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Fortifying Your Home Against Hardened Criminals

Fortifying Your Home Against Hardened Criminals  The world is getting more dangerous all the time. According to the latest FBI statistics, a burglary happens somewhere in the United States every 15 seconds. Even more startling than that, more and more of these burglaries are actual home invasions, where the criminals are forcibly entering the home while people are there. When that happens, the possibility for violence is extremely high.

Conventional wisdom says that putting a deadbolt on your door and locking your windows is enough to keep those criminals out. But that same conventional wisdom believes that locks only keep honest people honest. If all you’re worried about is honest people, then by all means follow that conventional wisdom. But if you’re worried about hardened criminals, you need to harden your home.

The truth is that any average-sized man can kick his way through a dead-bolted door fairly easily. The weak point isn’t the deadbolt itself or even the door; it’s the door frame. Most entry doors have wood frames, which are ¾-inch thick pine. The deadbolt is mounted with only half an inch of material between it and the edge of the door frame. So that nice, solid deadbolt breaks right through the door frame when a boot is applied to the door, giving the criminals access to your home.

Windows are even worse. Anyone who thinks locking a glass window will keep people out has never broken a drinking glass by dropping it on the floor. Glass is extremely fragile, so locking the glass window really doesn’t accomplish a whole lot.

How To Defend Yourself And Your Family Against The New Breed Of Lowlife Criminal Scum

Criminals gain access to homes through the doors and windows, particularly ones on the front of the house:

  • 34 percent enter through the front door.
  • 23 percent enter through first floor windows.
  • 22 percent enter through a back door.
  • 9 percent enter through the garage.
  • 6 percent enter through unlocked storage areas.
  • 4 percent enter through a basement window or door.
  • 2 percent enter through a second floor window.

With that in mind, hardening your home means making it hard for the criminals to get through those most-common entry areas. That’s actually not all that hard.

Hardening Your Front Door

The front entry door is the most common entrance used by thieves. You can make it almost impossible for them to kick their way in by just adding a few security items to your door.

To start with, install security hinges. These are normal door hinges with a small deadbolt-like feature. The “bolt” is stamped out of one side of the hinge and fits into a hole in the other side. While not as strong as an actual deadbolt, you have to remember that there are three of them. Mount the hinges with 3-1/2 inch case-hardened screws, so that the screws go through the frame and well into the 2″x 4″ structural stud behind it. That way, the stud is what’s absorbing the force, not just the door frame.

For the lock side of your door, you can replace the standard striker plate with a security striker plate. This is a longer plate, which combines both the door lock and deadbolt into one. Screw mounting is provided for above, below and between the two locks. By using the same 3-1/2 inch case-hardened screws, you get a fairly secure locking plate.

How To Hide Your Guns, And Other Off-Grid Caches…

If your door lock and deadbolt are mounted at a non-standard distance from one another, you can make your own security striker plate. This is actually better, as you can make it longer. I like mine about three feet long. That allows for more mounting screws, spreading the force of any kick farther.

One more valuable security addition to your door is the door club. This device mounts to the bottom of your door and goes into a striker that is mounted into your floor. That way, any force is dissipated through the floor, which is much stronger than the wall. While a bit inconvenient to use, the door club makes any door much more secure.

Hardening Your Windows

Glass windows don’t provide much security — except against those honest people who don’t want to break them. However, there are two different ways that you can secure them, eliminating them as an access point for criminals.

Image source: Mirror.co.uk

The first way to burglar proof your windows is to install burglar bars. These are metal bars which are mounted over the window and attached to the wall. Even if an intruder breaks the glass, they can’t get through the metal bars. About the only thing they can do is to attach a chain or cable to the window bars and pull them off the side of your home with a truck. Most criminals aren’t willing to be quite that obvious.

These window bars can be mounted on the outside or inside of your windows. That makes for a nice option for those who don’t like how they look on the outside of the home. While there are commercially available window bars available from most home-improvement centers, you’re much better off having them custom made, as they will be stronger.

Another option for securing windows is window security film. This plastic film adheres to the inside of the window pane. Like the front windshield on a car, the window film prevents the window from breaking out of the frame, even if it shatters. To break out a window with security film on it requires breaking the glass all the way around the window, a time consuming operation.

These window films come in various thicknesses, ranging from two milliliters thick up to 12 milliliters thick. The thicker the film, the stronger it is. Don’t mistake tinting film for security film; while they look similar, the tinting film adds almost no strength to the glass for security.

Any glass in the front entry door needs to be treated in the same way as the windows to make them secure.

Other Entrance Points

While the front door and windows are the prime entrance points, it is necessary to secure all entry points, especially those on the ground floor of the home. Many homes’ back doors are sliding glass patio doors. These are the most insecure entry you can have on a home. All that anyone needs to do is throw a rock through them or hit them with an axe from your shed — and they can get into the home.

