Home Invasion: Preventative Security Layers to Protect the Home

In a previous article, Urban Defense Planning for the Home, it was briefly discussed that designing a home defense  system to evade possible criminals is your only way to protect your home, your family and your belongings, as well as alert you to anyone trying to break in.  Home invasions are growing more and more frequent these day.  Recently in the news, a 15 year old shot a home invader trying to break into his home.

Desperate individuals feel their cause is justified and important enough to break in, terrorize, attack and steal belongings from others homes.  Thieves are beginning to use technologies such as Google Maps and iPhone applications to gain an upperhand in breaking into your home. Being aware of the possible bouts of crime in your area, the technologies that are being used against you and and designing a home defense  system around this will help to better protect your home.

Preventative measures can be put in place to keep these scums far away from your home.  Minimize the threat of a home break in or home invasion by adding layers of security to prevent your home from being a possible hit.  Security layers are preventative measures put into place that will advertise to possible intruders to avoid your home altogether.

Layer 1: The Outside Layer

  • Reinforced doors and locks.  There is only 1 ” of wood protecting you in normal door locks.
  • Invest in heavy duty door hinges and secure door frames with 3 ” screws.
  • Barred windows or European-style security/storm shutters.
  • Doors that are not glass or see through.
  • Install a peep hole for the door.
  • Never rely on a chain latch as an effective barrier (they are easily broken if the door is kicked in).
  • Install infrared flood lights, or motion detector lights around the perimeter of the home.
  • A gate at the front of the driveway that has spikes at the top to prevent someone from jumping over the fence
  • Never leave a spare key hidden under a rock or door mat.  Too many people do this and it is the first place a criminal is going to look.
  • Cut back large trees or bushes near the windows to provide concealment.  Additionally, putting thorn bushes and other types of plants to further secure the home would be advantageous.
  • Have a guard dog trained to attack.  And place “beware of dog” signs in the front and side gates of the home.

Layer 2: The Inside Layer

  • Consider investing in an alarm and advertise that you have one by placing stickers in windows and signs in the yard.
  • Consider adding a 2-way voice feature to the existing alarm system.  This feature enables your security system to communicate directly through the control panel.  This feature also allows you to call into your system and be able to listen to any activity or speak to your child or other family members who are home.
  • Position web cams strategically in hidden areas.  Place the computer that is monitoring the locations in a hidden spot so the criminals do not walk off with the computer.
  • Have emergency plans and protocols set up where children or teens can see them.  Additionally, have important contact phone numbers next to the plan.
  • Teach the household how to call 9-1-1, and have a script ready for them to read to the dispatcher.  This will help keep them explain calmly to the dispatcher what the emergency situation is.
  • Teach members of the home different escape routes to use in case they need to leave the home, as well as a code word to use for the family to immediately leave the home to go to a safe location.
  • Close all curtains and blinds at nighttime and set the alarm.
  • Keep purses, car keys, money and jewelry away from windows were burglars can look in and see.  This only makes them want to break in more.
  • If a gun is in the home, have it locked up or put away so that smaller children do not try to use it.

Layer 3: The Personal Layer

This is the most critical layer.

  • Teach family members to be observant of their surroundings when coming home and be aware of suspicious activity.
  • Never open the door to strangers.  Teach children not to be easily persuaded by strangers who look professional or have badges.
  • Teach chidren to call “safe” adults, such as neighbors for help in cases where parents are not home.
  • Get to know your neighbors and have their phone numbers on hand in case the child needs help from a nearby adult.
  • Or, arrange a neighborhood watch program.
  • Never be afraid to call the police if a stranger or solicitor is acting suspiciously.
  • Teach children how to use the security alarm and where the panic button is.
  • Find a bug out location for family members to go to for safety.
  • If someone is trying to break into your home, activate your car alarm or panic button on the security alarm to draw attention from the neighbors.
  • As a last resort, teach older members of the home and older children how to use weapons against intruders.

It’s not enough these days to tell those who are home alone to have the doors and windows locked at all times or to not open doors for strangers.  Parents need to thoroughly discuss emergency and safety plans with those living in the home, as well as protocols on how to handle certain dangers.  A person who is prepared for a possible run in with a burglar or home invader is well equipped with knowledge on the home’s security features, knowledge on how to get additional family members to safety, get help, and as a last resort know how to use a weapon. Teaching members of the family what a home invasion is and the dangers associated with it will help them understand that invaders will not be kind, that they are intending to hurt persons who are inside, and will stop at nothing to get what they want.

