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If you live in suburbia, security starts from the inside out. Your home should be a fortress, although not so blatantly that it catches the attention of casual passers-by, making them wonder, “What’s in there?” Some simple updates can harden your domicile against intruders.
- Doors should be sturdy and steel core. The frame around the door is equally important. Even the strongest door will not hold up to a determined intruder if it is seated in a flimsy frame. Look for a sturdy steel door-jam. Always use at least 3 inch screws to anchor the components of your door and its frame.
- Install hardware for a door bar. Envision the bars reinforcing doors in medieval castles or on barns. By installing brackets into studs on either side of doors to the exterior of the house, you can have a bar that goes across the door from side to side. The bar can be a very heavy piece of wood, or it can be iron or another metal. Unless you are in a high crime neighbourhood, this barricade would not be necessary under normal situations. However, during a SHTF scenario, it will make your doors virtually impenetrable without the aid of a battering ram with a team of burly men behind it.
- Secure your windows. Particular attention should be paid to windows on the ground floor. Install a sturdy piece of wood cut to fit so that the window cannot be raised from the outside. Consider coating windows with a shatterproof film. Keep valuables out of sight from the windows. If your door has a window in it, or if it has sidelights, a piece of decorative metal grid work can easily be screwed in over the window, making it impossible for an intruder to break the window and reach through to unlock the door.
Once you’ve made the house itself more difficult to penetrate, concentrate on making it less appealing to criminals. They do not want to draw attention to themselves and will pass by homes that look more difficult to access.
- Install motion lights around the perimeter of your home. If they are solar-powered they will also work in a SHTF and grid-down scenario.
- Practice defensive landscaping. Use thorn-bearing plants around your home to make ground floor windows less vulnerable to access.
- Install cameras. Even fake cameras give criminals the feeling they are “being watched” – just make sure they are the kind with a light on them.
- Beware of dog. People who don’t have a furry friend can still make use of this tactic by posting signs on their property. Criminals are looking for easy targets – fending off a growling canine can be dangerous for them and also draws attention to them. Often, they will choose a different home to rob based on this factor alone.
- Fence your yard. Enclosing your entire property with a fence is a deterrent. Doorbells and cameras can be installed at the gate, giving you a safer distance from those who come to your home. This added layer of distance can make a home invasion-style attack far more difficult to perpetrate. If the top of the fence is “decoratively” spiked, it serves to make it difficult for someone to jump or climb the fence.
Tess Pennington joined the Dallas chapter of the American Red Cross in 1999 Tess worked as an Armed Forces Emergency Services Center specialist and is well versed in emergency and disaster management and response. You can follow her regular updates on Preparedness, Homesteading, and a host of other topics at ReadyNutrition.com.