Installing a security system has long been the first step individuals take in protecting their homes. At Cornhusker Security, we agree that a monitored alarm system is a fundamental tool. However, if a security system is doing its job, it means someone has already broken in! This is called Detection, the last of our “3 D’s” of home security. In this article, we will cover the other steps homeowners should be taking to prevent break-ins in the first place.
The large majority of home invasions are motivated simply by the desire to steal valuables. This means that a potential burglar has no predetermined target until he/she perceives an opportunity where the reward is greater than the risk. For example, lets suppose John Smith keeps his garage door open most days. He then buys an expensive new tool kit and begins storing it in the garage. Our burglar would view this as a very high reward to risk ratio. The odds of John walking out into his garage the moment the burglar decides to grab the tools is extremely low. What this means is, most burglars are looking for the easiest, lowest risk opportunities. This is why they target empty homes during the day or closed businesses at night. A potential confrontation is extremely risky, especially with the number of home/business owners with firearms. So, if we don’t want people breaking in to our home, the first step is to make it look like we’re home all the time! If you’re traveling, have a neighbor collect your newspaper and mail. Close curtains on windows with direct line of site into home. Place a lamp or two on a timer. These steps will at least create uncertainty as to if you’re home or not.
The next step we can take in Deterrence is to make our house appear well protected. Wether you actually own a security system or not, a security system yard sign and window stickers is a great idea. This telegraphs to a potential burglar “If you decide to break in here, the police will be coming.” If our burglar is scoping out your neighborhood, sees your house with a security sign and your neighbor without, which house do you think he will pick? On this same note, a “Beware of Dog” sign is a great additional option. This will make people afraid to climb over your fence, and once again, you don’t actually need to have a dog! Lastly, exterior cameras are a great idea. Not only do they provide you perimeter vision, but the fact they’re present is a huge deterrence in itself. Who wants to break in to a home when they know everything is being recorded? Also, a home with cameras would hypothetically allow the home owner to have the drop on and burglar (see them before they see you.) And once again, for this scare tactic, you don’t actually need to have an operational camera system. Dummy Cameras can be purchased for as low as $5, and are indistinguishable from the real thing. The one picture below even has a blinking red led just telegraph that much more its recording. It can be purchased here.
Alright, so now we’ve made our home look like an incredibly bad idea to break into. We’re home, have a security system, cameras and a ferocious dog in the back yard. But lets pretend our burglar is extremely motivated. Lets say he saw your new flatscreen TV through the window one day and just really wants it. What we now care about is ensuring it’s as hard as possible to get into are home. Theres the obvious basics, having your garage door shut, locking/bolting your exterior doors and locking windows. But there are actually steps beyond this you can take to reinforce these points of entry.
Door jammers, like the one shown above, simply install to your door frame. This particular model is designed to withstand up to 1000 lbs of force before giving in. (purchase here) This is huge, because over 90% of home intrusions occur through the front door. Most homes are equipped with whats considered a “grade 2” deadbolt on exterior doors. (unitedlocksmith.net) These locks are only expected to withstand 5 strikes with 75 lbs of force. This means a door with one of these installed will take drastically longer to kick in. If we wish to go a step further, there are door frame reinforcement kits which are designed to make your door “virtually impossible” to break in. (available here)
Now that our doors are indestructible, naturally our determined burglar will turn to our windows as his last resort. This is why we will install window security film. Security film is installed quite similar to how a car would have its windows tinted, it is an additional later applied to the inside of a window. The films strength is measured by its thickness in millimeters and is available all the way up to military grade, bullet proof. These thicker grades require professional installation and are quite pricy, but thinner films can be self installed and still drastically increase the time required to break through a window. Take a look at the demonstration below! (available here)
Okay, not only does our burglar not care about our warning signs, dogs or cameras, he also brought Dwayne Johnson along with him to break through your window. Now its time for your security system to do its job. Your glassbreak detectors will have been triggered the moment he first struck your window, alerting and dispatching the police. By the time the burglar manages to tear through this glass, chances are the police will be close if not already there. You will also have had plenty of time to react/respond to the intrusion. Any sane person would give up and run away if a window is being that difficult and a siren is already going off. This is the ideal way to have your home protected, using your system as a last line of defense, not the only line. When set up correctly, your security system can work in synergy with other protection measures to make your home a fortress.