When an emergency arises, adrenaline is kicks in, and triggers the fight-or-flight response, causing a rush of emotion, anxiety and for some, panic.  Practising emergency plans can help a family know exactly what to do and how to stay calm doing it.  Dangers such as home invasions and burglaries are occurring more frequently, thus causing those who are home alone to be more at risk.  Having layers of security features in and outside of the home can keep those inside the home safer.

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published June 30th, 2010
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27 Responses to Home Invasion: Preventative Security Layers to Protect the Home

  1. TSGordon says:

    Following a rash of burgalries in Denver I bought an inexpensive alarm system which frankly didn’t work very well. The cheapest element in that system was the external HORN, which was easily activated by way of the 6v battery. Every other day after work, I fired it off for a couple of seconds, as if to suggest I had forgotten to turn the system off. Every other home around us had ‘suspicious visitors’ except ours. –A Cheap investment, relative to those returns!

  2. Jessica says:

    As a professional landscaper, I am a BIG fan of putting thorny shrubs directly under windows as a deterrent to home invasion. Check into the barberry shrubs, available in a number of beautiful colors and all covered up with small, but oh so evil thorns. Be sure to wear heavy gloves when installing them! For areas receiving plenty of sun and enough air to prevent fungal problems, roses can’t be beat, and some are almost solid thorns. Hollies, particularly Chinese holly, can be most painful to try to slip through, as can Pyrecantha, and these are all evergreens so they stay attractive year round.

  3. Mary says:

    All of these suggestions are very good, but what if you don’t have electricity???  And the phones don’t work??

  4. Mary,

    It is a very precarious position to be in during an emergency when there is no elecricity or phone lines.  Typically, it is with those types of emergencies where we truly realize how dependent we are on “the system.”

    There are a few options that you can do.  You can bulk up on extra locks, security bars for doors and buy battery powered alarm sensors for windows and doors.  These are inexpensive and the alarm is very loud.  I had them placed on windows where my children were sleeping as an extra precaution.  The only draw back for this is you have to make sure the batteries do not run out of power.

    As far as communication goes, getting a walkie talkie system and communicating with neighbors could be a way to go.   

    Of course, many have decided that owning firearms to ward off intruders is the easiest route to take.  This is not a choice for everyone, but it sure beats waiting on the police to show up in a timely fashion.

  5. I went the extra mile and bought door jam armor from http://www.armorconcepts.com . It was around $100 per door but not only does it bring HUGE piece of mind, it also goes a long way in preventing an intruder. Watch the videos so see the tests done.

    Naysayers will always retort that burglers will just go through the window if they can’t get in through the door. From the interviews I’ve had with local law enforcement, burglers are much more likely to move to another target if the door is secure than risk being heard breaking a window.

    I also bought loud glass-break alarms for the windows from my local hardware store. They were only about $15 each. They are very loud and don’t go off when I slam the door adjacent to the window. They only go off if I tap on the glass it is attached to.

  6. Frank says:

    This was a very informative article.  I would just add that, if possible, family members should learn some martial arts.  Women, especially, would be more prepared to defend themselves in other circumstances as well as a home break-in with martial arts training.  I would recommend as the most effective martial arts, Shaolin Kempo, (see http://www.ussd.com – p.s. I don’t make anything from this reference; I practice Shaolin Kempo myself and know of its power).  Most attackers are by nature cowards, and a powerful counter-response will usually send them running (if they are still able).  This is only as a last resort.  Hopefully, the suggestions of this article will prevent the need for a physical confrontation.

    • @ Frank,

      I absolutely agree with you. Possible intruders are looking for an easy target. They have a tendency to bipass difficult situations because difficulty equals more time at the crime scene.

      Thanks for the martial arts link. Learning some way of defending yourself against an attacker is crucial. This is your last resort of protecting yourself and you knowing how to fight someone off could save your life. My family studies the traditional Okinawan Karate which focuses on the katas. My husband and my kids study and practice daily. In my opinion, self defense is a depreciating skill that needs to be practiced. We hope to never have to use it, but if we do need it, we’ll be thankful to have spent the time learning it.

  7. Frank says:


    My wife and I were assaulted in 2007 and she was almost killed.  Because of that I began training (at the age of 66) in Shaolin Kempo.  I work out with kids in their 20s or 30s and hope to have a black belt by the time I hit 73.

    It takes a young person working out several times a week about 5 or 6 years to achieve a black belt in Shaolin Kempo.  We focus on katas, pinyons, defense maneuvers, kempos, plus defense against opponents with clubs, knives, or guns.  There’s much more.  I would say that Shaolin Kempo is perhaps the best of the defensive martial arts.  The monks of the Shaolin Temple in China have placed a plaque outside their temple honoring USSD.  I hope this helps clarify the art as one of the best defense martial arts available.

