Ah, the ’90s. Remember when the film industry cranked out some of the best, most timeless stories for the big screen? Arguably the most classic of all is “Home Alone,” and even if you haven’t seen this ’90s gem, you can still learn some creative and effective home security tactics from the film’s hero, the clever and resourceful Kevin McCallister.
Do you recall rooting for this kid who produced brilliant trick after brilliant trick to protect his home from two would-be burglars?
Fast forward 25 years. You’re now in charge of your own family’s home security, and the bad guys aren’t so funny anymore. The threat of burglary is real, and you need a few ideas of your own — especially if you’re planning a getaway this season.
Not to worry. There are effective, real-life takeaways from “Home Alone” that can actually help you secure your home while on vacation. Let’s check them out.
- Throw a Faux Party
Relying on your pet tarantula for home security like Kevin did is just silly. Making it seem like someone is home, however, can be a brilliant move. Convicted residential burglars say that knowing people are in the house is the number one deterrent when deciding whether to break in, according to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology. While you don’t need to rig up a mannequin like Kevin did in “Home Alone,” do consider keeping a couple of lights on when you’re away. Playing a radio (or a classic gangster film on loop) might seem excessive but could act as one more sign of life inside your residence.
- Put Firecrackers in a Pot
OK, OK, this strategy was a juvenile one, and you really shouldn’t try it. The logic behind it, however, is solid. Kevin’s resourceful tactic startled the bad guys, and a simple house alarm and motion sensor lights can have the same effect.
- Get Smart
Use something Kevin didn’t have in 1990: the internet. Something you may want to consider is a home security system that syncs with your smartphone or mobile tablet. Using smart home automation technology is safer and more convenient than managing your security using a traditional home alarm keypad, according to the Electronic Security Association. For example, with home automation technology, you can lock or unlock your doors using your smartphone, and if you forget to set your house alarm, you can arm it remotely from your phone or tablet. Plus, it’s more energy efficient, which means lower electricity bills.
- Remember Alternate Entry Points
Marv (one of the burglars), after testing obvious exterior doorknobs, thought he was particularly clever when he attempted to enter the house through a doggy door. Kevin was ready with a BB gun, but simply installing a security lock works too. We also saw Kevin prevent an attempted window entry — a lesson in locking and double-checking windows before leaving your house. What other points of entry might attract a ne’er-do-well? Locking and illuminating windows, doors and other potential points of entry can help deter potential thieves.
- Cover Yourself
Have a catalog of your possessions (including photos) in a locked safe or off-site hard drive. Coverage can start as soon as the day after your over-the-phone application, so this is one action you can take right away.
- Organize a Neighborhood Watch
Kevin laid dozens of traps for our hapless bad guys. They slipped on ice (and toy cars), seared their hands, cut their feet, tumbled down stairs, tripped in hallways, burned their heads and fell mid-zip line. What stopped them in the end, though, was a neighbor Kevin had previously mistrusted. The National Sheriff’s Association offers savvy homeowners an online tutorial on how to organize your own neighbors to watch one another’s backs during peak vacation months.
Despite the fun similarities between “Home Alone” and modern home security strategies, there is one big difference: Kevin was the underdog. You are not. Keep your house secure by implementing these tips today.