There is nothing worse than a home where you don’t feel safe. The home is supposed to be the place for everyone’s peace of mind. The place where you know your family is protected from the horrors outside your doors. The less you feel this, the less peacefully you sleep.
- How They’re Getting In
- The First Steps
- Home Defense Tips for Not Inviting Them In
- Plans for When Someone Gets in the House
To alleviate your concerns, you have to be proactive about tactical home defense, knowing the best ways to protect your loved ones and the assets that make your home a home. In that regard, here are some tips for safeguarding what you hold dear from threats on the other side of your doors.
How They’re Getting In
We’re spoon fed stories about a home getting broken into, possessions getting stolen and someone getting hurt – or worse. Criminals use a window or circumvent the lock. There are stories of homeowners forgetting to lock their doors and intruders just letting themselves in. Whatever the circumstances, it’s a troubling thought: waking in the middle of the night to find someone in the home. The other scenario is coming home and finding you’ve been violated, your possessions gone and thrown about.
The First Steps
Break-ins are typically done through doors and windows. Home invasion defense tactics focus on fortifying these areas to better safeguard the home.
To start, identify the most likely places an intruder might use to get into the house. Windows and doors out of view – such as on the side and back of the house – are appealing targets.
With this knowledge in place, here are some options and where you might need them.
When it comes to doors, the best home protection plans consider deadbolt locks. They work best on solid doors and can be extremely difficult to break. The petty burglar wouldn’t want to sweat over it. Deadbolts can be expensive, but they’re worth the cost as they will significantly add to home safety.
The boldest intruders will kick a door open. In general, it’s not the door that goes down, it’s the weakness in the frame that gives under pressure. You can reinforce the strength of your entryways with kick-resistant enforcement. Strong plates strength the frame and make it difficult to knock in the door.
These are weak points in security. We so often forget to close them. Even when they are, they’re easily forced open. Talk to a contractor or security expert about ways to fortify sliding doors so that they are better secured. One security option here is a metal bar placed along the bottom track which prevents the door from sliding. This is also a good idea for sliding windows.
Hinges can be strategically placed inside doors, preventing the doors from being opened from the outside.
Windows are one of the most vulnerable parts of any home as there are no really strong measures for securing them. Security options for windows are, of course, bars. But these tend to be extremely unattractive and can actually give intruders reason to take notice of your home (What’re are they hiding in there?). There’s also burglar resistant glass and window locks.
Home Alarm Systems
An alarm system has to be a consideration. Sensors, alarms, video monitoring, they can all be part of a best home defense system that keeps intruders out or lets you know who got in. These options have gotten so sophisticated you can actually teach them to recognize someone that shouldn’t be in the house before the system automatically calls the local authorities.
While they don’t add strong security, there are fake systems that can be set up around the house, giving the impression a camera’s watching or there are alarms. The burglar is unlikely to know the difference.
Consider a Defense Animal
Dogs can be the best weapon to protect your home. A well trained animal will start barking just realizing someone is outside the house. The dog doesn’t have to be in the vicinity. Their acute hearing will notice the intrusion long before yours do. Attack dogs will give an intruder reason to rethink their decision.
Leave a Light or Two on Overnight
A dark house encourages burglars. Most intruders scout areas, determining what houses are dark, indicating which ones are probably vacant or the household is sound asleep. If they believe anyone is moving around, they won’t go in. There are systems run by apps and computers that will turn TVs and lights on and off at prearranged times. They are especially useful when the house is empty. You could use your phone or tablet while on vacation to turn lights on and off throughout the house.
Keep Bushes and Shrubberies Neat
While keeping our greenery fresh is a source of pride, it’s also a way to keep criminals away. A poorly kept lawn gives the impression of a home that’s not necessarily protected. It also gives burglars places to hide. They will actually be able to see in the house and potentially avoid your monitoring devices if intruders have places to hide, like in your bushes.
