Part 2: How to Make Your Home a Hard Target

  • 4 min read

Securing Your Home’s Interior

In our first post, Securing Your Perimeter and Home Exterior, we primarily focused on visual and physical deterrents. Your outer layers of defense are designed to discourage criminals from targeting your house. Those defense systems are also there to provide you with early notification that someone is on your property or just outside your home.

In this post, we explore the last physical barriers and protection systems you have to keep you and your loved ones safe in case of an emergency.

Home Interior

Once the bad guy is inside your home, he is now an intruder. The homeowner’s security plan should concentrate on notification, defense, and evasion.

  • A barking dog not only serves as a deterrent, but it is also the homeowner’s best alarm system. The dog doesn’t have to be big or vicious. It just has to be in your home and create enough commotion to let you know someone is in your home and where he is. Plus, dogs still work if the power goes out and batteries fail.
Window Treatments
  • Make sure you close your blinds or drapes at night. While they don’t offer any physical protection, they are a visual deterrent that keeps people from seeing who, or what is inside your house.
Safe Haven
  • Identify a safe room where you and your family can meet in the event of an emergency. This could be a dedicated room, your basement, or even in the closet of your master bedroom. The purpose of your safe haven is to provide a defendable location where you can safely call for outside help, and if necessary, provide medical aid.
  • If your safe haven is a closet or bedroom, consider reinforcing the walls with ¼-inch steel or thicker plywood and upgrading the locks.
  • Keep the room stocked with 24 hours of food and water for each family member, including pets. You should also have a good first aid kit.
  • While you do not need enough ammunition to hold off an assault from a zombie horde, you should have extra rounds for your shotgun and three extra magazines for your pistol.
  • Have spare flashlight batteries and a phone charger if there is an outlet in the room.  Nitecore makes some high-powered flashlights with disorienting strobes, as well as 1000-10,000 lumen lights.
  • Jones recommends going in your safe haven and making sure you still have a strong cell phone connection. You’ll want to be able to use your phone to call for help or remotely activate your alarm system.
  • If your cell phone signal is weak, considering getting a two-way radio to contact emergency responders.
  • “This should go without saying, but always follow your local laws when it comes to the kind of weapons and magazines you have in your house,” Jones said.
  • Ideally, you would have a secured weapon in your bedroom and another on the opposite side of the house from your safe haven. Your safe haven would also have a weapon or two.
  • Whatever weapons you use to make sure they are properly maintained and stored. When it comes to maintenance don’t forget your magazines. Springs lose tension over time so make sure you rotate your magazines on a regular basis.
  • “I can’t stress this enough: If you own a weapon know how to use it,” Jones said. “This applies to your spouse too. Go to the range and practice your fundamentals of marksmanship at least once a month. Do not expect to instantly turn into John Wick when someone breaks into your house at 2 a.m. You will default to your lowest level of training.”
  • “If you have a hard time rapidly putting five rounds on a paper target at three meters in a well-lit, controlled environment, what’s going to happen when you’re startled out of a sound sleep? Three meters is usually the distance between you and someone standing at the foot of your bed.”


  • Hardening your home goes beyond physical defenses. You and your family must also have what Jones calls a “forward-leaning mindset.”
  • “Don’t think like a victim. Be proactive and have a plan on what you and each family member will do in case of emergency. This could be anything from a power outage to a fire, to a home invasion,” Jones said. “Your plan is a living document. Update it quarterly.”
  • Talk over your plan as a family and test it once a month.
  • Treat the plan like a game. “Make it fun so you don’t terrorize your kids,” Jones said. “Don’t say ‘Some monster just murdered daddy with an ax, go hide or you’ll die!’ Just give them digestible doses of the truth. ‘A stranger is in the house, let’s go play hide and seek.’”
  • If you have to leave your house, pick a predetermined meeting location at a safe distance. There you can get a head count and plan your next move.  You can even incorporate escape & evasion training games with your children.  They should learn how to escape from duct tape, rope, handcuffs, etc.
  • Make sure your children know your phone number and address by memory — not as a speed dial number on their phone.
  • Put a list of the top five emergency phone numbers on your refrigerator. These can be the numbers to grandparents, the security company, or friends. Keep a copy of this list in your safe haven.

Parting Advice: Be Unpredictable

Overall, Jones emphasizes avoiding patterns. Be unpredictable. Criminals are always looking to exploit a chink in your armor. Don’t make it easy for them to find that weak link.

“You want to keep people guessing and unsure about what you and your home have in store for bad guys,” Jones said. “Criminals will always be probing and testing. Don’t give them the opportunity to figure out your movement and security patterns. Let them find an easier house.”

“In the end, if someone decides that today is the day that your home is going to be hit, everything you’ve done to harden it is just to buy you time. Time for the cavalry to arrive. Time to get your family safe and in a defensible position. Or time to escape.”

To learn more about how to harden your home, as well as situational awareness, weapons, self-defense, and tactical medicine, enroll in a Sheepdog Level I course.

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