Be Prepared: Secure Your Home Today

Guest post by Karen C

Most of you are familiar with the Scout motto: Be Prepared.

That’s exactly the way you need to be, especially in this particularly turbulent time in our nation. You can never be too careful and if you have a home and a family, then you owe it both to them and yourself to make the home as safe and secure as possible.

Break-ins are at an all-time high and as our country’s economy continues its downward trend, the divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots” is only widening. Don’t wait for life to strike. Get proactive and start finding new ways to bring peace of mind to you and yours.

Listed below are just a few ways you can secure your home in anticipation for the worst.

Arm Yourself

There is absolutely nothing wrong with becoming familiar with a firearm in order to protect yourself and your family. That being said, you should make absolutely certain you are ready for the responsibility and know everything from the proper handling to the proper storage.

Guns get a lot of flak for being dangerous and rightly so. Guns are not toys and they are not tools you wield for the purpose of intimidation. If you are going to bring a gun into your home for defense purposes, then you have an obligation to understand the risks, understand how it works and do everything possible to minimize an accident.

Don’t Forget Fido

Ever since the dawn of man, dogs have traveled with us side-by-side into the world as we know it today. Dogs possess keen hearing and smell, and can often detect things much better than you or I. A focused dog can often hear the approaching footsteps or a vehicle engine and give you enough warning to act.

Typical guard dog breeds include German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, and even Huskies. Just make sure that you’re guard dog knows the difference between a guest and an intruder when the time comes. It’s advisable to at least coordinate with a professional trainer to avoid incident.

Home Improvement

Believe it or not, a lot of break-ins actually happen through the front door. Any determined intruder can make short work of an old, wooden door so it might be a good idea to invest in a sturdy, slab model. These are relatively inexpensive and much more robust.

Another relatively inexpensive thing you can do outside of the home is install some decent exterior lighting. Lots of hardware stores offer the kind with motion-detecting sensors that can cast a light on any intruder – man or beast.

Discourage Window Shopping

If you have curtains or drapes hung around the windows, it would be prudent to close them when it gets dark. This is not a 100% crime-stopping strategy, but by minimizing what outsiders can see in your home, you are minimizing any incentive for them to let themselves in.

Again, it’s not a guarantee, but it has been known to help. You might also want to look at replacing any windows in your home that are a couple years old. Anti-theft locks can weaken with age and you don’t want to make it any easier for the criminal element.

Invest in a System

There are plenty of home security sites and services on the market like http://www.securitychoice.com/, which offer some of the most sophisticated monitoring equipment around. Some services even provide you with 24/7 monitoring adding an extra layer of protection and, in some cases, the mere presence of a system is enough to turn intruders away.

And those are really just a few ways you can secure the home. So, really, take some time and try to see just how secure your home actually is. If you see areas that need improvement, do whatever is necessary. You and your family deserve some peace of mind and securing the home can help you prepare for the worst.

Comments

  1. I would add a couple of other ideas to this list depending on your situation and what risk level your neighborhood is at.

    First, invest in door locks that are bump proof. Most box store locks can be bumped open and there are plenty of YouTube videos showing little kids doing it. While insanely expensive one of the most pick proof locks around is made by Abloy. It also offers peace of mind knowing that while you were away nobody came by, picked your lock, rummaged through the house and then locked it all up again.

    Second, if you are concerned with home invasion you might consider window security film. Having a strong front door is a great deterrent but if they can just throw a rock or hit your picture windows with a baseball bat they are in. High quality security film placed on your windows will slow them down a lot, giving you plenty of time to react. Plenty of YouTube videos showing how it works are out there.

  2. Most houses have very weak door and window frames. A great set of locks does little good if a couple of good kicks brings the frame loose.

  3. On the window security film, don’t be suckered in by the manufacturer videos. They’ve secured the film to the window frame (usually metal frame, like used in commercial settings) for the tests. When secured to the frame (screwed or glued), it provides outstanding protection against strikes as seen in the videos. The film is basically untearable. If the film is just stuck on the window glass, and usually just up to the molding, then the unfilmed glass at the edges or the caulk holding the window in the frame is the weakest point, and the glass will fall out in a single piece on your floor with a strike or two. To get the level of security shown in the videos, it must be secured to the window frame, and that adds a lot to the installation cost.

