Your home is your castle, but is it an inviting castle or a fortified fortress to which access cannot be gained? While many of us hope for the latter, fact is that there are many advantages we give to the criminal element without even realizing it. Taking steps to secure your home is important, not just for when TEOTWAWKI strikes, but also for every day in the meantime. Crime is something seen every day regardless of the turmoil brewing in the world around us, and from protecting ourselves we should never take a vacation.
Since many of us have a certain way we go about things, leaving for work and returning back home at the same time, it is easy to become predictable to those who might be watching you. Burglars have a habit of casing your home before breaking in, so they will notice your established routines. Because of this, it is important to try to vary your routine as much as possible. Leave a little late some days, come home a bit early, and stop in for a lunch at home once in a while. While you are paying attention to your own routine, don't forget to pay attention to that of others around you. Know your neighbors, know their vehicles, know when they tend to come and go so that anything that is amiss will immediately stand out in your mind.
Use good lighting in and around your house to make it hard to lurk in the shadows. Motion lights that come on when someone comes within range are a good deterrent as is a simple porch light left on. When you leave to go out for the evening, leave interior lights and perhaps a television or radio on to give the appearance that someone is home. Also be sure all doors and windows are closed and locked before you leave so as to avoid an easy access point.
The easiest homes to break into are those that have glass near to the door knob. If you have a door with windows in it or beside it, that is begging for a break-in. All a thief has to do is break that glass and reach around to unlock your doorknob from the inside. Don't make it so easy for them and get rid of or reinforce windows in or near doors. Also useful is a deadbolt that only opens with a key from both inside and out instead of a bolt that can be turned manually.
Windows should be covered with shades or blinds to keep those outside from being able to peer inside. If your house is impenetrable to sight, no one will know about all the good stuff you have to steal, so perhaps you will be less of a target. Another advantage of window coverings is that they prevent anyone outside from truly knowing if anyone is home or not.
Secure window unit air conditioners firmly in place or do not use them in first floor windows. It is very easy to push a window unit inside the home and use the space it once occupied to gain entry. Mount these units tightly to the window sash so they cannot be moved.
Remember that all the nice things you display outside give unsavory types an idea as to what might be inside. If there is a nice car in your driveway, nice patio furniture on your porch, and an expensive grill on your back deck, chances are there are some nice things inside as well, and a burglar will be more than happy to take those things out. Protect yourself accordingly. If your house stands out as the nicest on the block, it may not be worth the bragging rights when it is the first to get robbed.
Having bushes around your house is a bit of a mixed bag. While some embrace having large bushes near windows to block entry, those bushes do also create a place to hide. When it comes to bushes, you have to consider them on a case-by-case basis. Think about the layout of your property and the areas covered by light, then make a decision you feel is best as to whether or not to include bushes.
Having an alarm system is a nice luxury, but in an off-grid scenario it will not do you much good. The same goes for security or surveillance cameras. While having a gated property is nice, that gate is a temptation of fate to some and they will wonder what it is there to protect, possibly even deciding to find out. When considering the safety and security of your home, the best option is to give yourself the most protection possible in the least attention-getting way you can. The less interesting and obviously protected your home is, the less appealing it will in theory be to rob.