Christmas may be a distant memory now, but the festive classic Home Alone films stick in the memory for a while, especially when you’re in the business of security and defeating intruders. Watching those films through our expert eyes throws up a few things many people miss, such as the fact the whole first film could have been avoided had the McAllister’s had a monitored response intruder alarm. If they had one installed and set it before leaving for Paris the sensors would have tripped when Kevin appeared from the attic, triggering the alarm and a police response straight away.
If they also had interior CCTV with 24 hour monitoring, they’d be able to see where Kevin was in the house, and make sure he wasn’t eating junk and watching questionable movies. CCTV cameras inside and out could also have helped Kevin in his battle with Harry and Marv; being able to see where they were would have helped him get in the right position at the right time, although we must admit he managed that admirably without much technical help.
When the Wet Bandits are scoping out the neighbourhood they see the lights coming on, set by timers, at the exact same time every day. This allows them to see which homes are empty and a good target, so while having lights on timers is a great way of making your property seem occupied, it is worth adjusting the times so they appear more random. With the high tech smart home systems available now you can control your lights from anywhere in the world, meaning you can make your home even more of a bad target for burglars than simply using a few lights on timers. You can also set a radio on a timer to make burglars think someone is in when they hear voices, or even have the TV set on a timer for the same reason.
The family leaves the garage doors open, which make Kevin think he’s really wished his family away, and having visible cars outside a property is actually one of the best deterrents for burglars looking for a target. If you have a second car, leave this visible on a driveway, or ask a neighbour to park on your drive while you’re away.
Some of Kevin’s traps and ploys can be used by homeowners to help protect their property – the scene where Marv climbs in through the open window and puts his bare feet straight on the glass ornaments is worth taking some inspiration from. Having lots of items such as plant pots, chimes and other loud things in the way of an intruder makes it hard for them to get in through a window undetected, thanks to the noise these items will make when they fall.
We have to be careful about leaving actual traps for intruders, as the law can side with the criminal if they sustain injuries in the process of burgling your home. That means not having blowtorches set by doors, or heating the door handles or even leaving upturned nails on the stairs. What we can do is use well concealed safes to keep valuables in, lock internal doors (where possible) and ensure that ladders are locked away and not available to burglars as an entry method.
Finally, a couple more things we can learn from these movies is that a simple head count is never good enough, and that you should always set more than one alarm if you have to get up early to catch a flight.