Help making this man's new castle a fortress?

This is a discussion on Help making this man's new castle a fortress? within the Home (And Away From Home) Defense Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; My wife and I very recently moved out of our third-floor apartment and into a rent house. We'll be here for at least a year ...

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    VIP Member Array paaiyan's Avatar
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    Help making this man's new castle a fortress?

    My wife and I very recently moved out of our third-floor apartment and into a rent house. We'll be here for at least a year and I have the go-ahead from the landlord to make modifications for security purposes. I thought about drawing the layout, but it's easy enough to describe. Walking in the front door takes you into the open front area. Living room area on the right, dining area on the left. The kitchen is forward from the dining area, assuming you're facing the direction you were when you entered. From the kitchen, to the left is the utility room with the washer/dryer. The other side of that room has the door to the inside of the garage. The garage has the roll-up door, without an automatic opener and a door to the backyard. Back at the front door, going straight takes you down a hallway that runs the length of the house. First door on the left is the main bathroom. Directly across is one of the bedrooms, which is going to me a guest bedroom. Second door on the left is the master bedroom, second on the right is the other smaller bedroom, what we're making an office.

    Pretty easy stuff. I'm already planning to reinforce the front door for sure with something like the Strikemaster II. I'm debating the garage doors. I'm thinking of reinforcing the one between the garage and utility room in lieu of reinforcing the garage door to the backyard. My reasoning being that anything in the garage isn't a huge deal to me. Given the choice, I'll reinforce the entry to the actual home instead, as I could reinforce the back door, but the roll-up garage door is still a weak point. I am also considering something like the 3M film for the windows to make them more difficult entry-points. There is an alarm system in the house, but the power to it was unplugged when I got there and I haven't plugged it in yet. It looks quite dated. There appear to be sensors on most doors and windows, as well as a couple motion detectors. I'll post pictures of that equipment later and hopefully you guys can make sense of it. I'm a tech geek but I don't know alarm systems at all. I don't really care to have it monitored, I just want it active so it'll notify me while I'm there and hopefully discourage any invaders while I'm not.

    My desire to secure the house, for those of you curious, stems from three experiences during my teenage years when invaders tried to get into my house. One afternoon they successfully opened the front door and I, thinking it was my dad as he got home at random hours, yelled something to what I thought was him and apparently scared them away. I searched every nook and cranny in my house with the largest knife I could find as we didn't own firearms at the time, and I didn't know they were gone. That coupled with my complete lack of trust of the neighbors I had in the apartment we were in has left me bordering on paranoia when it comes to securing my home.

    I haven't talked with the landlord about possibly having home improvements taken out of my rent as I've heard some will do, but I don't care if they won't. I'm doing it anyway. Other ideas or suggestions?
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    Senior Member Array Chevy-SS's Avatar
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    Here's a web site I like (for a lot of reasons):
    Fortifying Yourself And Your Home Against Crime - Blogs at Chris Martenson

    Good luck

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    'Be careful, even in small matters' - Miyamoto Musashi

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    Senior Member Array Mattmann's Avatar
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    Motion lights. Lights are the biggest thing that help in home safety. Will he allow pets? If so a dog is a great family member/companion and a great security detail. You can actually buy a motion detector that screws into a regular porch light and then your bulb screws into it to turn it into a motion light. I have seen these at home desperate (home depot) I have an alarm system but its monitored. If I'm not home or a fire breaks out, it contacts who it needs to. A safe is always a good idea for valuables as well.

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    Distinguished Member Array noway2's Avatar
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    If the existing alarm system is outdated, it may be worth spending a little bit on a more updated system. As modern alarm systems usually support wireless devices, this means that you wouldn't be making a permanent or destructive changes to the home.

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    VIP Member Array paaiyan's Avatar
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    We do have a small safe for documents, but it's not bolted down. The motion lights are definitely a good idea. I've thought of them but they slipped my mind while writing.

    As for dogs, they require a hefty deposit and I really don't like dogs. I have bad experiences.
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    VIP Member Array paaiyan's Avatar
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    Here are some photos of the alarm system.









    I'm going to have to get something done with it soon, but I don't know whether to try fixing what's there or set up a new one. The biggest problem I see with fixing the existing system is resetting the code.
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    Distinguished Member Array noway2's Avatar
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    Since the house is already wired, you should be able to replace the main part for about $250 give or take, based on what it cost me to do that a few years ago.

    One gotcha to consider is that if you want monitoring, some systems are designed to only call a particular 800 number, which locks you in with them. This is why I changed the unit.

    Having someone come out and test and try to reset everything will likely cost about half as much, so it may make more sense to upgrade it.

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    VIP Member Array paaiyan's Avatar
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    I'm not worried too much about having it monitored. That would be somewhat expensive as I'd have to pay for the monitoring service and a landline just for that purpose, which I currently don't have. I mostly just want an alarm loud enough to make neighbors curious while I'm gone and notification in case anything opens while I'm at home.
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    WARNING: This post may contain material offensive to those who lack wit, humor, common sense and/or supporting factual or anecdotal evidence. All statements and assertions contained herein may be subject to literary devices not limited to: irony, metaphor, allusion and dripping sarcasm.

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    Ex Member Array barstoolguru's Avatar
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    get some good lighting outside and remove bushes that can be hiding places and buy a door bar (15.00) and document everything in the house for insurance

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    Member Array scott625's Avatar
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    On most garage door openers they have a code. You may want to change the code from the previous electric garage door openers

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    Thanks for sharing I need to update my home as well

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    Senior Member Array kb2wji's Avatar
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    Step one: dont post pictures of your alarm system on the internet
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    Ex Member Array RayBar's Avatar
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    I don't know,If I had to put myself in prison,I think about moving.

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    Buy a safe and get a good dog...
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    The last Blood Moon Tetrad for this millennium starts in April 2014 and ends in September 2015...according to NASA.

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    Senior Member Array Mattmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paaiyan View Post
    I'm not worried too much about having it monitored. That would be somewhat expensive as I'd have to pay for the monitoring service and a landline just for that purpose, which I currently don't have. I mostly just want an alarm loud enough to make neighbors curious while I'm gone and notification in case anything opens while I'm at home.
    You do not need a land line for monitoring your property. I do not have one mine runs off a cell phone. Also drive way directors are nice!

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