Part of a good home security strategy involves making your house look uninviting to criminals. Posting signs that display surveillance or monitoring services like ADT, Brinks, Vivint, Lorex, etc. is not a bad idea, and may have a deterrence effect on some criminals looking for a soft target.
But what about signs like the ones pictured below that talk about killing a suspected thief?
If you have signs that are like those pictured above, it's well within your right to do so.
You just won't find them anywhere on my property. If you're wondering, no, I don't have “an example of a case where a sign like this led to someone being convicted of murder for shooting a trespasser.” That's not the rubric I use when deciding on the use of deadly force.
What follows is my opinion on why I choose not to post these types of signs.
What I'm not trying to do is tell YOU that you can't post them, or you're a bad person if you do. If you disagree with my reasoning, fantastic. I'm a big boy and can handle people who disagree with me or challenge my opinions.
My reason for the post is to get the reader to think about the topic, not to tell the reader how to think about the topic.
Potentially Send the Wrong Message—
Each of the signs in the image above conveys multiple messages to the reader.
One message is that there is at least one firearm inside the premises.
I think this is the exact opposite message we want to send. If I'm a motivated criminal with guns of my own, and decide I want more, this may be a risk I'm willing to take, especially if I have a couple of buddies that are like-minded.
So, signs like these have to potential to attract a certain criminal, and one that is likely to be more violent, and motivated to get some free firearms.
I find signs that say something like “there is nothing here that is worth your life” especially confusing.
Everyone knows that there are valuable things inside every house. Burglars can easily steal small electronics, laptops, tools, credit cards wallets of cash, and prescription medication in a home or garage burglary. And, as mentioned above, the criminal determines what he will risk his life to get.
Often what is lacking is the homeowner's calculus of what property he's willing to risk his life to defend.
What I mean is that we see regularly are homeowners who leave the safety and security to confront someone trying to steal their vehicle, their catalytic converter, or the vehicle itself. Here are just a few video clips: Man in underwear fights off thieves, Shirtless man takes on thieves, Man tries to stop car thieves, Man fights 4 thieves.
In each one of these videos, the good guy had ever legal right to protect his property. However, in these incidents, the thieves could have easily killed them during the confrontation. The point I'm trying to make is not that these people didn't have the right to defend their property, but they placed a higher value on their property than their lives. To risk your physical life over stuff that will inevitably wear out, or you can replace, is something I don't understand.
I'll vigorously defend myself, family or someone else's life, with deadly force. I've had to in the past, and wouldn't hesitate to do it again, just not property alone.
If you haven't thought about what you're willing to die for, you should, especially if you carry a firearm. And if you would run out of your home and risk your life for an amazon package stolen off your porch or your car, can I just suggest that your physical life is worth more than material things? And yet, your eternal soul is even more valuable than even your physical life. Have you thought about where you would go if today was your last day on earth?
Complicate Your Self-Defense Case—
Even in states with weak self-defense law or laws hostile to gun owners, the threshold to bring charges against someone's claim of self-defense inside their home is pretty high. As such, most cases don't result in charges. That doesn't mean police don't investigate them.
If there is any question of things like motivation, reasonableness or circumstances, investigators may take a deeper look into things like your online statements on cases with similar circumstances, or even signs you've posted on your property that show a flippant attitude toward human life. This could mean, at best, a longer investigation, and at worst, lead a district attorney to take a stab at bringing charges against you.
Most people investigated for serious crimes don't wait to hire an attorney when they get charged. They get one to help them stay out of court. The police's investigation into your shaky claim of self-defense claim could last months or longer.
So just because there isn't a case of these signs leading to someone's conviction, you don't want to give investigators any ammunition to even suspect your use of deadly force was anything but perfect self-defense.
If you haven't considered some type of self defense legal support, check out this comprehensive side-by-side comparison of all the companies offering this type of service.
Considering we are talking about home security, I want to recommend you check out this course called Complete Home Defense — Tactics for Defending Your Castle. If this is a topic that interests you, I think you'll find the course covers a wide range of home defense strategies, some of which you might not have considered before.