly Miscellaneous :: shieldu2.txt

CLEVER signs that scare away burglars!


                               An excerpt from:

                               "PERSONAL SHIELD"
                 (51 Things Criminals Don't Want You To Know)

                                by Philo Couch

                                The Golden Link
                    1685 South Colorado Blvd. (Unit S-146)
                               Denver, CO 80222
                                (303) 595-5740


Four "magic phrases" exist that when placed on a sign near your door, can
make thieves want to go elsewhere.  They are DOGS, SNAKES, AIDS, and HIGH-
TECH TRAPS.  Examples are given, starting on page 1.

Writing your own sign is the only way to make it practical and believable.  
The basic theory is described on page 5, in the section called "NUTSHELL 


In the last section, we discussed using a criminal's imagination to frighten 
him into leaving you alone. This principle works even better to combat burg-
laries.  A thief has more to lose than a crank caller, because he's physically 
present.  So it's much easier to make this kind of criminal nervous.  

According to our research, there are four things that scare burglars more than 
all others when mentioned in a sign.  They are dogs, snakes, AIDS, and high-
tech traps.  Any sign that warns of the presence of any of these can be very 
effective in convincing the every-day thief to go elsewhere.  Here are some 

                             One of our dogs has            
                               KIV Type-I AIDS              
                    This one is best used by those with at
                                least one dog.

                                 -- Page 1 --

           BUDDY -                                           
           DON'T COME IN!  The snakes are loose again,       
           and the python is too big for even you to         
           handle alone.                                     
           Stay close, I'll be back soon.                    
    Only an idiot would break into a home with a sign like this!

                                    CALL FIRST!         
                              We Don't Answer The Door  
                          Many thieves knock on a door to see
                          if anyone's home, before breaking in.
                          This may make them think twice.

                                 -- Page 2 --

                                    Beware of Barkless     
                                     Egyptian Hounds       
                               What burglar will know that no
                                     such animal exists?

      DON'T use that new key to the booby traps!       
      They're going off by themselves, and one of      
      us has already been burned!  Just be around      
      when I get back.                                 
    The idea is to make the thief think that you've got
    high-tech traps inside.  Be careful that you don't
    attract too much curiosity!

                                 -- Page 3 --

    Don't come in until the Health Department gets finished        
    inside!!  Mickey got a new skunk last weekend.                 
    The vet says it has AIDS, and we shouldn't take any chances!   
Everyone is afraid of AIDS, and no criminal knows exactly what types
there are.

                                        You've Already Been Videotaped  
                                    Put this one on a door that has a window
                                    nearby.  Perhaps a fake video camera can
                                    be put in the window.

                                 -- Page 4 --


To make these signs really work, you must create your own variations.  When 
writing your signs, there is some "theory" that you should follow.  The basic 
rules are described here:

that warns of dogs with AIDS (page 1) can remain in place for months if 
needed.  But a loose snake or misfiring man-trap is NOT an every-day matter.  
If your sign is temporary in nature, DON'T leave it sitting on the front door 
for more than a day or two.  Also, temporary signs are best when they're hand-

CONFUSION AND TWISTED HUMOR.  Some of the signs we've suggested mention dogs 
and diseases that probably don't even exist.  One thing a burglar does NOT 
want is a mental distraction.  It's one thing to make a thief stop and ask, 
"Is there any such thing?"  But in this case, we want the crook to feel that 
he's not safe until that confusion is cleared up. Since they can't resolve the 
question, they may feel that another target would be best.  Twisted humor has 
a threatening effect, if it's properly worded.  A sign that warns of an 
"Attack Cat With AIDS" won't be taken seriously, in the direct sense.  But it 
should make the burglar wonder what kind of maniac lives inside, and if you 
use excess measures to protect your property.  People who do go to extremes 
may have man-traps set up, or may be armed and prepared for trouble.  Nobody 
wants to be caught by a crazy occupant defending his lair. If you write a 
"twisted" sign, it should give the idea that you can't wait for someone to 
break in, so you can try out your new way of catching them.  Perhaps you're 
nuts enough to wait in the dark for thieves to pick your door.  Maybe you've 
trained your dog remain quiet until a burglar is inside.  Be creative, and 
sometimes slightly offensive.  

