It’s becoming more and more important to harden your home against invasion, especially in this increasingly hostile world we live in.
Home invasions are on the rise and the idea of a safe neighborhood is becoming rare. There’s a growing number of instances where the intruder simply walked through an open garage or unlocked front door.
Further, there is a misguided belief that home invasions won’t happen in my neighborhood. My neighborhood is too nice for crime or my neighbors will watch out for me. I chalk this way of thinking up to a bad case of normalcy bias.
As the old saying goes, locks only keep honest people out, right? Well, that is true, but the fact is, the biggest reason bad guys don’t invade your home is the fear of getting caught or injured not because your door is locked.
This article was written to help you harden your home against home invaders and in the event that they come looking for you in an SHTF situation.
15 Simple Things You Should Be Doing to Prevent Home Invasion
So, here are a few tips you need to exercise even though they should be common practice already.
- Never open your door to strangers, many thieves disguise themselves as salesman or repairmen
- Lock all exterior doors and windows even when you are home
- Keep your master bedroom & bathroom doors locked when in use and certainly if you are home alone
- Use nightlights in heavily traveled areas
- Keep a radio or TV on if you are not home or home alone
- Remove objects intruders can use to hide behind near the exterior of your home
- Don’t stash a key anywhere outside your home exterior
- Don’t leave garage door openers in your cars parked outside the garage
- Keep your outdoors well-lit or have security lights
- Consider arming yourself with a firearm or at the very least, pepper spray
- Pay attention to your surroundings, everywhere
- Organize with neighbors and set up a watch
- Know your neighborhood
- Keep mail and newspapers picked up regularly, have a neighbor get your mail and paper if you are going to be gone long
- Have a plan and practice that plan
How to Harden Your Home Against Intruders
According to the FBI, more than 2 million homes are burglarized in the United States every year. In essence, someone is breaking into a home somewhere in the U.S.A. about every 13 seconds.
You can bet this number will go up exponentially in an SHTF situation.
You may think that the deadbolt on your front door will keep a thief out, but your door can still easily be kicked in. The deadbolt is only penetrating the wood of your door frame and your door frame is fairly thin.
Windows are even easier to overcome by breaking the glass, and again, the only thing keeping this from happening more often is the offender’s fear of getting caught or getting hurt.
What Can I Do to Prevent Home Intruders?
Install a Home Security System
Avoid being a victim by installing a home security system. There are more companies than ever to choose from so finding the right one has become easier. You can get plans with no contract, plans with contracts or systems that you install and monitor yourself.
First thing I want to clarify is that there’s a difference between burglar alarms and a home security system. A burglar alarm will have door and window sensors and can alert authorities if an intruder trips the sensors.
A home security system provides additional benefits such as the ability to warn you about environmental issues, such as fire, carbon monoxide and flooding.
Here are some things to consider when deciding on a security system
- Make sure it operates even during a power outage
- Security systems come in different options and sizes, make sure the one you choose will be enough to secure all points of entry in your home and more
- Choose one that fits your budget, but this is an investment that can easily pay for itself in one use so the more quality the better
- If you are not comfortable installing a system yourself, choose a company with great feedback to install your system
- If you have elderly in your home, consider the addition of personal security, this allows the authorities to be notified in case of falls or other injuries
- Choose your provider carefully, how long have they been in business, what is their BBB rating?
At the very least, you can install motion activated lights on the interior and exterior of your home.
And as insignificant as it sounds, just applying security system stickers to your windows and doors that signal you have a security system can discourage potential intruders!
How to Harden Your Doors Against Invasion
For most bad guys, the first point of entry will be a door. That is why it is so important to harden them against forced entry.
Do a yearly inspection of your door frames for damaged or rotting wood and replace faulty or worn-out locking mechanisms.
If any of your exterior doors do not have a deadbolt, install one. Purchase a deadbolt that goes further into the wall than a standard deadbolt. Further, remove the small screws from your current strike plate and install longer screws. The typical screw that comes with a standard deadbolt kit is about one inch. Consider replacing them with a three-inch heavy-duty screw that goes well into the wall stud.
If you have the budget, reinforce all the hardware on your doors with heavy duty door armor.
This way, the entire door frame would have to be severely damaged before the door could be penetrated.
Although easily defeated, adding a secondary lock to screen or storm doors is a great idea. The noise alone may discourage an intruder. And, that few-second delay may be just enough time for you to get out or get armed.
A door security bar is also a great way to add some defense to your entryway. They are affordable, made of strong steel, and easily installed when you are home. A security bar works on both hinged and sliding doors and gives you some added fortification to prevent forced entry.
How to Harden Your Windows Against Invasion
Windows are a weak spot in your home defense simply because they are… well… glass. A burglar can simply gain entry by throwing a rock or swinging a hammer through the window.
That being said, there are things you can do to help with preventing entry through windows.
Simple Things You Can Do to Protect Windows from Forced Entry
Install a secondary locking mechanism on windows to stop them from opening past a particular point.
If you decide to purchase a security system, make sure the windows have a vibration or glass-break sensor installed.
Installing solar screens not only help with cooling your home in hot weather, but it can also add some privacy. Remember the movie Home Alone? Burglars love to window shop.
Although it is expensive, if you have the budget, look into anti-break window film. If you really have a high budget, you could install bulletproof glass, but this is a preppers dream (at least it is for me).
Secure your basement windows with bars or other forms of protection and prevent prowlers from being able to see in.
Don’t forget to secure windows that have window AC units installed. The AC unit can easily be removed from the outside.
Add a wooden dowel or 1×2 in the track of all sliding glass doors. This will prevent them from being opened if the lock has been compromised. You can also add the dowels to windows jams.
Finally, don’t forget about your skylights. Many burglars have entered through this overlooked window. Heavy-duty anti-break film and heavy-duty hardware are the only options here other than preventing access to the roof.
How to Harden Your Home Interior
Some folks only use their home security system when they are away. But there’s a clear advantage to using the alarm system when you are home as well. In the event of a home invasion, the alarm will give you an early warning to implement your emergency plan, it will alert the alarm company to contact the authorities, and it may scare off the intruders.
Create a Family Emergency Plan in Case of Intruders
- Family Centric Communication: Create a clear system of simple verbal commands·
- A Safe Room: Plan a place to go if retreat is necessary, the physical barrier will keep you safe while you call 911, arm yourself, manually activate your alarm, and wait for help. Choose a safe room wisely and consider changing out the door for a solid core exterior door and deadbolt.
- Provide Adequate Cover for protection and backup communication within your safe room.
- Install Indoor Security Cameras and make sure you have access to these cameras from your cell phone and within your safe room.
- Get a dog and train them to notify you in case of an intruder.
Don’t let others tell you that this type of action is paranoid. The last thing you want is for a family member to get hurt and even though it sounds tough, you really don’t want to have to kill anyone either.
Preventing home invasion is well worth the time and money, after all, your home is probably your biggest investment.
I want you to be prepared for these situations and give you options and peace of mind.