Clever Security Tricks That Will Fool Any Burglar

A sign for anti-climb paint Popular in the UK, "anti-climb paint" makes surfaces slippery so burglars can't shimmy up them. Image: Strom Carlson/Wikipedia

A little ingenuity can make your house more secure when you’re home alone or away on vacation.

You don’t have to install a pricey or crazy security system to feel safer in your home. Here are some low- and no-cost ways to keep burglars at bay.

Don’t sleep alone: If you’re sleeping solo these days, take your car’s remote control to bed with you. If you hear suspicious noises, push the remote’s “panic” button and let the alarm scare away intruders.

Fake it: Pretend you’re home watching “Downton Abbey” and deter burglars with FakeTV ($34), a small gizmo that glows and flashes like the flicker of a television set. FakeTV uses the same energy as a nightlight, and has a built-in light sensor and timer, which turns it on at dusk and off when you wish.

Slippery when wet: In the U.K., they slather “anti-climb” paint, which never dries, on downspouts, gutters, and anything they don’t want an intruder to shimmy up. It doesn’t seem to be available in the U.S. yet. But it’s a wild idea.

Footsteps in the snow: Virgin snow is a sure sign that no one’s home. If you’re away after a snowstorm, ask a neighbor’s kid to tromp around your yard, creating footprints that will fool a burglar into thinking you’re around but just haven’t gotten around to shoveling your snow yet.

Parked car: Also, ask a neighbor to occasionally park their car in front of your house, making it look like you’re entertaining visitors. And ask them to remove any fliers that may be wedged into your door or mailbox. Burglars sometimes case a home by planting a flier and checking to see if someone retrieves it.

What do you think of these tricks? Do you know any others?