20 Home Security and Crime Prevention Secrets for Preppers

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A major component of family preparedness is the maintenance of comfort, control, and self-preservation in a time of crisis.  Whatever the source of the crisis, we as humans want to protect the homestead and our loved ones at any cost.  (And by the way, many species on the animal kingdom do the same.)

The reason I bring this topic to the forefront is that recently, at a community meeting, I learned that home burglaries in my area are on the rise.  This, in a community where many still do not lock their doors, was no surprise to me given the dire straits so many are in financially.  And this isn’t localized. As the financial crunch continues with no end in sight, you can expect to see property crimes on the rise.

20 Home Security and Crime Prevention Secrets for Preppers - Backdoor Survival

The meeting was a wake-up call reminding me that I need to do an inventory of the home security and crime prevention measures currently in place so that I can ensure that both my family and my preps are secure.  In doing so, I came up with these 20 time-tested crime prevention secrets for preppers.

20 Countermeasures to Secure Your Homes and Families From Crime

There are lots of things we can do to make our homes seem uninviting to criminals. The more difficult your property looks to breach, the more likely it is that would-be thieves will select an easier target.

1.  Secure your doors with multiple locking mechanisms.  Yes, it is an annoyance to carry multiple keys but why make it easy for the bad guys?  A deadbolt is essential and even two would not be excessive. Make sure the locks are difficult to pick.

2. Reinforce your door frame.  Remember that a lock is only as good as the strength of the door frame. It doesn’t matter how many locks you have if they are  only supported by a flimsy interior frame. A strong person can generally break those down with a well-placed hit from a shoulder. Invest in a high-quality metal frame. These are very difficult to breach.

3.  Do not leave keys out.  Even if you think you’re being clever, don’t leave keys under mats, under flower pots, on top or door frames or in one of those $3 magnetic key carriers that fit under the frame of your car.  Thieves know about these places and are more creative than you might think when it comes to locating a spare.  Here at my place we have secured a spare key in a coded key vault, similar to the type real estate agents use.  (And dare I say that I have lost my keys more than once on the trails and that having a spare has saved the day?)


Key Box mounted at my back porch

4.  Do not put your name and address on your key ring.  If you lose your keys, and who hasn’t, why advertise your home location and provide easy entrance?  You might as well put a sign on your front door that says “TAKE ME”.

5.  Keep your outdoor areas well lit.  This does not have to be costly.  Even shaded areas will benefit from inexpensive solar lighting.  Put porch lights on a dawn to dusk timer and make sure your garage entrance is not shrouded in darkness. Motion lights around doorways can be startling since they come on when a person walks up to the door.

6.  Consider an alarm system.  I am not talking about an expensive monitored alarm system and, as a matter of fact, I think advertising that you have a monitored system, whether it is true or not, simply tells the world that you have lots of goodies that need protection.

When I say alarm system, I am referring to a loud horn or blast that goes off when someone invades your territory.  This is especially effective if you have neighbors who will also hear the alarm but even in a more remote area, the alarm will annoy and dissuade the burglars from sticking around. These wireless motion sensors can be installed on doors to scare away a person trying to break in.  Best of all, they’re battery operated and will still work during a grid-down event.

7.  Add internal locks to critical storage areas.  This includes your emergency food storage area, crawl spaces, and your freezer.  Many people keep their freezers in the garage, which can be one of the most vulnerable areas of your home since it is typically dark and remote sound-wise from the rest of the house.

8.  Secure your mail. In addition to minimizing identity theft, an overflowing mail box is an open invitation to thieves who will assume you are not at home or traveling.  Invest in a PO box – they are cheap.

9.  Keep your outdoor areas tidy.  Trim shrubs that are close to the house so that strangers can not skulk  behind them, waiting and watching for the best time to attack.  Make certain that the perimeter of your home is clear of hiding places.  Open spaces make it easier for the neighbors to see if someone is up to mischief too.

10.  Notify the police or sheriff that you are going to be gone.  This may not work in all situations but here in my rural community, we are encouraged to let the authorities know when we are going to be off-island for an extended period.

