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Guest Post: 5 Weakest Links in Home Security

You know what they always say – “you’re only as strong as your weakest link.” This age-old adage can also be true when it comes to home security. In the interest of ensuring the comprehensive protection of your humble abode, take a look at the five weakest links in home security:

DIY systems

There are times to do things yourself, and then there are times to consult a professional. When it comes to home security, you’ll want to do the latter. While you may save money by installing your own security system, an improper installation and a lack of outside monitoring could leave you vulnerable to a myriad of threats. There are many home security providers – see Totalalarmsystems.com for an example – that offer 24/7 wireless monitoring for a very reasonable price.

Doors without deadbolts

One of the first things a burglar will look for is whether a home’s doors are equipped with deadbolts. Deadbolts make it much harder for an intruder to dismantle or destroy a door frame in order to get inside your home.

There are three different types of deadbolts: single cylinder deadbolts, double cylinder deadbolts and keyless entry deadbolts.

Single cylinder deadbolts typically meet the needs of most homeowners. However, you may want to consider double cylinder deadbolts if you have doors with glass windows. Since you need a key to operate the lock on both sides of the cylinder, an intruder will not be able to open the door by breaking a window. Finally, keyless entry deadbolts – which are becoming a more popular option for homeowners – are locked and unlocked by entering a code on a numeric keypad. Some of these locks can even be operated by a remote device – similar to a remote keychain lock for your car.

Large bushes and shrubs

One thing is true for all intruders – they don’t want to be seen. While bushes and shrubs may make your yard more aesthetically pleasing, they can also make your home a more pleasing target for burglars who are looking to move around unseen. Consequently, you should make sure to trim or remove hedges so would-be burglars are unable to hide on your property.

Inadequate lighting

Keep the aforementioned point about intruders and conspicuity in mind. Along with tall bushes and shrubs, darkness is a burglar’s biggest ally because it also helps them approach a house by stealth. Therefore, you should always keep the outside area of your home well-lit. You can buy motion-activated floodlights at your local hardware store for around $20-$30. By eliminating an intruder’s most important advantage – the ability to move around surreptitiously – you will significantly minimize the chance of a break-in.

Human error

“We’re only human, right?” Everyone has those momentary memory lapses, or brainfarts, when you completely forget to do something important – like arm your security system when you go to sleep or leave the house. Unfortunately, an unarmed system is not going to help keep you safe from burglary, fire and other potential threats. So, if your brain has chronic gas, it’s a good idea to help yourself remember to activate your system when you need to. One great way to do this is to simply leave a sticky note by the keypad or door to serve as a reminder. Also, in the interest of avoiding false alarms and taking full advantage of your home security system, it’s imperative that everyone in your household knows how to activate and deactivate your alarm.

 

© 2013, Rourke. All rights reserved.

6 comments to Guest Post: 5 Weakest Links in Home Security

  • Carl C Prescott

    A double cylinder dead bolt is not a good idea. If your smoke alarm goes off at night, no electricity for lighting, lots of smoke in the house, and you run to the door….. Oops, now where is that key??
    Better not to have a window adjacent to the door.

  • DHConner

    Single key locks are suitable for closets and bedrooms, workshops in the home, and other places you don’t want people or kids wandering into. Also keeps snoopy or sticky fingered service personnel like electricians, plumbers, carpet cleaners and so forth from getting access to places they have no business being. But they are NOT, with respect to the poster, suitable for home entryways. Double key deadbolts are the only rational means.

    A double key cylinder deadbolt (key way on both sides of lock) is EXACTLY what you should have. Medeco is the best, requiring 17 separate points of congruence to operate. They have never been picked, are used in jails, psychiatric hospitals, and other places requiring high security. Not cheap, about $200 each, and $13 for extra keys. Each dealer has a unique keyway, and only they can supply keys. You must sign a card of authorization, and present ID when getting extra keys. The locks themselves are made in a completely sealed “factory within a factory” arrangement, and only authorized persons with correct ID can enter.

    The door is still a problem, even with the best locks. The solution to that is to make sure the hinge pins cannot be removed with out having the door open first. The procedure is: 1-use 1/8″ drill to drill from the outside of the fixed hinge sections 1/2 way into the hinge pin; 2-use the tap you bought to fit the hole and thread it. Be careful, taps are hard but not strong-3- screw the Allen screws you bought to fit the tap you used to thread the hole you drilled to start this business. If you tap from the inside with the door closed, you have wasted your time-anybody can use a Allen wrench (hex key) to remove the screws. Having drilled from the outside with the door open, not even you can get at the screws.

    If the door is hollow core, get solid wood doors. If they are cheapo metal ones, which will fold if properly kicked, get solid wood core doors. Get number 16 to 10 4″ screws to secure the hinges to the framed and the door. Put some of the 10′s in the frame near the lock bolt opening.

    Any window large enough to admit a human body can be broken for entry. The way to foil that is to use 1/2″ plexiglass or armored glass. Once entry is made, if single key deadbolts are used , the doors can easily be unlocked, and then your entire home can be completely stripped.

