Home Security Tips From A Military Expert

Michael Major
By Michael Major February 1, 2021 09:12

Home Security Tips From A Military Expert

My time in the military has gifted me a unique way of looking at the world. I was trained to see where threats lie and take measures to mitigate them. While most people look at their homes as a place of comfort and security, I see them as a target of the unscrupulous underbelly of society.

In this article, I will provide advice and tips on how to increase the security of your home. I have decided to break the topic down into sections based upon what I see as the worst offences in home security.

OPSEC

Operational security (OPSEC) is paramount in the military as it should be in your home. I feel that this is where a lot of families fail and should take more careful consideration.

In the military information is distributed on a ‘need to know’ basis. Individuals outside of your household and family unit do not need to know all of your movements and the inner workings of your home.

Fortunately, there are some simple steps that you can take to lock down your family’s OPSEC.

Social Media

Home Security Tips From An Ex-Soldier#1. People post far too much on social media. The most obvious and grievous offence is posting that they are away on vacation and leaving their home vacant and ready for pillaging.

Do not post on any social media that you are away from home, instead wait until you return from your trip to post photos.

Social media is a major source of intelligence gathering for the criminal element as well as our enemies abroad.

#2. Be careful of the pictures and videos that you take and post of the inside of your home. This includes live video streams like Zoom or Skype. What you are in effect doing, is allowing would-be thieves to create a complete inventory of the valuables in your home. If you have to video conference do so in a way that the background is a blank wall.

#3. On that note, do not post anywhere online the expensive jewelry or electronics that you have bought.

Home Security Tips From An Ex-Soldier#4. Also, never under any circumstances post or indicate on social media that you have firearms or other weapons in your home.

You should not disclose to anyone the presence of firearms or other weapons in your home and ensure that your children understand this as well.

Related: Improvised Suppressors When SHTF: Keeping Quiet When It Counts

Confidentiality

#5. Keep all door/alarm codes and passwords strictly confidential and known to only those who are required to know them. This includes Wi-Fi password access to your network, which can become a major security risk especially if you have smart home devices.

Never use the default password for your router, instead create as strong a password as possible using an online password generator.

#6. Make sure that your children understand what things they should not disclose to their friends and classmates. Children are the weakest link in your family’s OPSEC and they are going to have to be constantly reminded of the rules.

Mailbox#7. When you do leave your home vacant for any period do everything in your power to make it appear occupied.

Set timers for lights, leave a vehicle in the driveway.

Also, make sure you have a friend or family member collect your mail and papers.

Physical Security

There is nothing that can prevent someone with ill intent from eventually entering your home. The best you can do is make your home unappealing to break into and as difficult to enter as possible.

In the military, we would have multiple layers of defence and deterrents and your home should too.

Home Security Tips From An Ex-Soldier#8. Control who has keys to your home. Sometimes we need to give contractors access to conduct their work. Some deadbolts can be re-keyed in seconds by the homeowner. This allows you to provide a key to a contractor and upon completion of the job the deadbolt can be re-keyed denying them access.

Another option is a deadbolt with a keypad where you can set a code for contractors or family members to use that you can revoke at any time.

#9. Get a dog and train the dog to bark every time there is a knock at the door or the doorbell rings.

My chocolate lab scares the crap out of every delivery person who comes by. I have watched people on my surveillance cameras decide to not approach the front door when they hear the barking from inside. The size of the dog is not as important as the volume of its bark.

Putting a beware of dog sign out also helps to deter would-be intruders.

Related: Best Dogs To Have Around For SHTF

Secure Your House

Home Security Tips From An Ex-Soldier#10. Install the best deadbolts and door locks that you can afford.

Do not use any locks that are Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capable since these locks can be hacked and opened with the right equipment.

Also, install door latches and locks that can only be accessed from the inside.

This way anyone wishing to invade your home while you are inside, will have to effectively bash the door off the hinges to fully gain access.

This will give you time to escape or for law enforcement to arrive. One tactic the army always instilled in me was to always have a way out.

