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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

I am looking for practical projects to harden my home. I need real do-able suggestions .



Thanks.










 

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Purrpared
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I lived in Los Angeles when I was little, in a bad neighborhood. I have a few suggestions for civil unrest and petty thieves.

Solid core outside doors and security screens. Use decent screws that hold against a kick. My mom's screen has a deadbolt and is iron mesh on the lower part, like a colander. You can see out and it cost the same as the others, but it looks more like a regular door.

If you have a garage door seal it so it can't be accessed by someone with a pry bar and 30 spare seconds, or if you actually put your car in there, harden the house door like an outside door. My ex-BF was a cop and he called garages "property removal hatches." A lot of folks have a $400 security front door, so the thief goes around and pops the garage door with a pry bar then uses his drivers license to open the cheap door into the house, which is "in the garage" so it didn't get reinforced.

Storm shutters for windows facing the street. They're heavier and can take a lot of abuse. Bars keep people out but do nothing for bottles and projectiles. We poor folks had 3/4 inch plywood cut to fit the windows like you would for a hurricane. You put them up when needed, either with furniture shoved against them on the inside or screwed them right into the wall outside, depending on whether you owned the house. (We had the furniture-shoving kind, so they doubled as box springs when not in use).

In all the front rooms we had full, heavy bookcases (not Ikea stuff) against the outside wall. When you heard the firecracker noise outside and it wasn't July, you got on the floor by the safe spot. When I lived in a furnished studio I had a little stack of kitty litter bags with a tablecloth that was my safe spot (maintenance kept trying to catch a glimpse of the unauthorized kitty). Some people put planters outside their windows up to the sill, which seems safer than cowering behind the Johnny Cat.

My brother bought 4 motion sensor floodlights and spent a weekend wiring them on the sides of the house. He's heard running feet right after the lights came on, before he could even get up. I've seen some motion sensor lights at Lowe's that have battery backup, too.

If you want the flash mobs to pass you by, put in a fence with a driveway gate. It's a psychological barrier and even though they can jump it, most people will run past it to an open lawn.

A lot of this stuff is just buying yourself enough time to react or call for help if it's available. Good luck with hardening your house. I hope you never need any of it, but you and your family will always feel safer for it.
 

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For a door, it's best to not have a window, just a peep hole. Use 3 1/2" or 4" torx head screws around the jam, going into the studs. Replace a couple of hinge screws in each hinge with longer torx head screws. Most hinge screws are very short. You can put a dead bolt high and low on the door.
Walk around your house thinking like a burglar. Where is your weak link?
Eliminate large shrubs next to the house.
For sliding doors or windows, put a dowel or something similiar in track to prevent opening.
Put a light switch to shut off power to garage door when you are home.
I agree with the other suggestion about the door between the garage and house. It needs hardened as well.
Also, as mentioned, the motion detector lighting is very helpful.
Consider heavy window blinds or curtains to prevent someone from looking in.
Even a cheap storm door outside an entry door provides some protection.
A small dog is very helpful. They don't let much by them.
There have been some posts on the forum about some amazing film that goes on windows. The glass will crack but it is extremely difficult to go through.
 

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I have a few ideas for you, while solid core doors are a must, may I suggest:

Make sure your deadbolt is at least 7 inches from the door handle.

Use a reinforced plate around the door handle/deadbolt. Easy to find at Home Depot.

You can also buy steel 3 inch wide strips at the same store. Remove the interior door trim, and the door jam screws/nails on one side of the door. Slide the steel in-between the jam and the wall. Drill a pilot hole through the jam and into the stud. Use 6 inch deck screws and secure the jam. Do this every 6 inches and stagger the screws to each side of the jam. Then do the other side.

This will distribute the force from an attack over the frame of the house.

I saw a demonstration of this method a few years ago and a police battering ram could not break down the door.

Only do the doors to the outside.

Good Luck

R
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My house is small, stick built, masonite siding.

The west side of the house has a door opening out onto an enclosed porch and one window in the ground floor bedroom.

The east side (front) has 2 windows , a wooden entry door with 9 panes of glass.

Two windows on the south side, three windows across the west side (back).

Upstairs is a sleeping loft with a window at the south end, two windows flanking a small wood door which opens onto a balcony on the north side.

The central heat/cooling system is located directly under one of the south windows on the ground floor.

The front 1/2 acre has many shrubs and trees and a fish pond near the road. The road that runs in front of my property is well traveled and leads to two posh gated communities.

The house itself is surrounded by homes. There is no place where I can stand in my yard where I cannot see another house.


I had a large emergency food supply delivered and mil and ds have gabbed about it even though they promised they wouldn't .

This makes me very vulnerable.
 

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alot of very good ideas here. I have finally convinced my mom to get security film installed on all her vulnerable windows, and i am going to cover all the windows of my condo with it soon.
 

