Security Advice to My Daughter: Essential Pillars of Preparedness Series

by Todd Walker

All I heard was crying on the other end of the phone!

“What’s wrong!?”

My daughter told me, between sobbing, that their home had just been broken into. I’d never heard her that upset. She and our grandson got home from work and school to find the backdoor kicked in and their life violated. Thank God they didn’t come home with the invasion in progress!

A Letter to My Daughter: Essential Pillars of Preparedness Series

Even though they escaped physical harm, emotionally they were wrecked. I took the day off work and put together a plan and found her a new place to live. Daughters need their daddy, especially in times like these.

As times get harder, I’m afraid these stories will become more common. Unknown to my daughter, thugs had broken in to homes on her street in December 2012 and July of this year. Had she known this info, she would have never moved to that neighborhood. She asked if there had been any crime or break ins before moving in. Her property manager, who is no longer employed there, told her it was a safe neighborhood. Sure it is.

As preparedness minded people, we want the best home security. We will protect our families by any means necessary. But the regular guy, like me, isn’t made of money and can’t buy all the fanciest bells and whistles on the home security market.

There are practical steps for regular guys to provide proactive and reactive defense and security. I had not planned on writing this installment of our Essential Pillars of Preparedness Series yet. Now it’s appropriate – and personal.

You may have seen articles dealing with security measures in a post collapse scenario. If you’re looking for info to defend against Mutant Biker Zombies, which I’m told will ravage our land, you won’t find a tutorial on building a fortified bunker in this post.

This is simply a dad’s advice to his terrified daughter and grandson.

To My Sugarbear

First off Sugarbear, predators pick easy prey.

There’s no such thing as living in total security. Taking security measures only buys you time to allow you to respond with the appropriate level of defense and slow them down. Thugs, even rookies, pick the low hanging fruit.

Together we will make you and your home less appealing.

Fortify Your Doors

An experienced thug knows the weakest links in security are exterior opens in the walls of your house. In modern homes, doors and windows are easy access points. They know that most doors can be breached with a swift kick – even with a deadbolt – unless properly fortified. The weak point in your home was not the metal door itself, but the wooden frame securing the bolt, latch, and hinges.

We could retrofit the doors of your new house with metal door frames. That’s too expensive. An intruder determined enough would go through a window. Installing one-piece strike plates on all your exterior doors will help. Don’t use the short screws that came with the strike plate. Use 3 1/2 inch or longer decking screws. These screws will reach the studs behind the door jam.

I’ll make sure the doors have at lease three hinges. The more points of contact a door has to the door frame the better. Long screws for hinges too.

Since you’re renting and won’t be able to install more dead bolts on your doors, these reinforcements will give you time to ready a response should you ever be home during a break in. I’ll talk to your landlord about installing added security measures to your doors. He seems to be a very reasonable man.

Security storm doors are available. I’ve installed a few of those for friends over the years.

Having neighbors (retired) adjacent and across the street now will also give you other sets of watchful eyes when you’re at work. They’re good folks to have on your side. Nosey in a good way. Get to know them.


Many methods exist for securing windows. Bars or window grills are available. But the problem with making windows secure from outside intruders is you’ve just creating a trap from the inside as well.

I will make some simple strips to stop the windows from being opened from the outside. If you need to make an emergency exit for from inside, simple remove the strip wedges and open the window.

A crook would have to break the window to enter. The sound of broken glass takes away his element of surprise and stealth.

Outdoor Lighting

Smart crooks like to operate in anonymity under the cover of darkness. Your new place doesn’t have motion detection lights at either door. I’ll install them for your back and front door. You simply leave the light switch turned on 24/7. They automatically turn on with any motion near your door.

Making A Safe Room

I know your duplex isn’t very large. I’ll replace the hollow core door in your bedroom with a solid wooden door. You and the boy can lock yourself in your bedroom giving yourself more time to access your tools of defense if ever needed.

Again, doors only slow down intruders. The weak links are the door jams and sheet rock walls. But this will slow them down. In your situation, this is all you can expect. But it’s enough time prepare to ventilate the intruder.

Just for informational purposes, a good blogging friend of mine, Laurie Neverman, offers helpful advice on safe rooms. While this isn’t an option for you now, keep in mind that you won’t always live in a rental. You’re just starting out. And doing an excellent job raising our grandson!

Tools of Defense

Getting the job done takes the right tools, no matter the situation. The handgun I gave you is just that, a tool.

In untrained hands, it’s a liability. Though you’ve shot my guns growing up, now is the time to up your training and start doing the stuff of self-defense. I’ll start training you in the proper use and safe handling of your handgun. You’ll learn to shoot a firearm safely, confidently, and accurately.

By the way, Dirt Road Girl and I have agreed to pay for your Concealed Carry Permit.

