Hardening your Premises< Security tips for home and office
suggested by Joe Chernicoff, CST

"The more things change, the more they stay the same".

No matter how many times we have heard this expression, it still remains true. Four hundred plus years ago you found castles in Europe protected by high walls and moats. In the 1600s, it was common to find homes in London with living quarters on the second floor - extended windows overlooking the street, with busybody mirrors attached so that the resident could see who was attempting to enter the home. Merchants at that time began hiring protection so that when they walked on the street - particularly at night - they had someone who would carry a lantern and who could protect them from attacks by cut-throats, purse snatchers, etc.

Today we have security companies, bars on windows and doors, video surveillance, and other modern technology to cover those ancient concerns. So the question which arises is one of protecting our property and selves.

Here are some simple and effective guidelines to effectively handle your perceived risks:

1) Do a risk analysis of your property. This includes having knowledge of the crime data for your neighborhood, information you can gather from neighbors and/or local law enforcement
2) Secure all entrances to your interior premises. This means any door leading into your home or business should be secure enough to deter and deny the opportunity for a criminal attack against the property:
  • doors and door frames/jambs should be able to withstand force used to kick them open and otherwise force locks.
  • when doors are forced, they are forced around the locking mechanism and striker plate
  • security gates or doors should be used which can withstand the perceived threats, which means that locks have to be inset so they can not be easily broken out with hammer or other tools
  • windows and sliding glass doors should be protected with either bars or film laminates - window bars, as in the case of security doors/gates, must be quick escape from the premises interior.
  • intrusion alarm systems are most valuable when you are home since they will provide a warning which will give you time to react in a reasonable manner - if your alarm system is linked to a central station with a responding service, the response time is often longer than the usual crime scene time.
  • when you are away from home, the intrusion alarm system combined with a secured premises - the hardened premises will, in most cases serve to deny & deter the criminal opportunity.
  • there are two kinds of opportunities for the criminal actor: positive and negative; leaving your doors unlocked, garage doors open, and giving your premises the general impression that you're not paying attention to what's going on around you or what could happen is a positive opportunity, whereas securing your premises in a noticeable way, provides a negative opportunity.
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