The Best Home Defense Tactics to Fortify Your Home From Intruders!
For many of us, our homes are where we feel safest. At the end of the day, we leave work and return home to our families, with the expectation that we can enjoy each other’s company in our own little sanctuary, secluded away from the dangers of the outside world. While we hope for only peace and tranquility inside our own homes, all Preppers know that in a world like ours, anything could happen. Depending on where you live, an intruder may not be terribly likely, but are you prepared to deal with someone who enters your home with bad intentions?
Luckily enough, there are a number of great home defense tactics that you can use to protect your home from burglars and other intruders. To help you come up with the best home defense plan to protect your family, here’s a list of some simple, yet clever ways to prevent home invasions and to deal with them if they happen.
We’ll begin with some tips for preventing intruders from getting into your home. Once we’ve covered those basics, we’ll move on to what steps you can take if you do have an intruder in your house. Let’s get started!
Preventing an intruder
If an intruder gets into your house, they can cause immediate damage or injury to you or your family. The best way to prevent this possibility is to take steps to deter an intruder or to make it very difficult to get in. Here are some tactics you can use to protect your home:
1. Install motion sensing lights
Many intruders sneak into homes in the middle of the night when the occupants are out of town or out for dinner. If you have motion sensing lights installed, any potential perpetrators will likely be scared away when a light suddenly starts beaming onto their face.
When you install motion sensing lights, be sure that the sensors cover the access to each door and window on the ground floor so that they catch the movements of anyone trying to sneak into your house at night.
2. Install security glass film on windows
Although a door is generally the easiest way into a home, many intruders break windows to circumvent locked doors. While we might not be able to prevent a burglar from breaking one of our windows if we’re not home, we can take steps to prevent them from actually being able to enter the window once they’ve broken it.
Installing security glass film on your ground floor windows adds an extra protective layer to the glass which can absorb impacts from break-in attempts. Plus, it can hold together the shattered glass to prevent someone from entering the window once it’s broken. The thing about security glass film? It’s clear and easy to install, so you won’t even know that it’s there! This film is a MUST if you have side windows by your door. Its an easy way to break a quick break and unlock scenario.
3. Protect your sliding door with a security bar
Many of us have patios or backyards at our homes that are accessed by a sliding glass door. While these doors allow lots of natural light to enter our homes, they are less secure than a traditional wooden door with a deadbolt. Thus, they offer easy access for an intruder with bad intentions.
To stop an intruder from entering through your sliding door, you’ll want to install a security bar in your doorway. These bars are easily installed on most doors and they act as visual and physical deterrents to burglars that are trying to get into your home.
4. Install light-sensing bulbs outside your home
In addition to installing motion-sensing lights outside your doors and ground floor windows, another great way to illuminate your home at night to prevent intruders is to install light-sensing bulbs on your porch and above your garage doors.
These bulbs automatically turn on at night and off in the morning so you can keep your outdoor spaces illuminated without having to remember to physically turn your lights on and off. This is especially useful when you’re away or on vacation, as these lights can make an intruder think that someone is home, even if they’re not. I have them installed on all of my outdoor lights!
5. Install high-quality deadbolts on your doors
A well-made deadbolt is pretty difficult to break, so a good one is worth investing in. Deadbolts can be expensive and time-consuming to install, but they’re one of our best defenses against petty burglars, so they’re worth the investment.
While most people think to install deadbolts on their front door, it's important to also install them on other entrance doors into your home to prevent an intruder from just walking around to the back door and entering your home.
6. Reinforce your door frames
If you watch enough crime and drama TV, you’ll know that many burglars make their way into a home by kicking the door in. While a good quality deadbolt and a solid door can make this difficult, often the first thing to give up under pressure is the door frame, which isn’t made to withstand lots of force.
To reinforce your door frame, you'll want to buy and install some reinforcements and anti-kick plates, which make it nearly impossible for someone to kick down your door without special equipment. Anti-kick plates are often sold in kits that are fairly easy to install. Plus, a kicked-down door is expensive (not to mention the economic and emotional toll of a burglary) so anti-kick plates are a great investment for your home.
7. Lock your door
This one might seem too simple to mention, but locking your door can be a major deterrent to intruders. About 30% of all burglars enter a home through an unlocked window or door, so remembering to lock the door behind you when you leave the house in the morning can truly make all the difference.
8. Install a home security system
While home security systems can be expensive, they are effective and are definitely worth the investment. Not only do they act as a deterrent to potential intruders, but they can also alert authorities and increase the likelihood that a burglar is caught. Although only 17% of homes in the US have a security system, homes without this protection are up to 300% more likely to be broken into. Those are some statistics to pay attention to.
