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Old 07-28-2009, 01:00 PM   #1
Glockd
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Default Home Security Tips

Please post your tips on home, apartment, vehicle and travel security. I want this to be a non-firearms thread. Think of it as what you need to do so that you do not need a gun to defend the homefront. Window locks, deadbolts, alarms, etc.

Here are some simple ideas for apartment dwellers.

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10 Inexpensive Ways to Increase Your Apartment's Security
It's easy to make your apartment more secure with these simple steps!

Good security for folks who live in apartments, town homes or college dorm rooms doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate. These ten inexpensive ideas can help give you piece of mind and make you less vulnerable to break ins.

1) Secure all windows. Make sure to include bathroom windows and other small windows. Place a broom stick or other similar device in the track of a sliding glass door. Cost: $2.00

2) Never depend on a chain lock to secure your doors to the outside. Always install a good deadbolt lock. The key cylinder should be changed within the lock if the keys are lost and they clearly identify the location of your building or apartment. This should also be done if the apartment was formerly occupied and you are the new tenant. Refrain from having too many extra keys made - and never lend out the master key. Cost: $40.00

3) In addition to locks, install a "peephole" (wide angle viewer) on your outside doors. Use your peephole to "interview" strangers at your door. Be extremely cautious of any salespeople or workers (from the cable company or gas company, for example) that show up without you having called them. Ask all salesmen, solicitors, and information seekers to produce valid credentials (drivers license and employee ID) and call the company to double-check their legitimacy. Any stranger who does not cooperate should be reported to the police as a potential threat. Cost: $35.00

4) If your building has an intercom system, use it wisely. If you do not know the person who rang your intercom, do not "buzz" them in - even if they claim to be a friend of another tenant. Awkward perhaps, but you can always say "I'm sorry but I don't know you so I cant let you in." Cost: Free

5) Cooperate with all other tenants in keeping the outer main doors locked. Do not permit strangers to enter the building as you are leaving or entering. The main entrance front door is a critical area for security. There must be a building policy that requires all nonresidents to be screened outside the main entrance door by the tenant who is being visited to prevent unauthorized access. Cost: Free

6) Never place your full name on the identification slot, mailbox, or in the telephone directory. Use first and middle initials. For example, use "J.T. Smith" rather than John Taylor Smith. Also, do not leave messages or notes for the postman, paperboy, or manager advertising your absence. Have deliveries picked up by a friend or neighbor while on vacation. Cost: Free

7) Be careful in carport areas. Lock your car. When entering or leaving, look around and make sure that no one is lurking in the area. If you do see someone loitering, leave immediately and notify the manager and/or the police. If there is a storage compartment in the carport, don't place valuable items in them. Do not expect your items in these storage areas to be very secure. Use a good quality padlock and have well-secured hasp attachments. Cost: $5.00

8) Makes sure the lights work. Security lighting is an important aspect of security in the carport, as well as the stairwell, alley, recreation room, patio, and other common areas - both inside and out. Bulbs should be of adequate wattage and burned-out bulbs should be replaced promptly � don�t wait for building maintenance to do it � take charge yourself. Cost: $2.00

9) Avoid using the laundry room in your apartment complex by yourself, especially at night. Develop a buddy system. A well organized and active tenant association is always very helpful, as are active Neighborhood Watch groups. Cost: Free

10) Install a motion sensor alarm. Wireless home alarm security systems like the LaserShield system require no installation and are portable when you move to another apartment or home. Motion sensors immediately detect an intruder and emit a loud siren, and can also be professionally monitored. Cost: under $200.00.

Be SAFE.
Getting to know your neighbors is very important, but I'd really be interested in what some of you who live a zip code away from the nearest neighbor do to secure your property.
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:18 PM   #2
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Great thread, Glockd.

