9 Tips for Comprehensive Home Security

Your home is your castle, but it may not currently have all the protective features of a castle. Who wouldn’t want a fortress with lookout points, a moat with viscous serpents, a drawbridge, and castle wall protected by armed knights? The next best option in a survival scenario would be to live in a place with a warm climate that allows you to survive without heating(preferably an island like the Big Island of Hawaii) that is hard for people to flood into and free from a major military base. While that may not be in your current budget here are 9 tips for comprehensive home security.

Protect your home and your treasures

Your home houses your loved ones, your belongings, and your food. Unfortunately, this makes a private residence a desirable place to invade and loot. Your home will remain vulnerable without the right security features in place. Follow these 9 security tips to protect your home and your treasures.

Did you know that a break-in occurs every 26 seconds in the US? According to the FBI, there are 2.5 million burglaries annually in the United States. These crimes occur in rural, suburban, and urban areas alike and they occur in all neighborhoods from low-end to high-end communities. The bottom line is that regardless of where you live, you could be the next victim of a property crime. Luckily there are security measures you can take that will decrease your chances of suffering property crime and increase your peace of mind. During a disaster or survival scenario, things will be dramatically more desperate and you may need to leave your house in search of a safer sanctuary.

Alarming Insights & Statistics

  • There are 2.5 million burglaries annually in the United States (FBI)
  • In 2017, the FBI reported 1,401,840 burglaries with with 57.5% of all burglaries involving forced entry (Criminal Justice Information Services Division)
  • A staggering 75% of homeowners do not have a home security system
  • In the US, 75% of homes will be broken into in the next 20 years
  • 47% of burglaries are not planned
  • 51% of homes will be burglarized again within 6 weeks of the original incident
  • Burglars seem to be below the age of 25, but the number is rising
  • FBI home invasion stats say that the average break-in lasts 8 – 10 minutes
  • 28% of burglaries take place while someone is still in the house. A simple break-in can easily turn into a violent home invasion (FBI)
  • 12% of burglars carry a firearm
  • Only 13.6% of burglaries result in an arrest
  • Renters are 50% more likely to be burglarized

All the preps in the world will be useless if someone comes along and takes them from you. After a disaster people can get a little goofy and some people revel in chaos especially if there is an absence of law enforcement. Law enforcement will do what it can, but there may be a time when the need overwhelms the aid and you need to fend for yourself. In the wake of a major catastrophe, you may not be able to call 9-1-1.

9 comprehensive security tips

Comprehensive home security
  1. Beware of security threats
  2. Situational Awareness
  3. Deter, delay, defend
  4. Keep your lips sealed, otherwise it’s going to suck
  5. Assess your site security
  6. Early Warning Systems
  7. Home Hardening
  8. Secure Storage
  9. Firearms

It is time for you to flex your acting skills and think like a criminal. If you were to pick a home to break into, what would your most likely target look like? You would probably look for the homes that have a lower risk and are unguarded. Properties that look vacant especially during the day, no surveillance cameras or security system. Easy visibility. Corner lots are more vulnerable than others because it’s easy to see most of the property. Also, properties that are unfenced with no deterrents are easier targets. Now let’s get to tips and start nailing down your security!

1- Beware of security threats

Comprehensive home security
9 comprehensive security tips

As you create your security plan, start by identifying the most likely threats. In the aftermath of a catastrophe, your first threat could be next door. Your neighbors who might not have prepped may knock on your door looking for help. At first this will seem innocent enough, but as time goes on, they may become more desperate.

Beware of cognitive dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is when someone feels mental or emotional discomfort because their reality doesn’t mesh with their values. For example, your neighbor Steve knows without a shadow of a doubt that killing another person is wrong, but his kids are starving and he believes that the family next door has plenty of food. He has asked and they have shared, but it’s not enough.

This is where the dissonance comes in because while Steve knows that resorting to violence is wrong, he is worried that his kids are going to die of starvation.

According to Dr. Leon Festinger (one of the pioneers in the field of cognitive dissonance,) when this occurs, the person must do one of 3 things:
  1. Lessen the importance of one of the discordant factors
  2. Add consonant factors
  3. Alter one of the dissonant factors.

In our example with the neighbor Steve, this might translate to him doing the following:

  • Lower the importance of his children dying or the importance of not resorting to violence.
  • Acquire food elsewhere.
  • Feed his children by taking someone else’s life.
Desperate situations lead to desperate actions

In this kind of scenario, most people would choose the second option, right? But what if all of the other sources of food have been exhausted? What if Steve believes that he must choose between watching his children starve or killing someone else for their food? The cold truth is that desperate situations lead to desperate actions.

