Essential home security in an unsafe world

by M.D. Creekmore on December 16, 2011 · 57 comments

This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest  Moe Larry & Curly.

Home security is an issue that has caused me great concern for almost as long as I can remember, definitely far longer than my interest in prepping has been active. I guess the reason being that I’m originally from Brooklyn, New York and back when I was growing up in a section of Brooklyn known as Redhook, well it was a rough neighborhood during an even rougher time in New York.

But enough about the motivational causes for home security and onto the steps I’ve taken, and am in the process of taking to make my home MORE secure. I say more secure because no home can be 100% secure in my humble opinion. And degrees of security depend upon the degree of the threat. For instance, if the government sends a SWAT team to your home for whatever reason, well chances are better than good that they will gain entry and have their way.

It’s darn near impossible to fight off or hold off a force such as this. So let’s understand that when I say secure the home I mean specifically against home invasions; burglars; drug addicts looking for a smash & grab to feed their next fix and on and on.

So here’s where I’ve started. To begin with I’m NOT engaged in any sort of risky, criminal or otherwise subversive activity. So at this level I’m not associating with individuals of questionable character that may acquire information about me, my lifestyle, possessions, medications, etc.… that could possibly entice them to break into my home to steal. So the guys aren’t getting together at my place to party and smoke dope or drink liquor or worse.

That sort of activity isn’t part of my lifestyle so this form of potential threat doesn’t exist. I think it’s necessary to state this because many burglaries and home invasions are committed by individuals that have prior knowledge of what’s in that home, of what the occupants may have in their medicine cabinets and to put it simply the thieves know their victims or have close associates that know the victims and plan the crime. So do away with this stage of threats by knowing those you associate with and in my case not associating with many people. That friend’s stuff isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Okay so now that we have that out of the way the next step is to access your home. Where does it lie? Are there fields around you? Are you surrounded by other homes? Is it an apartment, is it a house. Brick house or wood framed? Location and number of windows and doors, as well as basement access should be critical concerns. But this can go on forever without my getting to how I’ve secured my home. So the first line of defense was to build an eight-foot high fence around the backyard.

It’s a wooden “PRIVACY” fence that creates a barrier around the entire circumference of the yard and creates a visual barrier as well as a psychological barrier to people. In addition to keeping people and animals out it also keeps my dogs in. Yes I said dogs because I have two dogs, a boxer and a mutt. They are great dogs, loyal and loveable as can be but dogs can be quite protective of their turf as well as our family.

I’ve had several instances when I was confronting someone and my dog literally placed herself between the person I was speaking with and myself. I’m certain, based upon her demeanor, that she was taking a protective posturing. And the fellow I was talking with knew this and definitely felt intimidated by the dog. The second dog was behind a closed door growling and barking as she starred this guy down.

Needless to say he backed off and our differences were quickly silenced. On my property he knew things would go as I wanted them to go. So the first line of security is a fenced in backyard with at least one dog, two is far better since they get into a pack mentality and the canine operates far more effectively under that pack mindset.

Love your dogs and feed them of course, and they in turn will provide you with a first line of defense be it in the light of day or at three am when everyone’s asleep and something isn’t right. Take my word for it the dog will let you know if someone is snooping around your home and all I ask is that you wake me up, I’ll take it from there.

Okay the next step I’ve taken is to remove brush, bushes and hedges or trees close to the house especially near windows and doors, which provide a place to hide. Remember that these criminals are cowards. They’re too scared to face up to life’s challenges and responsibilities so they turn to and depend upon crime to sustain them. Once the perimeter was free and clear of potential hiding places my next concern was lights.

That’s right lights, specifically the motion-activated type that turns on when something moves. They have sensitivity switches that have multiple settings that can be “tuned” so the lights turn on when there’s motion within a specific distance from the unit. I have these at four corners of the home’s exterior and they work. They can be had in models that operate from solar panels, so electricity isn’t always necessary. Just be sure the solar panel has a south exposure and is mounted in full sunlight for maximum charge.

Next step is to be sure the windows and doors are secure. I have storm windows, double pane but should we fall into chaos and the SHTF scenario unfold I have already cut and fashioned metal fencing, that’s right chain link type, to sizes that fit over each window and door.

So it’s simply a matter of spending a weekend installing these over each window and door. This makes it far more difficult for someone to break in through a window or door, makes it impossible to toss something through a window like a canister of gas or gasoline bottle bomb.

