Jun 142014

Burglar Caught in the ActYou came home from work and surprised a burglar who was in the process of stuffing your family jewelry into a sack. Fortunately, when he rushed you to try and escape, you managed to use your stun gun, TASER, or a trusty billy club to take him down.

So You’ve Caught a Burglar – Now what?

Despite what you’ve undoubtedly seen in the movies or on TV, your immediate course of action should be to get out of the home. You cannot assume the intruder will be out of commission for any set length of time. Get out now and call the police. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, and for darn sure, don’t stop to take a selfie!

With the adrenaline that will be coursing through your veins, it might be difficult to think straight. Your hands will be trembling and you’ll probably feel more than a little queasy, again due to the adrenaline.

As a result, you cannot be reasonably certain you are capable of restraining the intruder by tying him up or through some other means. He could become mobile again at any moment and if that happens while you’re present, odds are pretty good that things aren’t going to end well for you.

In fact, in all the excitement, you could have been injured yourself and not realize it right away. More than one homeowner has been stabbed or cut during a scuffle with an intruder and didn’t know it until the responding officer brought it to their attention.

It’s Not the Time for Gloating!

Not the Time to Gloat!Save the gloating for later. Your first priority is to keep you and your family safe. That means getting out of the house and calling the police.

While you’re talking to the dispatcher, try and remember everything you can about the intruder’s appearance, including things like height, build, hair color, facial features, and clothing.

In the event the intruder rouses himself enough to make his way out of your home, your description will be valuable in tracking him down.

May 122014

Although the crime rates in cities certainly have much higher statistical numbers, there is no denying that rural areas are targeted frequently and perhaps more successfully. Rural residents often have fewer neighbors that can see what goes on, the lighting is less prevalent, and people in some areas even leave their homes unlocked while they are away.

True, a relaxed lifestyle is one of the benefits of living away from the city, but many homeowners may not realize that this lack of vigilance could someday cost them dearly. The most common types of crime in rural areas are larceny, burglary and vehicle theft.

Protecting a Rural Home

Home Safety Kit

Property crimes are actually somewhat common in rural areas. This could be in part because so many people leave their cars and outbuildings unattended without locking them up, and again it could be because the crimes are easier to commit due to the relative privacy of these rural homes.

However, instances of aggravated assault have skyrocketed over the last few years due in part because of the increasing drug traffic that now takes place in more isolated areas. This means that today, no one is safe, and the carefree days of living in the country may be a thing of the past.

Door Brace for Your Home

Using your Door BraceAnother factor to consider is that rural areas often have far fewer resources for protection at their disposal, due to smaller budgets and less man power. In addition, since the rural home are more far flung and are often many miles away from the nearest police station, help could be a long time in coming when you call 911.

Rather than give up on ever feeling safe, you simply need to invest in some home safety devices which can not only repel attack, but keep you safe if such an instance should occur in these rural settings.

Protect Your Doors

The Home Safety Kit combined with extremely powerful outside lighting may be enough to not only prevent burglary or other crimes from happening, but keep you safe if it does. Our kit contains a combination of protection and alert devices to help you stay aware and react appropriately to the situation at hand.

You can also get our Door Brace or door stop alarm, which can keep intruders outside where they belong. Our products are affordable enough to allow you to set up a whole security system that can fit almost any budget, so start down the road to home safety today.

Nov 192013

Every little bit helps. From a deadbolt being used to having alarms and surveillance systems installed, the more you have helping you protect your home, the better off you’ll be.

“It’s all about protecting yourself with layers of security.” So says Detective Andy Mehl and it’s good advice from someone who knows.

Last week, three detectives and Sgt. Mark Marsh from the Edmonds Police Department shared their knowledge about home burglaries, identity thefts and scams at a meeting in the city council chambers. Dozens of residents learned about ways to protect themselves from common crimes and how to be proactive post-invasion. Read more here:


The crowd listens to the police department presentation.

Jun 102013

Securing the garage is just as important as securing the rest of the house. For those of us who use their garage as their workshop, complete with expensive tools and such, it is vitally important to keep things under lock and key.

There are three ways a burglar can enter the garage.

