In many neighborhoods, the chances of a home being broken into are so high that people don't bother to own certain things, like CD players. There aren't enough police to stop the drug addicts from breaking your front window and ripping off your television set to sell it for a fix. So what do you do?

You can spend thousands of dollars on an electronic home security system. But, for the technologically incompetent, remembering to set the alarms is a big enough problem, and turning them off when you accidentally trip them is even worse. Many cities now have ordinances fining people whose home security systems send out too many false alarms.

But there are better and much cheaper ways to keep your home safe. The Frumious Bandersnatch has studied the problem and discovered a number of innovative ways people are protecting their homes effectively.

THE SNAKE BOX: This method involves getting two snake cages, putting a rattlesnake in one with the lid closed, and leaving the other cage open. The snake cages are placed by a window so the would-be burglar can see them. Few burglars will risk discovering where the other snake is. Some snake-owning homeowners go so far as to put signs on their property such as "Jones Snake Farm".

LASERS: Decals can be bought which proclaim "This Home Is Protected By Invisible Lasers". For those burglars who can read, this seems to work. Cheap laser pointers can be installed around the perimeter of your property, and turned on with timers. Few people will risk being sawed in half by a laser.

STOLEN SECURITY SIGNS: A very cheap method of home protection is to steal one of those security company signs from another home and place it in your yard.

THE VICIOUS DOG: Many homeowners own rottweillers and other vicious dogs. The problem is, these dogs often attack innocent people, causing the homeowner to pay thousands of dollars in damages to the victims. You don't need a large dog to deter burglars. You just need a dog that acts vicious at the right time. Training your small terrier to attack the screen door when a door-to-door salesman is trying to peddle something, and to run around the house barking madly whenever a stranger is on the property goes a long way to ensure your peace and quiet. You must learn, however, to tolerate the noise of your dog.

THE BARKING DOG TAPE: For those not inclined to own a dog, rig up a tape of a barking dog to a motion sensor. When someone prowls on your property, the sound of a vicious dog barking will generally deter further problems. A few bones scattered about the yard confirms the presence of a large dog.

SPIDERS: Burglars have an uncommon fear of spiders. Place a lot of rubber spiders all over your home, on the walls, in your drawers, etc. Keep a pet tarantula around. Cover your windows with spider webs.

CRAZINESS: It is rare for burglars to break into the homes of the criminally insane. Decorate your home with satanic symbols, with jars containing realistic-looking human heads and other body parts on your shelves, and splash your walls with red paint to simulate blood.

TRAPS: Traps are not generally suggested, as this may result in the would-be burglar suing you for injuries. The trick is to devise non-lethal traps that discourage burglars. Our favorite is pools filled with glue.

PROTECTIVE BARRIERS: Many people rely on wrought iron bars, which can trap the homeowner inside his home during a fire. Moats filled will alligators, cactus in front of your windows, or a yard filled with exotic animals such as tigers often work effectively.

LOOK POOR: Burglars are obviously looking for stuff to steal, so don't send them the message that your home is filled with valuable goodies. Let your lawn die. Park a broken-down truck in your yard. Place a broken washer or dryer on your porch. Never paint your house. Keep your windows dirty.

CURSE YOUR STUFF: Witchcraft is a growing business, and it is very easy to find a witch and have a curse placed on your really valuable stuff, like jewelry. Put tags on the cursed stuff to make sure the burglar knows that what he is taking comes with a really heavy price.

BUY A POLICE CAR: In many cities, the local police take home their cars, which helps deter crime in those neighborhoods. Cities also sell off surplus police cars. Buy one and park it in front of your home.