Hardening your Home -- doors, lighting, alarms, weapons, neighborhood awareness - Page 2

Hardening your Home -- doors, lighting, alarms, weapons, neighborhood awareness

This is a discussion on Hardening your Home -- doors, lighting, alarms, weapons, neighborhood awareness within the Home (And Away From Home) Defense Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Good advice so far, a few points: Double cylinder deadbolts (key inside and out) are a Life Safety Code violation in most jurisdictions and illegal ...

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Thread: Hardening your Home -- doors, lighting, alarms, weapons, neighborhood awareness

  1. #16
    Member Array Hillbilly1964's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    East Tennessee
    Good advice so far, a few points:
    Double cylinder deadbolts (key inside and out) are a Life Safety Code violation in most jurisdictions and illegal in new construction, apartments, and rental properties. Deadbolts on interior (hollow core) doors are a complete waste of time.

    Deter access: fence, dog, alarm (independent of home electrical and phone systems) no cover for BG around house giving time to work on entry points. Tempered glass or plexiglass to resist breaking windows. Be able to light up the area around the house like a football field. If you have blind areas (can't be seen from inside without exiting) install cameras.

    Deadbolts should have collars extending into the door to prevent ice picking in addition to the reinforcing advice above. Don't believe the 'can't be picked' hype advertised on some locks. If it has a keyhole, it can be picked, if its electronic, it can be bypassed.

    Its ugly as sin, but the old 2x4 in brackets is very secure.

  2. #17
    VIP Member
    Array grady's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    Near St. Lou-istan, MO
    Quote Originally Posted by Hillbilly1964 View Post
    Good advice so far, a few points:
    Double cylinder deadbolts (key inside and out) are a Life Safety Code violation in most jurisdictions and illegal in new construction, apartments, and rental properties.
    True, but I installed mine anyway. I weighed the risks and made my own decision since I'm the one responsible for my family.

  3. #18
    Senior Member Array elkhunter's Avatar
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    Jan 2006
    We have several dogs in our home, and one is always sleeping with my daughter in her room, one is always in my room, gun is always at my side.
    That is where I start.
    It’s so much easier now days, to "Love and honor" my wife, when she is armed, and shoots a better group than I do. (Till death do us part, eh?)

    “The way you get shot by a concealed weapons permit holder is, you point a gun at him,” the Sheriff said.

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  5. #19
    Distinguished Member Array Rcher's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    First off, we have a dog. I think that a dog is probably the best early warning device a homeowner can have. Even ankle biters can make enough noise to warn you of an unanounced intruder.

    I have several motion sensors and infra red detectors throughout my yard and the adjacent areas. Only one of the motion sensors actually turns on an exterior light and that is by the front door. All other motion sensors activate a warning sound inside the house. The IR sensors are set to 30" high and when the beam is broken, it too sounds a warning inside the house. Once in a while, a large dog or blowing leaves will set off one of the IR sensors. Non of our windows on the first floor are low enough for anyone to climb into the house unless they bring a ladder or accomplice. My lowest window sill is about 84" off the landscape. All windows have break glass sensors attached and only report inside the house. The entire system is 2.4ghz wireless and runs on a battery system. All devices report low battery alarms. All window sashes are double pinned when not open. We only have one entry door and that door is sensored, double bolted and installed with commercial hardware.

    I spend quite a bit of time outside during daylight hours. My neighbors know I have a warning system and are also thinking of adding one of their own. We all keep watch of our neighborhood and are fairly aware of strangers.

    I myself have tried to enter my yard at night without detection and have not yet done so without setting off an early warning device. No matter who comes into my yard, we are aware of their presence and what zone has detected intrusion. I self installed my own system so sensor locations are only known by me. So far, my system has worked well and at this time, I wouldnt change anything.

    Obviously, if the system is off or inactive, we depend on the dog to do his job.
    "Government is not the solution to our problem; government IS the problem". - Ronald Reagan 1981

  6. #20
    Ex Member Array 21bubba's Avatar
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    Jun 2009
    Here is my list:
    Outside light that comes on when it gets dark.
    Front and back doors that i'm not sure i have keys for.
    13 yrs. old lab. that barks if a mouse farts.