Secure the service door just as you would the entry doors to the home. Have a solid door, rather than a flimsy hollow-core one. Use a good, locking doorknob as well as a heavy-duty deadbolt. Make sure the hinges are installed using screws long enough to go into the studs. If you have an attached garage, take these same security measures on the door coming into the home from the garage.

The overhead door should be closed when you’re not in the garage working. If you just leave the door open all day long, what you are really doing is showcasing your good stuff to any burglars looking for good scores. If you have a garage door opener, unplug it when you’re not going to be home for a few days. You could also lock a padlock through one of the holes in the tracks to keep the door from moving.

Windows need to be secured as well. I honestly don’t know many people who actually open the windows in their garages. They are just for letting in light. If that’s the case for you, run a few wood screws through the frame to keep them closed permanently. Also consider putting security film over the windows to keep prying eyes from checking out the merchandise.

Jun 052013

I always advocate keeping shrubs to a bare minimum near doors and windows. Reason being, if they are large, they can hide an intruder as he or she works on breaking into the home. However, another approach is to grow plants in those areas that will help ward off the bad guys.

Growing a climbing rose along a window is a great way to keep folks away. Install a trellis under or next to the window and train the vine to follow it up and then along the window sill. The Voodoo rose is a great one for this as the thorns are very sharp.

The Washington Hawthorn is another great security plant. With thorns that can be a couple inches long and VERY sharp, few people will traipse through one. As it grows, keep it trimmed as they can get very large.

The thorns on a Washington Hawthorn.

Blackberry vines work well too and have the added benefit of the fruit.

Pyracantha, also known as the fire thorn bush, can actually sting a person, leaving a burning sensation that lasts quite a while.

Pyracantha thorn.

Any of the above, as well as other thorny vines and shrubs, will work well in deterring potential intruders from coming in the windows.

Jun 042013

Many people choose to have one or more firearms in their home for defense purposes. I’m not going to tell you that’s a bad idea. Provided a few elements are kept in mind, and the owner completes adequate training and regular practice, I highly recommend firearms for this purpose.

The number one rule with firearms is you should treat every gun as though it is loaded. Firearms have a nasty habit of loading themselves when no one is looking. The second rule is to always know what is behind your target. This brings us to today’s topic — overpenetration.

Consider your home. How big is the largest room? What is the likely maximum distance you could expect between you and an intruder? Unless you live in an open rectangle, you aren’t going to need to shoot from one end of the home to the other. Odds are pretty good you have walls in between, right? Even if you were at one end of a hallway, I’m betting most of you probably wouldn’t have to shoot a target more than, say, 50 feet away. At that range, an average .45 caliber bullet is going to have enough velocity to not only hit but go completely through an intruder, through the wall behind him, and into the next room, possibly hitting a family member.

This is called overpenetration.

You can avoid this by adjusting your thinking a bit when it comes to defensive firearms. There are people who will say a .22LR bullet is no good for personal defense, it doesn’t do enough damage. For those who believe that, please line up and let me shoot you in the knee with my Ruger 10/22 from about twenty feet away. We’ll see if that helps put things into perspective for you.

Another option is a shotgun loaded with birdshot. You’ll visit plenty of hurt onto an intruder without having to worry much about injuring or killing your son or daughter in the next room.

Just some food for thought as you plan your home defense strategies.

May 302013

Windows are notoriously difficult to secure. Because of this, you might consider alarming them. A window alarm will alert you when the window had been opened.

There are two basic types. The first uses magnetic affinity. You install the alarm on the window frame and attach a small magnetic piece on the window itself. As long as the window is closed, the magnets touch. Break that connection by opening the window and the alarm sounds. These work particularly well on sliding patio doors.

The second type uses vibration detection technology. This device is placed on the window itself. If the alarm detects any movement or vibration, such as from someone breaking or cutting the glass, the alarm goes off.

In addition to alerting you to a break in, window alarms are also excellent for helping you corral young children.

If a child opens the patio door while you’re in another room, you’ll immediately know it and can respond.

Another option is to go with something like the Multifunction UFO Alarm. This devices is sort of the best of both worlds in that you can use it to alarm windows, doors, drawers, even yourself!

