Keeping your home and your loved ones safe from bad guys is a multi-faceted, multi-tiered, and highly-contextualized enterprise, but there's a number of nearly-universal principles and practices that can be adapted to your situation.
Any common sense security and defensive plan begins with the right mindset. A lot of people might think my family and I (John Lovell) are a little crazy in all the lengths we go to, to protect our loved ones and our home from potential violence or other calamity.
You might be surprised that actually it's taken me a number of years to ease my wife into this mindset. We've built our plans little by little with a drill here, a conversation there, and the accumulation of knowledge and tools over time. So don't think you need to go full sweep all at once.
The reason we've given this so much thought and preparation is so that we aren't driven crazy by all the what-ifs. We've thought through potential scenarios and put protocols in place so that we don't have to guess or decide what to do when things go bump in the night, when strangers show up in the yard, or when other red flags put us on high alert.
A good, common sense, agreed-upon home defense plan creates a more sane and safe household. Here are some key considerations in creating your plan.
Level 1: Home Defense Starts Before You Get Home
In a previous post and accompanying video, we talked a bit about situational awareness and the gift of fear, especially when you're out and about in public places–and as your driving your family around town.
Keeping your home safe starts with keeping would-be perpetrators from being able to visit you at your house. Be aware but calm. Avoid letting suspicious people see what car you're driving. Just go back inside the store if you feel uncomfortable.
And if you sense someone is tailing you, don't lead them to your home. Instead, do a little counter-surveillance, such as making multiple turns that take you down well-lighted main roads toward familiar public places. That seems pretty common sense. They can't attack you at home if they can't find your home.
Level 2: Execute "Operation Undesirable Target"
"Operation Undesirable Target" is a set of practices you want to employ when you're out in public, of course. While you might not be able to defend against every lion or wolf out there, you are able to make yourself and your "flock" a hard target. This same hard target mindset should be applied to practices at home. You want the bad guys to think, "Absolutely not. There's a million targets that are way better than that place. That place isn't going to be worth it."
- You don't want someone looking at your house and seeing triple dollar signs, first of all. Of course this doesn't mean you can't have a nice house, but, as much as possible, you want to downplay your wealth, if you can.
- You don't want a bad guy looking at your house and seeing a soft, easy target. Predators and thieves don't want to work too hard to nab their prey. They don't want to get themselves killed or injured. So you want your home and family to look like a hard target. This will mean continuous-running lights at night, paired with motion sensor lights around the property.
- Keep doors locked, even during the day. Set the security system anytime you leave the property. Don't open the door to strangers. Kids don't open doors to anyone but parents.
- It could mean well-trained dogs that like to bark at strangers and can become a well-controlled weapon if things go down.
- Of course a good security system would be nice, but placing a security system sign in your yard, even without a security system, actually serves as a significant deterrent to criminals.
- If you're a woman who lives alone, a single mom, or otherwise without your man at the house, put a big pair of men's work boots on the front porch.
- And it's critical that you keep a well-ordered exterior with grass cut and things well-maintained outside.
- At night, check that windows and doors are secured, shades are drawn, etc.
These Operation-Undesirable-Target practices, and many others, have been shown to make a criminal think a lot before messing with you. It's likely they'll move on to easier targets, and that's the key.
Level 3: Skill Building
If you're a regular visitor to WPS, you know we encourage tactical skills as a critical component of being a protector and provider. Shooting. Martial arts. Field medicine. Low light tactics. Small teams tactics. Etc.
But for everyday civilians and families who are just now considering how to protect their home and family, you need a home security plan for when the red flags and alarms are tripped by a viable threat.
This includes a fire escape plan, and also a tactical plan for if/when that imagined POS human decides to make you his prey. You want the hunter to become the hunted when they enter your domain.
My wife and I and our kids each have an understanding and a job to do if a threat arrives. The last thing you want to do in the moment is decide what to do. Decide well in advance. It should all be planned out and based on where in the house you are in relation to the threat and your weapons.
In our house, we have a code word. If we sense a threat on our property, and we speak that code word, we don't have to guess or deliberate about what to do next. We just move into action. And we act in zones.
The zone system might mean you'll barricade yourself in a different place with a different type of weapon. Based on these zones, my kids might be asked to lie flat so my wife and I can operate our heavy machinery without fear of crossfire. In addition to the pistols and other tools we keep on us, we also have equipment set on airplane mode (airplane loaded, with full magazines but empty chambers) positioned throughout the house.
This can all seem a little frightening or a little overwhelming at first, but if you build and rehearse and revise your system over time, it'll start to become instinct and you'll have greater peace of mind and sanity. Train Hard. Train Smart. Train Your Family. Live Free. And check out some of our related home defense content on the WPS Network.