While you might not immediately assume people would want your yard signs, you’d be surprised how often they get stolen!
Whether political signs, decorative or otherwise, yard signs are a widespread target for theft.
This is primarily because of how easy they are for thieves to grab and make off within the blink of an eye.
Thankfully, we’ve got a list of simple tips here for you to prevent your yard signs from being stolen.
Make The Sign A Bit Slippery Or Greasy
To be clear, petroleum jelly isn’t necessarily the only substance you’ll be able to use for this, but it’s probably the easiest, cleanest, and least messy to deal with.
However, while it helps to make your sign difficult to steal, you also definitely want to make sure you won’t potentially hurt someone and possibly open yourself up to a lawsuit.
Sure, this suggestion sounds a bit silly at first, but keep in mind most thieves are concerned with being fast and stealing something light and easy to run off with.
If they can’t even hold your sign because of how slippery it is, most people will simply drop it and move on.
You don’t even need to cover the entire sign with Vaseline; simply coating the back and sides is usually enough.
It holds up reasonably well without needing to be reapplied very often, especially if you know roughly when your sign thief is coming around to attempt to steal your property.
It’s not the most reliable or practical, but it’s enough to be a deterrent and will likely confuse potential thieves enough to encourage them to look elsewhere for the time being.
Plus, since it doesn’t do any actual physical damage, you’ll be able to avoid any potential criminal penalties associated with booby trapping signs in certain states.
Put A Security Alarm On Or Near The Sign
There are many ways to accomplish this, but you’d be surprised how simple some of these alarm systems are!
Sure, you have the option of purchasing an elaborate alarm system.
Still, you also are able to quickly set up one of your own with a tripwire connected to a simple bell or another noisy mechanism.
To save yourself some money, a fishing line as a tripwire attached to something which will go off loudly will often be a sufficient deterrent to most thieves.
Be sure to set this up near the sign so the potential thief will trip the alarm when they attempt to run off.
If the alarm or noisy object (again, even something like a cowbell would work for this) is loud enough, it will almost definitely scare them off and cause them to drop the sign where they found it.
Again, just make sure you won’t do any serious harm to unsuspecting neighbors or animals who come onto your property unexpectedly.
It’s best to set up the tripwire and alarm somewhere around the sign itself rather than the general perimeter of your yard.
Otherwise, you’ll end up with a lot of false alarms.
Point A Home Security Camera In The Direction Of The Sign
One of the best deterrents for theft is a simple security camera (or even multiple cameras).
You are certainly open to just buying a decoy camera and hoping it’s enough to ward off unwanted guests.
Still, with how inexpensive home security systems are these days, you might as well spend the extra cash for a more reliable option.
For example, this DTC Wireless WiFi Security Camera is both cheap and effective for deterring thieves.
One of the first things someone looking to steal your yard sign will look for is a security system, more specifically, a camera.
If you place the camera close enough to the sign (yet just out of reach, so they aren’t able to tamper with it), they’ll likely consider it too much trouble to bother with.
Bring Your Signs Indoors At Night
Most of the time, when yard signs are stolen, they’re stolen at night.
This is because it’s easier for thieves to grab them and get away with them quickly when it’s darker outside but also because you’re less likely to be awake or out at night keeping an eye on your yard.
If you only have one or a few signs in your yard, it’s probably worth simply bringing them indoors once the sun goes down.
People are a lot less likely to attempt to steal them during broad daylight, and nobody will be able to see them at night anyway.
If you have political campaign yard signs, keep in mind you’ll see an uptick of sign theft occurrences during election season.
If it’s almost time to vote, it’s a good idea to be especially careful and bring your signs in at night just to be safe, even if you haven’t had anyone steal them yet.
Political lawn signs are frequent targets, regardless of which political party you’re supporting.
Keep Your Signs Close To Your Front Door Or Front Porch
While your signs will be more visible if they’re closer to the street, this also makes them much more likely to be stolen.
It’s a better idea to simply purchase larger signs and keep them placed closer to your front door.
This way, anyone looking to steal them will probably think twice, as it’s a lot more likely they’ll be caught if they’re right in front of your door.
It also helps to combine some of the other tips mentioned on this list with this one, such as aiming a security camera at the sign, making it too slippery to hold, or connecting the sign to an alarm system.
By using multiple deterrents, you’ll drastically decrease your chances of being a target for sign theft.
Install Anti-Theft Signs In Your Yard
Even a simple anti-theft sign as a warning on your fence or in your yard somewhere near the signs you’re worried about being stolen will work as a reasonably reliable theft deterrent.
