by Todd Walker
All I heard was crying on the other end of the phone!
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!
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.
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:
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,