11.  Be wary of people who come to the door. Whether they are strangers, delivery people, or even officers of the law, if they are unexpected, you need to be alert.  These are all common ruses that precede home invasions. Have your pepper spray  handy and ask for ID.  If in doubt, do not open the door.  Ask for a badge or ID number and call it in.  Remember, uniforms can be readily purchased online and in these days of Photoshop, fake IDs can be easily created on a home computer.

12. Add locks to your gates. If you lock your gate, then you don’t have to worry about people showing up right at your door. Plus, you’ll be sure to be on high alert if there’s a knock at the door.

13.  Know your neighbors.  I have said this before and will say it again: neighbors and community members who know you by name and by face will be the ones that will watch your back in a crisis.  You do not have to become best friends with these people – but you do need to say hi once in awhile and perhaps get involved in some community activities so that they can get to know you and you, them.

14.  Get a dog.  A dog is a great, really great, early warning system.  Heck, my little six pound Yorkie makes a lot of racket if a stranger is walking around outside at night.  He might not scare an intruder once he is in the house, but he certainly would give the would-be burglar reason to look elsewhere. Plus, we would know that someone who should not be here is close by if not inside our home.

15. Landscape with inhospitable plants. Inhospitable doesn’t mean the plants aren’t beautiful. Thorny plants like rugosa rosebushes, bougainvillea, or blackberry vines make it far more difficult to sneak around outside of windows or to climb fences.  You can find a full list of inhospitable plants here.

By practicing crime prevention now, and making home security a part of daily life, you can be one step closer to preserving the homestead when the SHTF.Click To Tweet

16. Make arrangements to have your property looked after when you go away. Have someone mow the grass when you will be gone for a week or longer and if you still have the newspaper delivered, for goodness sake, stop delivery while you are gone. You can also put a light and a television on a timer so that it looks as though someone is home.

17.  Secure sliding glass doors.  Before bed each night, block the track of sliding doors with a metal bar or a piece of wood.  Those locks are very easy to force.

18. Secure sidelights or doors with large windows. It’s a very simple thing for a thief to break out a small window, then reach in and unlock your door from the inside. Invest in some decorative metal grid work to make this more difficult.

19. Create a safe area to which you can retreat. In a worst case scenario, if someone breaks into your home while you are there, it’s important to have an area that you can run to until help arrives. Reinforce a bedroom door with a good quality frame, and replace the flimsy interior door with an exterior one. Have a way to call for assistance inside the room, and a method of self-defense like a firearm. You can learn more about building a safe room in your home or apartment in this article.

20. Zip those lips.  This is my weakness and something I will commit to stopping RIGHT NOW!  In my effort to spread the word about family preparedness, I talk about my own efforts, what I have, how I am storing it, and worst of all, where I have located my stuff.  Shame on me.  What I have effectively done is advertise the fact that if the SHTF, you can come to my place because I have food, I have water, I have stuff.  This is going to be difficult because I do want to educate and help others.  But I am going to really try to be a bit more private going forward.

Think Like a Burglar

I want to pass on that the very best advice I can give:  LEARN TO THINK LIKE A BURGLAR!

Walk around your place, and, pretending you are a bad guy, think about points of entry.  Take a look at your home from the street.  Are you advertising all of the goodies inside?  Or does your home look like a modest, well-kept abode with good lighting and well trimmed landscaping?   If you were a burglar, which home on your street would you hit?


The Final Word

As you know, a crisis can come from a natural disaster, a medical pandemic, an economic collapse, civil unrest, or a man-made activity such as a terrorist attack.  I call these “Disruptive Events”.

By practicing crime prevention now, and making home security a part of daily life, you can be one step closer to preserving the homestead when the SHTF.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

Note:  This article is a substantially updated revision of an article posted in September 2013.

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Bargain Bin: Today I have selected some great items that will help you secure the home front.  Except for the keypad deadbolt, I own all of these items.

Kidde Access Point Key Safe:  This key safe is similar to mine and holds five keys. The best thing about it is that I am always losing my house key in the woods or on the trails and this allows me to get back inside. (And, so far so good, I always go back and find my key which is on a brightly colored flex bracelet so it is easy to spot.)