Heck even a grenade would bounce off and explode on the ground outside the home. I also have plastic sheathing already cut to size, along with several rolls of duct tape, ready to tape over windows and doors should the need arise. For the doors I have ¾ inch plywood cut to size, ready to be secured to each door for a final degree of security.

I don’t have plywood for the windows since they rather high and would be difficult to access. Besides I installed these inexpensive but highly effective window locks that screw into the top portion of the window and then a “screw” is turned until it goes into a hole that’s drilled into the adjacent pane. This in effect unitizes both windows to make them one. The window cannot be opened unless this device is unscrewed. By the way doors have deadbolts.

I do have two fireplaces, one in the living section of the house and one that’s into the basement. I’ve placed a screened cap on them to keep stuff out as well as in like flaming embers should we burn wood.

Next I have a burglar alarm. This unit operates from the phone line and has a battery backup for power. And we have had power outages that lasted for days yet the alarm continued to function. And speaking of phone lines I have an old-fashioned hard wire telephone, inexpensive under 10 bucks but during those power outages I was always able to make and receive phone calls.

Earlier I mentioned the doors and windows but failed to say that I keep shades, blinds or curtains over all windows. We can open them if and when we choose but they can be kept closed so peering eyes aren’t able to look in and check out the floor plan.

By design I have not mentioned anything regarding firearms, pepper sprays, or other forms of defense. That’s a different discussion. But finally let me say that and perhaps this should have been said first, I know my neighbors.

That’s right to my left and to my right, on the north, south, east, and west of my home I know my neighbors and we have an understanding that in times of need we should phone each other. You would be amazed at how fast a thief flees when they see lights in different house start turning on, see people banding together.

They will flee like the cowards they are and in many instances will find somewhere else to invade. What do you think… ?:-)

This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:

57 comments

Bitsy December 16, 2011 at 9:23 am

Good thoughts.

Home security was an issue for me long before I started prepping. I’ve always been a wee bit paranoid about home invasions, even though I live in a fairly safe community.

Steps I’ve taken include: dog, alarm system, driveway alarm and extra security over doors. We have too large windows on the ground level of our house, and I have yet to figure out a good, inexpensive way to secure them. I love the idea of chain link fence, but if I suggest it to Hubby he will think I lost my mind.

I would like to mention that for our regular doors we have floor locks. This ensures that there is at least once type of non-keyed lock on the door. It wouldn’t stop someone from getting through, but it would delay them long enough and make enough noise to ensure they’d be greeted by a shotgun blast. The ones I use on my doors are the Taylor Brothers Nightlock: http://www.taylorbrothersdoorlock.com/

When we first were building our house, we wanted patio doors to go out to our screened porch. I have always found patio doors to be a security nightmare (lots of glass) and difficult to find nice window treatments for. lol So Hubby and I designed a pair of interior wooden pocket doors that slide over them. They are attractive and functional, and do a great job of extra security. It would be harder for someone to get through them (as opposed to regular patio doors, which just requires throwing a brick through the glass), plus they also reduce our electricity bill. I described them here: http://www.theglasshalfempty.com/2011/09/attractive-security-for-patio-doors.html

Rebecca December 16, 2011 at 9:53 am

Boxers rock. They are the best dogs!!! Lovable, loyal and very protective of their family and property. I have 2 of them myself.

Michele December 16, 2011 at 10:01 am

My home has not one – but 3 sliding glass doors. While I live in a remote location, and feel pretty safe here, in a SHTF situation the 3 sliders and big picture windows have always concerned me. I thought about getting plywood pieces ready to be installed quickly in that scenario, but I would hate the loss of light.

For regular day to day home security, I keep a loaded 12 gauge shotgun (not locked – not much use if I have to fumble around with a key in a panic), within easy reach, and usually do not panic easily, but you never know how you might react if someone broke through your sliding glass door while you are asleep. I also have 2 guard dogs in training (OK so they are puppies, but German Shephard mixes and growing like I feed them Miracle Grow) and an alarm system, but being remote, it might be a 5-10 minutes before help arrived, and I’m sure the situation would have to be under control long before they did.

I like the idea of the chain link over each of the sliders and big picture windows (think mountain cabin with lots of big windows to enjoy the awesome views) in a SHTF situation, but would like more information on how you did it. Would there still be some way to use the doors?

Suggestions Wolf pack?