#11. Install motion lights around your home to eliminate any areas of shadow that intruders can use to conceal their activities. This is why military bases have floodlights illuminating the perimeter.

#12. Install security cameras around your home covering every entryway. When something goes bump in the night you can check the cameras rather than exit your home putting yourself at risk.

#13. Home alarm systems are great, but you need to advertise to criminals that the alarm exists.

Security camera sign

The sign and stickers your alarm company includes with the system should be clean and visible from the street.

When I worked in private security I watched would-be thieves, avoid doors with alarm stickers, and test the locks on doors that had no alarm stickers.

Situational Awareness

Being aware of your surroundings is probably the most important action you can take when it comes to not only your security but the security of your home.

In the military being detail-oriented was very important as well as being constantly aware of one’s surroundings. We had it constantly drilled into us to always be aware and to never slip into complacency.

#14. Keep an eye on your neighbourhood. Get to know who your neighbours are and the types of vehicles that are usually parked in the area or driving around. This way if a criminal element is scoping out homes in the area you are more likely to notice because they will seem out of place.

#15. Do not blindly approach your front door when coming home. When you are unlocking the main entry door with your back turned you are very vulnerable to attack. Take a look around before unlocking your door.

Home Security Tips From An Ex-Soldier#16. Never open the front door to strangers. As soon as the door is unlocked and opened a crack it only takes a swift kick to gain entry.

If you have a storm door you can use this as a barrier between you and the stranger. Some security cameras have two-way voice communication which you can use to talk to people who come knocking.

Related: Home Security Tips From an Ex-Burglar

Be Really Careful About This

#17. One tactic that criminals often use is to impersonate a police officer, city worker, or personnel from a utility company. Society has conditioned us to be trusting of people in uniforms and I can tell you from experience that wearing a uniform and walking with a sense of purpose, has granted me access to many areas I was not authorized to be in.

The same is true of anyone wearing a high-vis vest carrying a clipboard. Always check the credentials of anyone knocking at your door. If a police officer is at your front door politely ask to see a badge and then call the local detachment to confirm that they are a real police officer. The same works for city or utility workers, always call and confirm their credentials.

None of us should live in fear but having a healthy level of awareness and a security mindset will only serve to keep you and your family safe and secure from potential home invasion or burglary.

These tips and suggestions are only a few that come from years of training and experience as a soldier and I am confident they will serve to secure your home.

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Michael Major
By Michael Major February 1, 2021 09:12
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32 Comments

  1. red ant February 1, 11:47

    I fill I’ve done just that the whole time I’ve been big enough to have my own place.
    I have 6 min pins. Nothing moves without them seeing or hearing anything. Very loud.
    I all so put some coins in a plastic coke bottle and put it on top of the door handle so if you miss with it, it will fall and awake my alarm system . Then if you still want to try and come in, then my second alarm system will kick in and you will not make it passed that one at all…
    This is the only social media that I go on. My phone is turned off so much, it will hardly even work. Mic and cameras are covered by a piece of tape. Your phone will get you or someone else busted. They are watching and listing to you on your phone.
    Hold on, you say how can that be. You give them permission to do what they want every time you, push (allow). Yes you are the one that says yes use my phone to SPY on me and any one around you. These new phones will have there new G5 weapon attached to it so your death shot will work better for them. The controlers…
    Remember it’s your home not there’s, protect it as such… You control what they do. Don’t let them control you. Even if it the cops. Especially if it the cops. They don’t own you.
    Keep all out of your house…
    Be strong and don’t fear any one, you are the last defence befor they gain entry.

    If you come to the door, and it is unlocked, Becareful the door might be unlocked for a reason. Its because I’m waiting on you to brake in . LOL (I see you…)

    Stay with in the sites…
    Thanks the info was good to know…

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  2. Illini Warrior February 1, 13:48

    the local area was having a surge of home burglaries and especially luxury car thefts >>> one subdivision was suspicious a daytime visitor posing as a utility worker – called the cops ….

    he took off on foot when he saw the cops – when they checked him out he was a “spotter” for the night crime crews – clipboard full of info and he a pocket full of IDs >>> he was an on-parole felony crooked crook ….

