On September 26 they will leave for Cuenca, Ecuador, to assist in a volunteer educational work for six months. They prefer not to use a house sitter , nor to subscribe to a local monitoring system such as Brinks or ADT.
“We don’t like professional monitoring systems,” says Gretchen. “For one thing, they usually want a three-year contract, and all we need is protection for six months. For another, we do not want to reveal to strangers that the house will be empty. Worst of all is that the alarm companies demand a Social Security number so they can run a credit report.”
“Besides that,” says Eric, “those systems do not work until someone actually breaks in. We want to stop burglars before they break in!”
What follows are the various steps that the Swansons will take before they leave. Some of them are already in place. Remember: their goals are to make it appear that the house is not vacant and that it will be dangerous to proceed.
[Note: Eric and Getchen’s two-year old home sits on two large lots in an upscale neighborhood of a Seattle suburb. My suggestions in Chapter Two of Invisible Money (See the section “Five Rings of Protection”) have already been followed, including the stout doors with keyed deadbolts on all exterior and interior doors. ]
1. Yard signs indicate that a monitored alarm system is in place (even if it is not).
2. Fake closed-circuit cameras are mounted on the roof. The most obvious one is wired in and turns back and forth every few minutes.
3. A heavy, worn pair of size 14 work shoes sit along side the front door. (Picked up at Value Village for $6.)
4. A sign on the door reads “Knock all you want. We never answer the door.”
5. A large sign on the side door of the three-car garage reads “DANGER! Extremely vicious Barkless German Dobermans.” It cannot be seen from the street, so as not to alarm the neighbors, but will quickly be seen by any burglar casing the property.
6. Mail is not a problem since mail has never been delivered here. In fact, there is no mail receptacle and no house number there.
7. Service with the garbage and recycle services has already been discontinued, with the explanation that the Swansons have made other arrangements.
8. Five timers for interior lights are in place, each with up to six on/off settings.
9. Three radios will be turned on to the same talk station when the Swansons leave. One near the front door, one in the garage, and one in the basement.
10. As dusk, a light-sensitive switch turns on outside lights on all four sides of the building.