In addition to firearms training, you can still fortify your home against crime with a number of simple, cost-effective solutions. Here are half a dozen more strategies to protect your home.
8. Install a hotel-style lock on your bedroom door: For some reason, placing a lock on your bedroom door sounds odd to some people. But why? Do you not lock your outside doors? A lock on your inner sanctum gives you a last line of defense. Besides, if you are asleep and someone breaks in and enters your bedroom, there isn’t much you can do. I like the locks that allow you to open the door a crack; also, these locks tend to make loud clanging noises if the door is opened without first throwing off the lever. And unless you sleep like a hibernating grizzly bear, if someone breaks your bedroom door down you should wake up. If you’re awake and armed, you have a chance. If you are awake and armed behind a locked door, you have the advantage.
Put your lights on a timer: Whether you are away on vacation or home at night, buy a timer system for a few of your inside lamps and outside floodlights. Set them to turn on and off at random intervals to give the illusion that someone is home. Most criminals won’t break into a home if they think someone is there. Knowing they’ll have to face someone in their own home decreases the likelihood of criminals picking your house.
9. Put NRA stickers on your doors and windows: Put simply, if a criminal knows that the homeowner is armed and ready, they are far less likely to pick your house. One study that interviewed criminals while in jail indicated that the thing that scared them most—more than cops, jail time or dogs—was homeowners who are armed with guns. NRA stickers tell thieves that you are not a helpless victim.
10. Have a plan: This is perhaps the least-expensive thing you can do to keep your household safe, but it’s likely the most important. Simply talk with your family about what will happen should the unthinkable happen. Devise a secret knock that alerts other family members it’s them at their bedroom door and not an intruder. Have a meeting place and a backup meeting place. Tell family members whether you want them to go to a safe room, a secure hiding place or if you want them to flee to a neighbor’s house. Make sure that when a family member calls 911, they know to inform dispatchers that the homeowner has a gun, and what that person looks like. You just need a plan, a backup plan as well, and you need to talk about it now, before something happens. The fact is, if you have a relatively secure home, a gun and a plan, it is the home invader who should be worried.
11. Secure your vehicles: “If your vehicles stay outside, be sure to remove any garage door openers, firearms, items that may have personal information or spare house keys,” says Orman. “If you don’t, the criminal can obtain access to your house once they open the vehicles. Park vehicles under lights or in open areas that can be seen. Always set the alarm and lock the doors.”
12. Team up with trusted neighbors: Few security measures beat having a neighbor who will watch your back—and your backdoor while you’re home and away. Over time, a perceptive neighbor will learn what’s normal around your house and what’s not, so communicate with your neighbors and tell them that you definitely want them to reach out if anything seems strange. Exchange phone numbers with them to establish a 24-hour line of emergency communication. Tell them you’ll do the same for them, and, when and where appropriate, devise a simple plan if ever there is an emergency.