THIRD-PERSON FORMAT.  A sign that speaks directly to the thief can be called a 
"second-person" message.  It addresses them directly by pointing a message 
right at them.  An example is the sign that says, "To Hell With The Dog....... 
Beware Of Owner!"  Burglars expect such threats, and usually ignore them.  But 
a message NOT intended for the crook may have a deeper effect, because the 
thief believes that he's intercepted a communication between other people.  
When you leave a warning for your neighbor, about the escaped snakes, a 
burglar will feel he's been made privy to a special piece of inside inform-
ation.  He'll think that the fact that he knows NOT to break in is a secret 
advantage.  An exception to the Second-Person rule is the "Smile" sign, on 
page 4.  This speaks directly to anyone with dishonest motives.  

THE MEANING OF THE TERM HIGH-TECH TRAP.  Two examples are included here that 
mention some kind of trap directly.  The sign at the bottom of page 3 tries 
to warn "Alex" about a dangerous one.  This says that you're willing to 
install deadly weapons in your home or office, that can be set off auto-
matically.  Remember that a thief may not believe that you have such traps in 
a home where children live.  Perhaps this one is best used on an office door.  
DO inform the building managers that your sign is just a security measure.  
Otherwise, they may feel that you're endangering fellow tenants.  Another 
trap example is the "Smile" sign on page 4.  The trap here is not physically 
dangerous, but a camera a legal weapon.  For this to work, you MUST be taken 
seriously.  The best way to make a thief believe you have a camera is to let 
him see one, through a window near the sign.  It does NOT have to be a real 
camera, but it should look like one.  A suitable fake can be built from sheet 
metal, coffee cans, or actual parts from old cameras.  Maybe the local camera 
or electronics shop will give you some throw-away gadgets that can be put 
together to give an authentic look. 

                                 -- Page 5 --

IMPORTANT:    Make your fake camera look like a video or closed-circuit (CCTV) 
camera, not a still shot version.  An ordinary camera will be just one more 
thing to tempt burglars.  And they know that these cameras usually don't work 
that way.  A thief could remove the evidence (film) by just swiping the whole 
camera.  But a video camera, like the ones you see in the bank, can send a 
signal to a remote location instantly.  Plus, it looks more like the type of 
equipment used by people in the security field. 

MULTIPLE SUGGESTIONS ARE EVEN MORE EFFECTIVE.  There's no reason that you can't 
combine the Four Magic Phrases in the same sign.  Consider the example on page 
1 which warns of dogs with AIDS.  Most of the burglars we interviewed said 
that one of these phrases (dogs and AIDS) would be enough to scare them.  But 
they also said that more than one on the same sign would make them turn around 
on the spot.  The sign at the top of page 2 sends multiple messages.  First, 
it suggests that you have a large friend, named Buddy, lurking nearby.  Also, 
it says there are at least two snakes loose in the house, and one of them must 
be a monster!  And finally, it says that you should be home any minute, since 
you've asked Buddy to stick around.  Few crooks will be willing to call your 
bluff on this one, unless you leave it in place for too long.  

THEM.  Fire-fighters have told our staff that they occasionally get a call to 
a burning building with a sign that warns of a man-trap.  If the owner is not 
available, they may not enter at all.  If your home has occupants that may 
need emergency medical help, some of the suggested signs could keep rescue 
workers from responding, past the front door.  BE CAREFUL!

SOME CROOKS ARE EXTRA DARING.  If a thief does ignore these signs, it means 
one of three things.  First, it could be that your sign was not taken 
seriously.  Second, the thief may not be able to read at all (or doesn't read
in your language).  Third, it may be that the burglar is armed, and doesn't
care what he must do once inside.  Beware of any thieves that will ignore these 
signs.  They must be considered desperate and dangerous!  As for not being 
taken seriously, this also is a problem.  A good thief will wonder why you've 
gone to these lengths to scare him off.  It might give him extra motivation to 
see what you're protecting.  Just remember, you MUST be taken seriously for 
these signs to work.  This means that if you claim you don't answer the door, 
then DON'T.  Avoid using signs that mention dogs if it's obvious that you 
don't have one.  If you're a woman in her 70's, no one expects you to own a 
twelve-foot snake.  The art is in finding the thin line between serious and 
sadistically crazy.  


Copyright (C) 1994, The Golden Link.

This version of SHIELD-U2 is released into the public domain.  It may be 
freely copied and exchanged with two provisions.  1)No charge may be made to 
provide a copy of this file's contents.  2)Only absolutely unmodified copies 
of this file may be distributed.

No part of the book "Personal Shield" may be considered public domain.  Said 
book (from which this file is an excerpt) is a copyrighted work, all parts of 
which are protected by copyright, all rights concerning which are reserved.

                                 -- Page 6 --

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