Long before you see national guardsmen and officers confiscating food for the “public good,” neighbors and friends who used to come over for barbeques and gatherings will become more and more insistent that you share what you have. It will inevitably reach a point where they won’t take “no” for an answer. On top of that threat, there will definitely be strangers coming into the area in search of food and supplies.

72 hours later…

This will happen much sooner than you would ever expect after a crisis. Likely in less than 72 hours. This doesn’t sound like much time, but the truth is that too many people have no food at home and without payment processors or electricity, all available food will be claimed or spoiled within one day.

Much like in the Viking ages of wind and wolves , new, strange faces are sure to appear. These travelers will have already depleted and consumed all of the resources close to home and they will want to lessen their chances of being held accountable for what they feel they must do to survive. By the time they have reached you, they will have traveled and expended all of their energy and fuel. The correct historical accounts most Viking raids described the men as desperate, poorly armed and hungry farmers who had no choice and left as few witnesses as possible. By the time they reach your door step they will likely be far beyond the point of asking nicely or giving you any kind of warning.

Beware of local leaders

If it becomes a long-term crisis then local leaders may be appointed and jump on the band wagon of resource collection. I’m all for community preparedness. Usually there is safety in numbers, but I have to draw the line when there are designated individuals going door-to-door collecting extra food and gear to be placed in a common supply depot to be doled out as the leaders see fit.

If you research the times this has actually happened around the world, you will learn that most of the time, those supplies aren’t shared much at all and the leaders treat it as their own personal warehouse. The UN has been delivering hundreds of billions of dollars if not trillions in food aid to developing nations for decades. The reoccurring theme is that warlords take the food then starve and shoot anyone who opposes them.

Why should your family suffer because all of these other people failed to prepare? This is why I live in a place with enough food in the environment to sustain twice its population. It is a place where I can’t freeze to death, where I can live in a yurt without a permit, and where roaming hoards of bandits have no chance of reaching me(The Big Island of Hawaii.)Oh yeah, and the power grid is all geothermal. I had to brag some more.

Beware of “normal” threats

Of course we aren’t just concerned about the security threats after a major catastrophe. We face all sorts of “normal” threats in our day-to-day lives. We should all work towards preventing burglaries, violent home invasions, robberies, and assaults.

2- Situational Awareness

Comprehensive home security
9 comprehensive security tips

These days it seems like many people sadly walk around in a fog. There are many things competing for our attention from what to have for lunch to our kid’s grades, to the ever portable computer (cellphones) –that many people pay little attention to the world around them. Now more than ever, this has become not just socially acceptable, but super trendy. This goes for adults, teens, and even preteens. Gotta love our darn phones with built-in access to Facebook, and instant access to conversations. It’s rare to see people without phones in their hands. As a result of all of these distractions, people are more at risk than ever of becoming a victim of a crime.

Keep your head up

Criminals typically choose their targets based on how aware the potential victim seems to be. If they see two people walking down the street and one person’s face is buried in their phone and the other person has their head up and is alert to the world around them, who do you think they are going to follow? By keeping your head up you are not only more aware of your surroundings, but you also give the impression of confidence.

Many criminals can be deterred simply by making eye contact with them. It becomes a “I see you” kind of moment. I know that if I were a predator I would rather exercise the element of surprise and strike a prey item that is unaware. When you walk around with your head up and your eyes open you are much more likely to see them coming.

Watch the hands

If a stranger approaches you while you’re out shopping or walking to your car, look them in the eyes and then glance down to see what their hands are doing. A purse snatcher isn’t going to grab your purse or wallet with his teeth, right? Of course not! He will reach for it with his hands.

Situational awareness is applicable everywhere

There are certain settings where I have a tendency to let my guard down. For example at home or when I was a student, in class / between classes. Situational awareness is not only applicable when you are out and about, but also at home. I’m not saying that you should live on high alert every minute of every day, but you should definitely be aware of what goes on in and around your home.

Make it a habit to pay attention to the vehicles that frequent your street. This will help you notice who doesn’t belong there especially during or immediately after a crisis. If you hear a dog down the road barking and going nuts at something, it may be for a good reason especially if the dog isn’t usually a nuisance barker. In the middle of the afternoon it may not be a cause for alarm, but if it is 2 A.M. then you should definitely pay attention.

