Home Security Part I: Overview

Your home is your castle; while this expression is quite cliché, it denotes the sentiment that your home is a safe place.  What made medieval castles safe?  Typically, they were powerful fortifications consisting of defensive walls and barriers, allowing the defenders to repel greatly superior numbers of invaders.  Likely, your home does not have high stone walls, a moat, and a draw bridge. 

You can, however, fortify your home to give you significant advantage in repelling the criminal threat.  There are wide varieties of tools that allow us to enhance home security, but the first, and most important, aspect of home security is the acceptance that human violence can effect you and your household, personally.  It does not matter that you live in a “nice neighborhood,” or a “safe neighborhood,” nor does it matter if you live in a secluded country area.  If your home is accessible to humanity, the risk of home invasion is present.  In fact, home invasion remains a much higher threat than most people realize.  Every year there are far more home invasions than house fires, and more people are injured or killed in home invasion than in house fires.  The majority of people consider smoke alarms essential for home safety, yet put little thought into securing their home against criminal incursion. 

Criminal threat towards your home and household runs a broad spectrum.  Simple burglary remains the most common issue, where a single, or multiple, criminal actors break into the house while nobody is home, and steal valuables.  Such burglaries sometimes turn violent when the criminal discovers that there are still household members in the present, despite their effort to invade a vacant residence.  On the severe end of this spectrum is the criminal element that specifically invades homes while the occupants are present with the intention of abusing or murdering the people who dwell there. 

Home security now must also encompass preparation for an increasing threat that would have been unimaginable in years past: namely, mobs of violent rioters.  For residents of urban, and perhaps even suburban, locations, this is a growing consideration.  All of these potential violent threats should be recognized in an overall risk assessment, and a flexible set of tools to deal with any possibility should be refined. 

In terms of securing the home we must consider the principle of three Ds:  Deterrence, Detection, and Defense.  We should set our home up in a way that deters criminal actors from attempting to invade in the first place.  If deterrence fails, we must be able to detect a breach of the home in time to prepare.  If hostiles make it inside, we then need the means to defend the household. 

In this five part series on home security I intend to delve deep into each of the considerations involved in securing your home.  In part II we will discuss the threat analysis based on trends to understand what the danger is.  In part III we will discuss deterrence tools and techniques.  In part IV we will cover detection tools, and in part V we will cover defensive tools and tactics.  Stay tuned, and give these principles some consideration in your own home security plan.

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