At Cooking World, we group the topics people want to know about into a few basic categories, if you think about it. The primary goal of training or survival is to stay alive, but the disciplines that promote survival can easily be broken down into food, water, shelter, self-defense, and first aid. There are many other branches, but this is a simplified view of the priorities. Self-defense is more urgent, and our plans to strengthen the home are among the most important elements of initial survival we can discuss.
When I started preparing as a parent of young children, it was hard to say which element was most important to me, but I know that home defense was at the forefront. The idea that someone could break into my house and hurt someone in my neighborhood was scarier than any hypothetical armed struggle against mutant zombie gangs in a post-apocalyptic world. Burglaries happen every day, so my goal as a father, in addition to the general well-being of my family, was to ensure their safety.
Household strengthening is a complex issue, albeit for different reasons. There are no global solutions. We can make some assumptions, but since the Prepper Journal’s audience lives primarily in the United States, our collective domestic situations have some similarities.
In the US, the construction of modern homes does not focus on safety.
The most modern American construction consists of an outer slip layer for appearance rather than structural integrity – followed by plywood at 2 X 4 studs and drywall on the inside. We insulate about 15 to 20 cm of the surface with fiberglass to keep our house cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
We cover them with large windows and doors made of wood or fiberglass, which are usually also filled with lots of glass. Of course there are exceptions, but I bet most of our readers feel the same way.
Compare this with the construction of houses in other countries, where very often houses are built with much thicker walls, made of concrete blocks or poured with cement. Outside, there may even be concrete fences that form a 3-foot-high terrace, and steel fences. Our fences are usually only 1.5 to 2 metres high and are often transparent. Easily expandable for almost any child in the world.
Again: I leave most homes in the United States. They may have a reinforced bunker, and if so, that’s fine. This article is not for you. But for those of us in the United States (of which I am a part) who have these relatively weak structures we call our castle, there are ways to improve our chances of keeping someone without blowing up the bank.
How should you approach national capacity building?
When I think of fixing up a house, it’s always from a shop perspective. In the case of the burglar, if I’m not home, I want him to leave and not be able to come in. When I’m home, I want the preparations for fortifying my home to give me time to pull out my guns and prepare for the threat.
I do not consider any structure I have built, or could have built, to be an impregnable fortress that would stop a horde of rebels or a mob. If given enough time, the assigned forces will invade your home or destroy with you inside.
Of course we can make the access to our houses more complicated, and it is easy to do, but it will not turn your house into a medieval castle. Every step I take first warns me that someone from the outside is trying to get in and then, as an added bonus, saves me time to take action, which increases our security.
The decision on how I respond to an access attempt depends entirely on the threat posed by me. Again: Home defense is not the last position for me as a scenario if I can avoid it. If I have to run away from home to save my life or that of my family, that’s the plan.
In all these home improvement tips, we also take into account the type of threat you are facing. For most of us, protecting the home from burglary or intrusion will be insured. It is our job to make life difficult for the person who is trying to break into our home or, at best, who is not worth it and is completely bored with our home.
I’ll also talk about some ideas for fortifying your home in total anarchy if your HOA district won’t let you break up what you do in your yard, or if the situation is so bad you don’t care. We won’t really talk about the possibility of a sniper trying to take you out of your kitchen window, but it’s also a possibility in a networked world where you have food and someone is hungry.
Thinking of strengthening houses in layers
For our protection, we don’t care about the people in our house, we care about the people outside trying to get in. The first level of protection starts with the house itself and the access points that someone might use to gain access.
You may be thinking, why not the boundaries of your property? Don’t you want to know if someone was in your yard long before they came to your door? Yes and no. Yes, it would be helpful to know if anyone is in the yard, but he may be there by accident. They can’t try to break into your house either.
On the other hand, I don’t care if you know they’re in your backyard, but they can come and break down your door. Knowing they are coming is not the most important thing to worry about. It’s more important for me to warn them for as long as possible. In what follows, we will look at both.