Here’s the best advice from an author I highly respect concerning firing your weapon in self-defense when your life is in danger:

You shoot to stop – not to kill. Any kill is incidental, unless the only way to stop his lethal actions was to kill.” – Kenneth Royce, Boston Gun Bible

There are several options for concealing a weapon in your home with the boy present, yet making it easily accessible if the time to use it ever arrives. Remember our conversation yesterday? I’m working on that piece now.

You can start reading up on best practices of self-defense from these links:

Situational Awareness

Follow your gut, Sugarbear. That gnawing feeling is there to tell you something ain’t right. Listen to it. Even though your new place is in a better neighborhood, never take security for granted. In tough times, people get desperate.

Like our journey to preparedness and self-sufficiency, security is a step by step climb as well. One of the first steps towards your goal is to be aware of your surroundings.

There’s a color code for awareness created by Jeff Cooper years ago to help you stay in a state of readiness. I’ve listed it below.

White – unaware and unprepared; yellow – relaxed alert for potential danger; orange – specific alert, potential danger; red – threat identified; black or triggers – a fight is imminent unless circumstances change. 

Keep in mind that doing the stuff in real life is different from reading about it. Practice Keeping It Sherpa Simple. Physical self-defense is not about fighting but avoiding being hurt by violence. To protect yourself and our grandson, you are justified in using the amount of force needed to avoid being violated, robbed, or killed.

You’ll find it difficult at first to live in the color yellow at all times. I even catch myself in ‘white’ from time to time. But the ‘white’ times grow less and less. We’ll cover this in detail together.

I’m so sorry this happened to you, Sugarbear. We are so thankful that y’all weren’t home. But I think it’s a blessing in disguise and a wakeup call to start your journey in earnest.

All of these measures are an attempt to deny easy access to your life and property. The more layers you provide, the less likely predators will target you.

We’ll do this together.

I love you,


Categories: Firearms, Preparedness, Self Defense | Tags: , , | 34 Comments

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34 thoughts on “Security Advice to My Daughter: Essential Pillars of Preparedness Series

  1. What a great Dad! Thank you for sharing this with all of us. I see a couple things that I need to consider at my place.


  2. So glad that you were there for her!!!!!!!!!!!!


  3. scrt

    I was with Dad until his “You shoot to stop, Not to kill..” K. Royce quote.

    Are you kidding me? You don’t consider using a gun (deadly force) unless you are certain you are in ~imminent danger~ and it’s your life or the criminals.


    • Billy Badass

      I think they mean when you shoot, your intent is to stop the intruder, to protect yourself. Killing a man shouldn’t be the INTENT (maybe a welcomed byproduct though!). Whether or not they die is not the primary concern. If the perp is stopped, bleeding out on the floor or wherever, no threat, dead or alive, you’ve done a good job.

      Personally, I’m with you. Shoot to kill…I don’t want to look over my shoulder for retaliation.


      • Billy, that is exactly what I was trying to get across – and what I’ve taught my daughters and wife. My main concern for the lovely ladies in my life is to stop the threat. If a kill happens, they got what they deserved.

        I’m thinking a lot of folks that have a problem with this statement may not be familiar with real violence. When the hormone dump happens and fine motor skills disappear, I think one would take a ‘stop’ in a life threatening situation. Avoiding being dead as the defender/shooter is the goal.

        The dead predator on your bedroom floor has family, and possible thug friends, that would want an eye for an eye even thought their dead friend deserved to die. Do your think they’d seek revenge?

        Either way, this is one situation I hope to never face. When there’s no other choice and my life, or the life of a loved one, is in imminent, life threatening danger, I plan to shoot as accurately as possible at center mass.

        Thanks for adding to the conversation, Billy.


    • scrt, the use of force should always be used judiciously. What do you make of the other part of Boston T. Party’s quote?


  4. Big Dog…..Best line of first defence.


  5. Most thieves just want to break-in and steal something when no one is home. Property loss, but no big deal. “Home invasion” is another beast. If a thief or thieves break-in while you are at home, this is a home invasion, and a very dangerous situation. The home invaders mean to imprison, torture, rape, etc and take their time of it. Fight with everything you have. It’s better to be killed then slowly tortured by a group of evil dudes.

    I disagree about the dark. The dark makes the thief have to work in dark or bring his own light. If he works in the dark, he will make noise. If he brings his own light, it’s as good as a motion detection light without the irritation of the light going on and off all night with the racoons. Most racoons don’t carry flashlights!

    I like the idea of a “planned” safe room with a weapon. Scary, but if the home invaders don’t just take what they want and leave the building, they deserves everything they get when they break into the safe room.

    I’m sorry your daughter and grandson experienced property loss; I’m so glad they didn’t face home invasion.


    • Definaltely get a safe room ready… Im working on one in my home now. Also keep an extra set of keys to your home in that room so you can toss them out the window to the Police or family member while you are in the safe room…


    • Caroline, I assumed that burglaries occurred more at night than daylight hours. I was wrong. Just checked some stats. It makes sense, too. Most people are away from home during the day. Thanks for making me do my research.