    Reply to this comment
    • JImbo Idaho February 1, 18:21

      One of the best, yet still succinct, articles I’ve ever read on home security.

      No one article can cover every possible aspect of home security — even this one. Still, it does an excellent job.

      BONUS: As I read, I was pleased to note that we already have about 85% of the suggestions implemented. About 10% more are on hot standby, ready ro be implemented should heneral societal conditions warrant. And the ohther 5% just don’t work for us.

      Reply to this comment
  3. lraude February 1, 13:55

    Only comment I wish to make is the Beware Of Dog signs. Should be Dogs On Premises as the Beware signs have been used by the wrong people as a defense since you “know” your dog(s) are dangerous. Otherwise a good article.

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  4. Only slightly paranoid February 1, 16:24

    I’d like to make a suggestion. If you have dogs which roam your perimeter, or are trained as protectors, please have them trained not to eat anything not personally given to them by you or a designated alternate(spouse or family member). Perimeter animals have been poisoned by thieves, or been immobilized by tranquilizers thrown to them in raw meat. Thieves have also been known to sllp tranquilizers into dog treats and slide them thru mail slots once they have determined there are interior dogs. Make sure that you keep pet food locked away from outside access, to avoid contamination. If you think it can happen, then act to prevent it.

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    • City Chick February 1, 22:46

      Trash. Watch your trash. That’s missing here! Don’t simply throw that 52” flat screen TV box out to the curb or any box or container for that matter that shows you recently purchased something expensive! Also, never discard or throw out tech stuff without taking steps to be sure that no information is on it which is still viable and can be captured from the equipment.

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      • left coast chuck February 2, 02:30

        Also watch what you throw in your trash. If you throw away bank statements, credit card statements, tax papers now that you are cleaning out last year’s receipts and papers that you don’t need to keep, receipts from department stores, especially bills from departments store, any kind of material with personal identification on it should be shredded or cut up or dipped in black paint before being tossed into the trash can and especially the recycle can.

        A credit card bill that has wrapped up that fish that sat in the fridge for six weeks won’t be as appealing as the perfectly dry credit card bill that is nice and clean and dry and shows all the places that you used it from your recycle can. Still useful, if the id thief isn’t too fussy about the shape of his or her intelligence.

        I don’t put anything in any trash container that has my name and address on it, including all junk mail. If I am not going to use them, I pull all those labels you get in the mail off the backing sheet and wad them up in a ball where no label is showing to the outside and they are all stuck together in an unusable mass.

        Reply to this comment
        • ST February 11, 06:35

          LCC;
          We have similar tastes! I do some of those things, also. I haven’t tried the fish thing, though

          Reply to this comment
      • red February 2, 08:19

        CC: Ours all get shredded for mulch, including mail. One sister sheds anything she tosses. An older sister laughed at her for it, but after her trash was stolen (a common way for perps to track you, what you own and so on), she started to shred everything. niio

        Reply to this comment
        • BURN IT February 3, 00:13

          No shredder? If possible, BURN IT.
          Or do both, shred then burn.
          Then stir the ashes.

          Reply to this comment
          • left coast chuck February 3, 20:29

            You can do the same with a pair of scissors as a shredder.

            First, usually not all of the item needs to be shredded. There is the usual boilerplate verbiage that is on every similar document. That can be cut off and thrown away as is.

            The individual information on the document is what needs to be shredded. Cut as much extra paper from the document as is possible, leaving only the indivudual information.

            Fold the individual information two times. cut along the folds so that you are left with separate pieces of paper. Start cutting on the corners, cutting strips no wider than 1/8″. Cut all the orders until the strips are 1/8 wide by about 3/4″ long. Then start cutting the corners from the first round of cutting around the piece. Continue cutting until the remainder is about the same size as pieces you were producing. If you have wet garbage that you are throwing out, putting the shredded pieces in wet garbage helps render them even less salvageable.