    • Yes, if it’s not properly anchored the glass will fall out after a few blows. Even at that it may buy you enough time to react and you won’t have glass flying into the room all over you. This is not a cheap solution but properly done it is an effective solution. Given the cost of the film in the first place it pays to have it properly installed and anchored.

      • What about vehicle glass? Doors w/ frames around the window glass and glass w/out frames?

        The trick that they us here is a rock and a piece of cardboard to muffle the breakage sounds. Smash and grab.

        • Security film can be installed on auto glass as well. But it’s really hard due to the thickness of the film and the contours of the auto glass which is not flat like a house window glass. It takes a real professional installer to pull it off and is quite expensive. Alarms may be a better approach in this case.

  4. georgeislearning says:

    Thanks for the article. I love these types of articles.
    A few add ons for the pack.
    I love my fido While Im gone working hes my main security. A barking dog inside goes a long ways to chase off a would be burgler, I hope :-)
    His expense is fairly low compared to the benifit imo. So you were right on with that as well Karen.

    Sliding glass doors? Well they suck but I have a set leading to my backyard. What i did was for the glass door that does not open I drilled 2 large screws into the top of the door and threw the track. Locking that door in place. Before I did that a thief could simply pry up on it lifting it out of the bottom track and bam he’s in the house. That same door is also secured at the bottom with 2 L brackets. ( cautious if you try this to not hit the glass with your drill, lol might not be pretty) the part of the sliding glass doors that opens is secured with a lock that has a pin that goes threw the door and track on the bottom that is easily set with my foot and on top I slide a pin threw the door and track. Then a 2×4 can also be wedged in the door track to add extra love.

    My side door opens to the outside so I bolted two brackets to teh door and I slide a 2×4 into the brackets that is braced by the door frame. I think it will be pretty much impossible to open that door with that method. Since it opens to the outside the hindges are the type that will not slide out should the pins be taken out.

    The windows are my weakest point. I cut sections of wood to brace on the inside track so that if the window lock failed the window still will not open due to the wood blocking the track. I used 1×4 so its easily seen from teh outside. The only way in threw a window is to break it. I live in the city and luckily I have some neighbors that hopefully could assist . Also while someone is anywhere near my doors or windows my pitbull is barking like mad.

    Leaves me with the garage door. On the garage door tracks I place a C clamp on each track . The door will not open.

    So now were at the front door and heres where the dog really needs to earn his keep. I have a deadbolt, which I installed its decent but a good kick or two it prolly would fail. I have the door knob lock as well. So they would have to bust both of those, but again a good kick with some weight prolly would gain access. heres where the pit needs to be barking like mad and hopefully the theif will go to easier pickens. My front door is easily seen by my nosey neighbor.

    On the inside of the home I have a louieville slugger at each door or near by for easy access, one by my bed along with a Kabar knife and a 9.

    Lots of folks like mace. I use wasp spray. It shoots a 20 foot stream and foams on contact. Very sticky and I have a good idea it will put anyone down. I have 1 can in each room .

    Curtains or blinds on all windows. When I’m gone they’re closed.

    The outside of my house has no fancy walkway lights or patio furniture, nothing that looks like we have any extra money. If you have fancy stuff on the outside you for sure got some nice things on the inside. No boats no ATV’s, bikes nothing, just very plain. Mainly because I can’t afford anything extra but even if I could Im not one to advertise I have money.

    For security lighting I have a door light onthe front activated by a switch, on the walk up a motion light. On the side door a motion light and same for the back porch by the sliding glass doors. No fancy motion lights just basic motion lights. I had actually purchased for the front walk a more expensive motion light, it broke in about 3 months while the cheapos I got for the side and back still work perfect to this day. So I just got one like that for the front as well.

    Heres another tip. If you buy something nice, for example I replaced the old style tvs with new flat panels . The boxs advertise hey everyone I just got a 50″ plasma. Do not place them by the road. Cut them up and bag them in black bags then put them out on garbage day.

    Dont advertise you have money.

    A little long for a comment to anothers post but wth figured since we were talking about it, theres my 1 1/2 cents. Hope it gives someone some ideas. Thats what we do here anyhow :-)

    • Sw't Tater says:

      I live in an aluminum box,.. not too easy to secure without major re-build but we have some heavy items to place,that keep door from swinging in. bolts with large eyes on back door have kept more than one thief out.
      too much can’t be said for not advertising purchases…that works.

