As with all the Rules posts, I am having a little fun with the term. These are an ongoing list of suggestions that you might take to make your life a bit more safe. While I actually do follow these rules, your life is different. Your rules will also look different. Also remember that this list also includes my personal rules.
The habits I list give myself reaction time to danger. I’m not building walls to keep everyone away. I’m building habits to act as an early warning device. In this way I live freely, yet safely.
Selecting a house.
If you move think about where your new home will be. Keep in mind the idea of home security when selecting it. Homes without alleys or common areas behind them and on a cul-de-sac have the least burglaries and thefts. Homes on street corners or the outside of curved roads have a higher chance of cars driving into them.
Prepare your perimeter ( gates and yard)
Keep your gates shut and locked. Find small beware of dog, no soliciting and no trespassing signs for each gate. I use the small banner type so the house doesn’t start looking like a government institution or a prison. I wire them right next to the gate latch.
This allows you to know that anyone inside your yard is almost certainly a trespasser. Even a police officer should have a patrol car out on the street. Even utility workers honk from the gate. Until I see the police car I even talk to them through the window.
Buy a dog (even a small breed) that barks at strangers in the yard.
Have lighting that maximizes safety at night. Being able to see your car, entire yard, etc is important. Check that bump in the night without going outside.
Proper lighting outside allows you to see what’s there before you open the door. Being surprised by a family member outside the door is funny. Being surprised by the church lady is annoying. Being surprised by the criminal is dangerous.
Don’t run outside to catch the criminal in your yard or car.
You don’t have any authority to catch them in most cases. You may get your property back from the bad guy, you may also get killed by the bad guy or you may have to kill the bad guy. It’s just not worth it in the long run. Let them know you have called the police to get them to leave. Chasing them off in this way is much more safe than trying to go outside and point guns at them.
Preparing your doors and windows
Always lock your doors.
Keep the windows locked or when open pinned.
Reinforce your door jamb using three-inch screws and the door with two-inch screws. This will force the bad guy to kick the door several times before it comes open. This allows you time to prepare for them. You can do this minimum defense even if you rent an apartment.
Answer the door appropriately as I described in this post. Don’t just open the door without knowing who is outside. Use the window, peephole or just ask who it is while standing a few steps back. If it is someone you don’t know talk to them through the door or window while keeping a position of advantage.
There is also a number of things you can do to burglar proof your home. But that will be a separate post.