Ideas to Secure home from amateur thieves?

We have recently had a couple local break-ins, nothing serious, probably kids. I don’t have any need for super security, I have a dog and live 1/4 mile from the police. All I want is a way to notice that someone is in the house unauthorized, and scare them out. Let 'em try again somewhere else. Sure, getting them caught would be nice, so notifications would help, but I’d rather they leave with nothing than have a little evidence of who took all my stuff. I’m aware of the limitations of ST for security, I’m OK with them. And not worried about hacking, if somebody wants my stuff that bad, they’ll get it no matter what.

I already have Smartthings in my house, lights, outlets, tstat. I would like to add a lock on one door someday (if August ever cooperates!) I’m using cell phones for presence sense. I rarely experience power or internet outages (few minutes per year, during a storm)

Monitoring doors and windows would require 18 monitors, But 2 motion sensors would cover enough to tell me if someone is in the house. And, I could integrate them into other routines when I’m home.

The issues I need ideas for:
What to do in an intrusion? Flashing lights? Speaker to sound a warning message? I would obviously send myself a text.

I have people who are allowed to enter my house, but they aren’t linked to presence sensing. How to allow them to disable the alarm?

An easy way to trigger a camera - not to record (though that would be OK), just for me to verify before calling the cops on my neighbor.

False alarms - I’m more likely to get those than to miss an intruder. My daughter’s phone sometimes doesn’t trigger “Home”

Any other ideas?

I have a fake camera that rotates and turns on a super bright light. It’s great, scares the crap out of kids walking on my low brick wall by the sidewalk, soon as it turns on they jump off and scurry away.

I also have a $450 LA View security camera system, with obvious cameras. But I don’t believe that to be a deterrent, as obvious isn’t to those that don’t think to look for them.

Door sensors on all doors and first story/basement windows. Alarm will go off if any of those are breached during Home/Armed and Away/Armed modes.

All lights in the house turn on when the alarm goes off, I don’t have a siren but I do have two tablets that alarm via LANnouncer.

I have a Kuna that I can login to and alerts (sometimes) when someone comes to the front door, otherwise I can login to my security cam system if I get an alert. A few Foscam’s with ST alerts would be sufficient for most of what you want sounds like.

The important part is the front door Kwikset, I can give a code to someone, as long as it’s valid the alarm disarms and I get a notification, so guests aren’t an issue. Plus, if they forget their code, they call me, I unlock remotely and disarm.


Have you considered giving them presents sensors? Attach them to a key ring with the key and tell them you have a new system that requires the fob and the key. And/Or getting a cheap tablet (hello…Amazon Kindle Fire) and using Smarttiles with the Fully browser on said tablet to set up some simple controls. Or even one of those internet connected buttons (like Flic). They are rather pricey but it’s an option. Wemo in wall switch and IFTTT could also be used (long press on Wemo could trigger alarm deactivation).

I have and use Arlo by Netgear. It is not perfect but from what you discribe it might work for you. This option is a little expensive too, but Smartthings is now supporting Arlo and a new version just came out this week, Arlo Pro, and it might be right up your street. The new version includes a siren in the hub. You could kill two birds with one stone.

Hi @peterg,

I would recommend to add Blink camera system to your SmartThings setup and integrate it with this integration by @RBoy . I have this camera system and I am very happy. You can also integrate it with CoRe; a community rules engine by @ady624 to get alerts and setup scare routines for your house. Including custom SMS and Push notifications.

If you choose to buy this camera system, they are holding a promo, I can refer you and we will get $25 coupon for our purchase minimum $99. Just PM me your e-mail.

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Swap out for a watch dog :wink:

Just an FYI, inside pets and motion detectors don’t play real well together…

Depends on whether you keep your dog outside or not and the zones you are trying to monitor. You have to limit the sensor from seeing areas where a pet would be moving around.

A SmartThings smart lock with keypad is a great solution for you to temporarily allow friends to disarm the system. From my research I would keep away from Kwikset smart locks that literally can be picked in a few seconds (search YouTube) and their construction isn’t rated as secure as Schlage smart locks. I ended up with Schlage and been trouble-free.

Strobe/Sirens are cheap and VERY loud. That will scare the kids (and everyone else that are allowed to get in but SmartThings hiccups sometimes and fails to disarm.)

I agree with the Schlage touchscreen over the Kwikset. You can find the " on sale " via Home Depot and Amazon for $150-$175 pretty regularly.
If new locks are not in the budget you can get a Centralite keypad and mount it outside the door ( as long as it is in protected area) . Use it with lock code manager to disarm the house, and it can also send you push and/or SMS notifications of who entered their code when.
Also agree that motion sensors are useless if you have pets.

