Why is my house electrical panel on the outside?
Just bought a house in Vegas and the panel is mounted outside for easy access by anyone including thieves who could shut down all my security (motion detector lights, cameras, home automation, etc.) with the flip of a switch. The only way to lock it is with something the size of a paper clip in the tiny hole at the bottom. I already had someone trying to get into my garage at 5am using the coat hanger trick to snag the emergency release on the automatic garage door opener. I already knew about this ahead of time and had secured it with a wire tie. Google it if you need to know how to secure your garage. None of my neighbors even knew how easy it is for the bad guys to get in like this.
I've never seen a breaker panel on the outside of a house where I'm from (Louisiana). Whenever the authorities need to cut the power they just pull the meters out like they did after Katrina to prevent backfeeding of generators into the power lines they were working on.
At a time when crime has increased because of sky-high unemployment and foreclosures, (I had no idea "Cops" was filmed in Vegas) I need a solution to this. Am I allowed to add some kind of locking mechanism to the panel and if so, what would be the best way to do it? I can only imagine how expensive it would be to relocate the panel inside where it should be, although basically it would just require flipping it around to face the inside of the same garage wall.