Burglary - This is how you react really smart!

Einbruch – So reagierst Du wirklich smart!

There is a burglary every 4 minutes in Germany. How would you react if you were affected? In your new smart home you have the opportunity to keep a close eye on the intruder. But will you react appropriately?

Past and present

Your parents used to call the police after they noticed the theft. The thief ran away with the things. If the case was not solved, they were left with the damage and didn't even know who they owed it to.

With Smart Home, that is changing. Today you can catch the burglar directly when breaking in with the help of self-installed and networked cameras. You will receive a message on your smartphone via the smart home app and can collect valuable data that can ultimately give the police clues about the perpetrator. This is how Smart Home helps you to detect burglars at an early stage.

Smart home is a more recent development, which, unlike the burglary protection system, is not exclusively located in the security area. That's why it's not yet standard practice to automatically contact the police in the event of a burglary via a smart home. Despite the technical possibility, you still have to dial 110 and react quickly.

In fact, there have long been cases where burglars were quickly caught using a smart home alarm system.

Case 1: Caught in the act – A cell phone and camera combo

Source: Volksstimme (August 11, 2018), Gardelegen

Having already been the victim of a home break-in – in which €1,500 was stolen – Mario O. installed an indoor camera hidden above his door and connected it to his mobile phone. In conjunction with a motion detector, the camera records every scene and sends the data live to his cell phone. And sure enough, the same perpetrator came back. Mario O. filmed everything, called the police and even dared to confront the perpetrator himself. Shortly thereafter, the police came and arrested the perpetrator.

Case 2: Modern building technology provides valuable information about the perpetrator

Source: HNA (10/19/2015), Heiligenstadt

In this case, a wildlife camera was triggered on the outdoor area of ​​a residential property and photographed a burglar wonderfully. The example shows: Those who use modern building technology increase the chance of catching burglars in the act, even if the burglary itself is not prevented.

Keep a Cool Head

You receive a push message on your smartphone with the message that a burglar is at your home. You must have some emotions running through your head. That's understandable, of course, but unfortunately doesn't help.

It is important that you still keep a cool head and alert the police (110) immediately. Because every second counts.

The police do NOT recommend these reactions

Here are a few reactions that can partially work, but can also be counterproductive and are therefore not recommended by the police:

  1. It is dangerous to confront the burglar personally and put pressure on him. He could react unexpectedly and dangerously. Think carefully about whether the situation is worth confronting the thief.
  2. Alert the neighbor unprepared. If you alert the neighbors, consider that you may be putting them in danger. Discuss the procedure with your neighbors after you have installed the system. Of course, it is also important here that they do not put themselves in danger. But maybe they can take a picture from afar.
  3. Lock up the perpetrator using the smart home app. This is supported by the fact that the perpetrator needs more time to escape. But if the door is open or the window is levered open, then this is actually no longer an option. In addition, the burglar can simply smash a window in order to escape, thereby increasing the damage even more.
  4. Just post a photo of the burglar on Facebook. Yes, that sounds tempting, but it's not a good idea. Because the perpetrator did not forfeit his personal rights with the burglary. Such an act can be used against you by the police and will certainly result in a penalty.
  5. Activate the speakers and start a conversation with the burglar. This might not be a bad idea at all. But you only inform the burglar that you have caught him. How will he react? He probably flees immediately and the police are simply too late.

Sending an automatic alarm to the police – a good idea?

There are intruder alarm systems that can send automatic messages to the local police or to a control center. In connection with a self-built smart home alarm system, however, this is generally not recommended.

Due to their technical specification or incorrect settings, components such as cameras can also “alarm” if, for example, only a bird was recorded. If you send such an alarm to the police, then your system loses credibility. If there are also misoperations by the police, this can become quite expensive for you.

Smart Home systems, like any intruder alarm system, must be subjected to a test procedure in order to be allowed to inform the police as an official alarm system. For this reason, you cannot set up an automatic message to a police address. A registration procedure for smart home systems as intruder alarm systems does not yet exist. But maybe by 2025.

Smart home as a preventive component of burglary protection

The advantage of a radio-based smart home system is that you are informed in real time and can therefore react quickly. But you cannot prevent a burglary, because there is physical burglary protection, such as windows, doors, garages, roller shutters or bars. Incidentally, burglary-proof products recommended by the police have resistance classes RC 2 to RC 5 EN 1627 marked.

There is no such classification for smart home products. Instead, the police recommends, for example, on the initiative "Safe at home" , using smart home as a presence simulation and also thinking about other security aspects such as a fire alarm system.

Below is a checklist for using Smart Home as a presence simulation

  • Turn the TV on and off at specific times with built in time offset. Use Fake TV to simulate television light signals.
  • Turn the radio on and off at specific times using the speaker.
  • Avoid sub-weekly patterns in simulations.
  • Lower the shutters overnight, raise them during the day.
  • Set up lighting scenarios that run even when you're not at home. They also simulate presence.
  • Use a ringer cut-off switch that will suppress the ringing if someone rings the bell. The potential burglar does not find out that nobody is at home.

Special case video camera

The Internet of Things (IoT) makes it possible. Cameras are not only a topic of discussion in public spaces – they are of course also used for security in private life. Networked with Smart Home, they provide a direct insight into the inner workings of the room to be monitored

Again, there are a few things to note:

  • If you only monitor your apartment, you must inform your guests about it.
  • If you also use a camera outside of your apartment, you must place a sign, for example to inform the messenger.
  • Under no circumstances may you film outside the property.
  • When buying a surveillance camera, make sure that it is equipped with a motion detector and infrared sensor, such as this one Blink XT camera.

It only records when something moves and at the same time has a certain heat emission, which is similar to humans. In this way, for example, the following false alarm can be prevented: If a house wall is heated up by strong sunlight so that it radiates a lot of heat, a camera equipped only with an infrared sensor is activated.

Conclusion: Keep a cool head

Smart Home opens up new possibilities and, if used correctly, can also make your home safer. If a burglar shows up on your smartphone, keep a cool head and call the police quickly. Collect data from the burglary and provide it to the police.

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