Protect Your Home from Crash and Smash Burglaries

A burglar opening a locked door

As the name implies, there's a crash and then a smash. The crash is when the burglar or burglars use force to break in through your door or window. The smash part takes place once the intruder locates your security alarm box and either disables it cleverly or just smashes it to smithereens.

You may be wondering how it's possible for the alarm not to notify the security company of such a break-in. The loophole emerges from convenience—most security companies build in a delay of between 30 and 60 seconds for you to reach your alarm box and punch in the disarming code. A system that notified the police every time you came home would not be very useful. During those crucial seconds, though, your alarm is waiting patiently for you to enter the code, and therefore vulnerable to attack.

What the burglar does once he or she has crashed the door is quickly get to the panel box, which in many cases is mounted right beside the entrance or clearly visible on an adjacent wall, and smash it, making it inoperable within the 30-60 second window. The alarm never notifies the security company, which means the police don't get contacted.

Some tech savvy criminals even know how to hack your security system silently, without breaking it to bits. So what can you do to protect your home from this approach?

A gloved hand touching a security panel

Multiple Panels

One good option to counter the smash and crash home invasion method is to install additional security panels. That way one of them can send the alert if no code has been received, even if another one is broken.

Disarm Confirmation

Another option some security companies offer is an immediate alert upon entry, followed by an all-clear only when a code is entered. The second the door opens, a notification is issued to the security company. If they don't get a disarm code within the window after that, they notify the police. Contact your security provider if you're not sure whether your system works this way, and make the upgrade if you can.

Move your System

If you decide to stay with one standard panel, or if you're setting up a new security system, you should at least put the code box in a different room, ideally far from the front door. Because you know where it is, you'll be able to get to it in time to enter the deactivation numbers. The burglar, having never been in your house before, probably won't. This method isn't perfect, but it helps. You can improve it further by putting the panel in a cabinet, out of obvious reach.

A young woman programs a security panel

Alarm Tamper Detection

Some systems have a feature that activates as soon as any damage to the alarm is detected, a measure aimed specifically at combating crash and smashers. As with moving the panel, it's not a fool-proof solution, but it gives your system a better chance of getting the alert out. Again, contact your security company if you're curious about whether your system has this feature.

Redundant Security Measures

Relying on just the alarm system can leave your home vulnerable. You should also consider securing windows and doors with sensors, investing in a security camera system, and installing newer smart home features like motion detectors and video doorbells. It's also always a good idea to make sure your security system has an audible alarm.