Since June 17, a Facebook post from online personality Bryan Silva advocating that people keep their keys with a remote car alarm by their bed to scare off a burglar during a home invasion has been shared more than 500,000 times.
“If your car alarm goes off when someone is trying to break into your house, odds are the burglar/rapist won't stick around,” the post reads. “After a few seconds, all the neighbors will be looking out their windows to see who is out there and sure enough the criminal won't want that. And remember to carry your keys while walking to your car in a parking lot. The alarm can work the same way there.”
Silva is not the original creator of the post. According to rumor-busting website Snopes, the idea began circulating on the Internet in 2006 and it may not be as effective as many believe.
Although hitting the "panic button" did save 23-year-old Tanya Cass after she was stabbed nine times in the parking lot of a child care center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2000, an alarm may not stop criminals.
In 2003, a family in Montreal, Canada, was burglarized. Although they managed to hit the car alarm, no one noticed. “We all heard the alarm go off but you get desensitized to alarms. I thought it was a car alarm,” a neighbor said at the time. “I said to my daughter, 'I'm going to close the window because that car alarm is bothering me.'"
Snopes advises people use preventive measures to protect their homes, including locking doors, eliminating hiding places for would-be burglars and putting a security sign in the yard.