Home security is critical but obvious security measures like perimeter fences and window bars tell the world that they can find the resources they’re looking for inside. While it will be more difficult for outsiders to get in, some may feel that the risk is worth the reward, so it’s better to implement discrete security measures that will go unnoticed to most people. This includes both traditional and unconventional tactics. When used together as part of your overall strategy, you’ll enjoy a unique and heightened level of security.
The first, and most often overlooked factor in home security is OPSEC, or Operational Security. In other words, keep the details of your preparations to yourself. Most people are harmless, but when a disaster strikes, all bets are off. Unprepared friends will show up on your door expecting a handout, while less friendly folk may band together and demand your supplies—perhaps by force.
- Don’t talk about your food and water storage, the type of weapons or how much ammunition you have, or cash you keep on hand.
- Shred all mail, personal documents, and any private paperwork before throwing it into the trash.
- Share as little information as possible on social networks. Be especially careful about posting pictures online; most cameras and smart phones embed GPS location data along with the time, and date.
(Note: I do advise talking about prepping with those you care about to help them become more prepared; just don’t share personal information unless you plan of working together and pooling resources in an emergency.)
Make your home a less appealing target
Criminals know they are more likely to find what they’re looking for in a mansion than in a crack house. The homes that most of us live in fall somewhere between the two extremes, and while you shouldn’t force yourself to live like a pauper, there are some day-to-day things you can do to make your home a less appealing target:
- Park expensive cars in the garage instead of the driveway.
- Install motion lights as well as general area lighting.
- Keep your garage door closed so people can’t see your belongings, such as tools, appliances, and supplies.
- Install an alarm system and post signage indicating such outside your home.
- Avoid having large parties often, because that is a tell-tale sign that you have plenty of money, and possibly food on hand.
- Remove or closely trim trees, brush, and foliage that could provide cover to anyone trying to gain access to your home.
Harden your home’s exterior
Nothing can guarantee that someone won’t try to get into your home, but there are several discrete methods to make it significantly more difficult for intruders to gain access. The idea is to utilize security measures that are either unnoticeable or appear just like decorative features found at any home.
- Replace exterior doors that contain windows or glass panes with solid doors—preferably steel. These can be purchased at any home improvement store, are just as decorative as the less-secure wood and glass models, and can be painted to match your home.
- Keep all windows locked and exterior doors (including the door between your garage and home) dead-bolted at all times—even when you’re home.
- Reinforce exterior doors with a door jammer or if space allows, a door bar holder.
- Use vegetation to make your windows inaccessible. You could plant thick, impenetrable shrubbery or bamboo to keep people away from your windows, or go a step further and plant vegetation that will inflict pain, such as thorny or spiky bushes, large cacti, or even foliage that contains painful chemical irritants like stinging nettle.
Tip the odds in your favor inside your home
All is not lost if the bad guys do get past your security measures because there are several things you can do inside your home to create a tactical advantage.
- If your home layout allows, have all family members sleep on one side of your home. This prevents intruders from getting in between you and the rest of your family.
- Own and become proficient with firearms. Stun guns do not work at all, and while pepper spray is only slightly effective, it will affect everyone in the house—including you and your family. How well do you think you could defend your home with eyes and lungs full of pepper spray?
- Strategically light the floor in certain portions of your home with directional night lights so you can see where you are going, but the bad guys can’t see you. You only need to light challenging portions of the path through your home; remember, you know your way around better than any intruder.
- Open closet doors, close sliding glass doors, and place furniture in likely paths of intruders. This will both slow intruders down and create a lot of noise as they try to navigate your virtual obstacle course in the dark.
- Get a dog—a big one. They hear better than you ever could, move faster than people, and can attack with an aggressiveness that few people can duplicate. Plus, they then to intimidate most intruders.
Home security is a constantly evolving process. Think like a criminal and test your security regularly. If you have like-minded friends, brainstorm together to find holes in each other’s plans and develop solutions to them.
What about you? What home security measures have I not mentioned that you’ve tried and found useful?