Your family and you have returned from a wonderful evening, that included a movie with the kids, dinner at a fancy restaurant, and a leisurely drive along a starlit mountain road. Everyone is tired as you park the car in the garage and move to the comforts of home through the door in the garage leading to the interior of the home. Everyone unloads their things in migrates inside ready for a good night’s rest. The children move to their individual rooms where they ready for bed. Pajamas and teeth brushed, maybe a late night snack before venturing off to sleep. Your wife spends a few moments tidying up the kitchen, as you secure the exterior doors, and windows. Finally, you follow your bride into the master bedroom and perform your nightly routine readying for bed. Finally you slip off to sleep, dreaming of that new boat. You are shaken awake “I think someone is in the house” your wife says. You draw a golf club from your bedroom closet and venture out to investigate the noise. As you clear the bottom of the short stairway, movement in the corner of your eye grabs your attention, there is a human there, and he’s not related. He is dressed in a black hoodie, and black jeans. In his hand he holds a knife… What is the next move? This is where the rubber meets the road in home security. I will say that 85% of home invasions are random, opportunistic criminals, trying to get away with a quick something to pawn.
Greetings to all my friends (both new and old), to my wonderful family, my fellow Alaskans, and my fellow Americans, wherever you are. Welcome to the Alaska Outlaw podcast, I am the Alaska Outlaw, thank you so much for joining me this week. This week I hope to be your guide at actually putting rubber on the road, without an anchor in your wallet, to create partial security barriers out of everyday living conditions that might be just enough inconvenience to prevent random, opportunistic scumbags from violating the sanctity of your home. Before we get after it today, I’d like to make sure that, for those of you who seek peace and harmony, be sure to check out the Alaska Outlaw Forn-sidr podcast at http://forn-sidr.akoutlaw.com. Some good stuff for you there. Also, another second just to give a shout-out for our sponsors and affiliates:
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With all that administrative stuff out the way, let’s get down to brass tacks here. The reason we put this show together, and to this point several of you have sent some questions that I think are pretty relevant to our topic, and what a great place to start today by answering them.
John in New York asks: Why non-weaponized? John, this answer is actually pretty easy, not having a weapon when that moment happens, or not having the right training to deploy said weapon in a timely, or effective manner is my first reason. Honestly, having a bazooka in a studio apartment sounds really cool, but it doesn’t make sense. I’ll touch on it in few for ya John.
Maria in Colorado sent this: I don’t like guns, is this applicable for people like me? Maria that depends. It depends on why you don’t like firearms. If your concern is about harming others, then no, this method can actually induce more pain on the perpetrators. While the fatalities will be minimized, ceasing the advance of the suspect should be the overall objective of any security system, weaponized or not.
Dave from Washington State sent: I don’t have a lot of disposable money to invest in security systems. Is this method expensive? Dave, it depends on how secured you want to go. Many of these methods are fairly inexpensive, and don’t turn your home into a prison. Actually most are redeploying stuff you already have in a different way. However, like the TV show demonstrated, you have a huge spectrum of spending available.
Mark from Illinois asks, oh and Great name by the way: I have a lot of people in and out of my house at all hours of the day and night, can I use some of these methods? Mark, absolutely, in addition I would suggest some additional protocols for entry control as well. Having a better handle on pedestrian traffic through the perimeter of your security zone will go a long way at increasing your home security posture. We’ll talk about that here in a minute.
Tina from Utah says: I heard in an earlier show that you recommend calling the police. Couldn’t that actually make things worse? Tina, don’t believe the social media hype, no, if nothing else, having a 911 recording clearly recording your actions will go a long way in a court of law proving your self-defense claim.
If I didn’t get to your question, sorry about that, don’t worry this is the crux of what this show about so I’m sure we’ll get some more questions to answer in the future.