            This process sounds more time consuming that it really is. I use it for labels that are on padded envelopes that I don’t want to send through the regular shredder but that I am going to put in the recycle bin for collection.

            SoCal APCD has rules against open burning, so outdoor burning is Verboten!!! I am reluctant to burn plastics and heat sensitive paper that is used for many labels indoors. I am not interested in suicide, neither instant nor long term by inhaled chemicals. I know, I live in SoCal where you can see why you are breathing. No sense in adding to the damage by burning chemical laden paper indoors where I live.

            Reply to this comment
      • ST February 11, 06:32

        City Chick’
        There are certain things I will take extra steps to make them unrecognizable before I toss them in the trash. Even a very large box like the one an appliance may come in can be diced up small enough to fit into kitchen trash bags, with only a boxcutter. The pieces can then be mingled with other trash and disposed of over time, or, in the case of a dumpster, tossed in soon after pickup, so it’s buried under a few hundred lbs of others’ trash.
        Documents get shredded, and mixed the same way. For those, I envy anyone with a burn barrel.

        Reply to this comment
        • red February 12, 01:29

          CC: You need to make things more interesting for snoopers. Raise cats. Shredded paper is very absorbent. A dairyman upstate from you said he leaned the hard way to always shred and dispose of mail. He had his trash stolen (happened to me, as well). Now, he shreds and uses it for bedding in the barn. While crooks might be desperate enough to try to put together his mail, picking it out from under 25 Jersey cows will not be a picnic. Jerseys are small, but do no play well with strangers. Have a fun weekend! niio

          Reply to this comment
    • Mariomac February 28, 21:23

      You have been watching to much television!

      Reply to this comment
  5. Omega 13 February 1, 22:32

    We’ve covered most of these. I got rightfully paranoid after we were burglarized in 2010. Camera systems (since upgraded), new deadbolts (with 3″ screws on the latch plates), new doors, and we’ve had to chase off lots of “dudes with clipboards” using the cops (no matter what company they say they work for).

    My only ongoing concern is my kids and confidentiality. They’re both under the age of ten and it is hard (no matter how many times you tell them) to not tell their school friends, “We’re going camping this weekend,” or “We’ll be on a cruise in November.” But we try.

    My wife got smart about Facebook posts even before she got on the damned site. Never anything about the trip or pictures of the trip until we get home. She’s also smart enough to not go completely dark on the site while we’re away.

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    • City Chick February 2, 02:54

      Omega 13 – Far much better to not be on the site at all to begin with.

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      • Omega 13 February 2, 16:53

        I agree, but she uses it to communicate with her high school and college friends.

        I’m too much of an old fuddy-duddy to use it, but those hip young people love it. Sigh… 🙂

        Reply to this comment
        • City Chick February 7, 00:07

          Red – Not all shredders are equal. Make sure yours is what they call a “cross cut” shredder.

          Reply to this comment
          • red February 7, 16:10

            CC: Mine can reduce a 4 inch thick branch to confetti. Paper goes in the leaf hopper and comes out the same shute mixed with wood chips. If anyone wants to annoy scorpions and angry spiders hiding under the mulch, on their own head be it. But, I think shredded ads for cleansing bowels, hemorrhoid cream, and other things I have no interest in isn’t going to excite the feds. Still, with biden in office, ya never know 🙂 niio

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  6. left coast chuck February 2, 02:23

    I learned the hard way that once you have been burglarized, national statistics say that you will be burglarized at least once more within the year.

    For some reason unknown to me, although that statistic is well know among law enforcement and the insurance industry, it never is mentioned by neither the insurance adjuster nor the burglary detail.

    I have either had my house burglarized or a business that I owned burglarized 7 times in the 50 years I have lived in this town. In no instance was the burglar apprehended.

    I almost forgot the two times my vehicle was burglarized. so that’s 9 times. In one instance the burglar was caught or someone who bought the firearm from the burglar, hard to tell which was the case. The upshot of that was the cops suspected that I was selling firearms from my printing business and wasted who knows how much tax payer dollars investigating me for illegal firearms sales.

