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We moved to a new house, quiet cul de sac, upscale neighborhood.
We got hit last night after 10pm. This is our first in the new house. All they did was smash a jack-o-lantern and toilet paper the cemetery.

In your experience, should we prepare for this to escalate? Meaning, should I now implement protection (as with the other thread - motion sensors, baby monitors, anti theft devices, etc).

In my last house I had one small incident in 3 years and it was a one time thing. It looked like someone drunk may have stumbled through. This one however was planned (toilet paper).

My wife suggests we at least put a sign up that lets the vandals know that we know, ie " Vandals: police have been notified, we're now under surveillance". My thoughts are if we did that we'd be baiting them in to commit more harm.

Thoughts?
 

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I would skip the police have been notified stuff because these idiots are usually just smart enough to know they haven't been, and they'll just keep hitting you harder because they know they can get a reaction from you. If they don't get a reaction, or the one they want, then they move on to the next subject of their interest.
 

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Its hard to say, usually with a TP job, it is a one time deal. Considering they didn't steal anything and only broke a Jack O Latern and Toliet papered things i would say it wouldn't happen again.... but.... you never know, kids today aren't like when we grew up, respecting other peoples stuff. I mean I TP'd a house when i was a kid, but it was someone I knew and it was a going away for the miltary thing... still stupid becuase the next day I was over there cleaning it up....
 

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I have a sign that fits my scary theme that says, "This area protected by Monsters and Cameras!" And, I have several infrared cameras that record on motion. No problems yet, but I'm always leery.

And, there's the old standby... "Smile for the cameras!" :)
 

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I take it you had "good props" that didn't get touched and that the Jack was a real pumpkin not store bought. If that's the case, then move on. There is no harm in calling the police either. Just the appearance of a squad car before you do cleanup can be a nice warning...make sure the kids are out of school so they can see the car.

I've been egged, TPed, doorbell ditched, and had my reindeer put in compromising positions at Christmas..I didn't consider any of these to be vandalism...annoying, but not in the category of when kids break out the paint and tag your fence or steal/break things.

As for all the security measures, has anyone ever been caught and punished? I'd love to see a link/thread on that. If you can't live with something getting damaged or stolen, then don't put it out/leave it out as that is the only security measure that works.
 

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The one thing I did was purchase a fake dome camera from harbor freight for about $5. I installed it in the front of my house where everyone can see it. It doesn't stick out like a sore thumb or anything but it does have a red blinking light on it to make it look real. I personally think the red blinky light makes it look fake so I don't use it. I did install it while all the kids in the neighborhood were out playing so they would see me putting up the camera. I even had a few of them ask me what I was doing. So I told them I was putting up the camera in case I have any problems with my decorations. It's funny how fast the word spreads about your camera once kids know about it. Soon everybody in the neighborhood knows about the camera and I have to say I have not had any problems since installing the fake camera. I went through a whole act when installing it. I pretended to be adjusting the angle and I would go inside to check the picture, then I would do another adjustment, ect..... This went on for about a half hour or so and on occasion when I see someone I want to make aware of my camera. Its all in the presentation. I do however plan on installing real cameras some day. But the kids in my neighborhood love my display and are always coming around to help and see what I am doing. They are all very respectful...I am pretty lucky. Plus I have found that enclosing my display with a cemetery fence has kept individuals out. My yard isn't very big and eliminating ways into the display has helped tremendously. I used to have everyone wandering through my graveyard until I made the fence. I wouldn't bother putting up any signs...most vandals will only interpret that as a challenge.
 

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Sorry this happened! I agree w/ earlier comments, putting up a sign would not deter, but rather encourage more vandalism. Also, if they see the signs they could just put on skimasks. Better to put a camera out w/o a sign, then if you get hit again, give the resulting footage to the police. A visit from the police will probably be more effective than a sign to prevent future occurrences. Camera prices keep dropping and choices are increasing (check out Best Buy if you have one close).

I put stuff out in two stages. Cheap outdoor stuff early, the pricey stuff the day of Halloween. This year I won't put anything out until this Sunday, after the Saturday night drunk teens all get home. It's unfortunate, it would be more fun to have a 90% display for at least the week prior, but this way the risk is substantially reduced.
 

