When we hear the term home security, many of us immediately think of alarm systems and cameras. We think about the tangible components that are often employed to secure a home or business. And while up-to-date equipment is always recommended, Hillard Heintze’s approach to securing a home goes beyond the technical.

Remember, we are playing defense against someone’s offense. In order to be successful, we have to deny them of their desire, access and ability to harm our interests. To do this, we address four steps that describe how a potential home invasion would occur and how to best mitigate it. This prevention-oriented approach to home security ensures that most, if not all, outcomes are considered and the family is best protected.

1 – Attend to Security Around the Residence

First, we discourage anyone from targeting our home by eliminating opportunity attractive to those who want to take what is ours.

  • Keep landscaping groomed and away from access points into the home: this includes doors, windows, and low-level rooflines that provide access to elevated windows and/or balconies.
  • Post signage advising of electronic surveillance and detection. Don’t be company- or system-specific.
  • Maintain sufficient lighting around the home and ensure it works properly. Lights should be motion-activated, photocell, or timed.
  • Make sure your home looks occupied – even if it is not. Ensure mail is collected regularly. Place random interior lights on timers. Pull drapes closed. Pull trash cans and recycling bins into garage spaces.

2 – Make it Hard for the Intruder

Second, we prolong the effort required by criminals to get into our home.

  • Lock all doors and windows.
  • Physically reinforce door strike plates, hinges with anchor screws. DIY door armor kits, available at home improvement stores, provide material and instructions.
  • Remove, to the extent possible, any items that could be used to access elevated areas of the home.

3 – Identify a Breach Quickly and Efficiently

Third, we discover criminal activity as soon as possible.

  • Install a comprehensive closed-circuit television system (CCTV) that covers all access points into the home.
  • Use motion detection and line-crossing technology embedded in the cameras to create detection outside of the home.
  • Install a layered and redundant intrusion detection system in the home. Ensure all doors and windows have contacts, including garage doors. Glass breaks provide layered protection to window contacts, while motion detection creates redundancy for spaces with exterior access.

4 – Plan for the Worst

Lastly, we ensure the family has the resources to deal with an escalating situation.

  • Develop a Family Emergency Management Plan that indicates where one should go in the case of a break-in.
  • Install safe rooms in the residence for shelter-in-place in the event of an intruder.
  • Ensure communication devices are available throughout the home that can alert authorities of an event.

Ultimately, following a malicious actor’s perspective on a crime using this four-tiered program creates a layered and robust home security system that can protect you and your family — even in the most unfortunate of circumstances.