The best thing to do with these doors, from a security point of view, is to replace them with a standard door. That way, it can be secured in the same manner that the front door is secured. Another alternate way of securing these doors is to treat them like the windows in the home — putting burglar bars over them or security film on the inside of them. Either one will make a lot of difference.

Garage doors and outside basement doors aren’t as common an entry point, but are often overlooked when making a home more secure. This leaves them as an easy way into the home. Each exterior door should be treated the same way, including putting a peep hole in the door so you can look outside before opening it. As an added measure of security, the door between the garage and the house should be treated like an exterior door.

How About the Walls?

Hardening walls is difficult. Fortunately, most criminals won’t try to gain access through a wall. However, it is possible that a criminal with murderous intent might try to shoot through a wall. A brick wall will stop almost all handgun rounds (with the exception of magnum rounds), but not rifle rounds. A wood wall won’t stop anything more than a small caliber pistol round.

Finally, Don’t Forget About Backup

The measures mentioned here will stop almost everyone, but if you are being attacked by a determined attacker who is out for blood, they can make their way through any passive defenses you can create. You should always be ready to defend yourself and your family should this happen. If they actually succeed in breaking into your home through these defenses then the time for talking is over. It’s time to take action with firearms to protect your family.

What would you add to this story? Are there better ways to make a home secure? Leave your reply in the section below.

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10 comments

  1. The first thing I recommend is a security system around the perimeter of your yard and this would let you know that somebody has even breached your property before they get to your house which gives you time to react and prepare because once they’re through your home system it’s usually too late and the second thing I would dois when installing the window film on your Windows securit to the framework at the side of the windows and with the right film it is almost impossible to get through as the film does come up to 21 mils in thickness. and last I would also put a tinted film on your Windows that also comes with security properties and it allows privacy inside your home so people can’t see what’s inside or who’s inside

  2. Joel skowsen has an entire book about this stuff with amazing ideas for security with detailed instructions.
    Some ideas i plan on implementing (not all in the book)…
    attaching a touch sensor to the fence that set off flares.
    Filling the space in the drywall with gravel, which will stop armor piercing rounds.
    Plexiglass storm windows, takes alot of power to break.
    A dog.
    Secretly evil plants, climbing wild roses; hogweed (sap causes chemical burns in uv light); stinging nettles; etc.
    And of course loud alarms and flashing lights will scare off most people, if i heard (freeze get down on the ground!) blaring in my ears i would rethink my actions that day.

  3. Window film thickness is not measured in millilitres (a volumetric measure). The more common measure in this country is mils or thousandths of an inch.

    Thwarting home invasion often is best started with a good perimeter monitoring system. Animals can be part of this early warning system depending on where you live (think dogs, guinea fowl, etc.)

  4. A couple of things from my experience as a desert-rat. Ocotillo cactus has a fairly wide range and grows 8-12 feet tall with 1-1/2″ woody stalks covered with murderous spines. They flower, are a lovely green, and make an excellent cover for your fence. They can also be planted along the non-window perimeter of your house where they provide the same living razor wire… then plant prickly pear under the windows. Again, fierce thorns..and edible vegetables, fruit for making juice, jelly, or wine.
    If you live in a climate too cold for ocotillo you can trellis raspberry or blackberry vines for almost as good an effect. But the prickly pear will still grow..from the Arctic to the Antarctic… almost.
    If you live in a cement block or brick house consider filling the voids in the blocks with grout and consider having door-frames and window-frames welded up out of channel steel. That gives coverage to your frames and and makes doors and windows pretty much ram-proof.
    I also endorse the guinea fowl. Not only are they territorial and loud, you get eggs as a bonus.
    Finally, don’t forget the “Redneck Home Security System”… a couple of chihuahuas and a 12 gauge.
    Yer Pal, Casey

  5. When I lived in the shadier side of Littlerock, CA, I had a couple of Driveway Alert motion detectors ($20ea Harbor Freight) mounted inside small lockable metal boxes tack welded to the corner fence posts. They had a cutouts sized to the sensor screen w/plexiglass inside to keep out rain & bugs. We always knew when someone entered from the normal way.
    Out back we had a few geese. Anybody hopping the back fence, quickly exited the same way they entered. Nothing like a half dozen honking, snapping, territorial foul to make you change your mind about where you think you are going.

  6. What about steel security doors? haven’t heard anybody say that! ie; instead of storm doors. and a good dvr camera system helps!

  7. Good advice.

  8. Thanks for this great post. Tenting your home windows will also deter criminals greatly!

  9. I appreciate the tips for securing my home against criminals. Our neighborhood is pretty good, but I still want to have better security. I didn’t know I could use security screens on my windows to strengthen them, so thanks for that!

  10. It was intriguing to know that any average-sized man can kick his way through a dead-bolted door fairly easily. We were robbed last week and he seemed to kick in the door fairly easily. I would imagine this wouldn’t happen if we had security screens!

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