    I was reprimanded when they finally did contact me and tell me they had recovered the firearm. i told them of my experiences with our local burglary detail and considered notifying the local police a monumental waste of time.

    I won’t go through the failures of the local police department because each political entity is different and your police department may be super efficient.

    I was in Arco, ID and there had been a burglary of a gas station the night before and by 10:00 the local cops had the perp in custody. I rolled on the floor laughing. Here I was in a town that is a wide spot on the highway and the cops nabbed the perp in less than 12 hours. One of my burglaries had a complete exemplar of all ten fingerprints conveniently left on a newly cleaned glass panel and the local burglary detail never did anything about it. Never checked the prints with Sacramento. Didn’t even know that they had been obtained by the tech until I told them and still didn’t do a damned thing about them.

    If you move to Arco, Idaho, the cops are on the ball in that small town.

    You might ask how come you are burglarized again so soon after the first one?

    Well, that’s easy to answer, Pilgrim. THEY KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE THAT IS NEW BECAUSE THEY STOLE ALL YOUR OLD STUFF1!!!

    They also know the layout of your house or business which is a great advantage to someone who wants to break in to steal stuff. They know where you don’t hide stuff because they have checked all those areas out the first time. We are creatures of habit. If we kept our 1911 Gold Cup in the nightstand drawer next to the bed, that’s where we will put the new Sig 235 that we acquired to replace our Dad’s Gold Cup that he won the Master Pistol class with at Camp Perry right after he came back from WWII.

    Burglary is so bad that in Los Angeles you won’t get anybody to come out to investigate the crime unless you have motion pictures of the perp breaking in. Even then, that probably won’t get passed around at roll call at the local LAPD station. You fill out a report on line and for a fee you can get a printed copy of the report for your insurance which will somehow go up again next year but by a larger percentage than it did this year. Wonder how that happened?

    Of course, in my town the PD sends out a civilian tech who dusts for prints and takes photos and goes through the motions of CSI but then files all that work away and nobody ever looks at it. At least they go through the motions of acting like cops.

    So, Omega, it sounds like you missed falling into the national statistic base. It may be because your perp got nabbed before he or she could get back to your house. It may be that he or she got sentenced to jail or prison before he or she managed to get back to your house. Or it may have been a roving gang and they moved on to new territory before the locals got on to them. You lucked out.

    I can remember a shop lifter I finally got the goods on after he and his wife had hit my stationery store for who knows how many times. The last time he was in my store I followed him around like a fly on honey and he still managed to steal a gun stapler while I was watching him. Have to give him credit, he was a real pro. He stole that gun stapler which is a good sized item while I was watching his every move, not more than three feet from him from the time he walked in my door until he finally left.
    I didn’t make any secret that I was with him. I was talking to him the whole time he was in the store. I was on him the minute he walked in and stayed on him until he finally walked out. Watched him get in his car. I didn’t need his car license number because I already had a photo copy of his driver’s license. I knew he stole it because his wife was back in the following week with a story about how it was broken and she wanted a cash refund. There had been a recent change in store policy. No receipt, not cash refund, refund in like merchandise only. Because it was defective from the manufacturer it was a manufacturer problem. I would hold the defective merchandise until the manufacturer’s rep came in and let her know when I had the replacement. Of course the stapler was junk because they had pulled the spring out of it so that it was defective.

    I called the local pd and the desk sergeant laughed and said, “Oh, Louie. You won’t see him again soon. He’s going to state prison next Wednesday.”

    True enough, I didn’t see Louie but I did see his wife heading into the local weekend swap meet and I don’t think it was to buy anything, I think she had some stuff that she had stolen some place else where they didn’t know her — or she had something from my store that she was going to sell at the swap meet rather than bring it back for a refund because somehow the dog ate the receipt.