For example, these 4-Pack Private Property Signs will warn any potential thieves to keep moving.
You also have the option of purchasing anti-theft warning stickers to place directly onto the signs.
If you don’t want to cover any of the design on the sign, buy something small yet obvious and place it on the corner of the sign so it’s visible yet not overly distracting.
Either way, again, it helps to combine a few methods on this list with this option.
Sure, you’re free to warn thieves about your security system as much as you’d like, but at the end of the day, some will still be bold enough to test if it works.
This is potentially problematic if you don’t have a camera or alarm set up to deter them.
Weigh The Sign Down
One of the main reasons yard signs are stolen so often is that they are light and easy for thieves to run off with.
This is why we recommend making your yard signs too heavy for them to bother with stealing!
There are plenty of ways you’ll be able to accomplish this, from tying heavy weights to the sign and hiding them nearby or even attaching something heavy and loud to the back of the sign.
A loud, heavy bell is an especially great option for this, as it’ll make a lot of noise as soon as someone touches it, and most thieves won’t think to check behind the sign before they grab it.
Like the other tips on this list, your main goal is to just make the sign too bothersome to steal.
Set Up Motion-Sensing Lights Outside
Another great way to keep thieves away, especially at night, is to have lights equipped with motion sensors in your yard.
These kinds of lights are inexpensive and easy to set up, and best of all, they’ll startle anyone who sneaks onto your yard hoping to steal your signs while you’re relaxing or asleep at home.
These Solar Outdoor Lights are an excellent option for this in particular, as they will immediately illuminate a large area if anyone comes onto your property at night.
This works incredibly well when combined with a security camera or alarm system, as not only will the thief be brightly lit and visible, but they’ll also potentially be caught on camera and easily identifiable.
As a result, most people looking to steal something from your yard will bolt in the opposite direction the moment they notice these massive, motion-sensing floodlights lighting them up for all to see.
Put An Irritant On The Sign, Ideally Something Sticky Or Greasy
Remember the Vaseline tip we mentioned earlier?
Well, this is a great tactic to combine with it.
There are plenty of smelly, annoying substances you have the option of smearing the backs of your signs with.
Still, something spicy or irritating like pepper spray or just hot peppers, in general, are perfect here.
We recommend combining the irritant with something greasy or sticky like petroleum jelly because it’ll help it stick to the sign better, and it will be incredibly annoying for the thief once it transfers onto their hands.
Remember, you don’t want to seriously harm or injure anyone, even an inconsiderate thief, but making them tear up a bit or cough because they’ve got capsaicin all over their hands is usually just enough to get them to back off in confusion.
Hammer Your Signs Deeply Into The Ground
When putting up your yard signs, be mindful and get them as secure and deep into the ground as possible.
After all, the more difficult the sign is to pull out of the ground, the longer it’ll take a thief to yank it out of your yard, pick it up, and run off with it.
Yes, this will make things slightly inconvenient for you if/when you decide to remove the signs from your lawn.
However, a few moments of inconvenience is worth dealing with, especially considering it’ll often be more than enough to make a particularly anxious thief think twice.
This tip also works particularly well when combined with others on this list, such as weighing the sign down or making it greasy or sticky.
Nobody is going to want to steal a heavy, slippery sign, especially if it’s been hammered into the ground a few extra inches.
Put A Small Barbed Wire Fence Around Your Signs
This option is excellent for huge, prominent signs, as the thin lines of barbed wire won’t interfere too much with their overall visibility in your yard.
It certainly isn’t very welcoming to look at, but this is the point of theft deterrents like these anyway.
By putting a boundary around your signs, especially a sharp, pointy one like barbed wire, anyone looking to steal them will have an extra hoop to jump through.
Some people recommend using electric fences or some kind of shocking mechanism, but this is risky in many states legally.
Plus, once again, you don’t want to hurt any unsuspecting animals sniffing around your yard.
Put Your Signs In Your Home Window Instead Of On Your Lawn
Most thieves hoping to steal your yard signs aren’t going to want to bother with actually breaking into your home.
This is why it might be a better idea to simply place your signs, particularly political campaign signs, in the windows of your home instead of out in the middle of your yard.
The only main downside to this depends on the size of your front yard and the visibility of your windows; your signs probably won’t be as prominent or visible.
However, if you’re willing to buy slightly larger signs and tape them to the inside of your windows, you’ll likely be able to avoid having them stolen at all altogether.
Still, having your signs indoors where they’re a lot safer is worth considering if you’re fed up with inconsiderate people trespassing and running off with your lawn decor.