Reinforcement structure of the house
According to the ADT, these are the most common entry points for home burglaries:
- Front door: 34% of burglars turn the door handle and go straight in.
- Ground floor windows: 23% use an open ground floor window to enter your home.
- Back door: 22% come in through the back door.
- Garage doors: 9% accessible through the garage.
- Basement: 4% choose the basement as their entry point.
- Unlocked rooms, hangars and warehouses: Another six percent will simply try to make an opening that is not closed.
- Second floor window : The cheeky 2% goes all the way to the second floor window.
This information indicates that all doors and windows on the ground floor should be prioritized when developing a home security plan. Yes, you can also reinforce the second floor window, but you can do it later, after you take care of the routes that 88% of the bad guys usually use to enter the house.
How can we make those relatively weak doors in your house much stronger and harder to get through or less desirable to the bad guy?
Security camera system
Why the camera system? The documentation should give the authorities something to look at and act as a deterrent. Thanks to a surveillance camera, you can see who appears at your door. There are many options for security cameras, battery or wired, Wi-Fi or wired, and on-site or cloud storage. With many, you can even now hear and talk to the person at the door.
One of the options I purchased, the Wyze Cam Outdoor, runs on batteries, connects to a modem and sends notifications to a mobile device via their application. The Ring is another option with a different price, but Amazon has a good reputation in the system, aside from some bad press due to a hack last year.
A security camera can be placed high enough above doors to be highly visible, and at least one study from NC University in Charlotte showed that 60% of burglars avoid homes with security systems, and a camera that monitors your every move counts as a security system.
One of the obvious drawbacks of any technology, such as a security camera, is that it requires energy, and in this case the internet. If the network goes down, you probably won’t be able to use the Wi-Fi option, even if there is a generator.
But the CCTV camera is only one component, the physical door is really the weakest link. When you think about what makes your home door safe, the connection points are very thin. Wooden doors, especially hollow wood doors, are less resistant to physical abuse than steel doors. In the US it is not a solid steel door, but steel panels wrapped around the frame, but it is the best frame to start with.
Replacement steel doors are relatively inexpensive and, unless you add a lot of glass (~$200), they’re the best choice for home security. They will also last longer.
Now that you have a steel door, it’s time to really fix your door. A modern American mirror door is attached to the hinges with screws that are usually no more than an inch long. The latch and deadbolt are recessed into the door, usually leaving no more than a quarter of the door surface on either side.
The lock case takes up most of the door, but the flesh of the wood that is supposed to hold the lock (and you are safe) is unfortunately insufficient to withstand the force of a hard blow, let alone a break-in with a drum or crowbar.
Most door failures occur at the lock case location because the wood and usually the screws holding the plates are not strong enough.
Come in through the armored door.
Door Armor (formerly EZ Armor) is an easy-to-install retrofit kit with thin steel spacers that greatly increase the strength of your door and strengthen its weak points. There are covers for the hinge plates, locking cores and the post itself and 3 screws ½.
I installed it on our exterior doors and the process was quick and painless. We now have a much more difficult door to break through by conventional means.
A relatively inexpensive addition or alternative to the Door Armor solution, but one that has a bit more of a medieval feel to it. This is a simple bracket in which you can slide a 2×4 door, which makes the door even stronger. Place the brackets on the wood to which the door bracket is attached and slide a 2×4 between the door and the brackets.
This is just one example, but there are many (cheaper) door barricade holders designed to be mounted in 2×4 as a door support. They can save their installation if the network goes down.
However, these improvements in door security depend on how you lock the door and apply these safeguards. Many of us leave the door open when we are home because we live on a quiet street or our neighbors are watching over us. Whatever your excuse, if your doors are unlocked, you lose the purpose of strengthening your home, no matter how abused your doors may be.
The second most common point of entry for burglars, windows are harder to secure, but there are methods you can use to stop someone or get them to try another house.
The first is obvious. If your windows are unlocked, you are giving a burglar an easy way to get in. We have replacement vinyl windows with a locking mechanism that prevents the windows from opening more than about 6 inches. If we have the windows open, no one can get in, but that wouldn’t be stupid. Someone could walk in there, turn it around and open the window wide.
