It’s that time of year again. For the law-abiding among us, “that time of year” means Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations, which often include giving gifts to family, friends and those in need. For burglars and thieves it’s time to fill their coffers with items that belong to other people. The items — your items — are often traded or pawned by these individuals. But they don’t have to be. With some simple holiday home security tips, you can stop thieves in their tracks.
Barricading Doors and Windows
The physical security of doors and windows should be step one in any home-defense plan. Do all of your standard opening doors at least have deadbolts? Doorknob locks and chain locks are not adequate.
Chain locks can be popped with comparatively little effort using a palm strike or kick (been there done that). A deadbolt is better but may not stop a determined attacker on its own. If the door frame isn’t steel or reinforced, it can be defeated by repeated heavy kicks. The deadbolt itself will hold, but the door frame won’t (been there done that too).
After researching the best means of door protection, I actually upgraded my own home security. I just ordered a door barricade system called the Door Bull. Designed by three cops who were frustrated by deadbolt equipped doors failing under criminal attack, the Door Bull is an ingenious, compact and simple barricade system that attaches to the door and frame. It spreads the force directed against it over a wide portion of the frame, helping to keep it intact.
Rather than my trying to describe it, go to the website and watch the video. The price of the Door Bull on the website is $99. All mounting hardware (and even a properly sized drill bit) is included. It looks like a big improvement over a barricade bar and is easily applied and removed, in case you need to exit in a hurry. The Door Bull appears to solve the main weakness of the deadbolt: a wood frame.
We’ve had a SimpliSafe wireless home security system since early August. I can’t tell you what a relief it was to have it while we were on vacation for two weeks later that month. We have motion detection sensors, an interior camera, door and window sensors, and two panic buttons. Glass break and fire sensors are also available. I installed the system and had it up and running in less than two hours. All of this for around $350 with $15 per month for monitoring — if you choose to add it. There is no contract, and you can monitor and control the system from your smartphone. If you don’t have this system and were thinking of buying yourself a new gun for Christmas, consider other options. This system works well in apartments too! Give yourself the gift of increased peace of mind instead. SimpliSafe comes with signs for you to post outside, as well, letting trouble know that you’re not an easy target.
A solid gun safe is a core component of home security. Safes are a must to secure not only your firearms but other valuables that cannot be replaced. If you can’t afford a full-sized safe, there are smaller home/office safes that can do the job for $150 or less. My dad kept one bolted to a shelf in his basement. I cut the bottom out of a box to fit over it. No one could tell it was there.
A Bit of Trickery
Finally, one of the simplest and best things you can do to protect your home while you are away is to leave your interior lights on, setting them on timers as needed. Until recently, our neighbor worked from home every day, running a small day care operation. Recently, she took a job outside the home. I noticed that when she and her husband left for work the other day, all of their interior lights were off. What a stark contrast to how their home appeared previously. It literally screamed, “Hey everyone, there is nobody here, so help yourself!” They also have no alarm system. Even though we do, we still stage our interior lighting when gone, especially for extended periods of time.
Increasing your home security doesn’t have to be just for the holidays. These tips can be used all year, giving you peace of mind every day. Do you have other great tips for securing your home? Share your ideas in the USCCA Community.
Door Bull: TheDoorBull.com
About Scott W. Wagner
Scott W. Wagner has been a law enforcement officer since 1980, working undercover in liquor and narcotics investigations and as a member, sniper and assistant team leader of a SWAT team. He currently works as a patrol sergeant. He is a police firearms instructor, certified to train revolver, semi-automatic pistol, shotgun, semi- and fully automatic patrol rifle, and submachine gun. Scott also works as a criminal justice professor and police academy commander.