GT Urban Prepper December 16, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Depending on budget, I would check out Bitsy’s links above. Good thing to get started. Someone else also mentioned the 3M glaze that makes windows more impact resistant. I do not believe it is cheap, but if you don’t need a lot, might be worth the research.

Rob in Ontario December 17, 2011 at 1:52 am

Michele my freind had guys tryign to break into his house/garage late one afternoon 4;30ish pm his truck parked outside with a dead battery that day– thye tryed to steal it and such he had a yellow retreiver tied up outside the front in full veiw and dog was barking like crazy he was home with 3 little girls -normally he would ahve gone out with 12 ga – but called police they took 45 minutes to get there and in a normal leiserly drive from station would take 10min for a little old lady so never rely on the police gettign there quickly

george December 16, 2011 at 10:27 am

I have large 4×5 windows around my house that are about 3-4 feet off the ground that I have cut out plywood to go up to 4′ inside the house. These are predrilled to have a 2×4 on the inside at the bottom middle and top screwed into the studs with 6 inch lag bolts, if time is important should be able to screw one 2×4 in the middle with the cordless drill and then come back and put the rest in later. I do have three sets of french type doors on the back side that I am worried about, have plywood fo those also but that would cut lot of light out. Does anyone out there in the wolfpack have any knowledge or experience with the 3m security film for windows and doors that makes them virtually impact proofI ??? Have seen the videos of commercial installs and you can beat the crap out of them with a sledge and they will not break, looks like if you beat on it for 30 min you might get thru but I think most would give up after a few min. Wonder what the cost is and how well they stand up to cleaning etc with oout getting scratched, foggy etc.

GT Urban Prepper December 16, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Knowing 3M and the price of the gov’t series films, I would guess expensive. I have very limited experience with glass and glazing, so if there is a glass guy on here, he/she would be the best resource. Another option would be to call your local 3M rep and ask for a price quote per roll or sheet of material. The link below contains info about the films you are speaking of, I believe, sadly there is no price.

http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Window_Film/Solutions/Markets-Products/Government/Safety-Security_Window_Films/

Red December 16, 2011 at 6:30 pm

George – if the security film isn’t attached to the window frame (not just the window molding) it won’t be very effective. Without proper attachment, tempered glass (usually only found in doorwalls, large or very low-to-the-ground in homes) will fall out as a single large piece after 1 or 2 good hits. Non-tempered glass may work a bit better, bigger shrads, but still is broken out of the molding fairly easily. The manufacturer videos usually depict a commercial steel door, with tempered safety glass, and the film screwed or glued to the window frame so the entire window can’t fall out. Just FYI for anybody considering it.

bob December 16, 2011 at 10:46 am

a lot of what you have writen, about is done at my house. i like your ideal of using the fence on the windows, i want to thank you for all the good work you have writen about. keep up the GOOD work

bubba in ca December 16, 2011 at 7:47 pm

My window covering of choice is expanded metal welded to 1 inch square tubing with a cross piece in the center. More attractive than chainlink and if you use the 1/2 inch stuff it is much harder to cut than chain link. Paint it white semigloss and it looks great.

Shades of b40 wire to keep out the RPGs!

kyle December 17, 2011 at 1:06 am

Yeah those pesky RPGs that everyone has are annoying. Remember this the Patriots is a work of fiction, not everything in it is true or even practical.

David December 16, 2011 at 10:58 am

Search for “expanded metal”. Makes an effective window covering as an option to chain link.

GT Urban Prepper December 16, 2011 at 11:20 am

Good thoughts. I would be interested in hearing what some of you think about apartment security. I think there are advantages and disadvantages. On the up side, depending on apt style, it will be difficult for an invader to single you out. On the flip side, renting and not owning means you can’t do whatever you want to the place, or at the very least have to uninstall everything and return the apt to original condition. That really just scratches the surface at best as I know there are a multitude of things one could and could not do.