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When I have installed doors, I have used style A drip edge next the stud and inside wall under the door casing on the lockset side. It could be put all the way around. The metal is thin but would add a lot of strength.
Finish head screws used in the brick mold and casing will hold much better than finish nails (usually very light nails from a nail gun).
 

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landscaping your property specifically for defense ...... landscapers are specializing in this particular aspect of beautifying property ....... they speak of "burgulary prevention" .....

eliminating access to the property using soft and hard scape ...... bushes that hedge intertwine or are angry with thorns ....... fences and block walls that stop intruders and provide gunfire protection .......

illumination has been discussed ...... check into the solar powered stuff ......
 

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1. Get outside lighting for at night, I suggest the new LED lighting, because it uses a lot less power to run.

2. Get some type of fencing (even if its just a picket fence) to make a barrier so as the bad guys know their is a boundry that if they cross it they could be shot.

3. Some type of motion sensors, cheap ones work great.
http://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...17?cm_sp=Upsells-_-Top Sellers-_-Product Page

4. Cameras, at least 4 cameras and a screen to watch them on. Have the screen in a room that is away from what you consider the most dangerous side of the house or where threats will come from.

5. Keep 3/4 inch plywood on hand for windows that are down stairs and windows that are on the side threats may come from.
(This is for after the SHTF).

6. Make sure you have a gun hidden upstairs and downstairs and thru out the house that you can get to quick. This is if you don't carry one on you at all times. However you could be in the house, and forget to strap on your gun and thats when you will need one the most.

7. Have a safe room, A place for everyone to goto incase of a home invasion. This room should have a solid door and a steel case so as it can't be just knocked in with a single kick. Also no outside windows if possible. Have a gun hidden in this room espescily.
This room will provide a little security, while you figure out what to do to get the invaders out of your house.

8. Have extra 2X4 and 2X6 boards and Plywood for security projects you may want to do after the SHTF. If you can get it and store it get some 4X8 sheets of sheet metal that are as thick as you can handle by themselves.

9. Get a dog, however this will be an extra mouth to feed, so have plenty of dogfood on hand. Get a german shepard or a doberman or smaller breed aggressive dogs, so they don't eat alot of food. I am against pit bulls, because they seem to be too aggressive.

10. Get a home alarm that will alert you if a window or door is open. Have a loud siren inside and outside to help scare the intruders. Or to alert the neighbors if you get the number 11 tip setup.

ETA:

11. Get a form of communication setup (walkie talkies) and see if your neighbors would like to get involved in a neighborhood watch if the SHTF. This may be something you might want to setup after the SHTF if you don't know your neighbors good. In that case have enough walkie talkies to hand out, that can communicate to each other, Remember there is safety in numbers.
Neighbors will be great allies if the SHTF, unless you have the bum neighbor that can't even feed his family now, much less after the SHTF.
 

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The problem with the window films is yes they make the window tougher to break, but the window itself is usually in a flimsy vinyl/aluminum frame that is easily opened.

If I had a crow bar, I'd use it to wedge the window frame open, not shatter the glass with it.

Rolling shutters - http://www.rollshuttersystemsusa.com/ or some decorative window bars may be a better choice.
 

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There are some great ideas here.

I would like to add one comment: Be careful making your home look too secure. If the house looks like a fortress, the bad guys might just get more people and make a concerted effort to get inside.

Start with changes that are not as visible, such as, landscaping,deadbolts, etc...

After you get going, you will get a feel for what to do next.

Good Luck, and keep thinking ahead.

R
 

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As other posters have noted, door jambs usually need to be reinforced.

Most door frames used in the last few decades are nothing more than soft pine wood, easily destroyed by a kick at the level of the lock-set (the deadbolt just rips through the wood).

Search 'door jamb armor' for ideas & commercial products - need to remove the trim to install.
 

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I'll speak to the doors/jams. In 22 years of forcing 100's of doors on the job I can tell you if you got a wood jam that's what breaks and, well very easy.

Now steel door and frame ,I'll have to break out sledge or most of the time Rabbit Tool.

Other then that rockyriver covered it pretty well !
 

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Holly Bushes

Plant some Holly Bushes beneath your windows, and help them grow with regular watering, and a little fertilizer. Don't trim them back. Let them grow up to the bottom of the window, and out, away from the house. It is hard to fight a thick Holly Bush. Just not worth it. Of course, if someone is determined to come in that window, he can always cut the bush down at the ground level. But most people aren't going to do that. They just want to hit and run. Also, a Steel Security Door, with laminated glass, is usually pretty secure. This is the same type usually sold to retired people. Depending on the design, they can be pretty tough to get thru. If you know someone on a SWAT team, go talk to them. They should know from experience what is tough to get through. It sounds like you are doing everything pretty well. Keep up the good work, and Good Luck.
 
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