We have these on the inside of all of our exterior doors:



Someone can break the keylock and this will stop them from getting in, unless they rip the door out of the frame. MUCH stronger than a chain or one of those sliding latches.
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Old 07-28-2009, 08:25 PM   #3
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Don't store anything of value in an apartment garage. The walls may be thing plus the person in the next stall hass all the time they want to dig through their side. Plus the walls don't always go clear to the top of the building. Someone can just climb over the wall to get into your side.
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Old 07-28-2009, 10:23 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flourbug View Post
Great thread, Glockd.

We have these on the inside of all of our exterior doors:



Someone can break the keylock and this will stop them from getting in, unless they rip the door out of the frame. MUCH stronger than a chain or one of those sliding latches.
Nice but it depends on the door.

I would also put longer screws on the wall side which goes all the way into the door frame/studs. The door side would get bolts/nuts through the door.

The most secure door is one that isn't opened.

I would do a large peephole or a camera/speaker.

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Old 07-29-2009, 12:16 AM   #5
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For under windows, I plant Bougainvilla. If you have never tangled with this plant, trust me, no window is worth breaking if you have to fight your way through this stuff. It grows fast, is drought tolerant, attracts bees and butterflies to the garden, and comes in several flower colors. But the thorns, damn do they hurt. Inch long or better and damn tough. Just trimming them leaves you looking like you got shoved in a box with a pissed off tomcat, and you lost. Cacti works great too, and roses to a lesser extent. Using vegetation as a natural barrier to intruders is as effective as bars on the windows without the gulag look.

Also, I saw a program once on making your home more hurricane resistant. The contractor installed a 1/4 bar of steel in the door frame. Properly secured, the door becomes damn near impossible to force open. I wish I could find a picture of it, but basically, the trim is removed from the strike plate side of the door, the steel bar, the height of the door and about 2 inches wide is installed against the jam and holes are drilled to accomadate the striker and deadbolt.

My favorite early warning device is 4 legged and chews up slippers. Nothing beats the loyalty and dedication of well cared for dog. Their hearing is better, as is their sense of smell, and even a small 20lb dog is enough to make an intruder think twice.
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Old 02-05-2011, 03:55 PM   #6
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Lets talk about lighting, and specifically security lighting around the home. I know a lot of folks go with motion activated lights, on the perimeter of the house or property, covering the most likely avenues of approach. I have a motion activated porch light, but am not satisfied with it. I am going to supplement this light with some solar powered motion lights that cover an area of dead space to the south of my front door that is often used by others to get to my door. The northern approach (door faces east) passes by my large picture window, but the southern approach is blind. A motion light here will alert me to a persons presence before they get to my door.

My back yard is "manned" 24/7 by my outside puppies, both of which are very protective of home and family. I don't need or want motion lights here, but I do need to improve the lighting in this area. Advice and ideas would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-05-2011, 10:39 PM   #7
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The topic of home security is far too big for a single post, or even a single thread. So I am going to break it down a bit. First, an overview.

So the first question is, why do I need home security? The answer seems so obvious that the question almost seems rhetorical. But the fact is that different people are going to answer the question differently. So before you even start to secure your home, you need to answer this question. What are *your* needs?

To answer that question, you must break it down further into more questions (lots of questions; get used to it). What do you need to protect? What are the threats? How much money and time are you willing to invest in this? How much personal expertise do you have in installing things?

The first question, 'what to you need to protect?', needs a more specific answer than 'me, my family, my stuff''. For example, do you need to protect yourself and your family just indoors? In the yard as well? In outbuildings? With your stuff, do you just want to protect your most valuable items? Everything in the house? The stuff in your backyard? How about your front yard? Do you have any very valuable items (guns, preps, jewelry, coin collection, rare art, etcetera) that require extra protection?

The next question is, 'what are the threats?' Is your most likely problem going to be teenage burglars looking for something they can sell to buy drugs? Do you live in gang territory? Are you close to railroad tracks, riverbeds, or other areas frequented by transients? Are you being threatened by someone; an ex, a hostile and unbalanced neighbor, a neighborhood bully? Is there a high frequency of sexual assaults and/or home invasions in your area? In order to plan your home security, you must know exactly what you are trying to defend yourself against.