OhioPrepper December 17, 2011 at 4:46 am

GT Urban Prepper,
I would start with an apartment that is NOT on the ground floor. Unless you have a fire escape on the outside near a door or window you give the thieves less access. Don’t get higher than 7 floors since many pieces of fire equipment can’t reach higher and that, and finally if on a 2nd or 3rd floor you can get inexpensive chain ladders to escape in case of fire or other emergency. Just some thoughts on where to start.

kyle December 16, 2011 at 11:27 am

I believe that another great security measure is to get your neighbors on board. If you have neighbors that suck im sorry but those of us that have good like minded neighbors it just makes the job of watching the area that much easier. If you don’t know your neighbors maby you should feel them out see what there stance is on stuff before you let them know anything that you have planned what you do in prepping. Imagine if everyone on your street was ready to go with a defense plan and preps, if any trouble makers came down that street they might feel a bit afraid to start anything there just like people are afraid to go to gang neighborhoods

blindshooter December 16, 2011 at 12:03 pm

kyle, I live in a rural area and like you I think the neighbors around you are the best alarms. I like to think of all my neighbors as my “tribe”. Most of my neighbors are farmers or retired farmers and they don’t miss much, my brother in law was helping me with a septic tank problem while I was at work this week and he told me later that every body around stopped to see what was going on and who was in my yard. That made me feel good. In the summer months it gets a bit harder see around here if they plant a lot of corn so that’s a concern but not a lot can be done about that. Stop and talk to your neighbors, help them if you can and you’ll have a great alarm system.

Bryce December 25, 2011 at 2:55 pm

I agree with working with your neighbors. Here in Manila it is common that when a typhoon hits and the power company cuts everyones power nation wide the crimminals come out of the woodwork. The four of us men in the row house take turns patroling the gate and walk for the row house. All have a gun but me. Seeing the white guy with a two foot Morro Blade attached at the hip seems to intimidate people more. So, working togeather and everyone else in the area knowing you work togeather has dropped thefts to zero for our four families. In a SHTF senario I do not know how effective it will be, but I believe we will not be the first ones hit by opportunist.
By the way, I am now known as the crazy white guy with a sword.

axelsteve December 16, 2011 at 11:34 am

We have 4 dogs. They are all different breeds and sizes the smallest is our 50 lb pit mix and the biggest is our great Dane. She is by height anyway.They come and go to the backyard through a dog door in the back yard.Some people think that the dog doors are op sec nightmares,however if someone wants to mess with that door they will be greeted by 4 howling dogs.That will give me time to load up the wampum stick.By the way is there a good section of brooklyn? When anyone mentions brooklyn they mention as the bad section of.Just curious.

SurvivalWoman December 16, 2011 at 11:36 am

Great advice – especially the “know your neighbors part”.

I recently learned about “shock sensors” that can be installed on windows. The way they work is that if someone even taps the window, an alarm will go off. I am not sure what would happen in a wind storm though so this is something I need to check out. One thing not mentioned that I believe is important is to keep all of the doors locked not only when you are away but also when you are at home. This is something that in my experience is often overlooked. BTW, a retired NY police detective told me that a loud and irksome sounding alarm system is one of the best deterrents and further that it is a waste of money to pay for monitored service. There are so many false alarms these days that the cops take their time in getting to you and in reality it is the loud noise that sends the bad guys running.

Gaye

GT Urban Prepper December 16, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I have found some door stops online that emit a 120 db shriek when the door gets pushed in on them, they are pretty cheap too, a lot cheaper than paying ADT.

Gayle December 16, 2011 at 5:52 pm

GT,

Any chance you could provide the link to where you got them? I am interested in checking them out.

Mexneck December 16, 2011 at 9:32 pm

I would also like the link. Thanks.

David December 16, 2011 at 4:20 pm

SW, there are sensors that only trigger on the specific vibrations of breaking glass so wind, rain or knocking don’t set them off. These take the place of the old silver window tape. They are usually hooked up to an alarm system. Don’t know if that’s what you refer to or not.

OhioPrepper December 17, 2011 at 4:51 am

You should not only keep the doors locked when you’re home, but keep the alarm system armed, assuming it has multiple zones. You can disable internal sensors (like heat and motion) and keep the entire egress (window & door alarms) sensors active. Every second of warning you get can be precious.

pam s December 16, 2011 at 12:16 pm

when we moved to arkansas we decided to get adt alarm system. fortunately the alarm is loud when it’s set off. unfortunely, since we live in the country, it seems like it takes an eternity for the police to show.

Hillbilly mom December 16, 2011 at 1:08 pm

What a great article! It feels great to read what other people have done for home security and find out that I am doing most to all of it as well. I think my two large breed dogs are one of my best security systems I have. It amazes me that most burglars cringe at the thought of being bit by a dog or any confrontation for that matter. Cowards!! “My house is protected by the good Lord and a Gun. You come her unwelcome, you will meet both of em” :)

OhioPrepper December 17, 2011 at 4:53 am

Hillbilly mom,
I’m not sure being bitten is what scares them as much as losing their surprise factor and getting either caught or shot.