      Hey, DRG and I just got her moved to her new place today!

      Property loss is not a big deal compared to life. Still sucks. Emotionally and financially. But she’s wiser and more prepared.


      • Yes, most property crime happens in the day. Sneak thieves just want to steal. In our modern world, most homes are vacant during the day because people work away from home. Work from home and you reduce the chance of property crime. This helps reduce theft for your neighbors too.

        If they come day or night and you are home, that’s a home invasion. That’s a very dangerous situation, and very rare.

        We have warehouses we protect. The research I have done shows lighting the place up like day doesn’t stop theft, which is counter to current wisdom. The lighting just costs extra money in electricity. We live on site and keep the lights off. Actually, I wish the street was darker but I don’t control what the state does on my street even though I am heavily taxed for their “services”. Other property owners have been hit in the area, we haven’t.


  6. Great advice. This father loves and cares for his family for sure. As a woman who works second shift , I have to come home in the dark of night through some pretty ruff area’s . I took a CCW class and purchased a nice carry gun. I also purchased 2 other guns for the house in the event my carry weapon isnt near me , ( i usually have it on my belt at all times but there are a few times it might not be) If attacked YES get away if possible but if the intruder manages to grab you FIGHT like never before because your life could depend on it . This is not our parents world anymore . Best thing to learn is to be very vigilant… Sad but you have to . Took me a long time to learn to be on alert all the time and like the dad says its easy to forget and go in the white zone. It’s sad but this is how todays world is. Good Luck . YOU can do this
    Janice from Ohio


  7. Burglaries are terrifying and it’s unbelievable how much emotional damage they can do to you. Definitely always wise to do whatever you can to prevent them in terms of security measures.


  8. MisBehaved Woman

    Reblogged this on Carpenter's Cabin.


  9. If someone breaks into my home, I shoot to kill. First of all, I want to make sure he doesn’t come back. Secondly, I want to save the taxpayers trial money.


    • Thanks for commenting Evan. I’ve never shot a person. Hope to never have to in defense of my life or someone else. I think you may be reading more into my quote of Boston T. Party. Your not alone. I’ve had other comments similar to yours.

      I’ve told my wife and daughters that if their lives are in danger, they will shoot to kill. If they stop their attacker without killing him/her and avoid injury, that’s enough.

      Both of your points are well taken!


      • Our government is corrupt, the constitution is trampled. I will exercise my rights before they are unlawfully taken.


  10. By all means, exercise your rights, Evan. I’m on your team, brother. The only way any of us can lose our natural rights is through the use of force by another man or, now that you brought it up, a corrupt government holding a monopoly on force.


    • As more and more corrupt judges are installed, you will lose more liberties. You know as well as I, you can’t trust either party.


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  12. Gary Belcher

    Within some limits, martial arts can be an effective means of defense, but that depends upon how you were taught. The “feel good” black belts sold on the promise of making your child a better student or more respectful, well those are basically just that. Many schools teach you how to contain a single attacker with a painful compliance hold. I teach my students to terminate your first attacker because he probably has a cohort coming up from behind you. Martial arts was intended to be devastating and lethal. Please stop minimizing those of us who teach it the way it was intended to be taught.


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  17. SS's Sugarbear

    I have the best Dad a girl could ask for! Its been a few weeks since the break in and moving into our new place and the boy and I are finally feeling settled. This whole experience taught me a lot and I’m putting my dad’s advice to good use. I don’t know how I would’ve gotten through all of this without my Papabear and Dirt Road Girl being by my side. And yes, sometimes a daughter just needs her Daddy. =)


  18. MamaBear

    Can you give a little more detail about the strips you used for the windows? We live in a rental as well and are trying to do what we can to increase our security. One of our exterior doors is mostly glass…any ideas there?


    • The strips on the windows were cut from scrap 1×4 in my shop. They measure 3/4 x 1/2 inches. I measured the inside length from top of the window sill to the top of the bottom window and cut the strips to length. Cut them a shade longer than the true measurement so they fit snugly but not wedged in too tight you can’t remove them if you had to escape through the window.

      On the glass door, do the same thing with a broom handle or piece of 1/2 inch PVC pipe and lay it in the track of the door. As far the glass itself, there’s products on the market that are suppose to prevent shattering. It’s a film that goes on the outside of the glass.

      Hope this helps, MamaBear. Thanks for your comment!


  19. I lost my dad, and protector, to a heart attack 25 years ago, at age 44. I’m now 46, and now single. One thing I’ve learned is that, no matter what, a girl with her Daddy around is so much more protected, even just by the mere mention of his name and location. Your daughter is one very lucky, and loved, young lady. Just want to say thank you, for keeping that daddy protection stong and real.


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