Home Fortification

A man’s home is his castle: A proverbial expression that illustrates the principle of individual privacy, which is fundamental to the American system of government. In this regard, the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution — part of the Bill of Rights — prohibits “unreasonable searches and seizures.” ( See also under “Proverbs.” ) –Dictionary.com.

I was once lucky enough to listen to one of Israel’s former Attorney Generals give a seminar on Israeli security policies and their approach to dealing with terrorism. One of the things he discussed was something called the “three rings”. The three rings are layers of security that get harder to penetrate as you go. I have seen this philosophy in action, whether intentional or not, at many government facilities and military bases and it can easily be applied to your home.

The first and outer ring is obviously your property line. The second ring would be your house itself and finally the hardest ring ideally would be a safe room within the house. This is going to be a series of posts that talk about realistic home fortification, using environmental design to improve security and do it yourself (DIY) improvements.

The Assessment. Before we can start fortifying the home we need to do an assessment of our homes weaknesses and take into account individual security needs.

Outer ring: Obviously we need to take a look at our fencing, yard and outer environment.

  • Does the house have chain link or wood?
  •  Should a wood fence be put in place of chain link so it can’t be climbed and increase OPSEC or should we weave plastic through the chain link?
  • How high is the fence? Is it as high as the local zoning and planning commission allow?
  • Are there any parts of the fence that need repair?
  • Does the fence separate our property from another residential area, a busy street, alley or open land?
  • Does the fence have a gate?
  • What is the lighting like around our residence/property at night?
  • Are there “open” sections of property with no fence or a small fence that can easily be breached?
  • Does the house have an alarm system?
  • Are there security cameras?

(Note the differences between the two houses. You can clearly see into the back of one and there is nothing making it difficult for an intruder to breach the fence)

Middle ring: Doors, windows and garage.

  • What are the doors made of?
  • What is the door frames made of?
  • Are there any low windows that lead to a basement or are easy to access from the sidewalk or yard?
  • Is there a sliding glass door?
  • Can the garage door be pushed open from the outside?
  • Can any of the windows or sliding doors be lifted and opened?
  • Are there any plants below our first story windows?

(An unfortunately low window at the front of a house, no motion lights and no protective plants)

Inner ring: Bedroom/safe room

  • What is the door made of?
  • What is the door frame made of?
  • Does the door have a lock?
  • Does the door have a dead bolt?
  • Is it on the first floor, basement or upper level?

Once we’ve gone through and actually looked at the property (Seriously, go look. You might find a problem you didn’t notice before) and answered these questions we can begin looking at options for home security.

Next week: Middle ring security. (We will start with the middle ring because in a residential area I believe this is the most important ring of security).

Stay safe.

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