Self sufficiency isn’t a singular action; rather, it’s the combination of many actions with good integration in planning and execution. Being self sufficient in a world whose socioeconomic and geo-political structures are under such immense pressure each day begs the question: what can you do to ensure a safe existence and still not have to go to extremes? Some might view the off-the-grid lifestyle as extreme, but in reality, when things degrade further, there will be a scramble towards self-sufficiency. This isn’t a shock and awe article: it’s more of a practical guide to some easy reinforcements and helpful home security items that can help you feel safer in a constantly degrading environment.
Securing our homes doesn’t have to be a tedious, expensive, or overbearing project. There are many simple, efficient, and cost-effective techniques and tools to ensure your home is safer against the threat of burglary or worse.
It’s really the items that we take for granted that need the most attention in shoring up our security at home. It’s not difficult for a burglar or child predator to ascertain information if they have motivation and opportunity. Many of the things you can do to deter them don’t cost anything except a change in your mindset, a checklist, and the willingness to implement the changes on a day-to-day basis.
Most criminals who know you have teenagers (which can be ascertained in a few quick casings of your neighborhood) will know there’s a high likelihood that there are doors on cars and in homes that your kids forgot to lock. At that point it’s just a matter of the right time and right place before they snatch an opportunity to rob you. Encouraging your children to lock the door, fasten latches on the windows, and avoid leaving the blinds open when they go to bed can all help deter a burglar. Using a combination approach for sliding glass windows and doors can also come in handy; you might use a fitted dowel on the bottom track and a simple-to-install latch at the top track to keep that sliding door secure. It’s a fix that’s less than $15, and you have tripled the security of the weakest entryways in your home.
Keeping the main doors properly weather-stripped and sealed may do more than just cut your heating bills. Thieves are more than likely to target a house with gaps in the door when it’s closed; the ones with gaps are easier to pry open.
Using two locks on main entry points (i.e. a deadbolt and a regular lock) may prove more viable than a single lock. Thieves tend to go through the most frequented entry/exit, as it is the one that tends to be unlocked the most. Having two locks will serve as a reminder that you need to lock the door, and of course presents more of a challenge to a thief. Additionally, a child safety latch can be installed for $10 and in less than ten minutes. It’s a two part hinge that fits in between the door jamb and the door with a right angle latch that falls into place by gravity when you move it slightly. The piece will keep children from going out that cannot reach it, but more importantly; it will give warning and buy time for you if a forceful intruder is at the door attempting to come in. These simple and cheap latches are better than door chains, and they are very hard to defeat. Two or three of them could further strengthen the door’s breaking strength, though if it has gotten to the point where you expect real force to be exerted on your doors, there are other more drastic protective measures available to you.
Doorstop alarms may alert you early on that you have a burglar if you don’t have the money or haven’t yet installed a whole house system. They’re relatively inexpensive at $5-$10 apiece, and they are incredibly efficient for what they do. You may also look into simple door break alarms, which are also relatively inexpensive and can be had for under $25. They are typically (read: always) combined with a “screecher,” or a noisemaker, which will allow you to know when a door or window has opened. (I have personally bought several at under $5, and they are incredibly efficient as early warning detection systems.)
Installing a garage door lock on the inside of the garage door and using a combination lock may be a good option, provided you have adequate emergency fire exits and your kids/guests/friends know the garage is locked down in the event of a fire. Would-be burglars and intruders won’t be able to (in most cases) override the security of that garage door. Normal garage doors, especially those with a single locking point or those with an automatic garage door opener, are relatively easy to overpower or override the system.
A camera with motion sensor technology may also be a good deterrent; combined with a motion sensor flood light and/or a motion sensor doorbell chime, it may provide you with an excellent way to deter burglars. A simple system might be between $75 and $200, all depending on the range and sensitivity as well as the amount of units included.
The goal here is to give you some ideas on how to securitize your home without breaking the bank. All of these fixes are inexpensive relative to commercially available options, and yet they still provide a substantial amount of increased security and home protection.
It’s important to feel safe and secure, but perhaps most importantly, it’s good to know that you are not reliant on the grid for safety, and you don’t necessarily need to pay big dollars for real-world security solutions. Simple fixes and a change in mindset can be incredibly effective.
©2011 Off the Grid News