Clint Emerson, former Navy SEAL, has written a second book titled “100 Deadly Skills: Survival Edition.” Here is an excerpt that focuses on fortifying your house.
How To Fortify Your Home Security (#45)
Most homeowners think of home security as a simple checklist. Install decent locks, consider an alarm system, make sure window locks are working properly, and you’ve done your job. But effective home security consists in surrounding your home with active, concentric layers of security, starting with the outermost layer: the eyes and ears next door and across the street.
Create a sense of watchful community
Building rapport with your neighbors is one of the most important things you can do to protect your home. A neighbor who is invested in your relationship and familiar with your routines is less likely to be a complacent bystander to suspicious activity. Choose the right neighbors from the start—most break-ins are perpetrated by bad actors living within two miles of your home.
Control the information
Always let neighbors know when you’re going to be out of town for any prolonged period of time. Have mail and deliveries held while you’re away, and check social media settings before posting vacation pics. Do not broadcast to the entire world the fact that your home has been left unattended.
Information gleaned from social media could potentially be used to rob your home while you’re away, or to stage a virtual kidnapping that extorts money from your loved ones based on the false pretense that you’ve been abducted while traveling (see page 162 of the book). In general, favor privacy on social media settings. We’ve learned time and again just how porous the security systems of major tech companies can be, and nimble criminals will continually find new ways of exploiting those very loopholes. Be particularly wary of broadcasting information about your children online.
Working from the outside in, the next set of eyes on your home are those of a malevolent perpetrator. Your goal in this respect is to limit a potential intruder’s sight lines and access, while increasing your visibility of the perimeter of your home. To this end, start by keeping vegetation near your house sparse and neatly trimmed. Don’t give criminals a place to hide.
Generously install lighting around the property. Lighting the perimeter of your house at night will tend to scare off the most malevolent class of criminals—for those who strike at night tend to be less interested in your belongings and more interested in harming you.
Tell a story
Many homeowners know to set interior and exterior lights on timers when they’re away overnight or for extended periods, but you can go a step further by using programmable lighting to your advantage, staggering lights to tell a story. A house that is suddenly illuminated at the same time every night lets a watchful intruder know that timers are in play. Scramble the intruder’s perceptions by staggering timers, room by room and floor by floor. Early in the night, activate lights in the kitchen and living room areas. As the evening progresses, these lights should gradually be deactivated as bedroom lights come on.
To reduce visibility to outsiders of your home and belongings while keeping them guessing as to your routines, keep windows covered as much as possible, whether you are home or not. Park your car inside your garage and shut and lock the door (see page 110). Using your driveway as a parking spot gives intruders far too much information about your pattern of life.
Collect ID-quality footage
Many security cameras are improperly positioned, giving homeowners a false sense of security. To increase the effectiveness of your home security system, be sure camera placement and focal lens length are thoughtfully considered. A camera that spans your entire front yard may create a more dynamic view, but it won’t come in handy when it’s time to collect ID-quality footage of an intruder. A camera narrowly focused on a walkway or door will have a much better chance of delivering results. On the other hand, a wide-angle lens can be useful in collecting make, model, color, and direction of travel on suspicious vehicles.
Opt for a targeted assortment of lens lengths, combined with proper camera placement.
Though color may seem like the most up-to-date option, black-and-white cameras are better at collecting quality images in low light.
Visible cameras also act as a deterrent, as do security signs and stickers—and there’s no law against faking your enrollment in an invented security system. Similarly, women living alone may place large pairs of men’s shoes beside their front and back doors to simulate the presence of a male in the household.