May 292013

True fact: I don’t personally know anyone who has ever hired a nanny. In fact, I don’t even know anyone who has ever worked as a nanny.

Yet, I know all sorts of people who have benefited or would benefit from using a nanny cam. For example, I know a guy who worked out a trade with a woman whereby she’d clean the house and do laundry as “rent” for a bedroom in the home. After some time, it became apparent things were coming up missing here and there. At first, it was little things like handfuls of loose change or a couple dollar bills. Didn’t take long though before it was missing jewelry and prescription medications.

The local sheriff’s office installed a nanny cam and within a single day had enough proof to arrest the woman. The case is still pending in court but that’s just a matter of working out the plea agreement at this point.

Of course, the guy will never see the jewelry again, nor get any of his money back. Sure, restitution might be ordered by the court but that won’t replace the rings and bracelets that were family heirlooms, y’know?

Nanny cams aren’t going to prevent theft. The idea is to have a way to detect it quickly so you can take whatever action might be necessary. Had the guy in my example had his own nanny cam, he could have found out much sooner that he was letting a thief live under his roof and called the police, giving them the video as evidence.

Nanny cams are also great for keeping an eye on things when you’re away from home. Perhaps you have a teenager who you suspect might be planning just a small, intimate get-together with a couple of his closest friends. You know, the type of thing that quickly escalates into the party of the year? It’d be nice to know exactly who broke that Faberge egg, wouldn’t it?

May 242013

They say practice makes perfect and that is certainly true with security plans. You and your family should know, without even having to think hard about it, what to do if the smoke alarms go off in the middle of the night, if there’s an intruder, or if for any reason they need to evacuate the house in an emergency.

For example, let’s talk about fire drills. Schools do these all the time, businesses perhaps a bit less often. Few people practice them at home, yet a fire is far more likely to break out there than anywhere else.

The first step is, of course, to have a plan you can practice. Sit down with your family and draw one up. It should include evacuation routes from each room, instructions on how to crawl along the floor rather than walk through the smoke, covering the face with a piece of clothing, and where to meet outside.

Fire drill

Once the plan is figured out, it is time to practice. Start by doing a run through during the day, maybe on a Saturday afternoon. Tell your family about it ahead of time and have them get into place before starting the drill. Talk through the plan as you go, reminding them where to go and how to get there. Run through it a few times, until they are comfortable with the plan.

Then, on a regular basis, spring it on them at random times of the day or night. Time the drill with a stopwatch and work on improving the time with each drill.

Go through the same process with your other plans, practicing and practicing until it becomes rote memory. This way, when panic hits, the mind and body will remember what to do.

May 232013

The following is taken from Prepper’s Home Defense.

Aside from just kicking in the door, another way intruders may try to gain access is to saw through the door around the deadbolts and doorknob. This can be done quickly if an electric “Sawzall” is available, marginally slower if done manually. Prevent this by installing metal rods into the solid wood door. This requires the use of an electric drill, a 12” thin bit, a hammer, a nail set, and ¼” unthreaded steel rods seven or eight inches long.

Drill holes in the edge of the lock side of the door. Space them such that you have a couple of them above and below every deadbolt and the doorknob. The holes should be deep enough to contain the steel rods with about ½” additional space. Once the holes are drilled, drive the steel rods into the door and use the nail set to drive them past the edge of the door. Fill the remaining bit with wood putty.

You can further strengthen the door by installing one or more removable bars across the inside. You’ve probably seen this concept in any number of movies set in the Old West. Affix metal brackets on either side of the door frame, using long screws or lag bolts to go into the studs. Then, lay a 2×4 or other thick piece of wood into the brackets. Of course, this only works on doors than open to the interior. This method is an excellent option for those who live in apartments or other rental properties where the landlord would probably frown on someone installing additional deadbolts and such. Just purchase the materials, including a cordless drill, drill bits, and screws, and have it all sitting in a closet for when they may be needed. The brackets can be screwed to the walls in a matter of minutes. Be sure though to keep the cordless drill charging at all times so you don’t end up with a dead battery when you least need it.

Jim is the author of Prepper’s Home Defense. Prepper’s Home Defense may be found or ordered from anywhere books are sold.