Contact sensors on every door and window sounds great, but can get pricey and won’t do a dang thing if they just smash the glass because obviously you keep the doors and windows locked when they are closed so they can’t just be opened.

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There is nothing like setting up a sting.

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I was looking at motion sensors that ignore pets under 55lbs but pick up full sized humans. so as long as Kevin hart doesn’t break in, I’m good. My "watch"dog will bark a little mean, but I don’t know that she’s real terrifying.

I see Blink has 2 cameras & sync module for $169, or 1 camera and sync for $99. I guess the sync module is required? Nice outfit, but - the dog… I don’t want to get videos all day long then decide if it’s just the dog. Maybe I could app it to only arm when the dogless sensors detect? That’s a redundant $60… I like the record and send video feature, does anyone else do that without a motion sensor?

I agree on Schlage over Kwikset, smart or dumb. But I prefer the August, mostly because I don’t want the HUGE set with keypads. Integrations, come ON, August!

If the cops want a sting, I’ll connect their gear! I just want to keep my stuff.

The Schlages have a kick alarm and an extended (reinforced) bolt system. Much harder to kick open.

My city has their fancy new " Person of Interest" center they just opened a few months ago. I registered that I have CCTV, but refused to just give them the live feed. If they want to see what I see ,they can come by and ask for a specific time period. I don’t need them sitting around watching us " soaking " in the hot tub


But my window is still easy. Kwikset was cheaper, same protection! :smile:

Less protection. Plastic tumbler.

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Seriously? That is bad, but again, window takes no effort to kick out. I guess if you don’t have a window right next to your front door the Schlage would be the better choice!

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You can bust open a kwikset with a screwdriver or a reinforced blank key. Youtube it.

Windows are tricky. Glass breaking makes a lot of noise and is sharp. Kicking in doors is easy, usually a kick or 2 and its open. If I had a window by my door I would cover it with the film that makes it hard to break.

With the Schlage if someone hits the window next to the door it may trigger the kick alarm. Especially if the window is on the door.

Well yeah, and my door has a window that would most likely shatter when kicked open, so thieves are at a loose/loose scenario noise wise. But all my doors/windows have sensors anyway so the alarm would sound. No way to get in quietly. Well unless the whole insecure IoT thing bites me in the butt.

While we do want to reinforce our doors and windows, if the burglar wants in bad enough, he/they will make it in. To me, there are three reasons to have an alarm system besides getting an insurance discount.

  1. The biggest reason is to provide evidence to the police. Without evidence the detectives will quickly put your case on the back burner. There are many questions one asks after a burglary. Who did it? Will they come back after I have been compensated by the insurance company and steal the same things again? It happens. Were they amateur thieves or pros? Were the intruders neighbors that know your schedules and what you own?
  2. Attempt to slow the criminals down so that hopefully the police will catch them while they are still in your home. Having outdoor and indoor cameras can provide the police need to take your case seriously.
  3. Rapid notifications so that the police can be notified immediately. Unfortunately for me Smartthings notifications have been hit or miss and in some cases taking over 25 minutes to notify me. Sometimes when the cloud is slow I can not arm my system. Also forced updates with no choice of update times that would be convenient for you can take your Smartthings system down until you come home and reset the hub.

Having outdoor and indoor cameras can provide the police with the evidence they need to take your case seriously.

You can add a ST Multi Open/Close sensor. It can detect vibrations and can Alert you to that fact.

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I completely agree with you on this. That is why I would point you to Blink.
And before anyone in here tries to correct me I will concede 2 Cons:
!) Blink at this point in time. Blink doesn’t have an Outdoor camera…Yet. But, as per their support e-mail, they will be releasing one by end of this year. They have not lied to me and others who use their devices.
2) They don’t have IR for Night vision and instead use an Ultra Bright LED to light up the night. (Not a con in my opinin as it will Scare the intruder into thinking twice about your house.


  1. They 100% wireless and don’t need to be powered by a charger, unless you really want to. They work on 2xAA batteries for 1+ year before replacing the batteries.
  2. Can be mounted anywhere you want them.
  3. Easy to use and setup.
  4. Integrate into ST with out much hassle. (FYI, we will help you if you need it.)
  5. Price is better than Arlo.
  6. The will also be releasing their OWN make 100dB Alarm Siren which will connect to their control module.

@lmosenko - I currently have the Arlo system but I am definitely keeping my eyes on Blink cameras. They are promising to introduce some new items soon so I am waiting a little longer. I purchased my Arlo system 3 weeks before they came out with the Arlo Pro system and I don’t want to make the same mistake again, (too expensive if one makes a mistake like this).

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