    • Good advice can’t be too long.

  5. MountainSurvivor says:

    Sideways sliding windows and doors, cut a broom handle or wooden dowel to length and set it into the track. Doors that open inward, drill a hole in the floor close to the edge of the door, out of reach of a criminal’s fingers, drop a pretty long screw with a nut attached into the hole, open the door and adjust the nut to a preferred height. Inserting a metal tube with a top lip into the hole before dropping the screw in will help to stop a hellbent criminal from busting up the linoleum and wood. For a floor that you do not want destroyed, do not use. If you are using regular or dead bolt types of locks for your doors, get a business-type lock with at least 13 pins in it because it is harder for lock pickers to pick them, but try to not lose the keys; place them in a bank safety deposit box or in a waterproof box under a stump in the back yard, under the house in a dark spot or inside a thick stickery bush. Install a room behind a book shelf or wall. When your house looks poor, your vehicle looks poor, you look poor-until you get to work-less people will want what you have. Nothing. Ugly outside, it’s probably bad inside. Police stopped a man one day. He looked really poor and until he showed them the load of cash he was carrying in his pocket, they thought he was a bum, loitering. Were they embarrassed when they noticed they were being watched, especially after witnesses saw how wealthy the assumed bum was. Ugly can be beautiful in our economic times.

  6. I’m going to be having two of this companies products tied into the alarm system, outside and above the front and rear doors. Well, as soon as The Boss quits hyperventilating over the cost of the Repulsar IV anyway…lol.

    https://burglarbomb.com/

  7. Be cautious about how you protect your homes. In some states it’s a felony to ‘harden’ your home against police intrusions. At the very least, check the laws to see if there are specified things you cannot do. Also, be darned sure that in any discussions with suppliers, installers, neighbors or friends, you say you’re making these changes to protect your family from CRIMINALS, particularly criminal home invaders.

    • rev. dave
      What states would that be?

      • I’m not entirely sure which ones, other than mine. You’ll just have to check your own if that’s a concern to you. I read it somewhere I thought was ‘authoritative’, can’t remember where just now, and never checked behind what I’d read because I did consider the source to be solid and knowledgable.

        But, if you’re making it clear to all that you are doing things to prevent burglars, kidnappers and home invaders from getting in readily, then the police shouldn’t have any issues with that. Of course, if you’re cooking meth in there, they’ll use that as evidence that the ‘hardening’ was to keep them out.

        It could get a bit dicey if your home is invaded and you defend it at 3 a.m. some night, just to find out the invaders were FDA, ATF, DEA or somebody like that at the wrong place. But since you weren’t the intended target, and the mistake was theirs, a well secured home might just give them time to learn of their mistake before you and several of them are all shot.

        • Encourager says:

          I got concerned with what the local police thought of our security gate after one officer (who showed up right after one of our sons did so the gate was still open) came up to the house accompanied by a new LEO and then made some nasty cracks…we had asked the local LEOs to keep an eye on our place while we were taking one son to MN to find a home. It was in the middle of a rash of break-ins in our area. I called and left a message when we got back that we were home and thanks. Apparently he wasn’t told (I doubt that very much…3 officers and 2 volunteers and one secretary, total local department). I asked what he wanted and he looked at my son then me and then said “You told us to check out your place especially if the gate was open. It’s open.” I reminded him that I had called when we got back, he claimed I didn’t and proceeded to try and argue. I cut him off and told him, well we ARE back so you can leave now.

          I had an opportunity about two weeks ago to talk to the Chief and told him about that conversation and asked if he had a problem with the security gate. He said he thought it was a great idea and was all for it. His only concern was if there were an emergency or fire. We have a secret pass-through to a neighbor’s drive and I showed it to him. He wanted me to call the local fire department (all volunteers) and tell them where it was. For OPSEC I DID NOT make that call. Might as well leave the gate open!!!

          I guess it all depends on the LEO you talk to. The next time I have an opportunity to talk privately with that snotty LEO, I will ask why the attitude and what his problem is. He has always been respectful to me but sure wasn’t that day in front of my husband and both sons.

