How to Deter Burglars


There was an attempted burglary at my uncle’s house back in Penang and a neighbour’s house in the wee hours of the morning. My uncle’s house is next door to ours; there’s no separating fence. So these three guys were basically wandering around our house too. From our CCTV recordings, it looks like they tried my uncle’s house first and upon failing to get in (or upon noticing my uncle asleep in the living room) decided to try the house behind after that. They were deterred by our neighbour’s maid, who was up early and shouted at them so they ran off.

This makes me wish we could all own enchanted objects like the ones in Chrestomanci Castle (in Diana Wynne Jones’s Chrestomanci books). If you take stuff out of the castle without permission, they will all start howling and chanting: “I BELONG TO CHRESTOMANCI CASTLE. I BELONG TO CHRESTOMANCI CASTLE.” That would be a lovely deterrent for a burglar and a convenient alarm system too.

But since enchanted objects of that kind don’t actually exist, how can one deter burglars? I have three suggestions.

Suggestion #1: We should all start keeping snakes and giant spiders as pets. I’d imagine most burglars would be pretty put off by the sight of creepy crawlies hanging around the doors and windows.

Just picture yourself being a burglar, going into someone’s house at night, and then suddenly you feel something slither over your feet and hiss. But then there’s silence. And another hiss! From somewhere – you can’t quite pinpoint the source of the hiss… It’d be like a horror movie.

Suggestion #2: Place spikes on the surrounding walls. Poisoned spikes. And spikes of different sizes too.

Spikes of the same size wouldn’t hurt as much:

But when they’re different sizes? Oh, I think it would hurt much more. The intruder would also be more likely to have a hand or foot impaled that way. And thus be poisoned. (I should be merciful… But when you try and break into someone’s house, I find my pity melting away. More so when I think of how my grandmother’s bedroom is on the ground floor of my uncle’s house and had anything really happened, she might not have taken the shock well… Hm. Poison those spikes with cyanide! I’ll think about being merciful later. hah)

Suggestion #3: Forget pretty flowers and such. Plant hedges of the most prickly cacti and brambles and other thorny, spiny plants. Plus points if they’re toxic to touch. (Plant a durian tree too, maybe. And when it’s durian season, rig it such that if they step on a trigger, a durian will be cut off and fall down on them. I think a durian falling on your head would cause quite a bit of damage.)

Plant enough until your home is as well-protected as Sleeping Beauty’s castle was by Maleficent’s giant thorn forest.

Concept art for Sleeping Beauty by Eyvind Earle

Yes, they can cut their way through but if you plant enough and if they’re thick and hardy plants, it’ll probably take them hours to cut a sensible path through. And if they force their way through, more likely than not the thorns will scratch and prick them and then hey, you’ll have DNA samples as well as CCTV footage!


Got anything to add or say? :D