SrvivlSally December 16, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Moe, Larry, Curly,
You have good security measures in place and neighbor-helping-neighbor is an excellent idea. Like every lock, dead bolts can be picked. After I had asked a lock smith if there were any that could not be picked I was told that even professional-grade locks, though it can take longer, can be accessed.

GT Urban Prepper December 16, 2011 at 1:46 pm

SrvivlSally,

One of the neater features of my apartment is that the door has 2 deadbolts. One that can be accessed by key and another that cannot. Basically when you look at the outside of the door, you see one lock, but in fact there are 2! This would be a good addition to any access door in a house, at the very least it will buy you some extra time.

Hillbilly mom December 16, 2011 at 2:52 pm

My father in law just recently got broken into. He had a deadbolt and a regular lock on the door. His door was kicked in and the framing of the door was ripped clean off. We are in the research process right now of getting a bit medieval on our doors and putting up a reinforcement bar lock on. We are testing to see if we want to go with basically a 2 by 4 or a metal bar. This still wouldn’t stop a persistent burglar, but I am sure he is going to have one heck of a sore leg if he tries the door.

george December 16, 2011 at 5:54 pm

I put the Strikemaster door frame reinfocer kits in and have steel doors. It is basically a steel plate that goes over the inside of the door frame and got extra long 5″ screws for the frame and hinges and they go thru all the studs and put an extra deadbolt at about 6′ and a floor lock on the bottom that goes into the floor. Thanks for the info on the window film Lynn, not an outrageos of a price to shatter proof all the patio doors and windows and looks like one roll would be enough for the whole house. Wonder what the prices are for the professional install?? But in my boondocks of the country probably no installer around here.

GT Urban Prepper December 19, 2011 at 9:40 am

Hmmmm…. I would be tempted to spend what I assume to be the extra money and use metal. Wood is cheaper but not as secure. Hopefully the sore leg would make his escape rather slow..

Lynn December 16, 2011 at 4:00 pm

George asked if anyone had info on “3m security film “. I have no personal experience but here is results of my research.
The product is named Ultra S400 or Ultra S600. When I talked to a dealer he told me that Ultra S400 was what I needed for residential use. It comes in clear or tinted and a single layer on inside of window is applied using water and baby soap solution and a squeegy and then film is trimmed along frame via razor blade tool. The film comes in rolls of 50 in x 100 ft and 60 in x 100 ft .
It passes the 400 ft lb impact level when tested according to the Safety Glazing Standard ANSI Z97.1 and CPSC-16CFR.

The clear film 50 in x 100 ft roll is $1525 plus tax.
The tinted film 50 in x 100 ft roll is $2025 plus tax.
This dealer I spoke to in Houston normally does the installation themselves but did agree to sell a COMPLETE roll to me. No partial rolls unless they do the installation.

Copy and paste to use these links below
The link to Manufacturer is:
http://products3.3m.com/catalog/HttpController?node=L9VW8GVB2Gbe&root=GST1T4S9TCgv&vroot=GSHCV1ZFXKge&gvel=T4K9XL2ZHNgl&nid=L9VW8GVB2GbeT4K9XL2ZHNgl&theme=ca_en_homeleisure_3_0&command=SearchOutlinkHandler&boundary=rootsearch&from=0&to=10&search=keyword&term=Ultra+S400&x=15&y=8

OR

http://products3.3m.com/catalog/HttpController?node=L2RVD7JZ57be&root=GST1T4S9TCgv&vroot=GSHCV1ZFXKge&gvel=T4K9XL2ZHNgl&nid=L2RVD7JZ57beT4K9XL2ZHNgl&theme=ca_en_homeleisure_3_0&command=SearchOutlinkHandler&boundary=rootsearch&from=0&to=10&search=keyword&term=Ultra+S600&x=13&y=7

The Link to a Dealer in Houston, TX is:
http://www.solarx.com/residential/safety-security/ultra/

A couple of 3M videos are here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbXRafkGaAU
Be sure to watch second half of above video for 3M security film.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYdVK3BqPfk&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PL141AC27D1E5C8EB0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QULAbl_NIZ0

Do a search on youtube.com for 3M security film for many more videos.

robert in mid michigan December 16, 2011 at 4:15 pm

like most of what you wrote but i have added another thing i did it for my daughters room but raspberry canes planted underneeth them ok yes it does give cover but its a pain to get into said cover.

the animal part of the home security for us is a 130 lb newfoundland and to yorkies. the little dogs yap at the wind and no one wants to play with 130 lbs of dog in her house. (yes its her house ask her lol) newfs are great around people and children but are extremly protective.

going to have to look into making some chain link covers god knows i have enough of the 36″ in the garage said newfie could jump it with no thought about it. thx for the idea.