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    • red February 7, 16:20

      LCC: Rural is more likely to be raided than city. and more likely to be violent. Right now heavy-duty gun safes are a hot item in sales. Even cheap ones are gone fast, usually to city people. At least in the city raiders have to be as quiet as possible. niio

      Reply to this comment
  7. Scott February 2, 03:08

    Be careful about posts regarding firearms and ammo. A proposed bill HR127 requires registration of all guns and ammo and a 800 dollar license to own them (it’s way worse. Look it up). Everything you post purchase or speak of on a phone is recorded by nsa. You better believe they will have an expectation on what you report and if you don’t you will face fines from 5k to over 150k and 15 years or more.

    Reply to this comment
    • red February 7, 16:25

      Scott: that’s what socialists did in Mexico to stop gun ownership. Each gun has to have a permit equaling 30K USD in pesos. All it means is it’s a lot harder to buy guns and ammo in border states without the Wall. Mexico’s DNC is the PRI, and they’re scared. And, for good reason. Little old ladies are marching against them, and like the Indians say, ever war starts with an angry woman–and a fool with a gun 🙂 niio

      Reply to this comment
  8. Ruralguy February 2, 06:17

    While posting a sign about having an alarm system on the premises is a good deterrent, it’s not necessarily wise to use signs from the actual alarm company or brand that is in use, as some burglars have access to service or system codes, or even accomplices on the inside that can be used to disable the alarm or post a service message to the monitoring company that will prevent or sufficiently delay the alarm from getting the police on the scene to allow the burglars to easily finish their “work” unhindered. Using generic warnings or signs from a different company may be a better option.

    Reply to this comment
  9. red February 2, 08:13

    Common sense stuff, and we should all post this on the kitchen wall. Maybe inside the fridge, too, if you have teenagers at home 🙂 But, 1 of my best securities is, I have nosey neighbors.
    This is a small, off the main drag town, but, we get snowbirds all winter and summer people from April to September. Most are good people, but there’s always some freelance socialist who comes along. We also have a very low crime rate, thanks to nosey neighbors. And some of the friendliest pit bulls and rotties I have ever had the pleasure of meetings. Friendly till lights out or they hear a gunshot, anyway.
    BTW, I was reminded tonight that Dad always said locks are there to keep the honest people honest. Cameras and security lights help with the rest. And, I would love to have seen that perp trying to get in the window (top pix). Picture it, he’s trying to get in, you see it on the camera and shout into a microphone, “YOU! what the hell do you think you’re doing?” Add a loud metallic snap and the dog and you have a scene played all over lib-owned areas of Arizona. for his family’s sake, let’s hope his life insurance is up to date–and maybe private health care for that heart attack. niio

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  10. ST February 11, 06:46

    I have a neighbor who isn’t as careful as she thinks. She’s all of 5’2 and 110 after lunch. She comes home late at night and sits in her car, texting, sometimes over an hour (I should time her one night). Several times a week she sits at this craps table of risk. My advice falls on deaf ears. It’s a really bad habit for anyone.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Greg February 14, 16:27

    Garage doors are often over looked. Disconnect the auto door opener(its not THAT hard to open manually). Install bolts through side rails to secure. Put a hefty hasp and lock on man door.Weld pin in place. I had mine cut off to bypass in the past. Most garage doors are vulnerable by pushing in the center to create a gap at top. Coat hanger then inserted to unlock and gain entry. Use driveway motion sensors,cameras. Good luck its getting worse out there.

    Reply to this comment
    • red February 16, 00:03

      Greg: Good suggestions and I’ve been looking at the garage door. No street lights on my block, so it’s not hard for someone to get in. Much thanks. niio

      Reply to this comment
    • ST February 16, 01:14

      I know they’re expensive, but has anyone every installed an industrial-grade garage door on a home garage? Sure would be a wee bit harder to pry open than a residential door.

      Reply to this comment
      • red February 16, 08:57

        ST: No, I haven’t, but it’s worth looking into! Every once in a while, I see ads for used sliding steel doors that protect store windows, as well. niio

        Reply to this comment
  12. Mariomac February 28, 21:27

    This is very good practical information! Great job Michael. I hope to hear more from you. 😉

    Reply to this comment
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