The next question is a difficult one; 'how much time and money are you willing to invest?' Understanding the threats is a major prerequisite. You must realize that while a lot can be done with a little, many of the things you will need are not cheap. If you live in a bad neighborhood, that is probably because you have a limited income and cannot afford to move to a better neighborhood. That is a real catch-22, because in a bad neighborhood you need more protection. Your stuff you can mostly replace, but your life and that of your loved ones you cannot. You must not be so cheap that your security is just not up to the job.

The next question is, 'how much personal expertise do you have in installing things?' I have ended up helping out a lot of people who bought an alarm system, door lock, wall vault or whatever that they thought they could install, only to try and get stuck because they really did not have the needed skills. You can save a heck of a lot of money with DIY installs versus paying a professional. You can also end up doing some rather expensive damage because you do not know what you are doing, and end up paying that professional anyways, as well as another professional to fix what you destroyed. So when buying things you intend to install yourself, be realistic about what you can and cannot do correctly.

Okay, once you have answered all these initial questions, you go on to the next phase; planning. Setting a budget and creating an organized plan is vital. If you just buy stuff on impulse, you may have a spiffy alarm system with crappy locks. You may have a nice CCTV system where the DVR/controller is installed in an unsecured closet. Or you may have a steel front door with a bank vault-like lock, with a flimsy hollowcore door with a $10 lockset inside the garage that opens into the house. So before you even think about spending a dime, have your plan in place and know exactly what you want to buy, how much it will cost, and how you will get it installed. Doing your homework and creating a good plan will save you untold grief later on. Be prepared for the fact that the plan will by needs change and evolve as you go through the process. And make sure you do not go overboard, which is really easy to do. Try and stick to both the plan and budget as much as possible, unless there is a really, really good reason to change it.

Here endth the first installment.
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Old 02-05-2011, 10:52 PM   #8
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This thread is Sticky for that very reason Ought, this is a very important subject. So much so that I felt it should be the very first thread in the Armory and not something folks would have to search for.

Please continue.
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Old 02-06-2011, 12:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flourbug View Post
Great thread, Glockd.

We have these on the inside of all of our exterior doors:



Someone can break the keylock and this will stop them from getting in, unless they rip the door out of the frame. MUCH stronger than a chain or one of those sliding latches.


Also, notice the size of the screws holding the latch to the door in the picture above. There is no way those could resist even a hard kick to the door. That kind of lock is really bad idea, because it gives you a false sense of security, when in fact it is making you quite vulnerable.
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Old 02-06-2011, 12:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Potemkin View Post
The most secure door is one that isn't opened. I would do a large peephole or a camera/speaker.



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Old 02-06-2011, 12:19 AM   #11
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Ought, those locks, while perhaps not the most secure, do offer some measure of protection, if even for a few moments. If nothing else, it makes the bad guy work harder and slows him/her down, giving that extra few seconds to better prepare yourself. Maybe enough time to get into your pistol safe, or dial 911, grab a ball bat, flee through a window, etc.

By itself, and to someone who relies only on that type of lock, it may offer a false sense. However, I am pretty sure that FB and Jason are not relying just on those locks to protect their home.

Ought does present a very valid point though, home security should consist of layers of protection, and not on a single item or device.

You are on a roll, keep the ideas coming.
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Old 02-06-2011, 01:46 AM   #12
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Home security -- doors, windows, locks
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Old 02-06-2011, 02:36 PM   #13
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Given today's easily available technology, I'm thinking my "peephole" will be a small TV camera -- multiplied several times.

The hotel door lock shown, and the chain locks popular on apartment doors, sort of fit the category of "slowing down the honest people." I wouldn't count on them to even slow a determined bandit very much. BTW, Kathleen tells me that even a guy who won't take "no" for an answer, and breaks one of these chains, will undergo a profound change of attitude when his eyes cross slightly on the muzzle of a service revolver and he can see the .357 magnum hollowpoints looking out of the chambers, backed by the unusual "hunter's eyes" of a former cop who has pulled the trigger when it was necessary.

