We read your blog all the time and we purchased your book. Some very good advice indeed.
As you say windows are a problem but what we've done is to make the bedroom super secure - a sort of safe room if you like. We have the switches for the alarm system in there with an emergency button you can quickly hit in times of an emergency.
This meant that cost wise we only had to secure one room and the cost was affordable. We installed the best quality security screens we could and since it was only 2 windows it was much less than the whole house. We also used tinting film to cut down the view inside and this also helps make the glass less 'breakable' or so we were told. The bedroom door was replaced and it is sold and in a good solid frame and since it's off the hallway it would be hard for anyone to get a run up to knock it down. It took my husband pushing with all his weight to test it (how else do you test the 'guarantee'?). We were lucky the bedroom is placed the way it is actually.
It might be possible for someone very determined to punch a hole through the wall from the rooms next door since they are not solid brick. We lined the vulnerable wall with another layer of plasterboard so it will take more than a few kicks to break it. Law abiding people aren't allowed guns here so I have a machete under the bed in case any holes do appear in the wall and unwelcome hands or heads poke through into the room, but I'm hoping that any bad guys will be leaving quickly when faced with an ear splitting siren and a difficult door to break down. There's not much we can do about anything they break or take before they run but next to selling up and moving into something really secure this is our next best choice we think. We also put a good collection of sensor security lights about on the outside. All this has given me peace of mind when I'm in the house alone and especially sleeping at night or even napping in the afternoon. It didn't cost an awful lot to do this since only costs were a good solid door being installed, some plasterboard, the film and 2 screens and a repaint so it might be an option for others to consider for peace of mind.
Hi Julie, thanks for sharing your experience with the rest of us.
The safe room or panic room is an interesting concept and it is a valid one as well, the idea being to retreat to a safe or more defendable position, and when criminals see its not easy to get to you they will hopefully leave.
This sure is better than no planning at all but remember you’re still vulnerable in the rest of the house, so awareness and general good security habits are important. Ideally, you want to have a good level of protection as soon as you close the front door of your home behind you but unfortunately few homes are designed or built that way any more.
See about adding storm films to the rest of the windows. Far from the security level provided by burglar bars, it does add a few more seconds for you to rush to your safe room.
Also remember to keep your cell phone there at night and a spare set of keys of the house. If you ever lock yourself there during a home invasion, you would just throw your keys to the police through the window and not risk going to the front door to open it yourself.
Take care Julie and good luck.