  8. We live in the high country where the rich folks love to install the big timbered landscaped entrances onto their property. Most folks know that they don’t live there all year. They are robbed on a regular basis.
    One of these rich folks came to our farm to purchase produce and eggs. She said she almost didn’t come in the gate because she thought she had the wrong address. But, once she crossed through into the property the whole farm opened up. She was shocked to see how nice it was on the inside of the fences. She asked me why I didn’t landscape the front to make it more attractive? I explained that while we invite folks in to sell our produce and give classes we don’t want to advertize to criminals.
    We keep our perimeter plain, dry and unattractive on purpose. . We have dogs, high fences, lots of thorny perimeter plantings and great locks on solid doors.
    Some of our windows need to be replaced though. Thanks for the reminder! I love the idea of the security film. Something to look at while purchasing. I would like to have more and bigger windows, so the film might be an answer.

  9. One comment about Fido. You don’t always need a “gaurd” dog. If you want a noise maker to wake you up, alert you or just discourage intruders, a small yapper can be effective. And some large dogs can be quiet or scaredy cats.

  10. Good advice on the wasp and hornet spray. In some places it can be illegal to own or carry Mace or pepper spray. Even using it to repel an intruder can make you look bad in the eyes of an overzealous prosecutor or defense lawyer. The use of a can of bug spray doesn’t look quite so bad, in fact it makes you look more like McGyver. A desperate homeowner using the first thing that came to hand in a desperate attempt to protect themselves or their family.

    • rev. dave says:

      Women’s hair spray works too, and you can use a cigarette lighter to turn it into a flame thrower just by lighting the stream. Spray deodorant will flame also.

  11. Regarding the home security system; I recently read in an issue of AARP’s magazine that it is unwise to have the alarm companies sign placed in front of the house. It is just informing the professional theif which technique they’ll need to use to defeat it. It saves them time on the entry. Either use a fake one, another companies, or none at all.

    On that same note, if you don’t have an alarm system (for whatever reason), nothing says you can’t display one to deter the less professional thief or the random opportunistic theif.

    • AARP…..nice….lol!
      A wonderful group of democrats that will take your money, and advise you to spend money…..for their benefit.

      But, you have that right…. today.

      Anyway, if you have no home security , put a little sign up, if a professional thief is looking at you…….well, you may be a professional threat and probably have appropriate security, but, it is your home.

      God Bless the fools at AARP! they thought it was a good thing when they were dupped to join!

      P.S. A simple camera surveillance system is not that expensive today, just like the government watches us with everyday

      • Unleashed,

        I mentioned the magazine so as not to plagiarize. I so live for your approval… today.

        • Sirius,
          My apologies, never meant to insult!
          I feel AARP has an interest opposite of mine and use members dues to lobby for crazy spending ……that congress (1) can’t afford, (2) thinks we work for the government, not that the government is OUR employees.

          Your may make decisions without my approval…..but, if you ever feel the need to know if you are right, feel free to contact me! :)…lol

          Again, My apologies!

      • georgeislearning says:

        I just received a feee gift offer. from then. Well I sent away for it. nice tiny flashlight. Im sure its a cheapo but looked handy enough so i accept the free gift. I’m well under their age group but hey they offered :-)

        • Encourager says:

          Georgeislearning – maybe not…they cover at age 50 and I think I heard they are lowering the age to 45 so they can get more $$$.

          I finally got off their mailing lists when I would send back the application in the postage-paid envelope they included. I stuffed all the paperwork they sent me back with a big “NO!” written across it. Took about 3 mailings but they got the hint…

          • Pre-paid Postage

            Have you ever, wrapped a brick in brown paper…..taped the Pre-paid return envelope to it? Send it back…..$40 buck on their tab for return…..off their list and many others!!!

    • AARP is against the 2 A (Second Amendment).

  12. Problem with purebred German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Doberman’s, and other guardian breeds will cost you a lot more for most homeowner’s insurance or they will not give you insurance.

    I was dropped by AF because I had German Shepherds..but mixed breed dogs were okay…I went to an insurance company who never asked if I had any dogs.

    Biggest deterrent for any break ins is to have 3 to 5 German Shepherds barking at the windows to strangers snooping around. Many years of training went into my 6 German Shepherd dogs; obedience titles, agility, Good Canine Certificates. Not one dog ever bit a person, but no perpetrator ever got inside my home to threaten me or test them.