    I worked with a man in Chicago who went home after work to find exactly that. The sinks, toilets, air conditioning, light fixtures, stove, refrigerator–everything was gone-even the furnace. His neighbors said they had a moving van with a name on it and thought he was moving out. The thieves were so calm and deliberate no one suspected it was a brazen as hell theft in progress. He didn’t come to work Monday, and we were all amazed to hear him tell what happened. Others said they had heard of this sort of whole-house theft before, as had my friend. I, being from small town Iowa, had never heard of such a thing.

    Now, as to emergency situations of any kind: My Grandma taught me to always keep a flashlight and my keys on a night stand by the bed. I have augmented that by adding a 15 million candlepower searchlight on the floor, and a .45 automatic under my pillow, with 2 extra magazines. The pistol holds 14 in the magazine and 1 in the chamber. Full count is 14X3=42; 42+1=43 before I run dry. My wife has a .357 Mag with 5 shots-it’s just a2″ barrel.

    When we leave the house, all small valuables, and prescription drugs, are locked in the gun safe. The only way in or out is through the windows, and only the center front window will allow anything large to be removed. Double hung, they are blocked with 1″ oak dowels cut to exact length to keep them from being raised.

    If they really want in, they will get in. But, we don’t need to make easy for them to get in or out, do we?

    Respectfully

  • Great info, very helpful. Thanks for this.
    ——————————————–
    Family Survival Course Book

  • Vic

    First off.. if you do not have time or the energy by all means contact a competent alarm company and have them do the installation for you..

    Here is something to consider when using audible alarms and alarms which contact an Alarm Companies Monitoring Service..

    If the Police are called to you home for any reason.. As wrong as it may be they have the right to enter your home and do a “cursory search”. Speak to all the persons present individually.. Now this makes some sense however here is the problem. The police have repeatedly been reported as making use of phony 911 calls and other mechanisims to gain entry into peoples homes and make contact with residents. SWATTing is a well known technique being used by a number of parties. This is where some disgruntled or vengeful person calls and attempt to precipitate a confrontation between police and the people living in a home that the vengeful/political opponent has targeted..

    Further repeately triggering alarms is a technique used by crimminals and others seeking to gain entry to a home or other facility. The homeowner in exasperation and or not wanting to be fined/ticketed by Police for multiple false alarms shuts the system off rendering it worthless..

    Something else to keep in mind wireless systems by FCC Rules must not interfere with other devices but must tolerate interference.. Now on the surface this means little but underneath it is defacto authorization for those with the resources to disable your wireless system unbeknownst to you.

    Ok So what do you suggest?

    Well first off do not dismiss a wireless system out of hand.. If you are renting, not technically inclined, do not have a few days (as the work will be something new not because it will be terribly difficult) to install a hardwired security system. Go with a wireless system, if you can see your way to use the company recommended by the Rourke by all means support companies which support the prepper community.

    My reccomendation in terms of the ideal.. A hard wired system.. Sensors at all openings.. (they can be screen mounted as well so you can have a window open or you can even configure sliding windows to be opened to a certain point and if opened further will trip the alarm. At least one trap inside. Ideally between the sleeping areas and the rest of the house. Indoor traps (Passive Infared Sensors or Mat Sensor must be able to be disabled seperately from the external opening sensors (doors and windows) so one can move freely in the house without tripping the alarm.. Cameras at least covering entrances and one as part of the “Trap” inside (more on that later)

    Ok I said something about problems with false alarms.. IMO the old sirens, calling a security company who contacts the police are both problematic and should probably be avoided by Preppers especially (unless you want “authorities” wandering thru you home “exploring” finding your secret stash of Jello..:)

    IMO what you want is for the alarm system to notify you.. If you are home it needs to tell you where the fault (entry/attempted entry) has/is occurring (That information should be available by your bedside at minumum.) If you are off at work you need the system to notify you at which point you need to remotely access your cameras and determine if the spouse or kids came home early and failed to disable the indoors trap or if there be Bad Guys in da house. Then you can decide the appropriate response.. Contanct the Police, call your Prepper neighbor or call in an Air Strike..lol

    Can you do this?.. Yes.. It will take some patience and effort and I suggest you get with a fellow prepper or two since some of the tools you will need and supplies can be had in larger quantities cheaper and the installation process will go easier with Fred in the attic than your better half.. (Everyone will yell much less) lol..

    Wired Systems? there are many companies.. Ademco has been around 40+ years and I saw some of their boxes for sale reciently.. They have a good track record…

    Battery Backups of course and for your Cameras as well. They can be all be powered by the same backup source but get out your calculator to determine Gauge of wire required to provide so much power at such distances. (Yeah math again)..lol

    Can you really make it work? Well yes.. This monkey was being driven down the road by one of his adult kids 400 miles from the place where a similar system was installed.. On the Laptop watching people walk by the front of the house.. ..If a dolt like me can do it.. You certainly can..
    Just go slow and think things thru..

    Vic.

    Lots of lucks…

  • Rourke

    Thanks Vic –

    Great info.

    Rourke

  • Jeff in FLA

    Beware of “outside monitoring.” You have NO IDEA what is being done with the information feed being “monitored”

    The best bet is a survival type community scenerio, allowing physical safeguarding at all time by those you trust and confide in, not some electronic network fully surpassable by new laws or executive orders that leaves you more vunerable than having no security system at all really.
    Yes.. consider me paranoid….