TNTCrazyLady December 16, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Love this article ;-}

I currently live in a fairly large city in NM. I have iron bars on my windows; two dogs (chow cross & mastiff/pit bull cross); wireless driveway alarms circle my home; a great neighborhood watch group and NO electronic alarm system. Exterior doors are solid wood with double dead bolt locks and peep holes.

I have sharp thorny bushes under windows and along my cinder block wall property line; along with dusk to dawn motion sensor outdoor lighting.

I look for cheap and efficient systems. Before I had the iron bars I had all kinds of plants and knick-knacks on the window sills as well as some “chime” type sun catchers hanging in them. I also put in simple ‘pin’ type sliding window locks that are just a metal dowel drilled up from under the window sill into the window frame and a cotter pin to hold it in place. No one can see them unless they get on their knees and look up.

Between those, the dogs, thorny bushes, noise maker window decor and my lovingly snoopy neighbors thieves had a hard time of it.

Over the years, I’ve had a few ‘lost souls’ try to break into my back yard or garage – they have failed and been caught for their efforts. (Both before and after the iron bars.)

“Today is the Tomorrow that you worried about Yesterday”

TNT

I share Preparedness, Homesteading, Self-reliance knowledge & doc’s at: http://NMUrbanHomesteader.blogspot.com/ & http://www.scribd.com/TNTCrazyLady

JP in MT December 16, 2011 at 6:53 pm

This info is great. It’s been and issue for me for some time. Although we are looking at relocating out of town, several of these ideas WILL be included in the “new” house.

PT December 16, 2011 at 7:44 pm

As a glazier, I have found that laminated safety glass in openings outperforms tempered glass hands over fist, in that laminated safety glass is like the front windshield of your car. It has plastic in between, and will hold together even with repeated hits. It will eventually give way, but by then, you can be ready to greet your uninvited guest. There are some modifications which must be made to accommodate the installation , because safety glass (either 3/16′, or 1/4″) is thinker than the standard 1/8″ tempered glass currently used in patio and french doors. Older single glazed patio doors take 3/16″ glass, so that would be an easy switch. You can remake the wood stops on single glaze doors, but would have to remake the insulated glass units, or switch the doors back to single glaze.
3M coatings do help, but can be a bit tedious to install,and eventually will give way because they are not actually an integral part of the glass panel.
Another option ,because laminated safety glass is not as strong as tempered glass is to have pieces of plexiglass at the ready to replace. Standard sizes 28×76(5ftdoor)34×76(6 ft door)and 46×76(8ft door)

tricia December 16, 2011 at 7:55 pm

You say you have a wired telephone and have service when the power goes out. That’s great, but what will you do when an intruder cuts your phone line??? With your land line severed, the alarm system can’t notify your security service that your domicile has been invaded, and, consequently, the service won’t be able to notify the police!

OhioPrepper December 17, 2011 at 5:04 am

While I don’t know about the authors, I have landline, cellular, and IP phones and in order to cut the landline the intruder would have to find the pedestal nearly 200 feet from the house, along the road, and buried in the weeds. Everything from there into the house is buried 4 pair cable. For the IP phones I have both a Wireless ISP (with the access point on a 50 foot tower) and a DSL line running paired with failover, and both are battery backed in the house. I also have multiple radio communication mechanisms. When it comes to communication, multiple path redundancy is the only way to run.

maddie December 17, 2011 at 7:04 am

The phone company here runs all the lines underground and through the foundation underground. No access from outside the home. You can only get to them from your crawl space or basement.

Ron G December 16, 2011 at 8:15 pm

The house we sold last year had large Prickly Pear Cactus in front of the windows. Up close enough that you couldnt get to them. I could leave the window open and never worried about anyone gaining entrence that way.
They also served as a food source. Nopales (nopalitos)

Red December 16, 2011 at 8:22 pm

We’re out in the woods, surrounded by federal land, and the few times we’ve called our county Sheriff we’ve had to give them directions. So:

Four Dakota Alert wireless (MURS) motion sensors covering the driveway and blind spots, three Q-See outdoor night vision security cams (two in plain view), pre-cut 5/8″ OSB to fit over the windows (like the fencing idea though), 2 big mutts, and a 5′ fence. When we’re gone overnight, we put a Buzz Bulb (http://www.buzzbulb.com/) in one light socket of our 2 socket outdoor motion sensors.