So, the minimization of weaponry in one’s defense of systems should be your ultimate goal, however, preventing unauthorized access to the inner sanctum of your home is the ultimate objective. The use of weapons (particularly firearms and bladed weapons) for defensive tactics should be reserved as a last resort or is the final line in the sand. The issue that rises when involving firearms and or other weapons is there is a necessity of training, and repetitive training, to ensure effective deployment, especially under a high pressure situation. The other factor to seriously consider is that the presence of (particularly) firearms, is that they tend to escalate tensions incredibly quickly, a knife fight quickly becomes a shoot out. Unfortunately, too often in modern day America, stray bullets missing their mark can cause lifelong collateral damage. Another factor would be the potential of inadvertently arming the scumbag, either by them getting to the weapon first, or a physical struggle happens, and you lose control of your weapon, now a robbery turns into a murder. Yours. So, there are many reasons I don’t recommend the immediate deployment of firearm weaponry in home defense situations unless you have received an advanced level of training.
So we have two different levels that we must talk about today:
- Home defense home defense should be purely non-weaponized.
- Personal could be weaponization depending on the physical in-justice between the attacker and the supposed victim.
Your home should be almost exclusively the mechanics and physics involved in the structure, and some common sense protocols. While I’ve discussed this in previous shows, I want to revisit it for those of you have just joined our rowdy bunch here at the Alaska Outlaw, but hopefully add some additional details to the higher levels provided before. So, in an organized fashion, I’d like to ask you to move toward the exit. Yep, we’ll start with the old front door.
Our front door should of fairly good construct. You can visit any home repair outlet and pick up what’s called a “solid core” exterior door. Now most exterior doors are, but you want something that’s got some “oomp” to it. Once you have that, or already did, the next thing to look at, the mount points. Typically exterior doors have five mount points, three hinges, a knob, and a deadbolt. These are the five locations that fail during a break in. Remember, we’re not looking for Fort Knox, we’re really looking to deter opportunistic shitbags (sorry about that one kids). So, we’ll start by looking at the hinges that came on your new door, or your old one for that matter, and note that the set screws that came with it are about 3/4 to an inch long. Nope, into the junk drawer they go. While you buying your new door, or separate trip, you are encouraged to pick up twelve (12) 4″ four inch screws. In the door frame the holds the hinge side of your door, there are two 2″ x 4″ boards back to back. So, instead of providing “just the tip” with those petty little things they sent, we’re going to drive our screws completely through both of those boards. This multiplies the resistance against mule kicks by an order of 100 times stronger.
Our next observation should be the other side of the door. The knobs don’t have a lot of flexibility in their robustness, however, simple is better here. When considering a knob, consider how it could be pried, or forced, in an attempt to gain entry. Again, if you’re really concerned, spend a little bit more on the door knob. Secondly, you want to make sure the catch (part of the knob assembly that goes in the door frame) is properly aligned and holds the door tightly against the stops. This simple step will ensure a higher rate of success for all five points working together. Finally, we reach the deadbolt in our tour around the door. Again, not very fancy here, however getting the bolt further into the doorframe snugly, will again further support your five failure points and provide an increased level of repelling those who might try kicking it in.
As we peer outside the main door, what do we see? If it’s a straight path out to the road, there are other things we’ll talk about in a second, but alas, do we have a screen, or storm door installed? If we do, does it open opposite to the main door? What this means is, if the hinges are on the left side of your main door, the storm door hinges should be on the right. This means that an intruder has to wiggle through the opening, providing another second of time, that we can ready ourselves.
Whew! We made it out the front door. However, we look down our walkway to the sidewalk that runs along our street. Now, I’m not a landscaper, but, I know if I change that straight path to something a little more crooked, or bent, I’m removing opportunity for criminals to dash in, and out. While, I’m not saying the bad guys are going to stay on the walkway, I am saying that if I’ve planted a sizable bush in the way that they have to avoid, I’m reducing the opportunities. Now, obviously fences are good for adding moments, they could be an additional line of defense to shrubbery and/or garden fences placed strategically. It’s hot out, I’m from Alaska, let’s get back in the AC. Even if you doorway leads to the hallway within your apartment, a large plant next to the door minimizes direct access.
