Tips From a Security Expert: How To Keep You and Your Loved Ones Safe – Part One

houseAs a senior executive responsible for, among things, the protection of the company’s assets; I’ve been charged with ensuring the safety of people, assets and property for multi-billion dollar businesses.  In that role, I’ve had to mitigate risks to the organization from union job actions, to massive natural disasters and plausible threats against myself and other executives.

Personally, I’m very frugal and I’ve always brought that trait with me in my professional life.  I think that’s going to make for a great combination to share what I know about securing your home on a reasonable budget.

What we’re not going to do in this series of articles is discuss security fences, moats or armed guards – although, if you have the budget – who wouldn’t want a moat?!  What we ARE going to discuss is simple, DIY solutions to keep you and your family safe and mitigate that risk of a home invasion.  My plan is discuss the most simple, inexpensive solutions first then lead into more expensive and hi-tech products on the market.

sign 2Criminals Don’t Like Burglar Alarms ($20 Investment)

The most simplistic security solution on the market today, just so happens to be the most inexpensive.  Security signs, placards and stickers are a great deterrent to criminal activity.  Criminals are very much aware that these signs do not necessarily mean that the home has a burglar alarm system, but why risk it?  Here are some do’s and dont’s about signage.


  • Place the sign in front yard in a very conspicuous place.  You may be compelled (by a wife or girlfriend) to hide the sign next to or behind shrubs or plants.  Don’t.  Place the sign as if you were advertising your home as a business.
  • Keep the sign in the general area of or route to the front door.  Many criminals will knock on the front door before entering a rear door or window.  Ideally, the criminal will see the sign on the way to the door and turn around.
  • Window stickers should be affixed to all access points in the rear or sides of the house that are not visible from the street.  Place one sticker on each standalone door or window and one sticker on each bank of windows.
  • Stickers should be placed at eye-level for an average person.  Between 60-65” from the ground is ideal.  Again, place these very conspicuously despite the urging of your significant other.
  • Prepare the area you are intending to place the sticker by wiping with rubbing alcohol.  This will ensure long term adhesion.

DO NOT buy generic signs and stickers.  Go on eBay and buy signs and sticker from whatever company is the most prevalent company in your community.  If you don’t know; ADT, Simplisafe or Brinks will do fine.

screwsMake Your Exterior Doors Nearly Kick Proof ($10 Investment)

All exterior doors come with screws to affix the hinges to the door and the door jam.  You also get 3/4” screws with the door knob hardware for the strike plate.  These screws are absolutely garbage and should be discarded as soon as you bring the door home.  If your door is already in place, it’s time to change those screws out. It turns out that the strike plate and the area where the hinges meet the jam are the weakest parts of a door.  With the original 3/4” to 1” screws, it will only take me 2-3 donkey kicks to send your door a few feet into your home (even with a dead bolt).

To accomplish this task, remove one of the factory provided screws at a time and replace with a course thread 3” or 4” screw.  Work your way through each hinge screw and the two strike plate screws.  The results are shockingly effective.  (SEE BELOW FOR VIDEO)

In my home, I’ve done this to ALL of my exterior doors as well as all the bedroom doors.  My hope is that after a few kicks in the front or back door, a would-be criminal will move on for fear of being caught.  My rationale for doing all of the bedroom doors is much more complex and we’ll dive into that when we discuss defensive tactics and preparedness.

That brings part one of the series on better securing your home to a close.  Check in every few days for new articles.




James D'Arcy

James D'Arcy

Jim is a senior executive for a private security contractor. He has been responsible for, among things, the protection of assets, people and property for several multi-billion dollar companies. Jim can be reached at

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