Safety and Training

How to Create a Home Defense Plan That Really Works

burglar using a crowbar to break into a house

Every year, somewhere between 1.2 million and 3+ million American citizens use a firearm in self-defense, according to recently compiled home invasion statistics and crime reports. These numbers offer proof for the need to take home defense planning seriously.

burglar using a crowbar to break into a house
Be aware of your home’s weak points, such as windows that a burglar can break into using a crowbar.

This doesn’t mean that homeowners should live in fear. It means that responsible homeowners need to use comprehensive home defense strategies to protect their property. The most effective strategies require proper planning and the best information to go off of to prevent these incidents from happening in their homes.

Here’s how to create a home defense plan that really works:

Start By Burglar-Proofing Your Home

Over 2 million home burglaries are reported each year in the U.S., according to Safeguard the World, a Florida security company. It’s important for homeowners to take the first critical step to protect themselves against the most common crime in most neighborhoods, by burglar-proofing their homes. Burglars are typically opportunists who will break into a house if it looks unkempt or unsecured.

Modern door lock with multiple bolts
Choose a modern security door with multiple latch bolts.

Start by securing potential weak points in your home, such as open windows, unlocked doors, open backyards with bushes, garages without lighting, and unsecured entry points to balconies and upper floors. Such weak points are what burglars or home invaders will look for when trying to get into your home.

Make sure your home is well maintained. Strategically place outdoor lighting to cover blind spots, trim your outdoor shrubs and lawn, never leave ladders outside, clear away debris, and fix any damaged windows and locks. Embrace the habit of shutting your windows and locking all doors when you’re not at home.

You can also get yourself and your family a dog as part of your home security plan. Large breeds, such as German Shepherds, Pitbulls, Labradors, Doberman, Bullmastiff, Akita, and Rottweilers are great options for homeowners who are serious about their home defense and deterrent strategies. These intelligent breeds have loud barks and are able to warn families of an intruder.

Install Video Surveillance Cameras

two security cameras on a pole
Consider a system of outdoor surveillance cameras as a deterrent.

Only 20% of American homes use security cameras. Despite this, it’s important to note that homes without security systems are 300% more likely to be broken into than homes with them. Criminals don’t want to be recorded or seen, which is one of the main reasons why cameras are an effective deterrent. If you keep many valuables in your home or spend a lot of time away, installing security cameras is a must.

Modern security camera systems are more cost-effective than ever to install and maintain. Many also carry advanced features standard, such as remote viewing and playback from phones, tablets, and computers. Additional features for consideration include long-range infrared night vision, pan-tilt-zoom capabilities, motion-sensitive activation.

Install cameras in strategic areas like your main entry doors, garage, or backyard. Put up a surveillance sign saying “Video surveillance in use 24/7.” This is usually a great deterrent.

Consider Getting a Self-Defense Firearm

man shooting at an indoor range
Regularly practice at a firing range for self-defense so you know your gun and are prepared to use it.

As part of your home defense plan, it’s advisable also to get yourself a rifle, shotgun or handgun for self-defense. Consider the type of gun and ammunition you need for self-defense, the training required to become proficient at using it, and additional equipment you may need. This could be a flashlight, ear protection, and/or a well-fitting holster.

You must also ensure that your gun or guns are stored safely in an easily accessible gun safe, so that your weapons and ammunition are ready when they’re needed.

Regularly Review and Practice Your Home Defense Plan

A home defense plan is never complete without regular reviews and practice to ensure its viability. By combining home defense strategies such as, burglar proofing, installing surveillance cameras both indoors and outdoors, and keeping a firearm ready, you can more easily take control of any situation that puts you and your family at risk. Cameras are an especially effective enhancement to the way you use guns for self-defense, as tools for enhanced situational awareness.

Make sure to strengthen all possible points of entry in your home and keep your home defense deterrents up to date. You and your family need a concrete home defense plan and must be able to execute it without hesitation or confusion. Consider the size and layout of your home, how many people live in your home, the abilities, and age of each member, and other details like where to go or regroup in case of a breach.

Taking the Right Approach

You can create a home defense plan that really works by being realistic and preparing for the most likely scenarios first. With the right approach, your home will be protected from incidents like break-ins when you’re at home or away, property intrusion and others.

Do you have a home security plan or tip? Share it in the comment section.