    • I used to have only big dogs, now I have only a couple rescued mini-dachshunds. Having lived with both sizes now, I’d say the ‘way to go’ on furry security is a mix of big and small dogs. Its my opinion, so you may disagree, but here’s why:

      The mini-doxies don’t know they are little. Their badger hunting breeding makes them the ‘tunnel-rats’ of the dog family (you ‘Nam vets know what I mean), and their teeth are big for their size, their jaws strong, and their hearts full of love (for you) and courage (for intruders ankles and knees).

      Big dogs are a defensive threat of course, and they can take a man down by hitting him on the fly. But they can be shot at and hit too. Try that with a couple of weiner dogs snarling at your feet and ankles by the time you see them, and a big 70-120 lb. anything coming for your face, all simultaneously. I can tell you from experience with the rescues (abused ones) that their bites hurt like a Mofo – and I only got the warning bites, not full attacks. (After a lot of experience with rescues over the years, I know a dog never makes a mistake with his teeth – what you got was exactly what was intended, and humans are seldom faster than a dog can bite, so they very rarely ‘miss’.) So an intruder facing a few little dogs capabable of biting through a military boot, a big one after his face or throat, and your pistol or shotgun is going to lose the fight. It’s too much distraction, and if he goes down the little ones will have him for lunch.

      So if you have both big and little dogs I think you’ve got a two level defense there, and there are other advantages to small dogs. They cost less to feed. They tend to be (at least the short-haired red doxxies) a little more ‘hyper’ than bigger breeds, so they will wake up the pack, or bark as soon as that car turns off the road. You can hold 2 on your lap at a time – try that with your Rotties or Shepherds! And you can keep these guys in places far too small for a 100 lb. dog. They’ll wake you up in plenty of time to get your gun.

      As for the mini-dachs breed in general, the long-hairs are pretty laid back, and very demonstratively affectionate, so excellent dogs for a small child. Short hairs are the more aggressive within the breed, and the short haired reds seem to be the most high-strung. Don’t get a mistreated rescue if you’re not used to rescued dogs – but some of our rescued fosters were in rescue because their former family was too old, or died, or for other sad reasons. However, they are worth the time and effort and occassional bite if you’re accustomed to healing an abused animal. (Not all small breeds are good for protection however. These are, some terriers would be, not sure about all of the little dogs though.)

      My mini-dox boy didn’t stop threatening to bite me for 3 years, and it took two more to stop entirely. It was ingrained behavior in him when he came to us, and he was quite messed up emotionally. But he’s good now, and he always was the girlfriend’s first and most loyal defender – which is what I want from a dog or dogs – to protect the family while I handle the issue.

  13. Encourager says:

    “You might also want to look at replacing any windows in your home that are a couple years old” ??? Seriously?? A couple of years old? Who has that kind of money to change our all your windows every few years? I sure don’t! We live in a passive solar home and the entire south side of the house is windows, most that go from floor to ceiling (casement style).

    We have a dog that can hear someone turning into our driveway from the road…1/4 mile away and she barks to let us know. She does not bark when someone turns into our neighbor’s driveway which runs right next to ours. Have never figured out how she can do that! But glad she does.

    On the only slider that goes outside, the manufacturer has a ‘button’ you can slide. It will only let the door open about 6 inches when engaged. The door is 15 years old and not about to be replaced. It would cost a fortune.

    I have windows in the addition that are sliders. They slide from both the left and the right. I know I can drop a dowel to keep the one that is on the inside from opening or opening fully, but if the window is unlocked and partially open, how can I keep someone from sliding the OTHER side open? If I put a screw down so it can’t be opened at all, that means the other side cannot open fully. With no central air that is a no-go. When we leave the house, all the first floor windows and doors are closed and locked.

    • Wow…
      Remember the days when we left our car windows down and keys in the ignition……with no worries?

      • Encourager says:

        Yes I do. Now the only time I would do that is if I wanted to get rid of a problem car…lol.

        I had a friend who never locked her doors. They would go on vacation and ask me to get the mail, put the eggs in the frig, etc. I finally told her I wouldn’t anymore because I didn’t want to walk in on someone robbing them. So they locked the doors and gave me a key…then showed me where to kick the bottom of the main door so it would pop open, locked or not. Seriously.

        And yes, they were robbed, finally. By a friend of their oldest son.

  14. sad,
    what do we have to do to go back?

    my luck, if i had a problem car issue, i would probably be charged for storage where i left it!
    lmao!