Talking to a good friend, I learned I am certainly not the only one who has a handgun and flashlight in his bathrobe. If trouble comes to your door, it's likely to come at night when you are ready for bed. Some predators watch the lights of a woman's residence, until they are pretty sure she's in the bathroom shower.

Just a fair warning to everyone: You can go to prison for "hardening" or "fortifying" your home. A friend who did time was in prison with a guy doing more time for hardening his house than for the drugs. Virtually all states have such laws. I did a little digging, and they are generally part of the laws about drug raids. In most states, they actually have to find (or plant) something illegal before they can charge you for fortifying the house. In a few states, it only has to be a "drug raid," even they hit the wrong house and/or their victims are completely clean and innocent. So remember, that same Officer Friendly who tells the neighborhood residents about good locks and securing windows, will arrest you and send you to prison if he has difficulty smashing your door on a raid.

I had someone the other day tell me he didn't think the excellent old Fox Police Lock http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/27/ny...ty/27lock.html was even legal in his area. I have my doubts, after reading up a bit on some of the "fortifying" laws. I think any lock or barrier is legal until they raid you. The Fox lock I most want is not the one with two horizontal bolts, but the one with the angled metal bar that sockets into the door on one end and a metal fixture in the floor on the other. I can't remember the name of the movie where Whoopie Goldberg is a cat burglar, but she had one of those and it played a comedic part. OH, duh, it's "Burglar," 1987; I did a little checking.

Frankly, I wonder about using sound, I mean a lot of sound, as protection when you're away. I have an old 6 volt siren that looks like a car starter with a little turbine on the end. On 12 volts, it pulls about 60 amps, but it is incredibly loud. I had thought it would be amusing to have a car that, when hotwired, locks the doors and fires an interior siren sufficient to break eardrums and scramble one's thinking. But a similar concept could be employed in a house. Just make sure YOU can turn it off.

Another, proven very effective device for unoccupied structures, was the CN teargas (never CS or you'll end up building another house) system that used to be sold under the names Burglarmist and Terminator. They've vanished, but seem to have been reincarnated as a very similar pepper spray device under the name Burglarbomb. They range from a simple tripwire fired canister, to electronically triggered devices that are part of your alarm system. The concept is simple and effective: fill the building with something noxious that makes the invader suffer pain and sickness, and he'll leave. Then you air it out later, taking perhaps a couple of hours.

http://burglarbomb.com/

Yep, that AB-2000 is exactly the device we bought Grandpa in the early 1980's, except his was CN teargas.

http://www.defensedevices.com/terminator.html

Just a thought. More when it occurs to my addled little mind...
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File Type: jpg foxpolicelock1.jpg (19.3 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg FoxPoliceLock2.jpg (22.3 KB, 4 views)
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Last edited by Hamilton Felix; 02-08-2011 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 02-07-2011, 04:56 PM   #14
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Quote:
I am pretty sure that FB and Jason are not relying just on those locks to protect their home.
The locks cannot be jimmied like the hotel locks. But someone (aka Jason) can just ram the door like a bull and rip the whole freaking frame out of the wall, leaving someone else (aka flourbug) wondering why he couldn't just walk around to the door he used to exit the house, which was still unlocked. But I don't ask these types of questions when he's in a bad mood. A little wood filler and glue, a little paint... and we're good. Really.

Houses are not secure. Locks, alarms, lights... if they want in, they'll get in.

The dog is a good deterrent. I don't have to worry about anyone sneaking up while my attention is diverted. He goes Cujo when anyone comes NEAR the house.
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Old 02-07-2011, 05:59 PM   #15
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The difference is knowing exactly what kind of protection you have. A steel door with jimmy-proof deadbolt, properly mounted with security hinges in a solid door frame can take a person kicking on it or trying to pry on it with a small prybar all day. That hotel-style latch you posted the pic of will not survive a single good kick, though most people think it will. So you need to know what level of protection to expect from what you have installed.
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Old 02-07-2011, 06:25 PM   #16
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How to NOT secure your door


Feel free to delete as this is a sticky thread
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