Preventing a home break-in
During or after a regional or national disaster, home security will be your responsibility. While many homeowners may be prepared to defend their home, reducing the risk of a potential home invader targeting your home is far more valuable. In this video, we’ll look at 5 things you can do to ensure you and your loved ones are safe within your home.
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In this blog, we will look at the five critical considerations on how you might protect yourself and insulate yourself should police services not be available to you such as during a regional or national disaster. We will start with general options for technology surveillance and move to the additional layers you need to add to maximize your security. Reviewing your home and personal security now could be a lifesaver in the future.
In these troubling times or during or after a disaster, when seconds matter, the police may be many minutes away or unavailable at all. While an intruder trying to enter your bedroom window is an immediate threat and high priority to you and your loved ones, the police may be tied up with other multiple pressing issues and simply can not get to you. That, unfortunately for you, is going to put you squarely in the position of having to defend your home.
Thanks to advances in technology and manufacturing, there are several out of the box solutions that can provide you with an early alert, deterrence, and defense capabilities that will both alert you of an intruder and deter the would-be assailant. All the personal security in the world won’t do you a bit of good if you are completely reliant upon your ears to hear a window being raised from the outside across your home or apartment. Even the best vision won’t let you know that someone entered your home while you were out of your home. And the reality is that you eventually have to sleep. You can’t be on 24/7 standby to monitor your home.
This is why we recommend the first layer of your security to be a home security system with the right mix of components to give you an early alert and defensive advantage. For our home, we chose a combination of cameras, window, door, and motion sensors, glass break sensors, and a home base that stays connected with the devices that will alert authorities on my behalf even we are not able to do so. During regular, non-emergency times, for us, having the peace of mind that the police will be alerted quickly if an intruder tries to break in comes in handy. There’s even a panic button that can give you the jump on would-be intruders. We recently installed the SimpliSafe systems because they do not require a phone line and can operate even if the power goes down or is cut. When looking at home security systems, we went with this particular setup as we didn’t want to get locked into a lengthy and expensive monthly contract which is how most of the home security systems on the market make most of their money. Additionally, we don’t want someone we don’t personally know in my house installing my system. We wanted a system that was easy to set up and didn’t require me to cut holes in the wall and I could personally handle. We also wanted sensors that were small enough to go unnoticed but yet would do their job correctly. We currently have the homebase, smart locks, security cameras, carbon monoxide detectors, door and window sensors, and motion detectors installed to ensure we’re covering all the potential vulnerabilities for our house.
Whatever system you end up going with, be sure you don’t get tied into an expensive contract and one that can work independently of your power getting shut down.
When thinking about home security, remember this acronym, Deter, alert, defend- D.A.D. Just as you might have called for your mom when you skinned your knee, when you were really, really frightened or hurt, you probably called for the big guns–dad. We’re not diminishing the role of Mama Bear, here. For our purposes, though, remember the acronym D.A.D. The elements of your home security fall into one of these categories: Deter, alert, defend. Security items are to deter criminals from invading your space, they are to alert you that an invasion of your space is occurring, or they are to defend you and repulse the invaders. Often, one item will have more than one purpose.
In the category of deter you have lighting, alarm systems, home alert systems, strong visual and defensible lines from your property, strong locks, concealed valuables, signage, and obstructed views into your house. All of these combined will deter most criminals, as a criminal tends to gravitate to the easiest target with the least difficulty and the highest probability of getting away with the crime.
Under alert, you also have alarm systems both elaborate and simple. Modern technology has taken once pricey systems and made them incredibly affordable for large houses or small apartments. Knowing your home has been breached before you get home or while you are sleeping or away, is critical to your security. A few seconds advance notice of a fire, dangerous carbon monoxide levels, or a flood could be a lifesaver. Also under the category of alert is your pet, a vicious dog or a frightened dog when you get home can indicate a problem. Finally, through social media, there are many apps that can warn you of crime near your home, even capturing video footage of the perpetrators.
The last category of D.A.D. is defend. Whether you are a black belt in Karate or simply armed with some pepper spray to defend yourself and get away, you may need to take defensive measures. Even in the best of times, calling 911 could result in a long response time, so you can’t put your and your loved one’s protection solely in the hands of others.
Deter, Alert, and Defend. Remember D.A.D. Try to name at least one system or thing on your premises for each of the letters of the acronym. If you can’t, you know what part of the acronym you need to build upon.
Neighbors are a great alert system. There are people who become great friends with their neighbors. There are people who never know their neighbors, and there are most of us in between. Regardless of the type of neighborhood you live in, being a part of a formal or informal neighborhood watch group can ensure you are well-informed of the hotspots of crime in your area. We have an account with nextdoor.com solely for the purpose of monitoring activity in our neighborhood. When crime issues happen, people tend to post about it and it gives you the intel that’s necessary to make sure your home is prepared. Knowing where the problem apartments or houses are in your area, homes where the police frequently have to visit, might be important to your overall safety. Even joining a neighborhood group on a social media platform might give you the intel on your neighborhood. Do be aware, though, that crimes have always occurred. You, likely, just didn’t hear about them even when they happened a block over from you. Apps and social media can make it seem like crime is growing all around us, even when it’s at the same steady rate it always has been.