Every neighborhood has a rhythm. Learn yours

Every neighborhood has a rhythm and a regular ebb and flow of activity. This is true both during the week and also on weekends. Take the time to learn your neighborhood’s rhythm so that you will be in a better position to identify anomalies.

3- Deter, Delay, Defend

Deter, delay, and defend are the three words that should form the basis of your home security plan. Your first goal is to deter potential attackers. A potential attacker will target properties that look the most vulnerable and which are likely hiding the best reward. Your first security goal is to avoid looking like a desirable target.

Buy yourself some time

Your next goal is to delay your attackers. Unfortunately, no home or retreat can be made impenetrable. With enough time and effort a determined invader will always find a way in. However, the longer it takes for them to do that, the more time you have to take action. With time on your side, you have a better chance to controlling the situation.

Alarms and warning systems may not actually delay the invader, but they give you a much-needed warning that something is headed your way. If you find yourself in an actual firefight with the invaders, it means that your plan failed at some point. Active defense should never be the primary plan, but a last resort.

4- Keep your lips sealed, otherwise it’s going to suck

The term for this in the military and prepper world is: Operations Security or OPSEC. It refers to keeping your mouth shut and not talking about your preps. Consider this for a minute: The more people know you have food and supplies set aside for a rainy day, the more likely people are to show up at your house asking to borrow an umbrella.

It is fine to talk about prepping in general terms, but fight the urge to give guided tours of your supply shelf. When you do acquire supplies be subtle about it. Gather provisions gradually rather than having a supply procession from your car to the house. Also, keep your preps hidden. The best case scenario is to gradually stock up on the absolute essentials with a willingness to be agile. This means that if you have to evacuate from your home know that you won’t be able to bring everything with you.

Avoid calling attention to yourself

After a crisis you want to avoid calling attention to yourself as much as possible. Keep visible trash to an absolute minimum. Some preppers burn or bury what they can out of sight. There is even a school of thought that recommends camouflaging the exterior of your home to make it look abandoned. While I can see the reasoning behind this process, I don’t agree with it wholeheartedly. If you have neighbors around you they will know that you’re still home and smell the fires you’ve lit. If you make too much of an effort to be hidden they will start to wonder what you’re hiding.

Your best bet will be to fly under the radar and not look like you’re better off than anyone else. If it gets to this point, I would honestly consider evacuating and finding a more isolated and secure location.

5- Assess your site security

Take the time to look at your home from all angles with a fresh set of eyes. Pay close attention to the entry points and the path from the driveway to your front door. Many home invasions involve the assailant waiting for the homeowner to arrive, then forcing their way into the home once the door is unlocked. Yikes!

Remove all hiding places and cushy landings

I’ve seen home security articles and preppers suggest adding landscape to obfuscate the property, but I don’t fully agree with this. Instead, get rid of any shrubs or bushes that someone could hide behind. Go all the way around your house and trim the bushes way down or pull them out completely. A favorite burglar tactic is to find a back window with a bush under it. It makes them feel safe and concealed as they jimmy open the lock.

Get Lit!

How is your exterior lighting? Is the path from your car to the front door well-lit? Do you have lights over or close to the front door? If not, you should install some. Remember that you are preventing someone from being able to sneak up on you. If the porch is dimly lit or completely dark it will be challenging to see possible threats.

Be mindful of your demeanor

Think about your demeanor as your leave your vehicle and approach your door. Are you usually distracted with your phone? Or fumbling with bags and waiting until you reach your door to fish out your key? If this sounds relatable then you need to change things today.

Have your housekey in hand before you even leave your vehicle then move with urgency. Not only will this allow you to open your door quicker, but you can also use your key as a weapon against an attacker, but honestly, pepper spray would be better.

Get creative about your hiding places

Many homeowners hide their extra key outside so they don’t have to worry about being locked out. This isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but remember that criminals are well aware of hiding places like fake rocks, planters, under the doormat, and other hiding spots. If your are going to keep a key outside, be creative about it. There’s not rule that says the key needs to be near the front door. Burglars don’t want to waste time and if they can’t get into a home quickly then they are going to move on to an easier target. Don’t be an easy target.

6- Early Warning Systems

There is a variety of ways to make sure that you’re alerted to potential danger in your area. There are also signs and systems that can deter invaders. I recommend investing in a combination of these methods.

Alarm system, signs, and stickers

No trespassing an alarm system, signs and stickers can be an excellent deterrents. A potential invader might see the signs and decide right then and there to move on to the next property. There are many different kinds of alarms that an average person can easily install. Including, tripwire activated alarms as well as more high-tech options. When implemented correctly, these can be excellent additions to your security plan.

