Signs and Decals – Do They Really Work?

We have all seen the “Protected By XXX” security system company signs in yards and decals on windows as we pass by houses, and they serve an obvious purpose, but do they really work as a deterrent? Logically thinking, a burglar is less likely to target a property with security signage. However, some homeowners rely on counterfeit signs and decals to dupe potential burglars without having an actual home security system in place. So, how safe can a property really be through nothing but clever trickery?

It’s possible to purchase fake security signs and decals online (average on eBay for about ten dollars) and while displaying fake signage may be better than doing nothing, it may not be better by much. The most blatant benefit to using fake signs and decals is the cost. It is much cheaper to purchase the phony signs and decals than it is to install a security system, and it would only take a few minutes to strategically place them throughout a property. However, the risk/reward is minimal and no homeowner wants to be left high and dry when a burglar realizes there is no system in place. The signs also draw attention to a property — attention that may not have been there otherwise.

In fact, a fake security decal with a fictitious company…or even just the word “Security” could place the homeowner in a perilous predicament. If a burglar is able to realize the sign is fake, it may further encourage the thief to attempt a break in, because the sign now serves the opposite of the intended effect. In the age of the smart phone, a quick Google by a would-be burglar could quite easily show the thief that the signs and decals are fake.

A good thing to keep in mind is that a burglary is often well thought out. A professional burglar will most likely have kept an eye out for a homeowner’s daily routine and at that point the fake security system signs and decals have a minimal effect.

The FBI compiles data on property crimes every year and burglaries were the second most frequently occurring property crime behind larceny, occurring at a rate of 82.9 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Burglary is defined as the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft, it is also known as an invasion or intrusion. Robbery is defined as taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force of threat or violence and/or putting the victim in fear.

So, to put it simply, burglary is the breaking and entering of a property and a burglary becomes a robbery when an item is stolen. These definitions become very important when analyzing statistics about property crimes.

According to the Electronic Security Association (ESA), there were an estimated 2,103,787 burglaries in 2012 and 354,520 of those burglaries escalated into robberies. This means that only about 17 percent of burglaries ended up as robberies. The ESA also reported that 74 percent of uncompleted intrusions can be credited to an audible alarm system.

This data is critical when considering the fake signage strategy because it highlights how essential a working home alarm security system is when a residential burglary attempt occurs. It’s hard to ignore the numbers that say nearly three fourths of all uncompleted intrusions can be traced back to an alarm system.

Additionally, the ESA reported that 90 percent of convicted burglars avoid homes with alarm systems and if they did encounter an alarm, they would abandon the attack. This could be argued in favor of the fake signs and decals, but once again, if the burglar is able to recognize that the signs are fake, the signs become more of an invitation to steal than a deterrence to do so.

Homes without alarm systems are three times more likely to be burglarized according to the ESA. When considering limiting your home security to only fake signs and decals, keep these statistics in mind. They say numbers never lie, and the numbers say that it is well worth it to invest in a home security system.


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