Crash and Smash – And How to Prevent It
by Erin Raub | Last Updated Feb. 20th, 2016
Have you heard of the crash and smash? Just the name makes me want to cringe. But it’s a big deal in the home security world, and one you need to protect against.
What is a crash and smash?
The “crash and smash” is a burglar’s favorite way to break into your home. Here’s how it works:
- The intruder “crashes” through your entry door – the one that you normally enter through and the one near your alarm security keypad.
- Unfortunately, your alarm system cannot tell the difference between your unlocking the door and a burglar breaking in. So, as always, your system gives you a set period (usually 30-60 seconds) to key in your code and deactivate the alarm.
- During those 30-60 seconds, your home intruder locates the alarm panel and “smashes” it. Your alarm hardware is in tatters and it is no longer hard-wired into your phone line. It has not had time to notify the alarm company or police of the break-in. The burglar can now rob you in peace.
How can I prevent a burglar from crashing & smashing my system?
The crash and smash is a dirty trick, but it’s about as low-tech as it gets – using scissors to cut some wires or bashing in electronics with a hammer. To protect yourself from this break-in method, you need to go high-tech. Higher than some scissors or a hammer.
Go cellular (wireless)
A wireless alarm system can mean one of two things: wireless components placed throughout your home, or wireless communication with your alarm company via cell phone signal. (Some systems have both wireless components and cellular monitoring). To help prevent a crash and smash, you need a system with cellular communications – even the biggest hammer can’t destroy your cell signal!
A crash & smash works because most alarm systems only send an alert when you fail to deactivate your alarm within the given time period. Your home security company doesn’t know that a door has been opened – doesn’t know that it should be waiting for confirmation of the all-okay. That’s why some companies have come up with an ingenious way to protect against the smash and crash: disarm confirmation.
Alarms with crash and smash protection notify your alarm company as soon as you open the door (or a burglar crashes it in), so they’re already on the alert. Your company then waits for confirmation that you’ve disarmed your system. If a burglar smashes in your alarm panel, that does not constitute deactivation. The time period passes and your alarm company sends the police, but your burglar is none the wiser. S/he thinks that your system has been effectively disabled. But then the police arrive, your intruder is apprehended, and your home is safe. A happy ending. (Except for the burglar.)
Lock it Away
You can also lock your alarm panel in another room. This works because 1) it will take a burglar longer to locate your alarm and 2) requires an intruder to crash through two doors. Keep in mind, however, that this method isn’t a foolproof solution for the smash & crash.
One of the most important aspects to protecting your home and family is redundancy. Do not put all your eggs in one security basket – don’t rely on just your alarm system to keep you safe. First of all, burglarproof your doors to prevent a “crash” (they can’t smash if they don’t get past the crash part!). Employ burglar deterrents. Secure your windows. And if you need additional ideas on how to secure your home, check out our home security tips.
Have security suggestions of your own? Let us know in the comments!