As we observe this Memorial Day by honoring those who lost their lives in the service of our country, I’d like to share some tips on homeland security, which I believe begins in the home. Stop for a moment and realize that while we’re grilling around our barbecues, tossing Frisbees, and throwing back a few beers, they are still out there, far from home, trying to stay out of harm’s way while doing their jobs. If you’ve got a loved one in the military, you owe it to them to keep your home and yourself safe, thus ensuring that they’ve got something to come home to.
First things first. To paraphrase one of my Sifus – Your home is an extension of you. If you are the type of person who is prepared to defend yourself, this should also extend to your home. Since your home is your sanctuary, an attack on it should infuriate you just as much as a direct attack on yourself.
One of the first things I teach my students is the importance of crime prevention through the use of better awareness and positioning. Prevention is the key to home security, as well. Make your home extremely uninviting to criminals through these simple, common-sense tips and steps. Remember, attackers love EASY VICTIMS.
✔ Locks: I suggest you install a solid wood core door on both the front and back doors of your home. Sacrifice a little cash and invest in a good-quality dead-bolt lock.
✔ Keys: Don’t become distracted at your front door; have your house key in hand as you approach your front door, and keep your eyes open for anyone hiding near your front door. When leaving your home, have your key in your hand before heading to your car.
✔ Dogs: Having a dog (or making the criminals think you have a dog) has been shown to be an effective deterrent, study after study. Leaving an extra-large water dish on the porch with the name CRUSHER on the side is also a good deterrent.
✔ Alarm systems: A highly visible alarm system is an excellent deterrent. Whether you spend $20 or $1K, make sure that everyone can see the alarm. If you can’t afford an alarm, you can purchase stickers that make a criminal think you have an alarm. Just make sure to USE your alarm if you have one. They can’t work if they’re not armed.
✔ Motion detectors: For obvious reasons, criminals prefer the dark. If you can install flood-light motion detectors for the front, rear and sides of your house, you can eliminate any dark areas a criminal could blend into. Leaving a light on somewhere in your house will also make a would-be invader think that someone is still awake.
✔ Visibility: Keep vegetation around your home cut down, especially near windows. At night, keep your drapes closed. Devise a way for you to see who’s at your door, without the person being able to see you.
✔ Answering doors: NEVER EVER OPEN YOUR DOOR TO A STRANGER. If you are expecting someone, such as a service person, ask that they show you their ID. If they don’t have any, don’t hesitate to keep them locked outside and then call the number of their company. Never let anyone in just because they looked “official”.
✔ Garage doors: Keep inner garage doors locked. Hide your garage door opener in your glove box. When pushing the button to lower the door, always stand and watch it go down completely. Many attackers will slide under the garage door as it’s going down.
✔ Flashlights: Keep several flashlights around the house in case of emergencies. A good solid maglite flashlight can also be used as a weapon.
If someone does make it into your home, defend yourself!! Remember the “stop buttons” (eyes, throat, groin), and aim for those! Also, remember to only defend yourself enough to stop the fight, not to kill the intruder.