I also store some commercial metal door pull handles (similar to this: http://catalog.monroeengineering.com/viewitems/section-pull-handles-with-unthreaded-through-holes/rectangular-grip-style-2-2?) for attachment on either side of the entry doors if necessary. Just slide a 2X4 between the handles and across the door to bar it (hip and shoulder heights). Easy to unbar from the inside too. We built ICF, so with the handles anchored into 8″ of concrete, the doors won’t be easily forced open.

ICF homes have some built-in security features of their own, too: http://www.quadlock.com/insulated-concrete-forms/news/090828_Car_Rams_ICF_Wall.htm

We keep our doors locked 24 X 7, as SurvivalWoman already mentioned. Those few extra seconds it takes someone to force their way gives you (and family) time to get armed and ready. Pre-planning and hidden weapons would help save time too. It’s when your home, in “safe mode”, that you’re most vulnerable.

OhioPrepper December 17, 2011 at 5:08 am

“cams (two in plain view), ” is a great idea. If your house looks like a fortress, then cameras would be expected. Giving the intruder some easier to find means that most likely they will not keep looking for the ones that are more well hidden.

Red December 17, 2011 at 10:09 am

True, and another concern is that do break in and steal the DVR that recorded their entry. Admittedly, I haven’t secured the DVR in the house, only hidden it. I put the two visible cameras on the most likely approaches to the house, inside the gates but visible from outside them. The plan being that they realize they’ve already been captured on video before they’ve done anything illegal, so they can just turn around and walk away at that point. The motion sensors are really what alert us to visitors – everybody waves at the cameras, as if we’re sitting inside monitoring them all the time (lol).

On the “fortress”, it doesn’t look any different externally than stick built house, there’s no indication it’s ICF until you notice the width of the walls in doorways and the foot deep windowsills. Just a regular house with vinyl siding. Alot of visitors don’t even realize it after they’re inside either.

OhioPrepper December 18, 2011 at 7:34 am

Red,
Perhaps you need to add a second inexpensive DVR or even just a very obvious cheap monitor to display the camera images, perhaps through an inexpensive manual switch. Unless the thief is very sophisticated, seeing a monitor & switch in some open area might stop them from even considering, let alone looking for a DVR. Give them something that they might expect, and their own normalcy bias can protect your “real” equipment.

Lantana December 16, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Thanks for the interesting ideas, Moe and everyone who’s commented.

On the window protection with fencing/mesh, will that be mounted on the inside of the window frame or to the exterior of the house?

OhioPrepper December 17, 2011 at 5:10 am

Lantana,
This was also my question and in either case can these measures meant to keep the bad guys out, seal you in, especially in the case of a fire or other emergency when escape would be the more prudent action.

Stormin December 18, 2011 at 2:21 pm

I have given a lot of thought about to the fence on the window issue. I travel for work (thus am gone quite a bit), have a small wife (4’10″ & 120 lbs, and five kids with the oldest being 8, youngest 10 mo. Here is what we have come up with for our situation. We have decided to pace 3/4″ plywood on outside of all windows (we have a daylight basement so no access is needed upstairs) installed with one way screws, similar to what you see in commercial bathrooms to hold the stalls together. You need to have a special tool to remove them, but a standard screw driver to install them. From the inside we would place tightly woven fishing net with 1/2″ plywood over the top. This would give you a solid sandwich to cover the window. We plan on doing the same thing on the doors, put placing additional 2×8 bracing across the access to stop the door from being kicked in, or blown off the hinges. Around every window and door is a stud, cripple, and or header. That will give you solid support for screws and lag bolts. All of the supplies are pre-cut and labeled. All is easy and light enough that my wife and oldest child could get it started/ done with out me. The downside is that none of it will stop a bullet, and in case of fire, we store a small hatchet is the gun safe to hack our way out. If the time ever comes that this is needed, I pray that the protection and security that will have will be a deterrent to those seeking to do harm and move on to the next house that is a easier target. I suppose in the end you have to choose what is the lesser of the two risks. Be vulnerable to fire and egress, or do your best to stop the assault. Ultimately if they want in, they will get in. It is a time and numbers game. Hope this helps.