    • @ Frank,

      I’m so sorry to hear about you and your wife’s ordeal. It sounds to me like you are trying make the most out of that horrific situation by learning some valuable ways to prevent that from happening again. Defending yourself is the last resort you have at protecting yourself and we all could stand to learn some basic self defense moves. The more I see my husband and children doing it, the more logical it seems to learn. Thanks for letting us know about Shaolin Kempo, I will definately check it out.

      Thanks for the comment,


  8. Herald W. Issington says:

    This is an excellent article containing several suggestions anyone who is serious can do.  Thank you so much. 3M makes a window security film that jewelry stores and banks use. 3M invented that product. People overestimate the certainty of pain stopping a violent attack.  People have different pain tolerances.  When your life is at stake what stops violence is injury.  If one is incapable of injuring one’s attacker knowing how to use a 12-gauge will give you your tomorrows. A smart attacker hearing it cocked will run. A dumb attacker you can hold for the police.  You need to decide in advance if you are capable of using it.  If “please don’t hurt me” is your idea of a defense you are defenseless.

  9. Dave Kraus says:

    With this communication device trusted neighbors can be dispatched to each others emergencies with a quicker response time than you will get from a 911 service.

  10. Dave says:

    Buy a gun and know how to use it and don’t put it in a gun safe.  Show everyone in the household how to use it.  A gun makes unequals, equal.

  11. 230therapy says:

    “If a gun is in the home, have it locked up or put away so that smaller children do not try to use it.”
    The gun needs to be on your belt, not stuck in a safe (even an easy access one).  These things go really, really fast and our reactions must be equally fast.  If the gun is located across the house, most people are not likely to reach it in time.  If the criminals are stealthy, then it’s even worse;  the fight is on right there.
    There is no reason for them to enter the property while someone is present.  They can easily wait until the occupants leave.  Therefore, the violence started as soon as the criminals decided to break into your home armed.  There is only the amount of delay and they amp themselves up for the event.  It’s very easy for them to go from “thief mode” to murder mode on the power trip.
    Carry a gun at home and harden the building.

  12. detroitjoe says:


    remember the blackout of 2003, no electricity and no phones…  the reality is, you need a gun and you absolutely need to know how to use it, you and every member of your family…. 

  13. detroitjoe says:

    this is a great article and very practical, but remember if you are in a situation where somebody is coming into your home, if you can slow them down enough with physical security layers, long enough to grab the 12 gauge, you might end up making it…


  14. Dave says:

    I agree,  fortification of the home, pyracanthas near the windows and alarms are a big part of the prevention plan.

    Remember, phone lines can often be cut (as in a Stockton home invasion that resulted in the murder of two children). 

    IMO, the gun should be carried on the individual while in the home.  Watch the YouTube of a homeowner with a CCW who left his gun in another room when a home invasion occurred. The thugs had guns drawn, pistol whipped him and executed him and his two female companions in front of his own video surveillance equipment.  The video was used to convict the two gangbangers, but that is little consolation to the victims and their families. 

    Police are historians, detectives, AFTER the fact.  They have no obligation to respond in a timely manner to protect your family.

    I have been involved with the Filipino Martial Arts, which starts with weapons and applies the principles to empty hands. Using a towel, article of clothing, knife, stick, garden tool, or even a small piece of furniture is better than bare hands when dealing with multiple invaders.  A trained firearm user is often the best option.

  15. charlie says:

    It is interesting to see people that are almost pavlovian in response to the doorbell and the telephone ring.  I see people just jump and answer without even thinking.  I believe this is a throwback to the 50’s and 60’s where everybody was trusting, and there were safe neighborhoods, and no pesky phone solicitors.  We never answer the phone or the door.  This is the new norm.  It is the safe way to do things, plus with cellphones, text, email, voicemail – there is no reason whatsoever to not know when someone is coming over.  We have an 8 foot fence surrounding all of our house except one front window that  has bars as well as  tinting so no one can see in.  If someone rings our doorbell we simply go to the window to see, and if no idea who they are we don’t answer.  Safe and sound.

  16. john bear says:

    Good advice for home dwellers but part one cannot beaplied to apartment dwellers because of the restrictions imposted by the landlord.

