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Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016

Home Protection

Posted Monday, January 10, 2011, at 8:57 AM

When the State started regulating the "precursors" to methamphetamine, I was irritated by the hassle associated with purchasing ordinary every day products. It doesn't bother me anymore. I can now definitively state that the regulation of pseudoephedrine has substantially reduced meth manufacture in our area.

Unfortunately, that doesn't make the addiction go away. As a result, there has been a substantial increase in the importation of meth and addicts need money to buy the drug. A sad byproduct is that property crimes have increased. (Why get a job when you can risk your, and everyone else's, life by committing theft or burglary?)

Law enforcement does an admirable job. However, it is by necessity more of a reactive force than deterrent.

Because a sizeable number of homeowners are also gun owners, you are more likely to be burglarized by someone who knows you. Someone who knows what you have, where it is, and when you are likely to be gone. The good news is that criminals are more likely to be victimized by other criminals than you and me. (You and I are upstanding people as are our friends.) But people like us are also victimized far too often.

The most important thing that a homeowner can do is deter criminals from making an attempt on their home. This is an area where an ounce of prevention is worth a couple tons of cures.

First, you want to deny entry. The first way to do that is with light. Dark places of entry allow perpetrators to enter and exit without being seen, identified, or rushed. Study your home at night to find likely points of entry. Where streetlights aren't enough, lights on motion detectors are inexpensive and fairly easy to install.

Second, it should go without saying that doors should be locked. However, I am amazed by how many people rarely lock their doors. When we replaced our doors, we also replaced the doorknobs and deadbolts. We chose Schlage brand door hardware. Schlage door locks (not deadbolts) will allow you to open the door and get out even when the door is locked. This can be important if there is a fire. WARNING: They will also let you out when you are half asleep walking the dog and won't let you back in until unlocked from inside or with a key outside.

Who doesn't like sleeping with the windows open on those few glorious spring and autumn nights? The best way to secure windows is with what you plant under them. Thorny shrubs like holly, barberries, or the nearly evil pyracantha, keeps people from getting close to your windows and also deters misguided teenagers from using windows as an exit to go places that they shouldn't. Bars on windows have a serious draw back; you can't get out through them if trapped by a fire. (By the way, do you have fire extinguishers in your home? Have you checked them lately???)

When I was out knocking on doors during the campaign, I encountered a couple of phenomenal security systems. The best system of all is a barking dog. This doesn't require a 120-pound hellhound. Even the yappy ankle biter is enough to deter as it will likely awaken the homeowners or possibly alert the neighbors. The other great security system I encountered turned on the TV (a bit too loud) when I knocked on the door to make me think someone was home. (If you want the candidate knocking on your door to leave, this system does have its flaws.)

What about self defense if someone is in the home?

Stay tuned until the next installment.

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