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Home Security


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I have read only one book so far about home security. “Home security for idiots.” The orange book I think. No reason for me to rewrite that book here in this blog. All I will say is that it has a great section on how to do a security risk assessment and assign yourself a score for risk. After you do this then you plan your security system and implementation. This risk assessment also explained how to evaluate your local fire, ambulance, hospital and police. When I first began thinking about security I was dreaming up many paranoid plans for how to totally secure a home or farm. This is why the risk assessment is important. It keeps things real.

Some points to think about are.

  • Risk assessment.
  • No cost security features.
  • Low cost security features (can be electronic as there are some cheaper simple implementations now)
  • Higher cost electronic surveillance and walls, fences and other.
  • House Sitters
  • Replacement/Emergency funds
  • Insurance
  • Understanding how humans react to threats.
  • Use security layers.
  • Use security zones.

I already talked about risk assessment a little. Some other things to think about would be how well protected and prepared your home/barns/sheds are from fire and other crisis.  Alarms and escape plans in case of fire. Protection from other chemicals and gasses. Protection from wind, storms and flooding. How to handle medical crisis, with kits on site. How well prepared for crime you are.

No cost or nearly no coast features include secrecy, organization, storage, inventory, ID tags/numbers. On locked things also include secret hidden latches. Inside information is where most would be thieves will base their plans. Windows and doors for fire escape as well as escape from crime. No large windows or sliding glass doors.  Instead for views use narrow tall windows or short long windows.  No cost is where you think ahead and plan and design. Lighting is not exactly no cost, but its something you would need anyway. Proper lighting placement would fit this then. One way to detect thieves that are watching your place and stuff is to put low cost items in the open some they might really be tempted to take and other stuff that isn’t worth as much. For example a small bit of copper wire or pipe next to some well used garden tools. If a thief is smart he would take that only if he could get away with taking everything. Otherwise a poor thief might go for the cheap stuff in which case you will have detected that someone has their eye and mind on your stuff. In the security layering example this easy stuff will be on the outer most layer.

Low cost might be motion lighting and/with signs. Pad locks. Door locks. Theft proof hinges and metal doors and door jams. Double keyed bolt locks are good, this means they have to take the stuff out through a window. Though its not safe to not leave a key in the inside bolt lock when at home, in case you need to get out quick. Locking windows with a stick as well as a latch. Planting thorny shrubs around windows. Hedges while forming a barrier and blocking wind, may block the neighbor’s or police’s view of your place will create a safety zone for intruders.

Keeping guns in your house and shooting small caliber guns at targets in the back yard or garage on occasion so that it can be heard around the neighborhood. If the police drop by just tell them you were using a nail gun.  A 53 foot cargo container would make a nice indoor shooting range, two put end to end would be better with the open ends facing one another. All you need is an area 10 feet wide by 120 feet long. On the target end build a wooden wall and behind it pour in sand as a bullet stop. Used containers could be found for $1500 each for such a purpose at the time of this writing.

Have Electronic security stickers on your windows even if you don’t have a system installed. Maybe a sign in yard saying protected by “AAA security systems”. Locking boxes and storage cabinets in the home. Motion sensing electronic surveillance is fairly low cost now. Get a system with a cell phone dialer and get motion sensors for each room in the house. It will false alarm some but if it doesn’t false alarm it will stop intruders with an audible alarm. (These systems can call the police or fire with cellular, land line phone or internet connections, or a combination of those. Though I had to get a permit from the police, otherwise they would charge me for false alarms. I hear from some firemen that they ignore some alarms to residences if they false alarm too much. This means unless they get a voice call from a human, they are not dispatched.) Use of geese, dogs or other animals are fairly low cost solutions.

Higher cost systems include electronic surveillance with video camera and digital recorders or computers. Zone Minder has some nice free Linux software which will record motion only on cameras and show exactly how the motion progressed across the viewing area.  It will alarm on motion as well, can SMS a cell phone with still photo’s. Other high cost include walls, fences and more complete electronic systems.   Here is one called Smart Fence (fiber optic).  Shaker wire is for fences that detect if an intruder has touched a fence. Other motion sensors use lasers or infrared. Some infrared can tell the difference in human sized or animal sized motions. The range of types of cameras that you can get now is unbelievable. Night vision, infrared, pan and zoom to name a few. Put a dome camera on a pole on top of your home and that would be like being a submarine captain with a periscope. There are window and door open close sensors. There are even window breakage sensors. Also we now have automatic chemical attack such as tear gas, pepper spray and dyes.

Fences tend to be chain link fences. I like the looks of the vinyl black or green coated chain link fences. I suppose you could add barbed wire or razor wire to the top, but that’s a bit much for home security don’t you think? Though you see this a lot in inner cities for business use. In 3rd world countries they often have bars on windows. And every yard is surrounded within a tall wall. The problem with bars on windows is that it could inhibit fire escape. For a fence alternative that you may not have seen before check out Wire Wall. But fences are costly, can be anywhere today from $1 per linear foot to $10 per linear foot for chain link to $60 per linear foot for that Wire Wall.

Safe’s are fairly expensive but worth the investment. For gun’s definitely get a gun safe. Get guns, know guns, learn to use guns and how not to be afraid of them. In the military I was a Combat Engineer. We installed obstacles or fortifications for defense from enemies.  We were told that any obstacle or fortification is worth very little if not covered by gun fire. All of these security measures are good but if there is not threat of gun fire by the home owner, security guard and the police, then they are almost worthless.

