Do You Prefer Lights On Or Off?

Ah come on, get your mind outta the gutter. But I'm glad I got your attention.

All my life I've been a stickler about leaving porch lights on at night to keep the bad guys away, but now I'm not so sure. We have one large yard light, which comes on when it gets dark. Our entire neighborhood has the same type. At our gate we have a motion sensored light, just like all of the homes on our block. Then there is the back porch light and a light in the patio.

We have lived in our home for 14 years and we have had so many things stolen from our yard it's ridiculous; a shepherd hook hanger for a bird feeder, multiple pieces of yard art, some bought, some made by me, and hubby's gas can. Last summer someone broke our sensor light and left the back gate open.

The latest casualty recently was our snow blower, which was under the patio. We saw our gate open one morning so I took a quick look around the yard the next day and all of my yard art was still there. That's all I was interested in I guess. Then a few days later hubby goes under the patio to bring in some firewood and noticed that he didn't have to move the snow blower to get to it. Dammit! I could hear him yelling from inside the house.

It just doesn't make sense to keep lights on anymore, it seems all we're doing is showing them the way to the goods. I used to enjoy living on a corner because you only have one neighbor to put up with. But now I just feel vulnerable to anyone walking through the alley or on the sidewalk.

rock walls and fences cannot keep them away
And look how our house sits, up higher than anyone else on the block. You would think that would stop them. But no, they jump up on the rock wall and right over the fence. That's only when they're not coming through the gate. Yes, we have a lock but that gets to be a pain to unlock it every morning and then lock it again at night. And really, what's going to stop them from jumping over a tiny little fence anyway? I think later this year we're going to check into getting either a wood fence or a higher chain link. With having Nellie, I never thought it was fair to not let her see out of the yard. When the weather is good, she loves to sit in the back corner of the lot and watch the whole world go by. But she's getting older now and I guess safety and personal property are now more important.

from the back gate; patio to the left of the house
The patio sits about 10 feet from the back door which means they had to come from the gate clear up to the house. And one of my bedroom windows (from the basement) is right at the patio. If I hadn't had earplugs in I probably would have heard something. Now I'm a little hesitant to go to sleep thinking I have to stay awake and listen. Screw it, I'm tired. If people want something bad enough they will take it whether I'm asleep or not.

But what's next? Are they going to break down the back door and come in? People are getting desperate, they need stuff to sell in a hurry to buy that next high or whatever. I've never thought this was a bad neighborhood and I still don't but I am sure getting more uncomfortable. A few weeks ago, an elderly man at the end of the block had his garage broken into.

The only thing that gives me satisfaction is the fact that it was not that great of  a snow blower. We bought it about 5 years ago at a pawn shop for 50 bucks. The electric start had gone out and it was getting harder to pull start it. But still it was all we had and it got the job done. Hopefully we have seen the last of our snow.

Until we get a new fence I guess we'll have to invest in some large chain and locks to tie things to the posts in the patio. We have an awfully nice large gas grill just sitting there ripe for the picking.


Grumpy said…
I could use a nice gas grill. Amazing the sheer nerve of people. We once had two large flower pots stolen off our front porch, with the porch lights on. They had to weigh 50 lbs. each.
bill said…
I read somewhere recently, most burglaries are committed during daylight hours. And in my recent past I witnessed a burglary in progress but didn't recognize it as such, only as suspicious activity. I called police, asked them to check it out and the perpetrator was caught by an observant police officer who had my neighbor's stolen property sitting in his own back yard.
I actually watched as a guy stole something from Tricia's garage which is at the end of my drive. He was so open about it I assumed she must have given him permission.
I would place a bet that most thefts from your neighbourhood are committed by the same person. Not the one from Tricia's garage obviously!
Peruby said…
All lights are off at night. I like the dark. Not much stolen around my area, but that can change anytime, I am certain.

We have a lot of car break-ins. I keep mine in the garage.

Sad times.
D. Duplessis said…
Yikes, that sounds like no fun at all. We don't keep anything of value outside (if they wanna steal my flowers they can) the house. Everything, luckily, fits in the garage. Again, luckily, my patio is also about 25 feet off the ground, and the only access to it (unless they wanna bring a ladder or a rope. Sidenote: Loren actually figured out how to climb up it once so he could get into my house while I was away) is literally through my stairs to it from the outside. So I feel pretty safe, my neighborhood is real safe, I have two cops that live across the that's probably a deterrent when there's always a couple of cruisers parked in the street.

Have you ever thought about rigging up some real cheap video monitors/taping system that are triggered to record when motion detectors go off outside? That could be fun, plus you could see who it was (especially if you leave the lights on) taking your stuff! It could be a little old lady from done the block or something! :-)
Mr. Shife said…
Wow. I am sorry you have to deal with all of this. I grew up with my folks leaving the porch light on so I do it all the time at our house. We have not had any problems but we also have had ferocious basset hounds to keep people away. Take care.

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