Security for Your Lake Chapala – Ajijic Home

September 9, 2014

Hi Everyone,
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As most of you know in one of my former lives I was a Dallas Police officer for 35 years.

One of my most enjoyable assignments was as a Commander over 4 Dallas Police Store Front Mini police stations. One of our primary responsibilities at the storefronts, (usually located in high crime areas), was to help the residents to protect their homes from all types of crime.

I will give you the basics in this post of how to improve security of your home at Lake Chapala – Ajijic Mexico, but the information can basically be applied to almost any home anywhere.

Home Security analysis is really just using common sense and looking at your home in a fresh way. Try to look at it as if you wanted to break into it. In other words look carefully at it from outside to determine it’s weak points.

Security is about layers. Some folks say well “if they want in badly enough they will get in”. Yes, in general I agree. But, since most burglaries are not well planned and often are not attempted by people with a lot of smarts, it just makes sense to protect your property.

You want your home to be, at a minimum as safe from intrusion as the average home in your neighborhood. Even better is to be better protected than the average home in the neighborhood.

Security is about layers of protection. Each layer helps. (Walls, fences topped with barbs shaped like fish hooks), security bars, security lighting, guard dogs, alarm systems with and without cameras, door viewers, closed circuit cameras and good old fashioned dead bolt locks. Another good idea is to join or create a crime watch group.

If you have high speed Internet at your home you can have cameras installed at key points and when not at home you can log onto a secure website and see what your cameras are seeing. These cameras usually are equipped with DVD recorders as well so that you will have a record of what the camera sees.

Walk around the perimeter of your property. Are their trees or rocks or anything a burglar could use as a ladder to more easily get over your wall or fence? Are their gaps in the perimeter fencing or walls (the chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link.) Can a burglar gain easy access to your property from a neighbor’s property, from the neighbor’s roof to your roof?

Is there high grass or weeds next to your wall or fence on the outside where a burglar would go unnoticed as he tried to climb over your fence or wall ? Clear a path around the perimeter so he could be seen while trying to climb over your fence or wall.

Exception to this rule:: If the briars or thorny plants are very thick they can act as a strong deterrent to climbing a wall where they exist.

If you are building a new home or do not currently have any perimeter security you want some form of security for your perimeter. Here at Lake Chapala – Ajijic many homes both new and pre owned will have a wall surrounding the home. This has been the style in Mexico since the days of the Spanish invaders who built high walls around their Haciendas to protect them from the indigenous people.

The wall should have areas through which the police or neighbors can see your doors if possible. The reason is simple. Once the bad guy scales the wall and makes it to the other side he has plenty of time to work on getting bars pried off windows or doors because the walls now hide him from view.

I use heavy decorative iron in my very high security wall so that I can see out and passers by can see my principle door as they go past my home.

Intercoms to the front doors are also good. Never open your door without first being sure of the intent of the person on the other side.

Please do not let all of these suggestions make you fearful for your safety. Confrontational crime is very rare in Mexico, but it does exist from time to time.

If you can’t see who is outside your home easily from inside you should consider a closed circuit TV camera-intercoms or at least an intercom.

Some doors lend themselves to an inexpensive peep hole device.

Electric Opening drive in gates or garage doors: Being able to open the garage or driveway gate remotely from the safety of your car when returning home, especially after dark, is more than a convenience it could be a life saver.

Just remember to stay safely locked inside your vehicle until you are inside your perimeter and the gate or garage door is locked behind you. Be extra careful as you wait for your gate or garage door to open. On rare occasions robbers might be waiting hidden in the shadows to that when the gate or garage door opens they can slip in behind your vehicle as you enter.

Then, they could break in later or even accost you before you gain the safety of your home. Here’s what to do. Watch in your rear view and side view mirrors as your gate or garage door opens, as you drive in and after you’re inside. Immediately close the door from inside your vehicle with the remote all the while watching for anyone trying to slip in before the door is securely shut behind you.

Some folks even install mirrors to the right and left of their driveway so they can spot anyone trying to slip in. If you do see someone slipping in; open the gate if it was in the process of closing behind you, and back out. Back over the bad guys if need be as you exit. If you can, close the gate. You may catch one of them inside. Drive away and once safe use a cell phone or drive to a police station or a nearby convenience store or other place of relative safety to call the police.


Be alert to unusual or suspicious persons in your area. Make a note of the time and their description for possible later use. If they’re in a vehicle, jot down the plate number and car description.

Never challenge such persons directly. If you are driving or can do so safely you might give them a long hard look, which if they are in fact potential burglars, might deter them from coming back for fear of a later identification.

Do you know your neighbors? Get to know them. Get each others telephone numbers so that if either of you see something suspicious going on you can call and alert each other. If you think someone is up to no good and your neighbor doesn’t: answer the phone, call the police.

Nosy (I think caring) neighbors have helped catch many a would be burglar.

People often ask me if alarm systems are worth the money. Yes, a good professionally installed system is well worth the money.

Silent alarms versus audible alarms: As a home owner you will likely favor audible alarms to scare away the potential burglar. Police officers generally prefer silent alarms as they want to catch the bad guy and not merely scare him away to burglarize another home on another day.

In my opinion the monitored alarm system costs are too expensive and I personally would not pay extra to have the system monitored. The monitoring agency will just call the police. For audible systems the bad guys will likely be long gone before the police arrive. But, if you prefer to have a silent alarm system so that the burglar doesn’t know he has tripped the alarm then of course it must be a monitored system.

Crime Patterns are important to the police. Help them to help you and your neighbors; please report all crime even if on an informal basis. In Mexico to formally report a crime requires masses of paper work, but the reporting system is getting better with bi lingual officers and clerks and telephone operators.

Have a Spanish speaking friend to call for you.

The bad guys tend to move around a lot from neighborhood to neighborhood and will work a neighborhood until things get to “Hot” for them and then they will move on.

The trick is to keep the heat on all the time so that when they come into your neighborhood they are met with secure homes, informed citizens using an active formal or informal crime watch group.

Become proactive for your own home and for your neighborhood. Just because there have not been any burglaries or thefts in a long time doesn’t necessarily mean it will not begin tomorrow. Better safe than sorry comes to mind.

Remember, all is takes for evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing.

I realize this post was quite long. Congratulations if you read it all the way to the end. It could save your property or even your life. An ounce of prevention comes to mind.

Please do not wait to become a victim and then apply these techniques. Apply them now! Share this post with others. Somewhere in the Bible it says, “My people perish for lack of knowledge.”


Siempre tu amigo, Sid

  • Susan

    Great article Sid

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