Whenever we discuss security, we also have to include a section on protocols, as the most expensive home security system won’t do a damn bit of good if we never turn it on. What is a protocol you ask? Well, the protocol is an agreed upon ruleset to dictate how something is used. So, in this context, when considering the protocols, we consider ensuring that the front door has all locks engaged when going to bed each night. These protocols need to become habits, so, they are typically practiced every time the door is used. The control of what times of the day may be used (versus what time they are not), is helpful when dealing with teenagers. Alternative methods of entry can be established after a certain time of the day, as an example. These are the protocols I’m talking about. So, equally important to the hardware alterations we are making is the necessity for this protocols to be in place, set yourself up for success.
With the best practices identified before with the protocol section, we can now identify some other critical areas of your residence that you’ll need to consider when planning the best security posture you can get for the dollar. Primarily we focus our energies on security the ground floor as this will be the primary entry attempted by opportunistic criminals. Most home invasions do not involve a ladder truck to gain access to the second floor, but we’ll talk about other possibilities to consider. The next stop on our whirlwind tour of your home, will be the garage door. Obviously, without a garage door, you can skip that section.
The single largest entry into a home is the garage door. There are several conditions that we need to be cognizant of. The first would be the potential for a would-be invader of forcing the door open if its closed. Alternatively, we also need to check the programming on FOBs, or external keypads. Starting with the forced entry through the garage door, you can test this with a simple crowbar. Go outside, and using the crowbar attempt to pry the door up. See if you can get the belt to slip on your opener if you have one. So, there are a couple of things to look at here. The first is to put a manual slide (purchased at the same hardware store you got the door and knob before) block on the garage door itself which holds the door in place, this is the best option. This solution also assists in the “hacked” programming of your garage door opener. Other tactics used by scumbags are the watching users enter the code in a manual keypad, then simply stopping by in the middle of the night to use the code to gain access to the garage, and potentially the home itself. I will admit that I know several people who have replaced their drive belt on the garage door opener with a chain, the benefit there is that it becomes exponentially more difficult to make the belt slip when its a chain on sprockets.
All right, exterior doors now appropriately hardened against unauthorized access, now comes our windows. Windows are obviously a little more tricky when it comes to securing them, as they can be easily smashed out. Although not very popular among the dirtbag crowd due to the noise created when breaking a window, alerts the home owner or neighbor. A break-in through a window is a “work-day” type of threat, especially if the home is “out of view” of neighbors, a little more likely in that type of scenario. Throughout the years of working security details that included defensive perimeters around our client’s residence, all over the country, I must admit, the coolest tool I found for creating in inexpensive barrier (although not perfect by any means) was the east coast exterior shutters. When closed, they produce a semi-solid line of defense to the window beneath it. Another Idea when considering securing the windows from access, having “grills” within the glass pane provides a level of difficulty getting through the window space, although doesn’t prevent the window from being smashed, it does provide a level of visual beauty to the home in general. In addition, for ground level windows, again, shrubbery is our friend here. By strategically placing the shrubbery between the approach, and the window, you create a semi-soft barrier. Again, you’re adding time to your response.
So, with the windows under some level of control, we’ve hardened the front part of the perimeter, this means that we have to now look at our back yards. Back yards can be just as tricky as windows, as our major threat is the opportunist who comes off the street to make a quick score within our homes, however, more determined “night crawlers” are after those things in the back yard. All too often we have a tendency to forget about this side of the perimeter to our homes. Again, if we’ve covered the doors, and windows throughout the whole house, the issue of what types of things are left out in the yard is all we really have to concern ourselves with. We’ll talk in a minute about the “safe space” around our homes, but suffice to say, we need to ensure that the items left out in the yard are not as visible from the street (attractive to the scumbags). Keeping “toys” out of sight from the street is a good way to minimize the chances that the bad guys will investigate further, testing our yard perimeter security.