  17. Issington says:

    You censored my comment.  Can’t possibly be a good idea if you didn’t think of it.  No matter that thousands of banks and jewelry stores use that security film. But our hero Tessie doesn’t like someone bringing it up. You really can’t stand anyone who has a point of view different from yours.  You are one totalitarian life support system for a ****.  Some people such as yourself who’ve lead sheltered lives can’t handle life’s hard truths. Go ahead and depend on thorn bushes and firearms (which I guarantee you don’t know how to use) locked in a safe.

    You can ignore reality.  You can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.  The fact is you need to wake the **** up to reality or you won’t make it.  

    * Portions of this comment was edited for explicit language.

  18. @Issington,

    Thank you kindly for your first comment. It was a great contribution to the conversation and I believe that many readers will benefit from it.

    As for the second comment – seriously? I don’t believe the name calling was necessary, but if it makes you feel better to throw insults out at people, feel free buddy!


  19. Robert McFarlin says:

    The real problem is they way American homes are built. I recently spent several years working overseas where the house are built largely of cement, the doors are reinforced steel with bolts in 3 edges, like bank vaults. Windows usually have serious bars at least on first floor. In short, very, very difficult to break into. In comparison, American houses are cheap pieces of junk. A child can kick in most American doors. The windows might as well be cardboard. It’s a joke. Build your houses like a fortress!

    • Vic says:

      Someone here spoke of “Martial Arts”..  In three words..
      Forget about it.
      Unless you have actually spent portions of your life fighting with other human beings you do not stand a snowballs chance….
      Because the creatures that are coming in your door have.
      Because the overwhelming majority of you have spent your lives doing what your doing now. Preparing.. You go to school , stay in line.. don’t push.. In other words with few exceptions your decent civilized human beings prepping for life.
      A few Martial arts classes will not prepare you mentally for the violent nature of a home invasion.. 
      The creatures coming into your home are there to satisfy their own urges, wants needs. They will hurt you scare the heck out of you.. Rob, Rape and Murder with no hesitation.
      How do I know.. I have dealt with them in many settings. I have experienced a home invasion and come out on top as well as several attempts. I have experienced Violent physical attacks by individuals and groups.. and survived.
      I was able to deal with them First and foremost because GOD so willed. Praise Be to Jesus I had been trained as a Marine Sgt.. as an Officer.  Because I could keep my head and had the will to resist with more force. More violence.. without hesitation or remorse..
      I wish you decent people had all that but you very likely don’t .. Like I said your the good and decent folks of the world that have been preparing since you were little kids. That’s why your here at this blog.. doing what you have always done..
      You cannot  just “Buy a Gun” .
      The first thing you must do is make up your mind.
      Do you really love your family.. spouse and kids..
      Of Course you do…
      I am not so sure.
      You would die for them you say? 
      I am not impressed..
      It is easy to die, the bad guys will help you.
      To fight in a hopeless cause you are sure to lose really takes little courage.
      It is an act of desperation..
      You need to live for them..
      You need to remain good and decent people.. but you need now to let the primal creature buried deep inside of you once again see the light of day only under your command and control.
      You need to make up your mind that you are going to live for your family…
      That what ever or whomever comes across that threshold to do you and yours harm it not you and yours is doomed.
      Make up your mind every min of every day and night for the rest of your life you will have in your possession the will, the fighting spirit and the means to drive your enemy into the dirt..
      To Start their Bleeding
      To Stop their Breathing
      To Expand their Wounds
      To induce Shock
      To Stop them cold from Robbing , Raping or Murdering You or Your Loved ones.
      How do you think that Doctor feels today.. who had neither will nor the means to stop those two scum from murdering his wife and young teenage daughter.
      The criminals got the death penalty.. So What?
      He survived.. The rest of his family died.  Do you think he has regrets?
      What do you think he would give to have another chance.. do you think he would get prepared… but there are no second chances in this. His family is dead.. it  is done and over.
      Let me explain something.. If the bad guys kick in the door and you begin blasting away at them.. Even if you go down in the fight odds are you’ll survive..
      But I assure you all hell will break loose.. People will hear and the Police, Fire, Paramedics will be coming . (assuming we are at that point in our society) Later your good neighbors will be coming.
      The one group that will be going will be the bad guys.. Because they do not want to get caught and you have just literally blown their whole plans back to hell where it belongs.
      None of that will happen in favor of your family if you are not wearing that snub nosed 357 Revolver and a couple of speed loaders.
      If you think otherwise. Your lying to yourself..
      If you cannot flip a switch on your TV and see who is at the front or read door of your home right not . 
      Your not prepared.
      If each and every time you open the front door to your house you do not do it with the express knowledge in your mind that “The fight may be on”
      Your are not prepared.
      You do not have to be a Marine.. a Soldier  or a Peace Officer but you best once again become a Warrior in your heart , in your Spirit.. and you best begin training your mind and your body.. Not only how to fight .. but how to win.
      First off buy a snub nosed 357 and shoot it.  Why not another weapon.. any weapon will do if you have the will to employ it  however the reason for a revolver…Simplicity.. Under Stress people forget things..a revolver is simple. Squeeze the trigger and it goes bang.. if it does not squeeze it again it will and do not stop squeezing it until the threat is completely stopped.
      You do not get “a second bit of the apple”  use your weapon and use it good.
      Go out get some firearms safety training then practice every week for a while then you can stretch it out.
      Left hand, Right Hand. Standing Sitting in a chair.. Be able to hit a paper plate out to 21 feet simply by pointing at it.
      Finally put a security screen door on each door to your house (They make them for sliding glass doors as well) Then go find a few brackets or eye bolts that will fit an Iron Rod or Bar  or 2X4 and attach them to the wall to the left and right of your doors. When you are home…. put that bar, rod or 2X4 in place..
      One of the biggest advantages and the thing that works against the evil vermin who would hurt you and yours is time.  Most doors can be kicked in without effort. Others can be entered surreptitiously. A final bar across your door that only can be removed from the inside.. Means you will probably not discover someone standing in your living room (as I did in an Apartment once, he had jimmied the lock. lol ) Of course you must deal with your windows as well)
      When you are in the back yard watering the grass.. BBQing .. Stargazing.. you best have that revolver on your hip.. remember. You must Be Prepared  Every min of every day for the rest of your life.
      May God keep you and yours safe and Best of Lucks.

