Securing your home - The 4 levels of home fortification
The following steps are aimed at fortifying an unoccupied home; whether at work or away for an extended time.
These fortification methods follow a proven approach of defensive hardening where the property is shielded within multiple layers of defensive protection. The first protective level encompasses the area around the home, while the innermost layer of protection is deeply rooted within the home. Each layer proves increasingly resistant to those attempting unlawful intrusion. Based on this approach, belongings with the highest personal or monetary value are firmly secured within the root layer.
Level 4 – Community Defense
Hold regular community meetings to discuss recent security concerns or discuss these concerns openly at general community gatherings such as homeowner association events. Avoid discussions that dote on the problem and if necessary lead the discussion towards establishing clear channels of communication along with agreeing on community wide preventative steps aimed at reducing any criminal interest within the neighborhood. With well established channels of communication in place within a watchful community, out of place onlookers can be quickly identified and steps taken to drive them from the area.
In the event of prowler sightings or break-ins within the neighborhood, rely on the combined power of your community to leverage local law enforcement to heighten security in your area. The key to this is accountability. Contact the local law agency and get connected with those directly responsible for security in your area along with contact info for their superiors. Demand increased patrols of your neighborhood, and then have others within your community lend additional pressure by doing the same. Follow up. Are the extra patrols actually occurring? If not keep adding pressure and community callers until the patrols do increase. Local police are often overtaxed and spread thin for the areas they cover. It these cases, it’s the squeaky wheels that get the grease.
Establish and maintain solid relations with those nearest to you. Each neighbor should know when the other is out of town along with the identity of any new faces staying at the home. Ask them to contact you on the cell or to notify the authorities if they spot any suspicious person on or around your property.
With a key to your residence, a neighbor can function as a gatekeeper. By channeling all outsider visits to your home through them and their key, they can signal an alert the moment they spot anyone unscheduled in or around your home.
Level 3 - Property Protection
Criminals are far more likely to look elsewhere if they have to hop a fence just to get onto your property to have a closer look. They tend to shy away from the attention it draws.
Dogs make for great deterrents, especially if they have full access to patrol the property. The general rule is bigger dogs make for stronger deterrents, though even little dogs are wonderful at raising an alarm when an intruder invades or nears the property. Be sure to strategically place “beware of dog” sighns around the perimeter of your property. Even if you don’t own dogs, these signs are very effective.
Criminals tend to look for ways to get near the home in darkness. Motion activated spot and floodlights are great psychological deterrents, causing many criminals to reverse direction the moment a light triggers.
On the high end, lights with motion sensors can communicate to your home automation or alarm system as well, providing early warning when someone enters your property.
It’s very easy for a prowler to test a car door. Once inside a car, extra key sets and garage door openers provide access into the home. Once in possession of your house key or garage door opener, a criminal has the option to enter the home at any time, leaving no signs of forced entry.
Level 2 – Secure the Home
Though obvious advice, most burglars enter a home simply by finding an unlocked door or window. The simple practice of locking doors and windows is one of the largest steps you can take to avoid being burglarized. Outfit all doors with high quality deadbolts and strike plates.
For windows and sliding doors, block the tracks from being forced back with wooden dowels or locking anchors.
Display alarm warning stickers in obvious locations and consider including surveillance cameras (dummy cameras work as well).
Most criminals will flee the area when an alarm sounds. Some will remain at a safe distance to see if there is any actual response and will re-enter the premise if no response occurs. Don’t expect much community response to your alarm. Instead pay the money for a monitoring center to do this.
Unfortunately, burglaries are often performed by people who have been on your property or in your home and have spotted an enticing burglary opportunity. Sometimes these people unintentionally mention the opportunity to an acquaintance who then targets the property for a robbery. By keeping the amount of employed individuals in and around your home to a minimum, you reduce your chance of becoming a target.
• Level 1 – Safe Security
Store all small to mediums items of high monetary or personal value in a strong burglary rated safe.
DO NOT store your valuables in an unrated, “RSC” rated, or fire only rated safe as these safe types provide insubstantial burglary protection and will be compromised. Placing valued items in an insubstantial safe simply provides the criminal with a convenient location to acquire all your high value items quickly. “We receive heart wrenching calls on a weekly basis from recently robbed owners of popular safes that lost everything when the safe was compromised.” Says Lynel Brown.
Over 90% of today’s top selling safes do not provide sufficient burglary protection and are highly venerable to being forcibly opened within minutes by a simple hammer and crowbar.
Store your valuables in a safe with a minimum of a ½” solid steel door and ¼” solid steel walls. The majority of safes in this class do provide substantial burglary protection.