How Do I Protect My Home from Criminals?

Posted: July 8, 2013 in Self Defense
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Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 11.02.52 PMAs was so graphically illustrated by the nanny cam video from New Jersey, home invasions are quick, violent and brutal. Burglaries are quick, sudden, and sickening but at least the homeowner typically is not home. Unfortunately, with the downturn in the economy, burglaries and home invasions have increased nationwide and here in the Atlanta area. In fact these types of crimes are now all too common in the Metro Atlanta area. Doing all that you can to stay safe while out and about does not do you any good if a criminal can enter your home with one swift kick.

The average burglar or home invader is looking for an easy target. For them crime is all about risk versus reward. For the criminal the risk is getting caught or shot. The reward is getting your valuables, money or you. (Stalker or other psychotic type criminals have a different way of thinking and require a different security approach–preferably a full-time Secret Service team).


If you, as the homeowner, can up their risk they are less likely to choose your home. While digging a moat and/or surrounding your house with razor wire would certainly make your home much more secure, it probably won’t go over real well with your neighbors (or your family). Since crooks are looking for targets with the lowest risk and highest reward you don’t have to make your home Ft. Knox, just make it higher risk than the house down the street.

So how do you make your home appear to be a higher risk? Let’s start at the perimeter and work our way in.

  1. Establish a border for your property. This establishes a clear line of demarcation. There is no doubt they have crossed a line. The border may be a fence, landscaping or anything else you may come up with.
  2. Most of the articles I read and videos I watched strongly urged people to display security alarm signs in the front yard. The idea is the crook will see the sign and move on to a house that doesn’t have security. However, with all the false alarms and budget cut-backs law enforcement departments across the country are de-prioritizing alarms. Burglars can be in and out of a house in a matter of minutes yet recent reports suggest police in large cities will respond in 30+ minutes if they respond at all. Crooks are well aware of this fact. So I’m not sure how much of a deterrence those signs really are.
  3. Trim your landscape to eliminate hiding places, especially around windows and doors. That delightfully aromatic Gardenia Bush is lovely but may provide the perfect hiding spot for a criminal. Modifying your landscape to include prickly things may also discourage burglars. Nothing quite like encountering a thorn-bush to dissuade one from one’s intended path.
  4. Light up the night! Criminals prefer darkness (see John 3:19). Position the lights in such a way that dark spots are eliminated. Motion detector lights are good, but only activate once motion is detected. That doesn’t necessarily help with deterrence.
  5. Remove objects in the yard that could be used to help a thief access your house (ex. the ladder lying in the back yard).
  6. Reinforce your windows with films and hardware.intruderprotection
  7. Lock your windows!!!
  8. Keep your garage door closed!!
  9. The front door is the number one entry for home invaders and burglars. There are multiple steps you can take to enhance the security of your front door.
    1. Replace your screen door with a decorative iron security door and keep it locked!
    2. Make sure your front door is solid. Hollow-core doors are very weak.
    3. Reinforce the hinges with 3 in. screws, the door jamb with strike plates, and make sure you have a good dead bolt.
    4. Do not count on security chains as they snap very easily. Instead go with a Door Club, OnGARD a LineBacker door bar or some other such device.
    5. Glass on or near your door is also a weak spot in your security. I would suggest reinforcing it with the same film as the windows.
    6. Install and use a peephole.
    7. You could also install a door like this: Sur Door. (But that’s going a bit overboard for most of us…seeing how we have easily accessed back and side doors).
  10. Don’t open the door to strangers!!! While this sounds simple, a large portion of home invasions happen when an occupant opens the door. Frequently a home invader will use a decoy to knock on your door. This person may be a child selling magazines, a man dressed in a utility uniform or a lady asking to use the phone because her car broke down. In the case of an uniformed person, get their name and the name of the company they claim to work for and call the company (don’t ask the person on the doorstep for the number… look it up). If they are legit, they should understand your concerns and have no problem with you checking up on them. Offer to call somebody for the lady with the broken down car. And while talking through the door may seem rude, it’s better to be alive and rude than robbed/beaten and polite. Having an iron security door, in place of a screen door, can certainly help in these situations. That way you can open the front door while maintaining a level of safety. That locked, iron door may also give you that precious second you need to slam and lock the front door. Something like the Door Club or the LineBacker would also work well for these situations.
  11. And of course, Fido.Angry+dog+Bite+Children+Body Language+Nonverbal+Expert+Expert+Speaker+Speaker+Keynote+Keynote+Las Vegas+Orlando+Southern California
    Any size canine will add some level of deterrence. Obviously, larger dogs are more intimidating but small ones are also very good at alerting their owners to incoming traffic. Don’t trust your dog to be much of an actual guard dog though. Many burglars will come prepared to deal with your Best Friend, one way or another. The criminal may bribe Honey with a treat, let Max rush past him and lock the door after Max or kill Marley.

Implementing as many of the above steps as feasible will certainly make your home appear as a higher risk target. However, don’t bask in a false sense of security after doing all that. A determined person will get through those barriers. They will slow him down,  alert you to his presence, and give you time to implement your defense plan but they are not a guarantee. In addition to these external barriers, there are many other things that can be done inside the home to increase the odds of you and your loved ones surviving an attack from a determined home invader. We will explore the internal safeguards next week.

Please comment with any other tips or advice on protecting our homes.

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  1. Your style is unique in comparison to other people I have read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I’ll just book mark this page.

  2. **Small Town Girl** says:

    Great post! Your tips are very useful seeing as burglaries are commonplace these days!

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