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The Five D's of Securing Your Home and Property

In the Preparedness 101 Class we talk about building a security-in-depth plan for your home or location you are staying. Often times folks focus on the most interior part of their secure zone, their home, and neglect to focus on pushing the threat as far away from their home as possible. A tiered plan that reaches as far as the community is great, but sometimes that is not possible because of distance and location. Why the community? Intelligence. Any information you can obtain about possible changes to your environment such as gangs and trends taking place. Remember, you want to be a hard target and not a soft target. A defense-in-depth strategy should be built using a Risk Analysis of your plan and every potential threat documented and a mitigation to offset the threat.

I often hear folks discuss their plan to be focusing on weapons and ammunition. That is great. A good defense plan includes weapons and ammunition, but you must also create time, space, warning systems, responses and counter responses. You must plan to funnel threats to a central location that you can then direct your response to defend vs trying to defend the entire 360 degrees around your property, at once. You can have an excellent security system and plan but if I can go to a nearby ridge and view your property and home through binoculars or other devices, I will know about everything I need to know about your plan. Your schedule of times you are out of the home or mobile away from the home, your security barriers in place, your nighttime lighting and your weak links to gain entry. My point is, when you design your plan, ensure you place measures on nearby ridges to protect your interior or close in zone.

Something you should always apply when building your plan are the Five D's of security. This can be applied to your home, both interior and exterior, your property, your routes, and so forth. In over 35 years of working security and emergency management, we have always included the 5 D's of Security to the plans being developed and deployed. Remember, your home is your safe zone. This is what we call the "No-Go-Zone" where no unknowns or bad people should arrive or be allowed to be. Also remember, you would apply these same principals to everything you are protecting.

The five D's are Deter, Detect, Deny, Delay, and Defend.

Deter - If at all possible, you want to keep any threats as far away from your home as possible. Your home is your inner most zone with layers of security and early warning. If you have a threat, the sooner you are aware of it, the more time you have to try and identify the type of threat and deploy your plan. Keep this in mind. Most, but not always, the burglar or bad person looks for three identifiers before moving forward to your home. 1. Some form of security signage. As discussed in training, you don't have to have an alarm system to put up a sign saying you do. 2. One of the first deterrents is seeing a vehicle parked visibly in the drive way. Is someone at home? Maybe or maybe not. The burglar will have to guess. 3. A dog. A yapper, as I call them. Something to set off the noise machine to get everyone's attention that something changed. A little dog is a great alarm system that won't cut off and a big dog is great alarm system with a big bite and fast legs. If you don't have a dog, but want to have the deep bark, consider purchasing a "Rex" barking machine like I barking in class. They can be placed inside the house but detects motion outside the home perimeter. You can check out the barking Rex at this link. Or go to Amazon or Google Rex the Barking Dog Alarm. The nice thing about Rex is he is cheap to feed and you can go on vacation and leave him alone. If we are talking post-grid you can purchase a small solar charger to power Rex.

Detect - If a criminal or threat is not deterred then you must deal with them. Again, as much early warning as possible so you know how many people are involved and what type of threat they appear to be. Are they a starving family, a lost family, or someone wanting to cause you and your family harm. Your designed system and plan can be high-tech, low-tech or a combination of both. Low tech systems include things such as a family dog and/or keeping your trees and plants trimmed around your home. When you are alerted, you want to be able to see the threat, not them see you and you miss them. High tech detection methods can be a variety of packages, which includes alarm systems, closed circuit TV, and motion detection lights. You want to keep it dark until the threat is near the resource, or your home, and then the lights give you a clear view of the threat.

Alarm systems. - You can spend lots of money and go big with a lingering monthly contract or you can go small for a cheaper price, no lingering contract, and get the same results. Remember, if you don't do your homework and call a security expert they will tell you to buy big, cost big with a big contract. If you do your homework and you still aren't sure, ask. In addition to home alarm systems, have a bag of tricks to deploy as needed. I keep a black bag with battery powered alarms that I can put outside away from my home to alert that someone has triggered the alarm on a nonstandard approach route. Maybe a path, the back yard, a wooded area, or door to a barn or green house. They are cheap and can be purchased at the Dollar Store. If you attended the Preparedness 101, or Bugging In classes you will know what I'm talking about. Another excellent alarm system you can put outdoors and monitor in your home is the Dakota Alert MURS-BS-Kit. I have witnessed this one work at a pretty good range. I will tell you it works much better with a good line of site but it does not have to have it.

Closed Circuit Television - Often time CCTV comes paired with a home alarm system. However, I've found that you may be able to save money by purchasing a stand-alone CCTV system. I did. Regardless of what you buy, you need to make sure of a few things. First, make sure your external cameras will hold up to the elements and have excellent night vision capability. Next, be very thoughtful and judicious with their placement in and around your home. You may consider focusing your cameras on entry and exit points while avoiding the more private areas inside your home. Once you install your system, take a few minutes to draw a layout of your home, where you placed what type of sensor or camera, and keep it in a safe place but available. Another thing to consider is this. Most cameras today are hard wired. This means once they are installed, they pretty much stay in place. Consider a camera with a lithium power course and blue-tooth capability so you can move them around at your desire. Part of being a hard target is not being predictable and being a hard target.

