By Angry Old American
Copyright Angry Old American, June 15th, 2022. All Rights Reserved.
“How can I save money through Home Security?
The answer is simple; if you cannot protect what you have, then you will lose it. Hence, securing your home saves a ton of money because you are not required to replace necessary items that were stolen..
“We have laws and police to protect the community. Is it really necessary for us to secure and protect homes?”
We have all heard the horror stories surrounding the epidemic of shoplifting in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles. What many of us do not understand is that theft is now legal in California. That’s right; any theft under $950 will not result in a prosecution, and most likely will not even result in an arrest or incarceration in many jurisdictions!
Proposition 47, “The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act” created a total lack of personal and government accountability in California. Add to that Proposition 57, “The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act” releasing many of California’s prisoners onto the streets, and the State’s Radical Left has created an atmosphere of near anarchy.
“Yes, but that is only shoplifting from stores; surely it does not apply to our homes!”
Wrong! A thief can steal anything from your residence, or vandalize property up to $950 in value without fear of prosecution in California. As long as they remain within areas of inferred “Public Access,” you will have no recourse in most California Courts. This should not be a shock to anyone considering the epidemic of “Porch-Pirates” lifting packages delivered by the Post Office, Federal Express, United Parcel Service and other carriers.
Theft may indeed be legal, under many circumstances; but trespassing is not. Add breaking and entering to the mix as an enhancement to burglary, and then “Theft” becomes an enforceable crime. Should that include breaking and entering into a residence, with the home-owner sensing a threat to their lives, and the results may lead to a suspect dead before police ever arrive.
So, what can we legally do to protect ourselves and our property? The first step is to create a legal boundary around our residence. This legal “Moat” or “Curtilage” around our Home-Castle will consist of a fence or boundary marker that is clearly posted with a message warning “Do Not Enter.” Construction Workers and Police often accomplish this task with “Boundary Tape” marking forbidden access to construction zones and crime scenes.
Add a simple wire fence structure and a lock, and those breaching the boundary are legally “Breaking and Entering.”
These nuances of physical boundaries and warnings should give us some legal protection. However, this is a time in history when the application of law is NOT blind. We have a US Attorney General that refuses to protect Pro-Life Facilities from violent attacks by the Radical Left, and even refuses to protect Supreme Court Justices and their families from intimidation or assassination. Can we really expect the law to protect us and our homes?
The answer to that question is obvious. We are on our own. The best that we can hope for is to protect ourselves without incurring the wrath of the political bigots and revolutionary zealots that presently control the American Justice System.
What can we do?
We already addressed our first line of defense. An obvious boundary that is clearly posted of prohibited entry should keep most intruders away. After-all, there are plenty of fish-to-fry, and most of your neighbors will be softer targets. Criminals prefer easy-pickings, and if they sense you are security minded, they will simply move on to the next potential victim.
A 3 foot tall by 50 foot long roll of welded steel wire fencing can be had for under $70, and standard 4 foot “T-Posts” to attach the wire fence to can be purchased for $6 each. A gate can be made with wood, a hasp, and a lock. Add the appropriate home-made signage, and voila; you have constructed a legal “Curtilage” boundary that should hold up in a court of law.
Your Mailbox is protected from intrusion by stiff Federal Laws. A 3 foot tall fence will allow packages to be delivered on the legally protected side of the fence by delivery services.
“What if our present legal system degrades to the point that criminals have no fear of the law whatsoever?”
This is actually a reality in many jurisdictions of California and elsewhere. Video surveillance cameras and audible alarms are no deterrent in such places. The only defense in these lawless jurisdictions are barriers that defy breaking and entering, or the fear of being injured or killed by residents inside. These are areas with chain-link perimeter fences topped with razor wire, and steel bars and roll-down metal window covers
For now, we live in a relatively safe community. Along with the “Legal Moat” around our home Castle, what else can we do to deter crime?
Exterior security lighting is cheap. Motion activated LED solar security lights can be purchased off Amazon for less than $10 each. Surrounding your home with lamps triggered when intruders are nearby can act as an inexpensive night-time deterrence.
Wireless driveway motion activated intrusion alarms are a relatively inexpensive exterior security device. These alarm systems consist of one or more solar or battery operated remote sensors and a receiver inside the home. If an intruder is detected by a sensor, it sends an audible alarm signal to the receiver, and most units will also provide a corresponding date stamp. These units will generally run $100 to $200, depending on the number of sensors and features. I recently purchased a budget model with two sensors and a receiver for $50.
Of course, a cheaper option would be to attach a translucent monofilament fishing line to a garbage bag filled with empty tin cans. When the intruder trips the fishing line, the cans fall with an audible crash. Cheap and easy.