Pineslayer December 16, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Great topic. I am trying to do all of these suggestions, I have window film envy. My biggest problem is my house is wood. Doesn’t stop lead very well and burns rapidly. I have planters planned around the perimeter to shield a little, but stopping the looters ( insert any number of terms here) with flame is maybe the biggest problem. If they willing to steal it is not a stretch to believe that they will burn you out to be evil. This has happened throughout history. If you see them coming you have a chance with a good scope, but chances are one will get close enough. I have installed big sprinklers up top and have a propane generator to run it all. Do you think a moat and razor wire is over the top?

Springee December 16, 2011 at 11:42 pm

Great post. In Latin America and other developing regions there is a tried and true practice: broken glas glued to the top of walls and on any flat part of a roof. May not look the best, but keeps just about everyone out. I also think that boxers are a great breed, although rotweiller’s send a much stronger message to anyone walking or driving by.

Good luck!

breadmomma December 17, 2011 at 3:59 am

chain link interspersed with spiny vines and honeysuckle…protective, pretty, the locals see a non offensive, friendly garden fence, but it is a real mother slasher if someone wanted to climb or break thru…25 lb. rat terrier, blue heeler mix…not a dog to mess with…combined with a bigger dog is great protection…she has a wolf mom’s heart and is VERY protective of our little place and her mommy and daddy…solar powered motion detection lights interspersed with standard electrical power motion detection lights for perimeter…works well to keep the roving bands of teenagers or zombies out of the yard and property…this has worked and we have not had anyone rape or pillage of our yard since we have done this…some neighbors have had a bitch of a time with gas thieves but we haven’t so I give credit to the light and the dogs…

Bryce December 25, 2011 at 3:02 pm

“broken glas glued to the top of walls and on any flat part of a roof”

Everyone with a fence here does that and many use barbed wire on top of that. I am still torn on the bars on the windows though.

TexasScout December 17, 2011 at 9:44 am

@Bitsy

For your big windows, you might try 1/4″ or thicker Plexiglass oy Lexan. This stuff is tough! It will stop a concrete block (look for a dumb burgler on YouTube that knocked himself out when the block he threw bounced off and cold cocked him) , and with care will look like Storm windows.

Tex

Tonya December 17, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Thanks for the great info. We have three dogs that are our ultimate alarms. They let us know when anyone is around and are very territorial. Funny enough, our yorkie, all of 4lbs sopping wet, generally initiates the alarms and then the other two much larger dogs, 50 lbs and 80 lbs, follow. Our yorkie has a bit of an identity crisis and truly thinks she is a german sheppard. :) In addition, the window fencing idea is a great one. I will have to talk to my hubby about this one. We also know our neighbors and are vigilant about keeping our eyes open. Great article!

Terry Morlan December 17, 2011 at 7:49 pm

I am getting ready to go medivel on a back door which was built to long ago and is of no use to stop anyone so I boarded up most of the window and left enough of a sqaure hole to look out. Also I will blast some long carriage bolts through the exterior to anchor a device to lay a sizable beam across the width of the door as I have just found out after we moved in to a rental that the area around us is teeming with hoods. I have good neighbors to the right of me and knobs to the left of me. Thank goodness my German shepard and Pit mix don’t take candy from strangers. All of our windows except the front room are over 6′ from the ground outside not easy to just crawl in. SI VIS PACEM, PARABELLUM. Out.

Stormin December 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Dogs are great. Last summer my neighbors aggressive Wimmeriner (have no idea how to spell it) broke thru our 6′ cedar fence to get my kids in the sand box. We have a beagle that weighs 35 lbs. He not only barked, but chased the dog down, and got between him and kids, giving the kids enough time to get into the house and lock the door. Our beagle took a bite to the face with a large laceration, but the kids were unharmed. The dog was escorted back to his property via pepper spray. Once a dog is loyal to is owners, trained, and loved, they seem to have an instinct for what the proper level of violence is. Man I love my dog. We have since adopted a English Mastiff/American Bulldog mix, and just the sight of her send people and animals running. The best way to win a fight, is to avoid it. Stay safe. Plan for the best, prepare for the worst.

millenniumfly December 25, 2011 at 9:00 pm

What about netting over windows and doors in place of chain link fencing? I would think that netting would be an unexpected barrier for those trying to break down your door, for instance, and allow you valuable time to deal with that problem.

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