  20. This specific article, “Home Invasion: Preventative Security Layers to Protect the Home | Ready Nutrition” was
    outstanding. I am making out a backup to clearly show my personal associates.
    Thanks for your effort,Tristan

  21. JC says:

    He is right, a gun locked away???? c’mon that is just silly.  If you are going to lock your gun away then you should not own one. If your children cant be taught to respect your guns then you should not own a gun. Children are smarter then adults give them credit for, kids want to be in the loop with what is happening in the real world. So teach them how to defend their bodies from harm. People, we are living in a different world then our parents grew up in. I wish I could have been around to grow up in the 50s/60s or 70s cause life would have been amazing, but I wasnt, the way I see it I have to adapt to the world today or just check out! Its that simple. Criminals are not going to give you a chance to catch up and get your gun from your safe, they will kill you for even attempting to do so. So that gun that the law,TV, the news etc keeps telling everyone that people should not have in their home maybe the only thing saving your ass on a bad stormy night when you hear that sound coming from downstairs!!!!!!

  22. Maggie says:

    Hi – Thanks for such a great site – I’m learning so much! There were a few comments saying you shouldn’t keep a gun locked away so I thought some folks might be interested in what it’s like for preppers here in England. If you want to own a gun you need a licence from the Police. Home protection is NEVER a justification for being allowed a gun, you usually need to be a farmer, hunter or sporting shooter (e.g clay pigeon or skeet). Rifles are VERY restricted and they can limit where you’re allowed to shoot – such as one farm. The Police check if you have a criminal record or mental health issues and then they visit your property to see what your security is like and you HAVE to have an approved gun safe. Handguns are totally banned which of course means only the criminals have got them! We have a shotgun licence as my husband shoots game birds and deer – not for trophies, but for food. But if the Police ever think we’ve breached the licence, including leaving the guns out of the safe, they can confiscate them and we’d never get a licence again. As I don’t have my own licence I’m not even allowed to know where the gun safe key is – that would also be a breach. We don’t have that much gun crime here but what we do have is not caused by us law-abiding licensed owners – it’s illegal weapons in the hands of criminals. Whether you love or loathe guns, some sort of gun control is the norm across Europe so it will definitely be interesting here if/when SHTF!

  23. Mike says:

    I prefer direct confrontation, Some one enters my yard and I do no know them, i walk out with my friend smith and Wesson. I do not hide or cower, very soon the word gets out. It’s like when you was at school, as soon as you beat the bully to a pup, word got around quick, don’t pick on him, he will beat you up. Simple, effective. I have sigen posted in my front yard, but you would not believe the people who ignore them.

    • jack smith says:

      I prefer direct confrontation too … here here !

      One flaw I saw with this article was this statement: “If a gun is in the home, have it locked up or put away so that smaller children do not try to use it.

      Wtf? Are small children a worry/risk to break into my home, and find guns lying around? What purpose does this sentence serve in this article, which otherwise is not bad?

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