It’s important to mention, however, that many people with home security systems don’t turn them on because it’s somewhat inconvenient to do so. Seasoned burglars know this, so if you do invest in a system, do yourself a favor and be diligent about turning it on when you leave the house.
9. Trim your bushes
Not only will trimming your bushes keep your yard looking nice and well-kept, frequently pruned bushes make it more difficult for someone to hide behind them. The Metropolitan Police Department of DC recommends paying particular attention to trimming shrubbery near windows or doors so that someone can’t hide behind them to prevent turning on motion sensing lights.
10. Have lights on a timer
An intruder is much more likely to enter your home if they think no one is home. Thus, it’s important to create the illusion of being home, even when you're not. One of the best ways to do this is to have a series of lights on a timer, which can automatically turn a lightbulb on and off at various, pre-set times of the day.
It's worth investing in a handful of these timers for your home. You'll want to have timers on different lights in various rooms so that it's not obvious to a burglar that you have timers. Simply keeping one or all of the lights on while you're away is not only wasteful but unlikely to trick someone who's determined to get into your home, so a set of timers are your best bet.
11. Install cameras in and around your home
If you’re frequently out of town or away from home for long periods of time, it can be worth investing in some security cameras. Not only can this footage help catch an intruder after the fact, modern technology means that you can often see the footage in real time from your phone or computer.
Depending on your needs, you might be interested in a video doorbell, which lets you use an app on your phone to see who is at the door (I personally have used a Ring Doorbell for the past 3 years). This can be useful if your not home or if you’re nervous about answering the door. Other systems can let you contact the authorities if you see that someone is in your home if they shouldn’t be. There are many different options out there, so it’s important to find the systems that work for you.
Protecting yourself from an intruder
Despite our best preventative efforts, a determined and skilled intruder will find a way to break into even the best-prepared homes. Thus, it's important that you know what to do if you find an intruder in your home so that you can defend your property and your family.
1. Have a plan
First things first, you’ll need a plan. Planning ahead is the best way to be prepared for an emergency. All of the best home protection gadgets won’t mean much if you come face to face with an intruder in your home, so you’ll need to be sure that you have a plan of action for safely evacuating your family, neutralizing the threat, and contacting the authorities.
2. Know your escape routes
While everyone’s situation is different, you’ll want to be sure that you have a good idea of the potential escape routes from your home so that you can get your family away from a potentially armed and violent intruder. Take notes of these routes and make sure everyone in your family knows where they are and how to use them.
It’s also important that you have a designated meet-up place and action plan prepared in case you need to evacuate your home. This is something you’ll also want for other emergencies, such as a fire or gas leak, but it’s particularly important if you need to flee from a potentially violent person. Come up with a plan A and a plan B so that you can locate everyone in your family after an emergency.
3. Have good hiding places
It might not always be possible to escape your home once it’s been intruded, so you should have some good hiding places set up for such an emergency. Some of us are lucky enough to have a safe room in our homes, but even then, it may be difficult to access this room if the intruders are blocking it off. Thus, you’ll want to have a few good hiding places prepared, just in case.
Particularly if you have children, you should have a talk with them about what to do if a stranger is in the house. Remind them to stay calm and quiet and to head to their safe hiding place to wait out the danger.
4. Use force when necessary
While we don’t advocate for unnecessary violence, if a confrontation with a dangerous intruder is inevitable, then you need to be prepared to protect yourself and your family. Laws and regulations vary from country to country, so having a firearm or other kinds of weapons may not be practical or desirable for your situation.
That being said, our homes are full of everyday items that can be used for self-defense. A footstool, shovel, broomstick, or a lamp can all be useful in self-defense, if necessary. If you don't feel particularly confident in your ability to protect yourself or your family from an intruder, it might be worth signing up for a self-defense class so you know the basics and can use them in an emergency.
Remember: confronting an intruder is serious and potentially dangerous business, so only do so if you feel confident and someone’s life is being threatened.
5. Contact the authorities
If you’re trapped in your home with an intruder, you’ll likely need to contact the police or other authorities. Making a phone call using a national emergency number (911 in the USA) is a great option, but is not necessarily practical if you’re hiding in a closet and don’t want to be heard.
Many countries have phone numbers that you can text if you’re in danger but can’t pick up the phone, so look into this option and show your family how to use it if they need to. Even young children have made successful 911 calls and texts in the past, so teaching them how to do so could make all the difference.
At the end of the day, home defense requires preparedness and thorough planning. None of these tactics can prevent or protect against an intruder on their own, but when used in conjunction with each other and as part of a home defense plan, they can be incredibly effective in protecting your home and your family.