(Subtly) sound the alarm!

For many preppers the best alarms are set up in such as a way that the alert sounds somewhere other than where the alarm was tripped. For example, if you have a storage unit for supplies you’ll naturally want it to be secured and monitored with an alarm. It would be ideal for the bell to sound inside of your home that way you can easily hear it without instantly alerting the intruder.

Security Cameras (even fake ones help)

Security cameras (even fake ones) are excellent deterrents because the last thing a criminal wants is evidence of their crimes. If they believe that you have cameras then they will most likely move on to a less secure property. Place your cameras in visible places. An ideal setup for your cameras would be: front door, back door, garage, and side yard. If you do install faux cameras make sure that you don’t tell anyone. Even the most trustworthy people like to talk. You may trust your next door neighbor, Jimmy, but do you trust his brother Steve who you’ve never met? You never know who will talk about you so do your best to keep the status of your security system a secret.

Just a head’s up: Some burglars may see the warning signs as an indicator that you may have more valuables than your neighbors making your kingdom a more desirable target. Keep this in mind.

Get a scary dog (or fake it)

Many people swear by having a dog and say that it’s the “only security system you need.” Regardless of what kind of dog you have you should do everything you can to convince the intruder that you have a large, fierce, and intimidating dog.

Do the following:

  • Post a “Beware of Dog” sign
  • Have an exceptionally large dog bowl strategically placed so that it’s clearly visible.
  • Hang an intimidating looking choke collar near the dog bowl.

A crucial aspect of home security is making the intruder think twice before targeting your property. Criminals are less likely to tamper with your doors or windows if a dog is barking at them.

In a survival situation it will be different…

A dog may be an excellent security guard for your home, but in a survival situation it will be different. Picture this, the first 72 hours after a catastrophe have passed and things have gotten super sketchy. The neighbors are crazed and looting and outsiders have infiltrated the community. You have decided that it’s time to flee the scene in search of a safer sanctuary. In a survival situation you will want to pack light so that you can be nimble and also as silent as possible.

There is a limited amount of supplies, food, and water that you can carry on your journey and a dog requires all of these resources. Also, it is nearly impossible to keep your dog silent and it may turn into more of a liability than a help. Your dog may also become a target for other dogs. And a dog cannot travel for a prolonged duration without rest. This may slow you down considerably. Please don’t hate me for saying all of this, but these are very real and practical factors to consider.

Create the illusion that someone is home

Now back to the home front!

Consider doing the following:

  • Install motion activated exterior lighting
  • Utilize simple timers to turn the lights and tv on and off throughout the day
  • Consistently park in the garage so that people cannot tell when you are home or away
  • Do not allow mail, flyers, and newspapers to clutter your porch. If you are out of town have someone else remove the clutter.

Property crimes most commonly happen in the middle of the day between the hours of 10 am – 3 pm when most people are at work. The lights and timers may work well as a deterrent at night, but how are you deterring criminals during the daytime hours?

There are several illusions that work well as a day time deterrent. Have the tv or radio blasting, but not so loud that the neighbors complain. Avoid allowing flyers and mail to accumulate on your porch. Some sketchy people / scammers will drop flyers just to case the area and learn the rhythm of the neighborhood. It’s sad, but true. If you have a garage it’s worth using. I know that it seems counterintuitive because you might think that having your car visible in the driveway is better, but it is best if people don’t know when you are coming and going.

7- Home Hardening

Home security for preppers
9 comprehensive security tips

The average person won’t be able to turn their home into an impenetrable fortress. However, there are measures you can take that will dramatically increase the security of your home. The doorway is the most common entryway. You could splurge on a heavy-duty lock set, but if you install it on a cheap, hollow-core door, then you’ve defeated the purpose. At a minimum, you want a solid wood door, but metal cores are even better. Avoid the fancy doors with the embedded windows because it becomes an easy way for the intruder to get to the latch on the inside of the door. Function OVER fashion, right?

Reinforce your doors

The more points of attachment the door has to the frame, the stronger it will be. For example, a door that has 3 hinges, a locking door-knob, and a deadbolt will be much stronger than a door with just hinges and a doorknob. Go to your local hardware store and pick up a handful of 2 and 1/2 inch wood screws. Remove the small screws that were previously used to attach the hinges to the frame and replace them with the longer screws. Confirm that your deadbolt actually goes into the door frame a full inch or two rather than just a fraction of an inch. If the doorknob rattles and is loose, tighten it down or replace it.

