The phrase, “Your home is your castle” depicts you are the ruler of your home, and only you can decide who has permission to enter. Your home or “safe space” should be that one place where you feel most secure. It’s where you rest and find peace. Once inside, how do you ensure your safety and security? Is your home fortified to keep the criminals out, while you enjoy the safety and comforts of home?
Often, we let down our guard when at home. We leave our windows open or unlocked, we leave our doors unlocked, and we leave our garage doors up and garage entry doors unlocked. We feel that we live in a “safe community” where crime is low. We are lulled into a false sense of security because we have never had a negative encounter, or we have never been victimized (thankfully).
The best time to fortify your home is before you become a victim.
It is likely that if you have been victimized, you have already added another layer of protection to your home. Being proactive is always preferred over being reactive. Let’s discuss a few of the simplest ways to begin to strengthen your home security to help avoid becoming a victim of theft, robbery, assault, or worse.
There are several steps you can take to fortify your castle. First, you want to visualize your home from a criminal’s perspective. What do they see when they decide to target a home. An investigative report conducted by Kyle Iboshi and the Investigative Team of KGW News revealed the responses of 86 burglars who were asked various questions about how they chose homes to burglarize. Here are just a few of their responses. Visit the KWG News website to see the full list of their eye-opening responses.
A career criminal stated that he could access a home in less than one minute. Most inmates broke in through an unlocked door or window. Some burglars kicked the door open to reduce the risk of getting cut. Once inside, burglars looked for jewelry, electronics, cash, and credit cards. Some also looked for collectibles and guns. Most burglars began by searching the master bedroom for valuables before moving to the rest of the house. They checked everywhere, including the stove, freezer, fish tank, toilet tank, bookshelves, and in boxes of cereal!
According to their responses, the best time of day to break-in varied. Some burglars preferred early morning or afternoon, stating between 12:30pm and 2:30pm, believing that anyone home for lunch should be gone by then and kids should still be in school. When asked if home protection or security signs posted outside of the home deterred them, some said it didn’t faze them, while others stated they know how to disable the alarms. As for dogs in the home, most burglars stated that a big, loud dog would deter them.
What are some of the ways you can fortify your home?
When moving into your house or apartment, have the locks rekeyed.
If your door(s) do not have a peep hole, add a wide-angle viewer for a better vantage point and greater range of view. Install a hardwood or metal door with a double cylinder deadbolt, if possible. Replace the standard two-screw strike plate and screws with a six-inch strike plate and six screws, for a bit more reinforcement. If you have glass doors or panels, install curtains or window coverings to prevent outsiders from looking inside your home. Consider a door brace to make it more difficult to force open the door and a door wedge alarm, which is much like a rubber door stopper, except it makes an extremely loud noise if someone attempts to open the door. They are portable and very affordable, making them useful in hotels, dorms, and apartments. Exterior lighting, motion detectors, and cameras may also serve as deterrents for burglars. Most of the newer camera systems offer a two-way communication feature where you can talk to the person at your door from wherever you are. Keep your shrubbery trimmed to avoid hiding spaces and concealment for potential criminals. If your backyard is fenced-in, consider adding a camera and motion lights. Criminals like working in a nicely concealed backyard with a high fence.
If you have a garage, never leave your garage door open unattended.
The door leading from your garage into your home should be as sturdy as your front door. A quality door and lock are recommended for this door as well. Avoid adding a doggie door or pet flap to prevent criminals from reaching into your home and unlocking the door. A smaller-framed burglar may gain access into your home through the doggie door itself. There are self-locking doggie doors that are available as an option.
Since some burglars are looking for firearms, ensure you are securing your guns in your home from unauthorized users.
Understanding the fifth safety rule by Safe LivinG ™, “Keep firearms away from unauthorized users” is critical.
When your firearms are not being used for protection, they should be secured using one of the many safety measures available. As firearm owners, it is our responsibility to keep firearms away from potential criminals and any other unauthorized users who may enter or live in our home. One of the best ways to secure your firearm in the home is by using a gun safe. There are several options by Cabela’s and Hornady, for example. Be sure to practice accessing your firearm quickly and building the muscle memory through repetitive practice, as part of your home defense plan. On a related note, take a picture of all firearms in your home. Write down the serials numbers, make, and model and store them in a safe place. There are phone apps that you can use for this purpose too. In the event your firearms are stolen, you will be able to immediately report the theft to law enforcement and provide the serial number, make, and model. This will help to protect you if your stolen firearms are used in the commission of a felony.
Living safely and securely in your home is the goal.
Fortify your castle and continue developing your home protection plan. It may change and evolve as your circumstances change. Be sure to include the habitants of your home when planning for home defense. Remember, you are the ruler of your castle. It is your responsibility to decide what plan works best for your household.