    English mastiff that will either eat you alive or possibly drool you to death.
    Me and my nightstand gun( usually a pt 92 loaded with some kind of hp.

    Sorry fellows i'm not going to live my life like Charleston Heston in "Omega Man".

  7. #21
    Member Array gunshrink's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    Rochester, MN

    NRA Class

    Another thing that is helpful is a couple of NRA courses - Personal Protection in the Home, and Refuse to Be a Victim. The material that comes with both of these has tons of good ideas, inside outside and all around - safe room layout, responses etc. Really helped me evaluate and make some good changes.

    Me I have deadbolts on all doors and deck (can't do the double lock in Minnesota on egress door. Also two very yappy dogs (Minature Schnauzers that think they are tough) and ahhh yes, the XD next to my bed and the shotgun under it.

    I sleep well.
    NRA Certified Instructor, MADFI Certified Instructor
    Vietnam Veteran, NRA Life Member
    XD 9 MM, 9 MM SC, 9 MM Tactical, XDM 9MM, XDM 40,
    XDM 40 Limited, XDM 5.25 Canyon Creek Custom 9 mm

  8. #22
    VIP Member Array chiefjason's Avatar
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    Jul 2009
    Hickory, NC
    Motion detector lights. Front and back door look like regular porch lights. Driveway motion light it sketchy at best. Any recommendations- 180 and 2 lights, that works worth a flip. The front motion light turned a guy away from my wife and neighbor one night. He was making a B-line for them as my wife was heading to the door. When the light went on he immediately turned back to the street.

    Changed all the locks as soon as I bought my house. Deadbolts outside doors. Storm doors too. Peephole in the front door. Kitchen window for the back door.

    No high vegetation around windows. River rock under windows, did not intend for it but it's noisy to walk on.

    I know my permanent neighbors well. The renters in front not so much. If there are screams or gunfire it will most likely be met with armed neighbor resistance as well. My neighbor in the back is an insomniac and keeps good eyes out at night. If I come in from work at 1 am he tells me I was early last night, if it's 3 am he lets me know I was late. I have not idea when the man sleeps.

  9. #23
    Member Array larefugee's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
    Portland, OR
    Many locks offer only the illusion of security and are easily picked by amateurs. I would want to have strong doors, but also high security locks.

    Automatic garage door openers are also a liability if someone steals it out of your car that you left in the driveway.

  10. #24
    Distinguished Member Array tiwee's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
    When I built this house, the attached garage was designed not to have a direct entry into the house. A personnel door in the garage opens onto a porch near the kitchen door. Entry into the house from the garage is impossible.

    I did the wiring myself. The exterior spotlights can be operated from different locations inside, including the basement. The normal exterior lights including those in the garage can be operated from inside the house. The normal exterior lights can also be operated from inside the garage.

    All interior doors are heavy solid core wood with commercial hardware. All interior doors have lockable hardware.

  11. #25
    Senior Member Array Chevy-SS's Avatar
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    Jan 2008
    Rhode Island
    I have not done much "hardening". But I do have motion-activated floodlighting around the entire perimeter of my house. And I can usually see if the lights have been triggered, but there is no audible alarm.

    In my garage, I have a motion sensor, which triggers a beeper inside my house, so I get some notification if someone has entered the garage. I also have a standard burglar alarm (window/door contacts, plus motion sensor) in the house. Plus, I keep weapons handy at all times.

    I like this topic. I have seriously thought about building a new house and hardening it against intruders was one of my main concerns. I also want to make it fireproof and weatherproof......

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

  12. #26
    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbum View Post
    Dogs....best early warning ever.
    +1 there.

    Great reading! I'm seeing plenty of good advise and plane to implement some of it asap.

  13. #27
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    Array DaveH's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    SW Virginia
    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    For my money, the basic layout is a key concern for personal safety. I have an overwhelming desire not to live in a 1-level house. Unless Spiderman turns bad guy, anyone breaking in will have to climb stairs to the second story to do harm to the occupants during normal sleep hours.