Seth Thompson is a writer and content strategist specializing in topics concerning homeowners and business owners for companies including CCTV Security Pros. he also writes about developments in science and technology. In his free time, Seth enjoys basketball and nature walks.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (8)

  1. Steve, I was eating Doritos and drinking rum and coke when I read your comment. Man I thought that the run was going to come out through my nose!! I spitted Doritos all over… You made my day…

    1. As a former electronic alarm consultant I know the limitations of what alarms can and cannot do to keep you safe from intruders. All the points in your article are great but there is so much more one can do to build your home into a fortress and it starts at the curb/street. A perimeter fence high enough to make it difficult to climb. Mine is six foot and I used no-climb heavy gauge wire with no top rail which I call a “grab” bar for those who want to climb your fence. No grab bar means nothing to hold on to and makes it more difficult to climb. I have one entry gate and that is also wired, made of steel and is six foot tall and locked with a power opener. Most homes around us have fences so it is common to the area and not out of place. Also, because I used wire instead of block I have 100% visibility of anyone lingering outside of our fence line. Because I live in AZ the climate allows for a lot of cactus style plants that are in the yard and under our easier access windows. Criminals look for easy access and climbing over something that has 10,000 needles on it is a deterrent. Next we have three large Doberman’s that have 360 access around the exterior of our home with multiple signs posted on the fence of beware of dogs and no trespassing private property. Next we have exterior motion detectors in specific area’s set high enough so the dogs don’t trip them but a human will. Tripping an alarm in the yard will direct our immediate attention to the camera’s that have view of all sides of our home. We have two interior camera’s that we can access through our cell phones if we’re not home. If someone made it past the dogs and is looking for easy access, we have installed steel security doors on both the front and rear doors with double bolted locks that are always locked even when we are home. The main doors are also double bolted heavy duty exterior doors with heavy duty hinges. If someone is looking to get through the front or rear doors it will take them a little while to break through them somehow and it’s going to take something more than a pry bar. The weakest entry point is always the glass windows so we have made it a challenge to get to the windows in the first place. Then we put 90% sun screen on all of our windows which provide difficulty seeing inside without having your face pressed against it so would be intruders will not know if they have already been seen or detected. I have glass break sensors on all windows and sensors on all entry points which when triggered set off two local sirens aimed specifically at our neighbors homes. They know they are to immediately call the police first and then us. Once inside and if we are home we have already retreated to the safe room which has two metal door entry points, one interior and one exterior, no windows. Both doors have a hinged steel plate that closes over the doors which make them both impenetrable and bullet proof. The main wall is filled is layered with 3/4″ OSB and drywall both on the outside and inside of the room. The wall is 2×6 thick with four layers of heavy rubber in between the studs. On the inside of the room I have a placed steel plating behind multiple dressers and the headboard for bullet penetration protection. The window has two hinged steel plates that can close over the window painted to blend in with the walls with draperies to hide them. There are also three hidden exit doors that provide for escape in a break in situation. Meanwhile the police have been called and I know we have plenty of time on our side with all of our defenses. Should SHTF and police are nowhere to be found, our last resort is armament. If criminals can get into the safe room somehow we are locked and loaded. I know this sounds like a lot of over kill but since I am the one that built my home I was afforded the opportunity to build a safer fortress for me and my family. The family is trained that in the event of forced entry the immediate action is to retreat to the safe room, lock it down and call police. I know that the fence line, camera’s, dogs, the 100′ of distance from the road to the house and the steel security doors are enough deterrent that 90% or better of would be criminals will pass on our property. Layering security no matter what kind of home you live in is your best line of defense. The sooner you know that you have would be intruders on your property the more time you have to respond and defend yourself. Approximately 48% of home intruders are armed with lethal weapons and guns and break in in numbers. Three or four thugs busting down your front door with guns while you and your family are watching TV takes less than 5 seconds. You have already lost if that happens..

    2. … My kids and my dogs wear Kevlar vests at all times. The family uses Kevlar bedding. We have bullet proof tooth brushes with built in taser and single shot .380 capability. Did I mention that we have a force field, like the one from Buck Rogers.

  2. I live in a first floor apartment and the external lighting is furnished by the apartment complex. However, my strategy is to deal with an intruder after they break in and to that end I have a combination of items to deter them from hurting me and/or my female companion. First, a combination of motion detectors and door stop alarms which are not possible to disable cover the interior doors and rooms. There is nothing outside the bedroom worth getting killed for and it really is not possible to enter the apartment without us hearing the intruder. Therefore, my bedroom is fortified with two shotguns, three 9mm carbines, one AR15 and two, also, loaded 9mm hanguns. I have ammunition for all situations availabe in each of those firearms. My plan is simple, call the police when the alarms go off and stay put in the bedroom. Any one who comes in will not walk out. If a break in occured during the day when I am home, I carry all the time in the house and have a variety of places in the house where I have locked up loaded firearms that I can get to if need be. (No children in the house). My female companion is armed as well and has a carry permit and can handle a pistol and rifle as well. During the day there are enough folks around the complex to deter strangers from any adventures and this is a low crime rate area as well. I live in Colorado where we have make my day laws and most folks are smart enough not to try to break in because the chances of them getting shot are very high. I have lived here for 12 years and have never heard of anyone who had their apartemnt broken into in this complex.

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