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What have you guys done as far as security for home? I have a regular Brinks alarm system, but I want to look into more.
 

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Howdy from Texas. This is my first post so bear with me...

I also have alarm system but have outdoor lights, a dog and a fence as well. All exterior house widows are double pane storm windows and the doors have deadbolts. I also have a generator just in case we lose power, which has happened twice in the past three years. Once for about 18 hours and the other time for two days.
 

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Where do you live in Texas? Is it a place that is susceptible to natural disasters? I am also from Texas. San Antonio to Austin area.
 

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Alarm systems are alright, just don't let them give you a false sense of security. They may deter someone from staying in your home for too long, but most BG's know that police response to alarms isn't very quick.

Don't believe it if the alarm company tells you that calls to the police from there monitoring site gets you any priority in police response, it doesn't. The only advantage would be in a home invasion situation where the alarm company can confirm to the police that there has been a break in and the homeowner is in the house.

One more thing. In Texas, like most states, officers are not obligated by statute to check static burgular alarms, it is done as a courtesy. Texas law requires that the alarm companies have their own security personnel available to service their own customers. Since their personnel are never available they call the police and pass the job onto the police.

Lastly, again this is how it is in Texas. If you keep the gate to your back yard locked the officer doesn't have the right to climb your fence to check the back of your house for forced entry. He can simply check the doors and windows he can see from the front.
 

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Here in my city home alarms became such a problem in tying up emergency response resources (especially home fire alarms) that City code was modified.

First, if its a residential fire alarm called in my the alarm co., only one engine is dispatched instead of a full response and it responds "code two" (a non-emergency response).

If the same residence has in excess of five alarms in a year, the owner is then charged a fee for each response. That includes burglar alarms, too.
 

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I also have an alarm system that has a direct response to the Sherrif's office and it will take about 5 minutes (at best guess) for anyone to respond to an emergency. I have my alarm linked to security lights around the perimeter of my house, and inside my house that will all light up if the alarm goes off. I have pressure pads in 3 locations that won't go off under 90 lbs, and I use an old laptop to stay linked 24/7 that can monitor the systems.
 

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Some very important security upgrades can cost practically nothing. If you have deadbolts and entry knobs on your doors, consider de-activating the entry knobs or replacing them with passage (non-locking) knobs or levers. This will actually increase your security, as you won't be able to lock just the entry knob by pushing or turning a button and leaving without locking the deadbolt. Also, you can't lock yourself out, as you must have the key in your hand to lock the deadbolt. Also, make sure your deadbolt is throwing its' full length so the deadlocking feature is functional. Do this by throwing the deadbolt with the door open and see how far the key or turn piece is moving. Press against the end of the bolt while it is thrown to ensure that it does not retract into the door. Then retract the bolt; close the door; and see how far the key or turn piece moves. If it does not move far enough, chisel out the hole in the door frame until the bolt enters completely. Finish this job by ensuring that the screws holding the strike plate are reaching into the stud behind the frame. This will normally call for at least three inch screws, but you might need longer ones. This will greatly reduce the possibility of kicking in the door. Just having the deadbolts locked will help a lot. A favorite break-in method involves the use of a pry bar or large screw driver, to quickly attack the rear door entry knob. It just takes seconds if the deadbolt is not locked. If the deadbolt is locked, the kids (usually) just move to the next house and try the same thing until they get in. Time is your friend and their enemy. The more ways that you can slow them down; the more likely they will look for some place easier. Sorry I got so long winded and hope this helps someone.
 

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I'd love to get an alarm system but I can barely get my wife and stepson to lock the doors when they leave the house... so I know they'll never set an alarm. Our best security day or night is two 50 & 75 pound dogs that love to bark when anyone knocks on the door. At night my security is not only me dogs but a 9mm pistol on the nightstand. I also have outside lights I leave on.
 

