Fake security signs in vogue, again

 - 
09/26/2008
Apparently, faux security signs are back in vogue. A news outlet near Norfolk, Va., randomly checked seven homes that had security signs, and found out that four of the homes didn't have the security system to go along with the sign. One woman said she got the sign from her brother 15 years before. At least—judging by the photo in the story anyway—her sign is for an authentic security company (the one and only ADT). Faux security signs were fashionable at my house when I was growing up way back in the 1970s, but we didn't have a sign from a real security company. Here's what happened: Our house was broken into and the thief stole a TV or two, and not much else. (We were away, and I think there was about a week's worth of Boston Globes piled up on the front walk, no lights on in the house, and other tell-tale signs announcing that the Entwistles were on vacation.) To increase security, my thrifty father sent away for these little green stickers that had lightening rod decorations and proclaimed: "Warning! This home protected by Electronic Automatic Alarm System." I think he thought they looked pretty fake, but we put them on all of our doors and a bunch of windows. There were other new security measures implemented as well after the break-in: For added protection when we went away, my father used to cover up the TV in our family room—which was plainly visible through sliding glass doors— with newspapers. (This prompted one of my brothers to put a sign on the newspaper-covered television set--also visible from the glass doors-- that said ,"This is not a TV!") The newspapers and accompanying sign became a security tradition in my family when we went away. Maybe the stickers and newspapers deterred criminal activity; Maybe thieves just never showed up again. At any rate: We were never broken into again.