Dear Fellow Survivalist;
Last week I talked to you about hardening the front door of your home, as a means of providing passive defense. Since the front entry door is the most common entry point for criminals, that’s the most important place for you to try and stop them. This week, I’m going to talk about entryway number two – the ground floor windows.
To me, windows are an open invitation to thieves, mostly because they are so easy to break. Fortunately for us, professional criminals don’t think like I do, being concerned about attracting attention by breaking that glass. What they do is look for windows that aren’t latched, which gives them the opportunity to slide the window open and gain access to the home.
Many modern home windows have the latches made in such a way as to ensure that when the windows are fully closed, they latch automatically. But those latches don’t do a bit of good, if the person closing the window doesn’t make sure the window is fully closed.
But even the best of latches does no good whatsoever in a situation where the criminal in question really doesn’t care if anyone hears them break the glass. This can occur with isolated homes, where there isn’t any chance of someone other than the family living in the home hearing the glass break. It can also occur during times of disaster or social unrests, when chances of being discovered, identified and arrested are at their lowest.
In those cases, locks on windows are no protection at all against the criminal element. You need something stronger. Something they can’t break with a hammer or rock.
There are two different ways of handing such a situation; with security window film or with burglar bars. Of the two, the window film is less expensive, but the burglar bars are more secure.
Security window film is akin to the tinted film that is installed on car windows to help keep out the sun. However, it is not tinted and is much thicker than the tinting film is. Some security window film is as much as 12 mils thick.
Applied to the inside of windows, this film works much like the inner layer of an automotive windshield, holding the glass together, even when it cracks. Even if a criminal is successful in breaking the glass (which is harder to break with the film installed), they won’t gain access to the home. They literally have to break the glass out of the window, by breaking it loose from the frame, all the way around the edge.
While this is not a perfect solution, it does give you enough time to hear what it happening and react to it. If you have a dog in the home and are using security window film, there is little possibility of a criminal gaining access to your home, without notice. This method also has the advantage if being nearly invisible, not altering the appearance of your home in any appreciable way.
Burglar bars are metal bars or a metal grate, which are mounted over the windows. With them in place a criminal can’t gain access to the home, even if they manage to break the glass out of the window. They would literally have to pull the bars off the home to get in.
That’s not saying that they make it totally impossible to get into the home, however. A good stout chain, hooked to the trailer hitch of a pickup truck, would make it possible to pull those bars right off the home. But it would be impossible to do that without being extremely obvious about what they are doing.
The best burglar bars are those which are custom made for the home, by a local welding shop. This is common in the Southwest, mostly due to the influence of Mexico, where they are fairly common. There are “universal” burglar bars as well, which can be purchased at your local home improvement center. However, these are made of much thinner metal tubing, which can be broken much more easily. It’s also hard to use them with non-standard sized windows, as you may not be able to find the size you need.
We can’t talk about window security, without talking about the biggest windows that most homes have, sliding glass patio doors. These are a security nightmare, for anyone who is truly serious about home security. The commonly touted methods of putting screws in the upper track and putting a piece of wood in the lower track only work to keep professional burglars from popping the door off its track, gaining access without making noise.
Just like any other window, this won’t help at all, if the criminal isn’t concerned about making noise. Those doors and the side-lights for them, break just as easily as any other window in your home. Considering they are in the backyard, chances are you have something back there that can be used to break them, if not in the tool shed, then a rock.
The best solution for these doors is to replace them with a standard door and secure it the same way the entry door is secured. However, I can understand if you don’t want to do this, especially if you use that door to keep an eye on the kids playing in the backyard.
In that case, the solution is to treat the sliding glass door like any other window in the house. That is, either use security window film on it or install burglar bars over it. Welding shops that make burglar bars also make gates to go over the sliding glass door, making them secure against anything short of a bulldozer.
Between what I’ve talked about here, to protect your windows, and what I talked about last week, to protect your doors, you can make your home much harder to break into. But it’s best if you never have to put those defenses to the test. We’ll talk about that next week.
In the mean time, keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.
Chris and Dr. Rich