Motion Lights - This is pretty simple. Purchase solar powered exterior lights with a battery back up to the solar power. Place them in key areas as well as blind spots. Remember, the motion light alerts you as well as deters the bad guy.

Deny - If you have failed at deterring and detecting, the next step is to deny them access to your property and your home, for certain. Your denial barriers could be a spiked fence, a gate with cameras and lights, or as simple as thorny bushes, deadbolt locks along with reinforced door frames and secured windows. We covered all these options in the above mentioned classes. As I mentioned above, a gun and ammo isn't always the best solution to your problem. If you can deny the threat using other means of non-lethal technology, you should do so. Save your ammo and head ache.

Security Plants - If you don't have young children who could possibly he harmed by thorny bushes and plants, get them and get a lot of them. The more you can inflict pain the louder the scream will be. Holly bushes, rose bushes, or eve cactus in areas they will survive. I had access to a home plan and witnessed installed iron fences about five yards from a home. But, you couldn't see the fence because vegetation was planted and hid the fence. You may ask, why so close to the home? There was a second fence install around the perimeter of the property in the same configuration to the inner zone fence. But not only could you not see the fence within the vegetation, there was also hidden sensors and cameras to give the owner a clear approach path to his home from afar. This provided early warning.

Door locks - If you have a hollow core door, change it ASAP. No locks, bells or whistles will protect you or defend your home for any period of time without replacing the door. The doors at your entry points and to your safe room should be solid or steel lined door. Once you have the door in place, replace all factory screws with a minimum of 2 1/2 " screws that will drill in to your house frame. This will help hold your door frame in place when it is kicked or crowbarred. Also add a strike plate to your door where your lock and dead bolt are located. The screws and strike plate may cost you $10. Cheap fix to a big problem potentially.

Sliding Glass Doors - In my former life (military) I was attending a school in Kentucky that allowed me to have access inside a penitentiary for about three days to interview and discuss how criminals think and work. I was amazed to see how a former burglar, from start to entry, removed the entire sliding glass door and frame in under two minutes. No broken glass. He basically used a crow bar and car jack to slid the base of the frame out until it could be lifted away. It is much easier to carry the 85" flat screen out the door now. Just as suggested on the main door and any exterior door, replace the factor screws with 2 1/2" screws all the way around the frame. Also place a dowel rod on the bottom of the door frame so the door cannot be slid open. If you don't use a method to block the door, one can use a toilet plunger and glass cutter to cut through the glass in seconds and unlock your door. To defeat a robber you must think like a robber.

Windows - You need to secure your windows nice and snug but remember you may have to get out them in a hurry if no other exit is possible. Consider window sensors that alarm when the windows is opened. You can have window sensors with security systems or the cheap Dollar Store version. The goal is early warning and something to alert you before the threat is on top of you. You have to sleep at some point, right? You want all your windows protected, especially while you sleep. Get dowel rods and cut to fit your window. Place the rods in between the frame and center of frame to prevent the window from opening. Keep windows covered so the intruder can't see inside. Make it very difficult on the intruder. Any seconds in delay will benefit you in mobilizing your plan for intruders.

Delay - As the old saying goes, locks only keep an honest man honest. If your attempts to deny an intruder access into your home fail, the next best thing is to delay his entry. The longer you delay someone, the more time you have for help to arrive. In the event help isn't coming, delaying the bad guy provides you with more time to leave your home. If you decide not to go, delaying your intruder allows you more time to prepare a defense. Make the intruder feel special and welcomed. Make a night they will never forget. (Sarcasm at this point).

Delaying someone's access to the inside of your home utilizes many of the tips discussed earlier. Techniques such as reinforcing the door increase the time it takes to open. Likewise, a locked window makes the bad guys have to break it to enter. Once broken the bad guy must then unlock it or climb through, which delays his entry. With most home robberies taking place in under twelve minutes, the delays you create reduce the time criminals will spend in your house. Think big on this one. This is your last line of keeping the burglar or bad guy away from your family.

Defend - This is where my wife says "I only have to outrun you to get away." Kidding. But there is some truth to it if you think about it. Physically protecting your home should be your last resort! It is a decision that you and your family should discuss in advance of a bad situation occurring. Know your state laws as well. In some states, if the burglar comes in your home to steal your TV and not hurt you, and you walk in to the room and catch them and then shoot them without a threat being made against you, you are going to jail. Well, that is if the intruder doesn't lose his voice and can no longer talk. Remember that often both sides (including you and your family members) may be injured during physical confrontations.

So, think twice before attempting to confront someone in your home. Whatever action you determine is appropriate, execute it with speed and precision. Never break out a gun to use as a threat, if you don't intend to use it. Bad things happen in this scenario. Don't follow the "it will never happen to me" attitude because your weakness and poor judgement could cost you or a loved one their life. Do you want to live with it for the rest of your life that you failed to protect them? What say you?

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