Layers of Security: Batten Down the Hatches

The best way to dress for cold weather is to wear layers of clothing, and add or remove layers as necessary, depending upon conditions and your level of comfort.  This is true for security as well.  Not only the security in one’s home,  but the security for individuals, vehicles, and public or private facilities.

Consider your home. The first layer of security is a physical barrier of some kind; something on the periphery that is a basic first line of defense. A fence.  A fence will stop a few interlopers, especially if there is a padlock on the gate.

Don’t want, or can’t do a fence? No problem. A fence is a good first line of defense, but most people will not enter “your space”  without some sort of reason, or invitation.  A fence is more of a symbolic barrier than anything, unless it is a high security fence topped with razor ribbon.  Symbolic barriers are important, as they transmit a “”do not enter” message. The main advantage of a fence is that if a person crosses it onto your property, they have actually crossed a barrier, and,  absent an invitation, they are clearly trespassing.  This easy transition from passerby to trespasser is a significant deterrent for some would-be criminals.  Without a fence,  an excuse (I’m looking for my dog, I’m looking for work, etc.), no matter how weak, would appear somewhat valid.

A dog (or two) behind this fence is another layer of security.A barking dog,  regardless of size, might deter someone who would otherwise hop over the fence. More importantly, a barking dog creates noise and draws attention to the would-be trespasser;  something a criminal does not want.

Heavy solid doors, closed and locked with deadbolts, are the next layer. Assuming all of the doors are the same (We’ll talk about  sliding doors later) this layer would stop honest people, and a little over half of your basic two- bit criminal types.  Closed, locked, windows, fronted by security screens  (or even bars) are another layer of security.

For most homeowners the above constitutes all of the usual layers of security implemented. But additional layers are easily available.  An excellent layer of additional security is an alarm system for the structure. Because their price has dropped over the years, home alarms are a viable option for most people.  A good, closed circuit alarm system (the type most private homes utilize), monitored by a central station is a recommended layer of security.

Each layer of security costs money. Most home owners implement all or most of the aforementioned measures, but there are a few inexpensive measures to add a few extra effective security layers.

   Locks Inside

When a warship goes into battle, one of the first steps taken is to secure all hatches. The purpose for doing this is to close off all of the compartments of the ship so that if an area is hit it may fill up with water but the remaining compartments will not. The vessel will stay afloat after sustaining many hits.

If every room in your house has a lock on the door (deadbolts or otherwise), then after a criminal has penetrated your house he has to break into every room he wants to go into. Combine this with an alarm siren, a barking dog and flashing lights, a criminal’s intentions will dramatically change from find loot to get the &^%% out of here.

Of course this is not a popular option. Most people don’t want to secure all of the rooms in their house before they leave for work in the morning, and if there are kids/family  going in and out later in the day this may not be practical. But why not? If you plan for a burglary, the burglary may be thwarted, or at least significantly curtailed.  This is a cheap, viable option.  One of our customers has dead bolts on every door in the house. He uses a few of them (office, master bedroom) in addition to his regular locks, and locks them all  when he goes out of town.  Someone broke into his house once. The burglar set off the alarm, and made it into the foyer. Another dead bolted door stopped him from going in further.  He grabbed an umbrella from the umbrella stand; that was all he got. The police investigated, and closed the front door. The customer came back from his trip two weeks later.

If They Don’t See It, They Don’t Want It

A really cheap layer of security is to hide things. Not go out and bury things; this is simple stuff. Have an expensive watch? Put it under a sheet on your bed. Same with your lap top, or guns, etc.  This is also very effective (it’s almost mandatory) for expensive items in your car. If a burglar gets into the house, they are going to the dresser in the master bedroom. Gold, expensive jewelry, etc. That’s what they want. Put those items under your sheet on your bed.  Under a pillow. Have a 7′ big screen TV? Throw a sheet over it. Yes, they will look to see what it is, but they might not.  Seriously. Especially if there is an alarm going off; they want to hurry; they want to grab; they want to run.  Barriers, layers, impediments. These things cost a burglar time, and when the burglar gets inside, they want to get some good stuff and then get out, fast. They don’t want to spend their time taking sheets off  of stuff or going through several locked doors.

                                                               Get Creative

Mr. X has an office in his house. In this office are expensive computers, a flat screen TV, a gun safe (with guns), and a floor safe containing his company’s cash and receipts.

His security is tight. Alarms, multiple dead bolts, security screens, security cameras, and all sorts of goodies.

But he has something else. He makes the entire office disappear. On the inside of his office door is a florescent light, about 3″ above the floor. From the inside of the house, this appears to be sunlight. On the office door is a sign which reads, “KEEP THIS DOOR CLOSED! DO NOT LET THE DOGS IN THROUGH THIS DOOR!”  This would confuse, even for a few minutes, the smartest criminal. Remember: a burglar’s time is limited. Help him use it up.


In summary, remember that time is a burglar’s enemy. Most burglaries occur in the day time, on week days, between 8 to 5 pm. Burglars keep regular work hours. This when everyone is working. Burglars rarely work on the week ends, except during events where everyone is away and attending (a home football game, or a big city event downtown, or something similar). The more layers of security you can afford to implement, the better.  These layers,  in combination, can pay off with big security dividends.