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Finish this job by ensuring that the screws holding the strike plate are reaching into the stud behind the frame. This will normally call for at least three inch screws, but you might need longer ones. This will greatly reduce the possibility of kicking in the door.
If you're concerned about having a door kicked in, go the extra step and reinforce the frame that the strike plate is mounted to. Not just extra-long screws on the strike plate, but 'capping' the wood frame around the strike plate with a piece of steel.

A drunk neighbour rolled his truck once near my father's house... and kicked the door in on our garage trying to get into the house. Afterwards, dad put a piece of flat bar down the edge of the doorjam to strengthen the area. Kicking the door puts the load onto the strike plate and wood frame... which puts the load out onto the steel flatbar... which spreads the load back onto the wood strip screwed into the wood in several places.

(and no... the drunk neighbour never got into the house... opening the raised window in the garage from the mudroom, pointing the rifle out the window, and informing the drunk that he was prepared to 'shoot to kill' was a good enough deterrent. And no... the police never did anything about it.)
 

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I live in a gated community so I have external cameras and roving patrols and a gate house to check cars coming in. I also have an alarm system as well.

Even with all that there was a home invasion robbery in my complex last year. So I'm adding a little firepower to the mix. I'm also going to be taking defensive shooting courses at my local gun club.

My wife and I are allergic to dogs but if you're not a dog is a great security system.
 

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We're actually looking for a couple of peacocks right now. One of our friends have 2 and they squawk at the slightest sound. Just starting your car when leaving sets them off.
Until then we have 5 dogs, a 9 shot, 12ga semi on my side of the bed, and a 357 on her side. An incident would be resolved long before we could get a police response. :)
 

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Seeing your enemy coming is incredibly important, and so is the ability to force your enemy into a bottleneck and slow them down.

I think a CCTV or Aiphone system is very important in defending your castle. Aiphone is actually one of my competitors, but a very good one. It's not that expensive to install a standard three camera aiphone system (Aiphone MYW-P3CB 3-Camera Video Adaptor, for MY / IE, TD-H: Internet Security Systems Inc.). They are well worth it

Here's a list of factors to consider when thinking of how to defend your castle:

- Standoff space: The visible distance between your home and a perimeter of some sort (more is better).

- Visibility: having some way to see outside without having outsiders looking in is ideal. If cameras are not possible, one way blinds or pull-downs will do.

- Deter: Dogs, cameras, motion lights, fences, heavy locks, steel doors, bars on windows, etc.

- Perimeter: Having a high fence is great and will give you more time to stop an intruder (shoot him). Motion detectors work great, the ones with the spotlights are even better. I've had them before, don't have them now, but they are on my Christmas list.

- Fortify: Heavy locks, dead bolts, thick doors and longer locking hardware screws help a great deal.

- Defend: Guns, slingshots, knives, crossbows, bats, pepper sprays, mace, tasers, traps, etc.

- Logistics... beans, bullets and band-aids: Always maintain a 30 day supply of food and water, but some of us have a lot more than that stored. Also medical supplies, books, gear, spare batteries, etc...

- Communication: Radios, cell phones, 2 way radios, Ham radios, CB's, hard-line phones, etc...

- Evacuation: Have a plan to evacuate and rehearse it with your family. Establish rally points not far from your home, so you and the family can meet up later. Have a plan make sure EVERYONE knows it and practice it a few times in advance.

- Safe-Haven: This is often overlooked, but it's a great idea to have a single room (perhaps a big closet) that is used as a safe-haven...a place where you and you family can make a last stand, your own little ALAMO so to speak. Have everything in there that you would normally keep in your regular supply stash such as guns, lots of ammo, food, water,bug out bag and communication gear. Your safe-haven should be like Ft. Knox with hard-lined doors, fresh air supply, lots of ventilation, etc. If you can't do all that, at least make sure that you have some sort of defensive cover to buy you some time while the intruders are beating on the door or when they knock it down and all crap breaks loose! Let 'em have it...unload! Remember it could likely be your last stand. Make it a good one. From your Safe Haven, you might finally force them away.

Stay safe,
Bob Mayne
 
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