Ordinary windows break easily, as you may know, but window film is an excellent renovation solution that can be installed by you or a team of professionals and add serious protection. The 3M Safety and Security film strengthens the glass against penetration and burglary. The video below shows the increase in protection. According to their tests, their foil saves you up to 2 minutes of extra time when someone tries to enter. Imagine what you could do in two minutes.
My house has 27 individual windows on the ground floor (some combined). We don’t have a big house, but we do have a few shops, so it all adds up. Window security film is not the cheapest solution, but it is not incredibly expensive considering the benefits you get from it. The window film is practically invisible, but we have extra protection to save time.
There are many options for window films, and installing them yourself can save you money. Window film has a self-adhesive backing, so you apply it the same way you apply window tint to your car. It takes patience, but it’s just a DIY project. If you can work with a rubber squeegee and a baby bottle, you should have no problems.
In addition, many of these window films reduce UV radiation and therefore have other benefits. Window security film seems to be the best / only option for French doors as well.
Window safety panels
Another standout option is window security panels, which ensure that no one has access to your windows. Generally speaking, window closures do not prevent a window from being broken into or a smaller object from entering. They are usually seen in high density complexes such as. B. in apartments or windows on the ground floor of certain buildings. Some are designed to prevent children from falling, but there are also exterior window protectors that can have the opposite effect.
A more serious option is plywood on windows. They are usually seen in foreclosed homes or during hurricane season on the east coast. Plywood will protect your windows, but you won’t see it, and I’m not sure I ever want to do that.
You could cut slots in the plywood to shoot, but that would weaken them, and by the time you do that, the bullets will probably be flying around the house anyway. Plywood should ideally be pre-cut and ready to hang, but it’s a pretty good price compared to the likelihood of you needing it.
You will also need to store the plywood while you wait for it to be installed. 27 sheets of plywood take up a lot of space AND, it’s not cheap right now with a 4×8 sheet costing almost $50 where I live.
Important note – Make sure the output is not blocked. In the event of a fire, you must be able to get out quickly and safely. Make sure your protection doesn’t prevent you from walking away if you need to.
Recognize when a person is out of the house.
Motion sensor lights have been around for a long time and are useful, but I think only a very scared intruder would be scared when the lights come on. If your home is equipped with motion detectors, are they likely to be on all the time, alerting you and your neighbors when they are on?
They help you, and if someone is outside your house, it’s better to be able to see them clearly than to see them hiding in the shadows.
Man’s Best Friend
There is no better way than a good dog to know if someone is outside your home. Now, there are many other things that come with having one of these four-legged creatures in your life besides protection, but they are invaluable in the process.
Even the smallest person biting his ankle can alert you if someone is there. I recommend a dog big enough to make you think before you go in. They don’t have to be trained killers, but the person breaking in doesn’t know what that dog is capable of.
Detection of persons at the boundary of your property
The last line of defense for me is your property line. Depending on the size of your home, this can be simple or complicated. If you live in an apartment complex, your home may not start until you reach your front door. Those who have a few acres may have their property within a few hundred yards of their home.
For the purpose of this home repair article, we will assume that you have less than an acre, so you can easily see all the boundaries of your home. In an apartment complex, you probably have neighbors on two or even three sides.
For most of us, anything other than visual recognition is probably problematic. They can have trip wires and motion sensors, both of which can be triggered by falling animals, sticks or leaves. All it takes is for the site alarm to go off at 3am and you turn it off, which is counterproductive. If you have a wired trigger alarm installed, you may need to reset it every time a rodent enters the house.
Besides, someone in the yard is not necessarily a threat. And it’s not a case that would normally warrant lethal force.
We hope this gives you ideas on how to better enhance your home with relatively inexpensive solutions. If you won the lottery and decided to build this mountain bunker, send me some pictures.
For the rest of us, in the absence of total anarchy, the above measures will make your home much safer and much harder to break into. What are your tips for strengthening the home?
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