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Go get a trailcam. You can get them at Walmart! They cost around $50 but worth not getting stuff taken. They flash when they go off at night which is a great deterrant! I use one with dummy cams! I lost alot of stuff two years ago and once they went up it stopped. They were taking stuff every night!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ok, so I planted the baby monitor in the middle of my cemetery. From 6pm to bedtime I'll have it on 'noise' mode, which is a bit sensitive. Then I'll switch it to 'voice' mode. The voice mode will catch whispers if I am within a few feet. Soft talk at about 5-6'. Not the best, but they seem to go for the pumpkins and I have the monitor hidden underneath my pumpkin crate/stand. I was also going to drill a small hole in the back of the bait pumpkin and attach a line that will make some noise. It needs to be small and hidden, so tin cans won't work.

I'll post on here and let you know how it goes. My plan is if I see creeps messing with my stuff, I'll shine a VERY bright LED flashlight at them and chase them away. If the issue recurs, I'll ask my wife to do it while I go outside, cross the street beforehand. That way I can tail them and find out where they live. I live in a very safe low crime neighborhood, but you can never trust teens. Best to get the address and go back the next morning.

Anyone have any tactics here? Do you just chase away, do you follow, do you call the cops? Obviously we don't want to tackle and detain -- too risky from a litigation perspective.
 

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if you want a lot of noise, you could use braided fishing line run to a piece of wood propin up a board with cans or something on it, the braided line would blend in well in low light, would scare the heck out of them as well as trigger the monitor for sure.....
 

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After the damage my haunt suffered this year, the very next day I put up a camera system from walmart for under $100...and waited with a nice big scarecrow on a cross with a sign that said I DARE you to damage this because you will be caught..and waited..that very night two of the individuals that did the original damage were happy to comply and were scared to death when the "scarecrow" came to life and tackled one of them to the ground and got handcuffed..he confessed to the original damage and ratted out his buddies...it wasn't much consultation to me for the damage they did...that's coming in civil court..but I didn't have anyone bother my props the rest of the week. I think next year I cam going to have the scarecrow out early..and from time to time..take it's place.
 

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After the damage my haunt suffered this year, the very next day I put up a camera system from walmart for under $100...and waited with a nice big scarecrow on a cross with a sign that said I DARE you to damage this because you will be caught..and waited..that very night two of the individuals that did the original damage were happy to comply and were scared to death when the "scarecrow" came to life and tackled one of them to the ground and got handcuffed..he confessed to the original damage and ratted out his buddies...it wasn't much consultation to me for the damage they did...that's coming in civil court..but I didn't have anyone bother my props the rest of the week. I think next year I cam going to have the scarecrow out early..and from time to time..take it's place.
Great job! How long did you have to wait as a scarecrow?
 

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It was about two hours...I built the scarecrow stick like a deer stand with a little seat..otherwise my old butt could never stand that long..lol..what i really wanted to do is shoot them..but the law doesn't allow that..for now..!
 

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Lot of satisfaction in catching them. I had IR cameras at the last house. New house uses noise makers to protect Halloween stuff.
You could also get two of the harbor freight wireless driveway alerts (on same channel), put one outside and one inside. If either PIR (pointed somewhere inside the haunt area where normal street traffic won't trigger it) goes off you have a chance to stop them. If you are not around the outside chime lets them know they have been detected. Not bad for $20. You can also put the dollar store alarms on the props. Check the threads for more about those.

I had already decided that if hit I would post a sign saying due to night vandalism Halloween haunt is canceled this year. And let the other neighborhood kids thank them if they are locals. But I suspect in my case it would be someone driving by and see stuff to steal and sell.
 

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I once had a guy steal a small figuriune from inside of my house while he was here taking the tour. Back outside he showed his theft to his friend. His friend warned hm to give it back, he didn't. On their was back home 25 miles away the thief hit a deer with his brand new Chevy S-10 and totaled it!
Another guy had a videotape of mine, didn't return it.. his house burnt down.

So it goes....

I began building my outdoor displays from steel , bolts, welded together years ago. "Go ahead Mr. Drunky, punch that big steel skull, give it a kick too!"
Having a local Police response time of usually 30 seconds helps a lot too.
The "Cop-Shop" is 400? feet away?
 

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"We moved to a new house, quiet cul de sac, upscale neighborhood.
We got hit last night after 10pm. This is our first in the new house. All they did was smash a jack-o-lantern and toilet paper the cemetery."

In my opinion you have been welcomed to the neighborhood. In my younger days, me and my friends were the "welcoming committee" - minor vandalism and pranks to the newcomers. One shot and we were done - unless you became a problem. Then we became a problem. Usually their neighbors straightened them out, and the "problem" went away. We were never malicious to the point of being dangerous. Our pranks were well thought out so this would never happen. Bad judgement of youth? Yes, in both your case and mine. Fun? Heck yeah!
HM
 
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