    Quote Originally Posted by edr9x23super View Post
    Anyone who gets to the front door and within is going to have to come up a narrow unprotected stairway to get to the Bedrooms; The master bedroom doorway is at the top of those stairs.
    I assume you mean a straight enclosed staircase, w/ some sort of platform at the top. If so, I recommend installing a motion-sensor high intensity spotlight, in the ceiling, about 3/4 the way up, pointing down the stairs (leaving room for you to be in the darkness behind the cone of light, but blinding anyone coming up the stairs, w/o advanced warning that they are about to be light up).

    Quote Originally Posted by jbum View Post
    Dogs....best early warning ever.
    FWIIW -- A friend on my father swore by his small flock of peacocks as the best early warning. He claimed that they were not very susceptible to poison baiting. And, I know from visits that they kicked up a major racket whenever anyone/anything approached the house -- day or night.

    BTW -- I also recommend an automatic-switching generator w/ buried wiring entering the house some distance from the utility hookup.
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  14. #28
    New Member Array mlandolt8's Avatar
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    Jul 2009
    Our house is set up with a slightly unique security system. I should begin my mentioning that I formerly installed security systems so many of my "add-ons" are not typically suggested/offered/used. The house is a split level on a slab. This means we have full-size windows and doors on the ground level in the rear of the house. Other access points include a front door (up some stairs but you still go up more stairs once you enter), a rear door on the 2nd story deck and the two car garage. We are in a subdivision but we are toward the back of the last street and we are surrounded by woods.

    1: Standard doors with bolt locks at all entry points and window locks

    2: Security system which is armed 98%+ of the time (ya ya, we are slacking)

    The system was designed to create TIME between break-in and a confrontation. We do have the standard window and door triggers and the system call out feature (that's the COMPLETE (if you can call it that) system found in most security systems). However, security systems are highly expandable when you know whats possible.

    i. glass break sensor at both potential smash-in locations
    ii. a backup battery
    iii. motion sensor in the garage bays
    iv. a sleeper trigger connected to a major interior door ()
    v. two sirens at opposite ends of the house
    vi. all 7 flood lights/1 family room light go into a panic flash
    mode when the alarm is triggered. (Imagine lighting up 1/2 a
    block of subdivision with sound and light in all directions. The
    chaos creates time for us to go into our home defense plan.)
    vii. two others (can't list them all, some things need to be a secret)

    Our home plan has us moving to a specific location (or backup location depending where the threat is entering) that does have a loaded weapon. (I don't carry at home, go ahead ) I guess the system would be percieved by many as overkill but I'd rather know that everyone is located before I am force to deal with an intruder. My assumption (I know I know) is that anyone who sets off this system will be so startled by the sound/light show they will be gone before they find me 3 doorways away. There is no reasonable outside access to the part of the house where we would be heading. Unless they robbed the fire department of a ladder truck....

  15. #29
    Distinguished Member Array nutz4utwo's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    A valuable thread indeed!

    The only thing I want to add/reinforce is to fully ensure the other people in your household know what to do and are disciplined about using the security features. A 200 pound security door is useless if it is unlocked and a $20,000 alarm system alerts no one if it is not on...

    Having good relationships with neighbors that know what is typical of your household and when to get alarmed it also good.

  16. #30
    Member Array DarylW's Avatar
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    Jul 2009
    Southeast Arizona
    Quote Originally Posted by Defensive Arms View Post
    The prices on metal security doors with much sturdier metal frames, are starting to come down.

    If you shop around, you can get a good all-metal security door installed for a fairly reasonable price.

    They're not impregnable, but will provide a lot more security than the standard wood frame door.
    In most cases the bolt on the lockset will bend. Seems unlikely, but I've seen it happen first hand. A metal door/frame that opens out is harder to force, but not impossible with a pry bar.

    I did a lot of home repair and mantenance in my younger years, and not much will keep them out if they're determined. There are ways to discourage them, and make somoeone else's house look easier, but if they want in they'll find a way.

    I've taken the steps to make sure I'm ready if and when I'm threatened, and I'm not interested in building a fort. If they get in while I'm not here, I'm insured.

    That's all I can do, I reckon.

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