Don’t just assume you are safe just because you’re home.
How many crimes happen IN the home while it’s occupied? We tend to let our guard down when we’re home—do you walk around armed the whole time? Most of us (including myself) will answer no. I am in a privileged situation where I do not have children in the home so I can leave a firearm next to me on a table. If you have children the next best option would be a quick access safe. It may take a second to get to it, but hopefully you set up layers of security and know what’s going on before you need your shooting iron.
The Military calls it a Range Card/Sector Sketch. The point of a Range Card is that the soldier becomes more familiar with the terrain in his area of operation. And that’s one of the first things we need to figure out. What are the vehicles that belong in your neighborhood? What are everyone’s schedules? Sure I am asking you to be a busybody like Martha down the street … but guaranteed she knows what’s up.
Here is a prime example: A teenage neighbor has a boyfriend who drives a small pickup truck. It shows up at all hours, even in the middle of the night. So when the cameras alert me to someone parked in front of the house at 2 a.m., I know they belong there. I have even gone above and beyond and exchanged phone numbers with neighbors. I saw a weird person digging through items in a neighbor’s shed, placed a quick phone call to an at-work neighbor, and learned he had hired a new pest control company that apparently does not wear uniforms or marked vehicles. No harm, no foul, just neighbors looking out for one another.
Next layer of security is going to be a camera system and maybe an integrated alarm system. Spend the money and make sure that you can access it online. I personally use the Ring cameras with professional monitoring. I don’t want to be tech support and the Ring system just works.
It started with a doorbell, then we added flood light cameras. Then the rest of the alarm system for wind breaks, fire and carbon monoxide monitoring. For $10 a month you can’t beat it, and I can easily use my phone to monitor 360 around the house.
The best thing about an active system is that when motion is detected you can get alerts and things like lights will come on. Criminals like easy targets and a full set of cameras can be a deterrent all on its own. On a side note, no matter what monitoring system you use, make damn sure your address is correct. They call this the 911 address and most of us use our cell phones, if you are not home this does not help you. With Ring not only did I add our address, I was able to update animal info and even pre tell them things like what fire department actually covers my neighborhood.
I am exactly 100 feet into a different fire jurisdiction, this buys me precious time since they do not have to be transferred. Last bit of advice with an alarm…Arm the damn system! It is easy to get complacent and not set it.
Moving into the yard! Let’s start thinking like a criminal. Instead of looking out of your yard, go in the street and stare back at your home. Are your cars locked? Do you have valuables sitting out? My neighbors leave utility trailers and riding lawn mowers unsecured in their front yards. Criminals call that easy pickings.
Do all of your exterior lights work? Are there hiding spots in the shadows for nefarious people to lurk? If so, this is where you need to start addressing the problems. You now have an excuse to do some beautification. A great trick to protect windows is a thorny bush like roses. I love spiny cactus, bad guys don’t. Are you open to owning a dog? Us country folk have always used dogs as a form of alarm system, they hear things way before you can. And the loud bark lets everyone know something has been spotted.
Another point: Don’t leave a shopping menu for criminals on your lawn. Just like my vehicle, I do not use my home to advertise that I own firearms. Signs like “This house is protected by Smith & Wesson,” or “We don’t dial 911” only advertise that this is the house you need to hit as soon as it is unoccupied. Especially true during holidays, it is not smart to pile all the boxes from things like your new Play Station 5 next to the trash…you are adverting goodies.
How about hardening your entrances? For our perimeter doors reinforcement is usually required. Using longer lag screws that actually reach the door frames does wonders. Instead of big windows on perimeter doors I like to drill and install peep holes like in hotel doors. Under no circumstance am I going to open the door for a stranger until I can vet them through the video doorbell or peep hole. This seems like common sense but use the dead bolts. Most doors come with multiple locks, and many of us do not use all of them. And don’t forget to set your alarm even when you are home.!
In cyberspace, operational security is important. I think it’s funny when friends post pictures that they are leaving for the week to go to Panama City headed for the beach. You just advertised that your home is empty and ripe for the taking. This is hard especially for me, I live my life online. How are others going to know how great my life is?
The truth of the matter is that a skilled, professional thief is very difficult to deter. The point is to not openly advertise you have what the bad guy wants, and to make your home look like more trouble than it’s worth. Break it down into perimeters and look at it through the eyes of a thug. Best thing you can do hands down is even at home keep your head on a swivel, don’t let your guard completely down.
James the “XDMAN” Nicholas, Mr. UnPewFessional Himself
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