Another outdoor security device is video surveillance. The most popular of these devices are the “Ring” style doorbell cameras that can be accessed via the owner’s smart phone. Costs for these systems vary dramatically depending on the power source, difficulty of installation and setup, number and type of cameras, and recording memory. Wireless surveillance cameras are more expensive than hardwired. Solar powered cameras are more expensive than battery or hardwired. Pan/Tilt/Zoom (PTZ) cameras are more expensive than fixed. The larger the recording memory, the more expensive the base-station. These systems can run from a hundred to thousands of dollars. Make sure that you have cameras that have the highest IP65 waterproof rating, and can operated within the expected local temperature ranges. Also know that any cameras that you can access remotely on your smart-phone can also be accessed by tech-savvy criminals.
After Covid masking became common, and the public was conditioned to seeing masks worn routinely, criminals have taken advantage of the situation. Wearing masks has made video surveillance evidence much less useful in courts, and thus cameras are no longer the deterrence that they once were.
We have explored perimeter security, ranging from a simple clearly marked boundary, to common intrusion detection tools and alarms. Let’s get a bit closer to the interior of your home. However, not everyone has a front yard. Many people live in apartments or condominiums.
Most of use consider our doors and windows to be our first line of defense against intrusion. In most cases, this rule holds true in the case of most criminal intruders. Walls are our most imposing boundary; however a simple wood or stucco wall can be breached with a sledge-hammer or pick-ax in the hands of a determined criminal. They also offer limited protection against bullets; especially high-powered rifle rounds.
Hardening your entry doors should be your first order of defending the interior of your home. A steel door offers the most protection. Most modern doors are either insulated hollow-core wood or fiberglass, and can be battered to pieces in order to gain entry. A high quality dead-bolt lock is a must. Reinforce your door frame with 2 inch screws in order to prevent the door frame from being battered loose from the wall frame. At night, you can also add wedges at the base of the door to prevent it from swinging inward. If you want extra security, then you can add a 2 by 4 inch wood door block with steel hardware that will assure the door will not be kicked-in. Another cheap way to prevent your door from being kicked-in is to drill holes in the floor and place a 4 by 4 inch wood block with long thick bolts to fit in the floor holes.
Windows can be tricky. Sure, we could buy window locks, or simply place a wooden dowel or block in the window sill to prevent opening. However, a criminal can simply break the glass in order to enter. There are window films that prevent the glass from shattering, but the glass and film can both be removed. Since the Seattle “Summer of Love” riots of 2020, new high impact-proof glass has appeared on the market, but the cost makes it impractical for home use. Metal bars can be installed as a physical barrier for much less cost.
At this point, most folks will be exploring audible alarms. In most jurisdictions, home-owners will be charged a sizable chunk of money for police response to unattended false audible alarms unless an active crime is detected. Silent alarms phoned in to monitoring services are commonly used, and are charged on a monthly basis. If your concern is nighttime security while you are inside your home, a “Panic Alarm” is a good option. Most Panic Alarms provide both a loud audible horn or siren, along with a visual flashing or spinning light. A Panic Alarm with both audible and visual alarm base station, with battery backup and several remote wireless panic buttons and mobile key-fobs can be had for under $100. Another positive use for a Panic Alarm system is home accidents and medical emergencies. Should you be alone and unable to reach a phone or other means of communication, then your Panic Alarm is available to call for assistance.
If 911 is still a part of our future, and we can reasonably expect law enforcement to arrive in time to protect us, then these measures may be enough. However, what if criminals still breach our home?
If you believe the lives of yourself and your family are in immediate danger, then you can use lethal force. In the near future, law-abiding citizens with registered firearms may no longer be allowed to possess them; much less employ them against an armed criminal. The criminals themselves might even file a “Red Flag” complaint against a potential victim in order to deprive them of their firearm. Have back-up plans in place should this day come.
In the case of home-invasion robberies, angry riotous mobs, criminal gangs and overwhelming odds, it is a good idea to have a fortified “Safe Room.” This Safe Room should have a fortified steel door, fortified walls that are bulletproof, self-defense weapons, communications capabilities, fire-extinguishers, gas and smoke protective masks, and a means of covert escape. Such a structure will not be cheap or easy to construct.
When it comes to home security, work from the outside inward, and remember that most criminals will choose the easiest target. Unless you and your family have been specifically targeted, the less expensive security measures should suffice. Most families can harden their homes significantly for well under $1,000.
Another important consideration is joining a Neighborhood Watch group. Contact your local Police or Sheriff’s Department to find a Neighborhood Watch group near you.