8- Secure Storage

There are two basic ways to store supplies with an emphasis on security. You can either hide your goodies or lock them down. If you hide it someone might find it. For the hidden goodies keep in mind that with enough time and effort, anything can be found. Hopefully your other security measures will take care of that, but it’s something to be aware of. Next, think of how often you will want to access certain items. The better hidden they are, the less accessible / inconvenient they will be to retrieve on a regular basis.

Camouflage your items

Camouflage your items. Put your prep items inside of boxes that are mislabeled as “old dishes” or “family photo albums” then put it in storage. Vary the size and type of containers that you use. If you always store your preps in one specific container or size then they will be easy to identify.

All of that unhung (or even hung) framed and forgotten art in the basement? You can use them for hiding currency or other flat items. Remove the back of the frame, then stash and cover the money inside, and replace the back and no one will be the wiser. I doubt that most intruders will make it as far as your forgotten pictures in the basement.

Safe Keeping

Small items can be well hidden in diversion safes. You can find these online through retailers like TBOTECH.COM. They are small containers that look and feel like a typical household object such as cans of hairspray or shaving cream. They are hollow inside, yet slightly weighted to feel like the real thing. You could even purchase the old hollow book. None of these products will be able to conceal mass quantities of items, but they can be great for small valuables.

2 basic kinds of safes

Speaking of secure storage, let’s talk about safes. We will concentrate on 2 basic kinds of safes. The first is the heavy-duty option that is impossible to relocate without some sort of assistance. Gun safes also fall into this category along with the smaller models that come straight out of the 1940’s gangster movies. The 2nd option is a portable lockbox.

I highly recommend that firearms owners utilize gun safes. It is just part of being a responsible gun owner. Make sure that the safe is located where you can access it quickly and easily. Take time to practice opening your safe quickly with both hands, in case your dominant hand is occupied or injured.

9- Firearms

Comprehensive home security
9 comprehensive security tips

Firearms are a necessary component of your comprehensive security plan. Yes, there are other weapons available, but you should never bring a knife to a gunfight. It is very likely that a person looking to harm you and your family will be armed with more than a rock in their hand. Most people don’t look forward to pointing a loaded gun at another human and pulling the trigger. I certainly don’t relish the thought , but when faced with the very real prospect of a person violently harming myself or a loved one, I won’t think twice about doing what is necessary to survive. If you can’t possess a firearm you should definitely keep pepper-spray and an aluminum bat on hand.

Firearm tips

If you can possess a firearm your defense strategy will depend on your survival strategy. Again, as I’ve explained in other sections of this blog you ideally want to live in a place like the Big Island of Hawaii where you have warm weather, no avenues for marauders to enter your municipality, plenty of food in the environment, and ultimately where the people will be far less likely to go feral in a scarcity situation. If you can’t do that, you had better get yourself a shotgun. Even without extensive firearm experience a shotgun will turn anyone into an incredibly formidable, and dangerous opponent. Generally speaking, a simple warning shot will permanently deter most invaders and a non-warning shot will lead to a basket ball sized chest cavity even when wielded by shaky, unsteady hands.

How does one acquire a shotgun?

Shotguns are very affordable. Generally speaking, the best way to get one would be to order online so that you can pay less than half of the cost that you would inside of a gun store. The way you order one online is you would go to a reputable site such as the tried and true guns.com, pick your gun, then call your nearest gun store and have it shipped there. The gun store will then run a background check before handing your fire arm over to you, but you can generally get the ball rolling and send the gun there and save a ton of money then get your check before it arrives in the mail.

Realistically in a survival scenario the times you fire your weapon will be rare. If you can, get a semi-automatic shotgun. In a home invasion scenario with multiple intruders you can throw enough lead in a wide enough pattern in a fast enough manner to take out an entire would be viking-squad. From my experience low end semi-automatic shotguns will shoot around 400 rounds before experiencing any kind of failure. Very few people would survive any prolonged combat scenario long enough to fire over 400 rounds, so spending three or four times as much on a higher end shotgun would likely just hurt you financially.

This video reviews several semi-automatic shotguns. My personal favorite is the Mossberg 930 because it costs as much as a low to mid range pistol and it provides a ton of reliable firepower at the rate required to deal with multiple charging intruders.


Protecting your home doesn’t have to be time consuming or costly. By following these 9 comprehensive security tips you can protect your home and have peace of mind. Which tips are your favorite? Did I leave anything out? Comment below to share you tips and tricks!

See you next time!

-Spicy Prepper