More expensive fences can also be the old iron fences with spikes on top. How about concrete block fences? Concrete block fences are blocks made with decorative hole patterns, the blocks are usually perfectly square about 4 inches by 1 foot by 1 foot. And if you have animals for fun or farming, then use tall fences which would pin the animals as sections of security fence. Motes? Sure but in the modern sense, if you have the land, a pond would work great as a mote. I have seen some warehouses in design of which almost totally surround the warehouse and lots with ponds. They usually have a fence just inside between the lot and the pond. The ponds serve two purposes. One is as a mote. The other is for fire safety as it is a huge source of water in case the firefighters need it for putting out a large warehouse fire. I guess I could recommend the all time great 1500 year old book called “Sun’s Zu’s Art of War” at this point. I have read it several times and I think it would be very inspirational in this case.

House sitters are people who you might pay to live in and otherwise watch the house while you are away. One problem here is that they might be tempted to undertake illegal activities while you are away. This is something to be very wary of, especially with roommates of which you are receiving money from for the room (rent). However if you make a contract and the purpose for the person being there is for house sitting and you are paying them some small amount, I would think that this would put a lot more burden on their shoulders. Background checks can be done online now for $30 or a bit more. I think a good business to start might be a security business where the guard must go house to house checking and walking through. Another might be some kind of wifi video surveillance, or internet where  a security guard watches monitors. Though in this case the monitors are only  monitors/cams  with any motion detected. If anything looks suspicious he can call the home owner or police or whatever. One guard could service an area of homes.

Its a good idea to set aside some money just for theft replacement and deductibles. Insurance of course is a must for theft, fire, flood, earthquake, burglary, tornado, vandalism, liability. Also design enhancements for these problems are important. Building codes and other ordinances covers some of this automatically.  Building the house in the first place with these problems in mind is very important. Safe rooms for tornadoes have proven to be very effective. Safe rooms are rooms with walls made of reinforced concrete and have concrete ceilings. Basements with concrete ceilings would serve a similar purpose. Thick walled, passive solar homes with bermed walls on 3 sides will be just about as good as a basement. There are other structural design enhancements that I won’t even bother to cover here, such as ways to connect structural members or tie members down better. None of this is without extra cost. Storm shelters of course cost around $4000 to have installed just outside the home. Personally I wouldn’t want the door of the storm cellar very far from the entrance to the home. Maybe even just a few feet away.

I found a great article on the web about how humans deal with and react to threats once. I can’t find it today though. Something like this might help in the design or upgrade of your security system. As an example how about putting up a sign reading, “Warning, unexploded ordinance in area behind sign.”  Or, “Electronic intrusion detection, alarms silently”. Other things like motion detecting lighting. This is the area to think about what will mess with the head of the intruder the most. Other ideas like using NRA stickers and Veteran Stickers and such.

What is a security layer? I’m not exactly sure, but I’d say it would be like the layers of an onion where the heart of the onion is the thing that would need to be most protected. Layers keep honest people honest. Layers make the thief work for his pay. What is a zone? This might be an area of approach such as the drive way, back yard, front yard, upstairs, down stairs etc.

I will only talk about internet security a little in this post. And have you heard? Game machines can now be hacked too. Cell phones maybe? I hope not. The best protection from internet threats of course is to stay off the net. We won’t be doing that so the next best is to use something like Norton Ghost to make a mirror image of your hard drive just after you get the computer and just before you first connect it to the net. Install as much trusted software from disk as you can before you do this. After this install all of your favorite net downloads from most trusted to least trusted. Make a couple of mirror image backup points as you go. This gives you a perfect way to jump back to a time when you know there was no virus, malware, spyware on your computer. Learn to keep all data together in one subfolder. Keep this data backed up where it can be reinstalled after the restore. As a last resort rely on spyware, virus removal tools and firewall tools. But don’t trust them 100%. Some anti virus software is so system heavy that it can slow your system down very much and be worse than the viruses.

Communications is another big part in security. Ham radio is a handy thing to learn a bit about. Ham radio can be used by anyone in an emergency even if they do not have a license. When all other communications are down, ham radio and ham operators are up and running.

A few more things to think about would be

Recommended Books
Home Security for Idiots

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7 responses

  1. http://www.murs-radio.com/

    This site has radio’s that use free bands. FCC doesn’t police them and gives them to everyone. They have base stations, walky talkie and motion sensors that radio back to the base station something like, “activity in zone 3”, “activity in zone 1”. etc.

    November 14, 2011 at 8:33 pm

  2. Well, it helps if you are totally interested in the topic. I write because it helps to solidify and reinforce my research and know how. I write everything from the top of my mind. I copy nothing and only borrow from ideas, thoughts, well known facts and then add to them. I enjoy explaining how things work in a way in which common men may understand.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:31 pm

  3. I have another saying, “Never ever ever trust anyone!” uh, add the word completely to that. “Never ever ever trust anyone completely!” We have to trust to some extent at least some people and there are risk in that which must be assessed. And caring about others is part of survival. “2 is 1 and one is none.”

    December 6, 2011 at 8:35 am

  4. I only write about things I have been truly interested in learning and knowing about. This produces a better article. If someone were commanding me to write about it, it probably wouldn’t be worth reading.

    December 6, 2011 at 8:38 am

  5. Great wordpress blog here.. It’s hard to find quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate people like you! take care

    December 26, 2011 at 4:11 am

  6. Paladin Press http://www.paladin-press.com

    April 5, 2012 at 10:53 am

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