Keypad Deadbolt: Here is another good security option,. With this, you will never have to worry about locking yourself out plus, you can secure the deadbolt from inside the house.

Dorcy LED Wireless Motion Sensor Flood Lite: This light is awesome. I use mine downstairs and on my stairwell.  When I get up in the middle of the night, the lights come on automatically. It is quite unobtrusive (I own two in black) and gives off a ton of light. Runs for a year on 3 D size batteries. About $20.

GE Personal Security Window/Door Alarm (2 pack): These are fantastic at a reasonable price point of $10 for two.  They have 120-decibel alarms, loud enough to make a would-be intruder think twice about entering through your doors or windows. Plus, you do not need to be a technical wizard to use them; very intuitive.

Holding Your Ground: Preparing for Defense if it All Falls Apart: This is a really good book from Joe Nobody. It is the book to read to learn more about defending your home when bad things are happening.

Sabre Compact Pepper Spray with Quick Release Key Ring: The portability of this pepper spray adds to its appeal since it can be easily carried on a key ring or in a handbag or backpack.

Sabre Family Home & Property Protection Pepper Spray: This small fire extinguisher-style pepper spray delivers a strong blast covering an entire doorway. Offering extremely practical protection, SABRE provides distance from your threat with its 30 foot range. I like that it includes a wall mount. For a more economical solution, visit your local hardware store and stock up on wasp spray.  Very effective.

Midland 36-Mile 50-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radios: These are the handheld radios that I own. There are lots of good uses for the these radios. Handy while hiking, traveling, or simply keeping in touch with your partner while out shopping.  Note: the true range for this type of radio is actually 4 to 6 miles, regardless of brand.  Don’t be fooled.


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20 Home Security and Crime Prevention Secrets for Preppers — 9 Comments

  1. The thing I have to be most vigilant about is the kids not locking the door. I’ve come home many times and found my front door unlocked, ready for anyone to walk on in.

    Whatever precautions you take, make sure everyone understands them and will follow them.

    And having a dog of any size is a great security system. A local sheriff deputy confirmed for me that if the thief has the choice of house with or without a dog, he’ll always choose without. 🙂

  2. Keep your plans no matter HOW excited you are about them off of,m and OUT of all social media. The current crop of thugs are wired as well, think they aren’t checking Facebook or other social media when they are in certain neighborhoods?
    Of course they are.

  3. I liked most of what you said in this article except the part of the (expensive monitored alarm systems). I have a monitored alarm system and it only cost me $18.00 per month. I find that very reasonable. I work 40 minutes from my home and I also live in a very secluded area. If my alarm system was not monitored I would never know when someone broke in until I come home. Possibly confronted by the intruders. I have had someone enter my home once while I was at work and it was very confronting to know the sheriff could respond immediately, while it took me the 40 minutes to get home. If the $18.00 is expensive to you, then I say you have your opinion, but to me it’s cheap security.

  4. All good points and links by the author!

    I live in a pretty good neighborhood with low crime stats and used to leave the house for short periods of time with the doors unlocked.

    recently, I had a person kick in my front door while I was out and my doggie went in to attack mode. She’s 60 lbs of pure muscle and a very loving animal but this person invaded our space and paid the price. I had the local LEO’s come out and they took blood samples from the threshold. still no suspects but I’m thinking about getting a badger to hang with my pup! 🙂

    Overall a very informative article and some of the suggestions are relevant to my situation.


    Snake Plisken

  5. This is an excellent list! One tip I would add is to make friends with your neighbors. Find a couple neighbors that you feel like you can trust so that they can keep an eye on anything that seems weird while you are gone.

  6. Thank you so much for the article and comments. My home was broken into yesterday and I am feeling very vulnerable. Both the front and back doors were pried open to gain entry. My husband interrupted the intruder, who ran out without getting anything into his car. My husband got the license plate and was able to id him in a photo line up. Our area is considered “safe” so until now, I was pretty confident of our safety. Not any more! With all the products available commercially, it is so helpful to have your very practical advice. Again, thank you!

  7. Great tips. I will have to have a copy of your tips just to be sure. Thanks for sharing. We gotta do what we gotta do to protect our sacred homes. We are living in a dark and evil world as we know it.

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