Keep a Safe Room
If you can afford it and have the space, build a safe room. This is the place where the family will go when intruders get into the house. Make sure it’s in a convenient place. If you sleep upstairs, that’s where it should be. You don’t want to have the entire family actually come across intruders while trying to reach the safe room.
Build a Fence
When your house is harder to see, it’s harder to scout by burglars from a distance. Build the tallest privacy fence zoning laws allow.
Motion sensors are activated by movement within their range. This is a great deterrent to intruders who prefer to work in the dark. There are even lights that will follow the movement, giving potential intruders another reason to want to get as far away as possible.
Home Defense Tips for Not Inviting Them In
Believe it or not, many an intruder gets in via the actions of the homeowner. We’ve already mentioned the family that forgets to lock the door, allowing intruders to let themselves in.
Another mistake homeowners make is leaving keys where they can be found. Keys have been left in mailboxes, which should actually be locked themselves, especially if they’re near the house. Keys are also left under doormats and rocks. These habits are so common, a lot of criminals know exactly where to look.
If you want to leave a key out, use a secluded place that only family members know about. It has to be stressed to everyone that no one – not even the best of friends – should know about the extra key. Security is only relevant if it’s kept within a tight circle. You can buy a fake rock and leave the key in it. But don’t leave it near the door the key unlocks. Put it around the back of the house or hide it in the garage. The best bet is to leave the key with a trusted neighbor.
Never leave a ladder against the house or where it can be seen from the street. Many intruders have used them to let themselves in.
Plans for When Someone Gets in the House
The most important part of any home defense tactics won’t be the systems you install. They are going to be the plans you set up for the entire family if someone does get in.
Develop a home defense plan for everyone. It can include who gets the gun, who calls the police, where to meet up and where children should hide. Each household member should know what they’re supposed to do so that no one’s stumbling about. The plan should be discussed and rehearsed. It should be revisited at least twice a year.
Home defense strategies should include the following:
The idea should be to avoid intruders. There should be two plans. One for getting out of the home and the other for when you cannot. If the route out of the house is blocked, have a room where the family locks itself and calls the police. If there is a weapon in the house, it should be retrieved quickly. Children should be hidden away, even in the room the family is locked in.
A Common Meeting Place
If family members get separated during the escape, there should be a common place where you all wait for each other. This could be at the furthest corner of the block or at a neighbor’s. Nothing will aggravate the situation more than a member of the family disappearing.
If complete escape isn’t possible, everyone – especially children – should have a designated place to hide. Everyone should know about how to barricade doors or which sibling they should be with.
If there is a gun in the house, the owner should get it, load it and meet up with the family. They should not try to confront the intruder. The focus should be on protecting the family.
Anyone old enough to strike back should have a foot stool, a sharpened pencil, a dumbbell or other object that they know how to use as a weapon. It should only be used if they are confronted or attacked. No one should go looking for assailants.
Calling the Police
In today’s world, the house will probably have multiple cell phones. Anyone who has one should make the call, but there should be at least one designated caller. After speaking with the emergency operator, everyone should stay on the line. You can advise them on the situation periodically. As the calls will be recorded, your conversation will used as evidence after the intruders are caught.
While we strongly advise avoiding any kind of direct contact with an intruder, it could happen. Have your weapon ready, but the first thing you want to do is run. Predators are often desperate. If they don’t run at the sight of you, they are probably dangerous. If they catch up, strike as hard as you can with your weapon, whether it’s a pen or a gun.
There are benefits to tightening your home’s security with these home defense techniques. Increased security can increase the value of your home. A realtor will tell you any home that is well taken care of in any manner is worth more. It can get you incentives or lower premiums from your insurer. Window bars, motion centers, reinforced doors and security systems can lower your insurance bills up to 20 percent.
While it’s ironic that the place where you should feel safest could be filled with security risk, it’s a reality we all have to deal with. Know what the crime rate is in your neighborhood and take local break-ins seriously. In order to avoid being a victim yourself, do whatever you can afford to safeguard your property, your belongings and your family.