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Make Your Home a Hard Target Without Breaking the Bank

by Survival Dispatch Staff

a burglar looking in a house window with a flashlight and crowbar

The difference between a home and a place where you sleep/eat is that you have an emotional attachment to your home. It’s full of the most important people in your life, and it houses the things you have worked hard to earn. Your goal for your home therefore should be to keep it secure. Luckily, you can secure a home without having to live in a prison.

No matter what you are trying to secure, the most effective means is to build your defense in layers. In the military, this is known as “defense in depth.” When it comes to your home, you secure it the same way.

Diagram of castle with moat

Having a castle isn’t practical, but we can learn lessons to apply to our modern day dwellings (via hesecuritydialogue.org)

Multiple layers of security are used to deter individuals from even thinking about breaking in. Beyond the initial layer, we aim to physically prevent the hard headed from making entry. The last layer is used in the worst situation, when an intruder breaches your residence.

The First Layer

The first layer starts outside of your home. Make sure you don’t leave any tools around that could make breaking in easier. This includes ladders, hammers, screwdrivers, baseball bats, crowbars, etc. They should be locked in a garage or a shed. That’s step 1.

Next, there are a few basic lawn changes you can implement to make a safer home. Let’s start with under your windows. Since windows can be used for entry, you want to take that option off the table.

One of the best, low profile methods is to plant shrubs of some kind under your windows. Thick shrubs can be an excellent deterrent because it’s a pain to walk through them, and it’ll create noise.

Bush with thorns on leaves

via defensivecarry.com

If you really want to change minds, plant roses or something like common holly. The thorns and prickly leaves will make it quite uncomfortable to push through. Any thorny or thick brush is a good choice.

Another cheap, and common home upgrade is adding basic motion detecting lights. The technology is so common it’s become both reliable and affordable.

 

Attaching a motion light near every door, and in any area that isn’t lit at night is a great way to deter thieves. The lights coming on could also alert you to the presence of a trespasser.

BAXIA TECHNOLOGY Solar Motion Sensor Night Lights are a great option. Easy to install, and don’t require you to change the batteries out.

Also, close your windows and blinds when you aren’t home. You don’t want to be cased during the day by a thief. If he can see in your home, he can learn its layout, and what goods you have worth stealing.

The Second Layer

The second layer is all about keeping intruders out. Here is where we start leaning towards subtle home reinforcement. You want to focus on all points of entry to your home. Windows and doors are weak points that can be reinforced.

The most expensive upgrade you can make is one of the most effective. If your door is made from cheap particle board you should consider replacing it. A good, solid wooden door, would be an excellent choice to protect your home. This will also require a solid set of locks.

medeco dead bolt lock on a white background

Look for a high security deadbolt like this one from Medeco

This means a good deadbolt lock…one that will resist blows from a shoulder or kick. Some may say a dedicated attacker is going to get through the door no matter what. That’s true, but a thick door will buy you and the police time to respond.

The next upgrade is for your windows. Putting solid iron bars on the windows is an option, but not one most of us want to deal with. It’s expensive and looks terrible. The better idea is to use 3M security film. Security film is designed to hold the glass together and keep it from breaking when struck.

Man in all black looking through broken window with crowbar

This film reinforces the window and keeps it from shattering. Even when it does break, the glass stays together instead of falling apart. Maybe you’ve seen people put duct tape in strips over their windows when a Hurricane is coming to town. Same idea, but it’s invisible to the naked eye. Again, some can take the time to really get through the glass, but they’ll be significantly slowed.

Lastly, a security system as an investment can be great…or it can be virtually useless. The make or break issue here is often geographical (what’s available in your area). Some systems work well, others do not. If you want a good security system, you’ll have to diligently research the providers in your area.

One simple and cheap security device is small door and window alarms. These aren’t connected to any external system that alerts the police. They simply make a ton of noise.

They can wake you up when you are home, or surprise and scare an attacker when you aren’t. These little door alarms are available for less than ten dollars for 2 alarms on Amazon.

Toss one of these on your doors and windows. This is a nice, effective method of making a huge racket when someone breaches the second layer.

The Third Layer

The third defensive layer comes into play when someone breaches your home. This layer applies to two different situations. The first is someone breaking in when you are away. The second is breaking in when you are home.

When you aren’t home I suggest keeping valuables locked up nice and tight, and hidden if possible. Jewelry, cash, and small guns can be placed in small enough safes to be hidden. Long guns can and should be stored in a locking, metal safe. Again, a determined thief can get through it, but it will take time. If it takes time, the police may catch them in the act, or they won’t escape as far as fast.

Person with crowbar sneaking through dark house

When people are in your home, you’ll need to react. When reacting you need to do so with a weapon ready. Preferably a firearm. A firearm makes physical strength differences irrelevant. Your choice of firearm is up to you, and what firearm you can handle effectively.

You also need a plan. If someone breaks into your home your family needs to know the plan and how to respond. I never advise trying to ‘clear’ your home, unless it’s necessary to get to a family member.

My plan is for my wife and I to move to my son’s room, both of us armed. From here my wife will call the police and I will cover the door. I don’t care what an intruder steals in my home, it’s not worth risking my life over. Now if the attacker breaches the door, I will react accordingly.

If you have the funds, a fortified panic room is an even better solution. Check out The Evolution of the Modern Day Safe/Panic Room for more info.

Final Thoughts

Your house should be safe. Safe enough for you to sleep like a baby at night. A good house is a safe house. With just a few upgrades your home is easily hardened. You can go further, get steel doors, bars on the windows, and a moat 🙂 If you want to take that route you can. However, the upgrades we listed above are low profile, affordable, and effective.

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