Learn to defend your home like a castle
A man’s home is his castle, or so the saying goes. Even if your house isn’t a luxurious chateau, you can still defend it like one. Castles typically relied on layers of defense to keep attackers at bay. While you’re unlikely to start digging a moat and pulling up the drawbridge, a number of small improvements can build up your home security.
The safe room is at the heart of your castle. It could be any room in your home but it should have added layers of security to protect your most valuable items and provide a safe place to hide and call for help if someone breaks in.
Use the safe to hide your important documents and valuables. Buy a really heavy safe or bolt it to the floor, so it can’t be carried away.
The savviest of burglars may cut your power or phone line to disable your alarm system. Make sure you have a flashlight on hand.
Make sure you have a pre-paid and fully charged cell phone available, so you can call for help if you need to.
Ideally, layered defense will prevent burglars entering your home, but if they do get in, all is not lost. There are measures you can take to stop them taking your prized possessions.
Wireless alarm systems don’t require a phone line, so if your line gets cut, you’re still protected.
If you have lots of expensive items on display, your house will be more appealing to burglars. Buy heavy drapes and keep them closed, thus stopping burglars from window shopping.
Set timers on your lamps, TVs and radios so your house looks and sounds occupied even when you’re away.
Keep your valuables out of sight, so your home is less tempting to opportunist thieves. And think about hiding things in less obvious hiding places. There are some great suggestions here.
Make it difficult for intruders to climb through your window by placing something awkward and noisy underneath. It will slow them down and the noise could alert you to their presence.
The primary goal on the outside of your house is to thwart robbers before they find an entry point. An alarm system is the most obvious deterrent. And there are a lot of ways you can make your doors, windows and garage more secure too.
Windows are an obvious entry point for potential robbers, so it’s worth considering something stronger than the usual thumb locks - deadbolts are much more secure.
Security film on your windows make a surprising difference to their resilience, as demonstrated here. Burglars will struggle to break through the glass, and likely make a lot of noise trying to do so.
Make sure you have at least 2 locks on every door.
Warning signs are a classic burglar deterrent. Announcing that you have an alarm system installed is a simple but effective layer of defense.
Houses with garages are a prime target for thieves as many of us are lax when it comes to securing them properly. Treat the internal door from your garage into your home like your front door, and make it as secure as possible with extra locks and reinforcements here.
Although costs can rack up when you’re burglar-proofing your house, reinforced doors are one of the most important defenses you should invest in. There are several ways to strengthen your doors, as seen here.
Professional burglars like to ‘scope-out’ potential targets by checking out the area surrounding your home. They look for hiding places and anything that could make a noise and alert people to their presence. The more layers of defense you build up in the grounds of your home, the less likely a robber will try breaking in.
Security lights act as an alert that someone is on your property. Install motion detectors in areas where no one should be and position the lights so you can see when they go on. Make sure they’re high enough that they can’t be knocked out of service.
A strategically placed holly bush or two can put off the bravest of burglars from trying to climb through your windows. If impaling intruders isn’t your bag, read this blog post for some less savage shrubbery ideas which can put burglars off.
Darkness provides great cover for thieves, so visibility is a key layer of defense. Invest in a set of hard wired lights (to cut battery costs) and make sure you establish a routine for their use as burglars often look for signs that you’re not at home. Set lights on a timer if you go on vacation.
Laying noisy gravel underneath your windows can deter even the most stealthy burglar by acting as an early alert. There are some great tips on getting your landscaping right here.
While a 150 pound rottweiler has the potential to frighten the life out out of most of us, you don’t need to open your home to a trained guard dog - a 15 pound chihuahua can put off a burglar just as easily if it makes enough noise.
The perimeter is less about stopping the bad guys and more about putting them off in the first place. This is your chance to say ‘we know you burglars are out there and we’re prepared, so don’t bother trying.’
We’ve been over this. but it’s worth repeating — whether you’re announcing that you have a security system, that you own a ferocious dog, or that you’re a member of a neighborhood watch, telling potential thieves that you mean business is a simple but effective layer of defense.
A low fence can be a great deterrent. On top of acting as a mental barrier to your property, it can slow a thief down by adding yet layer of defense. But remember, the fence should be high enough to act as a hurdle, but not so high as to conceal burglars from the street.
If you have a gate, especially at the side or back of your house, make sure you keep it locked. Even low level gates are a pain to climb over for a burglar trying to make a quick getaway with an armful of loot.
Layer 6 is all about extending your personal protection out in to your community. The better you get to know your neighbors, the more you can all help each other stay safe and secure.
Getting to know your neighbors means they’ll be able to spot unwanted visitors on your property. If you’re on vacation, ask them to empty your garbage and collect your newspapers to avoid telltale signs you’re away.
The same principle of lighting your yard applies here - burglars don’t like to be seen. If lighting is limited where you live, consider contacting your city officials.