Having at least one neighbor you look out for and they look out for you can provide you with a pair of eyes watching your property when you are away. If you don’t know any neighbors, nobody will know when something suspicious is occurring in or around your property. Take advantage of any neighborly functions, block parties, or gatherings to meet at least one person, preferably one who is near in vicinity to you. We always try to at least know the first names of the people living next to us and we make a point of giving the wave hello when we see them, even if we don’t have detailed knowledge of them. We’re confident that if someone strange to them was trying to access my property, they would say something or at least call the police, and hopefully the police can respond. Providing them with your phone number under the premise that if anything should ever happen like a fire or burglar they can call you, can give you added eyes and ears on your property.
You have to prepare for the fact that it may just be you defending yourself. Depending upon what is legal in your state, brass knuckles in your nightstand, a $10 can of mace from the automotive store in your kitchen drawer, a self-defense keychain in your pocket, can all be enough of a defense to defend yourself against an assault.
If the security of your home has been breached, you need to either neutralize the threat or diminish it enough to repel it, or you may need to flee to safety yourself.
Our home security system has a part of the system that went tripped emits a 105dB siren. A siren triggered automatically or by your request can send bad guys who thrive in the shadows running, and you don’t have to be home to trigger it or for it to trigger automatically.
A tactical or self-defense flashlight can easily be concealed in your car or purse, and is equally inconspicuous beside your bed. Your familiarity of your own surroundings is an advantage you have over any intruder. Make sure that you have layers of personal defense throughout your home or apartment. At least once, go through and analyze the items in each of your rooms, as well as any weak spots where someone might gain access. What objects can be used as weapons if someone is coming through your window or door. Even in your apartment, a $5.00 door wedge, window lock or swivel door lock can provide you an added layer of safety if your living room is invaded. Again, most criminals don’t want to linger, especially once their presence is known. They want to commit their crime and escape undetected. The more you do to make that difficult for them, the more likely you are to survive a home invasion or break-in. So, add personal defense items throughout your house, know what you can use to defend yourself in an emergency, and invest in a few window and door locks. Secure yourself.
Finally, one of the keys to operational security of your premises is to be able to see the threats without them seeing you. Well placed exterior lights can cause a night blindness in anyone trying to see into your home as well as conceal the dimmer environment within. A light placed in a window let’s people outside know someone may be home while also concealing the dimmer sections of the house within. Lights can be triggered remotely, on a timed schedule, or through motion sensors. They can give your home an occupied feeling, even when it isn’t, or they can alert you to movement in your home. Quite the opposite but also important is the absence of light. Blackout curtains or blinds can conceal your presence from the outside world in dire situations where you are forced to bug-in for a long period of time.
Light to reveal or darkness to conceal, it all comes down to being able to see the threats to your safety before they can see you. Having a line of sight to the street or apartment complex hallway can provide you with the time for added preparation or warning. In truly dire situations, having the line of sight advantage can help you make a call for safety or quickly close a window before an intruder can access your premises. Make sure that any outside foliage doesn’t provide an opportunity for criminals to hide and observe you. Use motion sensing switches and light on both the exterior and interior of your domicile. Make sure that you check them when tripped, especially if they’re being tripped multiple times in the same night. Criminals may be testing your defenses and your alertness or trying to lure you out into danger.
Use dim night lights in your house. It won’t be enough for someone unfamiliar with the environment to navigate well, but it will be enough for you to see if someone enters your premises and is moving around. They will also aid you in evacuation, if you are forced to flee your property. One final note on light and security. Make sure you have emergency lighting and maybe a hurricane candle on hand. There are many stories of criminals flipping the main breakers of houses in an attempt to lure the occupants out. If the power goes out, make sure you don’t check it right away, and when you do make sure you have personal defense. Also make sure that whatever security system you do implement works for some extended period without grid power. If you’re alone, you may want to just wait a few hours safely within your home while the power is out. We always like to add, because we are always surprised at how many people don’t have one, make sure you have a fire extinguisher on hand. Defending your home doesn’t just mean intruders. It also means you need to protect it from invaders like fire.
Once your home or apartment is secure, consider setting up a system at your bug-out location, if you have one with a permanent structure. This will assure you that you aren’t bugging out to an even less safe, compromised environment.
In conclusion, you should take on the sole responsibility of your own safety and security, remember D.A.D. – deter, alert, and defend. If the police in your area can’t make it to you in a timely manner or are required elsewhere when you need them, you can minimize that loss by taking responsibility for your own safety. If they are available, great, then take advantage of the extra few seconds or minutes you gain from a comprehensive security system to alert them of your danger. Secure your property by consciously walking through it and assessing strong and weak spots. Run a few scenarios through your mind and correct any deficiencies. From a fire extinguisher to a bedroom locking latch to a window lock and sensor to a can of mace, you have many options to ensure your home is safe and that your time there is peaceful and uneventful when chaos or crime swirls outside. Consider an out-of-the-box, customizable technology package, but don’t rely solely on that for your safety. Again, if you’re interested in the SimpliSafe home security system I went with, you can visit Simplisafe.com/CityPrepping to check out their setup. It will give you a huge advantage, but your complete security requires you to fill in the gaps and strengthen your personal defenses and perimeters. Know your neighbors, and use light and dark and technology to your advantage.
As always, please stay safe out there.