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General Philosophy

Before the meat and potatoes of security tips, it is important for you to think about security in general. Information, like any tool or idea, doesn’t do any good unless you use it.

Security is a mindset. Any practical person or business knows they do not (or cannot) live in a fortress or make all decisions solely from a safety or security point of view. You must balance security with the reality of your situation.

Lastly, it is important to understand and expect circumstances to change over time. Therefore, you must put in place systems and plans to increase the protection level when the threat level increases.

Outer Perimeter

The Outer Perimeter is the area surrounding your home or business. It is your first line of defense and the best opportunity for deterrence. In general, you want to create the impression that a bad guy does not want to consider attacking your place. Take a good look at your home or business. What does a bad guy see that attracts him or warns him off?

  • Exterior lighting: Bad guys do not want to be seen. Effective lighting increases both security and safety. Motion lights and lights on timers are a great alternative when keeping the lights on all the time is not a feasible option.
  • Landscaping: Trees and bushes can provide hiding places for an attacker or provide concealment for a break-in. If there are clear lines of sight to your location, the bad guys know that someone may see them perpetrate their crime.
  • Gates and fences: Most gates and fences are more effective at keeping things in than keeping things out. Be mindful of the way to get around, over, under, or through your perimeter’s protection. If you have an alarm system, signage on fences is a great way to “advertise” that the bad guy can be caught.
  • Occupancy: Many break-ins occur when it looks like nobody is inside. Giving the impression that a person is in the home or building can be a useful deterrence method. Mail and newspapers piling up on the doorstep is a good indicator that someone has not been around lately.
key in a door

Building Exterior

  • Doors: Solid doors, good locks with the appropriate latches, strike plates with 3″ security screws, door viewers and inaccessible hinges should take care of your exterior doors.
  • Windows: Lower-level and basement windows are often attacked because they are easy to break into and may be obscured from view. You want to make it necessary to break them for someone to get in because bad guys prefer not to make noise that might cause attention. Thick glass is harder to break than thin, and certain plastics cannot be broken at all. If you are going to leave your windows open to let in fresh air, add a vent lock that keeps it from being easily opened wider. Consider pinning windows that might be broken to gain access. Keep in mind, however, that getting out during an emergency, such as a fire, is also important.
  • Access: Locks are only good if they are locked. Unlocked doors and windows are the most common way to break in. Some buildings and homes have electronic access doors, which is an effective method of controlling who can enter. Keep track of who has what keys to the building; former employees who did not relinquish their keys can be a threat. When in doubt, rekey your locks and document who has access.
Alarm Systems

Alarm systems in themselves provide a strong deterrent to burglary. Why would a burglar go after your place if down the street he can attack a place without an alarm system?

As with any security product or system, it must be used properly and every time. Make sure your alarm is set every night. Many systems are set on timers and can even be controlled by remote applications.

One of the best things about a burglar alarm system is that you then have all the main components so that it is easy to add other safety devices like fire detection.

Alarm systems need to be tested. You should test them once a month at a minimum.

Alarm systems perform two basic functions: to detect and communicate. Don’t make the mistake of skimping on noise. Include interior and exterior sirens so that the communication is heard by your neighbors (and the bad guy who just got detected).

If you have an alarm system, get yard signs and window decals from your alarm company.

Automotive Security

Traveling to and from your car is one of the times you are most at risk. This is because you are going somewhere with a purpose and you have all kinds of things on your mind. Bad guys know this. In general, you want to stay alert and communicate that thru body language. It also helps to remember were you have parked, to have your keys out and ready before you get to car, and to have parked where there is light.

Lock your car when you leave it, no matter how short a time that will be. This applies when you stop for gas and when you park it at home.

Do not leave your unlocked car sitting in your driveway or at your place of business. Bad guys know that they might find a purse, a garage door opener or even your keys for a future visit.

When you drop the car off for service, leave only your car keys there – not your house and office keys.


On rare occasions, you may do everything right and still be the victim of theft, damage, or even loss of life. When all else fails, insurance is an effective way to endure a financial loss. Unfortunately, many people purchase the insurance they need after something happens. You must carefully consider the risks and repercussions to get an adequate and effective policy.

Click here to see a simple loss assessment chart and loss cost table.

Capital Lock Is Your Key to Security