While, again, not very probable, there still remains a threat to the. second floor (this is for son who is concerned about the bad guys getting into his room at night on the second floor. This really comes down to accessibility. Keeping taller vehicles away from the home, removing branches that hang close to the home trimmed back, and locking ladders stored outside away from being utilized are all good methods to ensure that the bad guys can’t get up there. The idea that criminals come equipped with ladders to get up to the second floor doesn’t hold much weight in the security industry world, while many realize that it can happen, its likeliness is almost impossible. As mentioned throughout this show, most robberies are perceived opportunities to get a quick-hit that they can sell quickly for cash.
As I mentioned a little bit ago, identifying the safe space around your home is critical to the success of your security posture. Both from a fire safety perspective, as well as a security perspective, keeping a 10 – 15 foot zone around your home helps to ensure that criminals don’t have help getting up to the second floor (if you have one). If you decide to augment with a camera system, having a clear channel to record suspicious activity is ideal. Ensuring that the area directly around your home is clear of obstructions thereby allows the security cameras to provide some value to the security system as-a-whole.
Finally, just a note about outdoor lighting. While it is a great idea, it can be problematic for neighbors, and your electric bill, if they are left on all the time. Having motion detecting lighting covering all the areas of the perimeter of the home. Quickly alerts you and your neighbors to movement, even if you can’t visibly see it. Again, these lights don’t have to be search lights that turns night into darkness. A 60W bulb in unobstructed space casts a fairly good base of light. Many of the outside lights sold on the market today start about the 100W range. Again, turning the motion sensor to be “moderate” with shorter spans, becomes more like an alert beacon and flash bulb for any security cameras. Long periods of time can be problematic, and gives the criminals time to evaluate the shadows cast to avoid the light. Lighting is a very important part of perimeter security for your home.
In conclusion, we have looked at some ways to increase the security of your home. We’ve talked about many different ways to ensure we create a hardened security posture to keep ourselves and our families safe and secure. However, although we only touched on it briefly, the best solution is the idea behind establishing protocols for the security of your home. So, to this end, I’ve included some ideas that we have here at the home of the Alaska Outlaw.
- Watch the garage door close when inside the garage to ensure that no-one slips into the garage while the door is closing. By storing items to the outside of the vehicle along the sides, we can “force” the entry into a very small, very visible, pathway.
- Don’t open the doors unless you are sure of what’s on the other side.
- Keep the exterior doors locked during the day if you’re puttering around the house, or relaxing listening to music, this way you’re not surprised.
- Advise visitors that they should announce themselves, even if they visit frequently. This allows for the establishment of patterns that can be planned for, and possibly even trained for.
- Park away from the building. My truck sits in the driveway (too big for the garage), but I park back about 15 feet from the building. Sure Michael Jordon might be able to make that leap from the hood of my truck to the gutter on the second floor. I’m willing to accept the risk that most can’t.
- In my case, the rear perimeter of the yard is covered by canines, so while someone might get their hands on a four wheeler in the back yard, one of the canines is trained in threat neutralization… So, they will remember visiting this house.
Security posturing is a collection of pieces, not only is it the hardening of physical resources, but also protocols that can be programmed for into the overall establishment of the profile. Each piece that we add to our security position allows us to exponentially increase our security profile overall, so, while the costs here could run into the thousands of dollars to complete everything, even the small steps will benefit you and your family greatly.
As always from friends, I am honored that you have chosen to spend this time with me, and I look forward to your questions and meeting up with you again next week. Again, I invite you to check out Forn-Sidr for hope and inspiration, particularly during these challenging times of the pandemic. Good news is always welcome news. Thank you so much, Bless you. Be safe out there, think outside the box, keep you head on a swivel…. Peace.