When we built our home we had installed three different security systems into the house; cameras, dogs and motions lights with buzzers. Since we live in a small rural town and know all of our neighbors we felt that would be enough. Until one night I was getting ready for bed when I heard the side motion light go off; I didn’t think anything of it; I just thought it was my Father coming home from the coffee shop as he normally does.
A minute later one of my dogs started throwing himself at the front door which was not normal at all. As I came out of the bathroom I noticed the front motion light was on but I couldn’t see anyone out there. I stepped outside and looked towards my Father’s cabin; I could see that he was sitting in front of his computer with his headphones on, so I figured I better check the cameras.
Someone was right at our front door and it appeared that he had a knife or screwdriver in his hand. The only thing that stopped him from coming through the front door was one of our dogs.
The incident forced us to rethink our home security measures; the only layer that worked was our dog and I wouldn’t want to think what would have happened if that had failed. Below are 13 suggestions to create a DIY home security plan; some are free while others cost money but hopefully you can get a couple ideas from them.
1. Ask a friend to do an inspection of your property.
Invite a friend over to your home and ask them if they were trying to break into your house; how would they do it? The response may surprise you. It is very easy to have blinders on when looking at your own property; getting another persons opinion is hugely beneficial.
2. Motion lights
Bad people like the dark, it makes it easier for them not to be seen. Personally, I would have my backyard lit up like Yankees stadium if my wife would allow it. If you have no outside lights, there are quite a few solar options that are available on the market such as this one, Motion Activated LED Solar Security Light.
3. Door Jamb Armor
Door Jamb Armor protects the weakest links in your exterior doors; the hinges, locks and jamb. People think because their front door is locked that they are safe and this could be a fatal mistake. You can buy the product on Amazon for less than $70. EZ Armor Ultimate Door Security Combo Set.
4. Trim all bushes around the house.
This is something very simple to do, the least amount of visual protection you can provide for a possible thief the better. Rose bushes and other plants with thorns will be ideal for under windows.
5. Keep ladders locked in the garage or basement.
Again, very simple to do. We had a string of burglaries in the next town over and this is how they were getting into the homes. They looked for houses that were empty and just grabbed ladders that were laying around the yard. The front door and first floor windows may be locked, but how many people leave their second floor windows unlocked?
6. Keep car keys on night stand.
At the first sign of entry into your residence, set off the car alarm. The goal is to make as much noise and visual commotion as you can.
7. 3M Security Film.
A more expensive option but something that is well worth it in my opinion is 3m security film. It costs about 10 dollars a square foot installed but if you have ever done window tinting there are DIY products available.
8. Voice Alert System.
The Voice Alert System 6 is the greatest thing since sliced bread in my opinion. It allows you to monitor 6 different zones around the home. So if you set up one zone as your garage; anytime something walks in front of the sensor the base station will alert you. You can have as many sensors as you want on a zone though, so technically you could have one on the back, front and both sides of the garage for more protection. Another bonus is the 12 volt panel on the back that you can hook auxiliary devices to.
9. 12V 115 Decibel Siren.
You can hook up a 12V siren to the Voice Alert system above or just connect it to a 12V battery and a switch. If you think someone is seriously breaking into the house, flip the switch and greet the thieves with a constant 115 decibel alarm screaming out to the world.
10. Crushed stone walkway.
A compacted crush stone walkway is inexpensive and is a great security tool to have around the home. You can hear someone walking up the pathway and it works well with the next tool.
I look at dogs as another layer added to isolate myself from the bad people of the world. The more layers you add, the better your chances of making it through a violent home invasion. Out of our three dogs, the pug is the best layer for us. He is fearless and has exceptional hearing; it amazes me what he can hear before what our other two dogs do. When he hears something, he is at the door barking like crazy and sets the other two dogs off. Personally that is what I want, I want a dog that will alert me to the situation and I will then rely on the other layers or my personal skills to deal with the situation at hand. A Jack Russell Terrier is another excellent choice for a very alert, small, and fearless dog, but they also have a ton of energy. The pug on the other hand sleeps 26 hours a day.
12. Connect with your neighbors.
This really sounds stupid but unfortunately in today’s world most people have no interaction with their neighbors. If you are leaving for the weekend, give your neighbors a heads up so they can keep a eye on the place. Now I don’t recommend this if they are some meth heads that just moved in, but build relationships that you feel comfortable with.
Here is a example of how that worked out well for my neighbors.
Phil came over and said, “hey KVR, we are taking off for the week, can you keep a eye on the place?”
“Sure Phil, no problem.”
So at 6 a.m. on Saturday I heard our voice alert system say, ” Phil’s garage, Phil’s garage”.
It woke me up, so I laid in bed staring at the ceiling, then my side motion light/buzzer went off.
Hmm, must be a cat I thought.
Then my voice alert said, ” Phil’s backyard, Phil’s backyard”.
Now it’s time to investigate, so I grabbed my nightstand gun and my 120 pound rottie/gsd mix and walked around the side of the house. There were 2 guys standing on Phil’s back deck with a ladder.
“Excuse me!”, I screamed, “can I help you?”
The two guys turned around and there I was standing in my skivvies, with my dog, and my gun pointed downward. They dropped the ladder and said, “Hey man, we are just here to cedar shingle the back of the house.”
I looked up the driveway and saw their construction truck and trailer parked with the name of the company on the side. “Okay,” I said,” carry on.”
So later that afternoon, Phil and his wife got home and I had just returned from the store. I was walking back to the house and noticed Phil sitting on his deck with the workers drinking a beer.
“Hey Phil, how was the trip?”
“Good, anything exciting happen while I was gone?”
“Not really, besides almost shooting these guys shingling your house, thanks for telling me, jerk”
Right then one of the guys piped up.
“Dude, you scared the crap out of me”
“Sorry man, Phil didn’t tell me you guys were gonna be here”, as I continued walking around the house.
Later Phil told me that when I was gone, the guy who piped up looked at him and said, ” That’s a good neighbor to have”
And Phil agreed.
13. Do not become complacent.
That is what happened with us that night we had someone at our front door. We had the motion lights, buzzer and camera going since we had built the house. Buzzer would go off in the middle of the night, check the cameras, it’s a cat. Buzzer would go off, check the cameras, it was the exhaust from our on demand hot water system setting it off. Buzzer would go off, check the camera, it was my dad coming home from the diner. That’s what I thought it was when this happened, we had so many false positives that we just shrugged them off when they happened.
Don’t, I repeat, DON’T become complacent, potentially you and your family’s life could depend on it.
For thoughts on security cameras click on the link below. Stay safe.