Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Home alone women

Hello again:

 It just occurred to me today that this question might apply to some of  

your readers.  My father works for a defense contractor repairing  

submarines, and makes frequent "business trips" because he has to go  

wherever the boat is.  Most years this means he's not home for a  

significant part of the year - this year we're going to see him for  

about six weeks between now and November.  The upside of this is that  

he gets paid more when he travels, but the downside is that it's just  

me and my mother in the house for weeks on end.  Any recommendations  

for extra security for two women alone?  Thought this might help some  



Hi Katy, A while back I was in my dentist’s waiting room and overheard two young women talking. They were just the two of them living together and they were talking about moving to a condo because they were afraid of living in a house just the two of them without a man in the house.
Unfortunately it’s true around here that two women alone are viewed as an easier victim, and I suppose it’s the same in most places around the world.
The only thing to do is be more cautious and plan for better safety. How far you’ll take this will depend on how bad the crime in your area is. If you suffered home invasions in your area or other episodes of violent crime, then its better to get bust soon and not fall for the “it wont happen to me” mentality. On the other hand there are small towns in America where they cant remember the last time they had a home invasion episode, let alone rape or murder. If you’re one of the lucky ones, then maybe you can afford to be more lax about security. I simply can’t relate to that much because it’s the complete opposite of my current reality, where in the suburbs of Buenos Aires you may pay dearly for a care free attitude.

So what to do:
Improve your home security: Do install an alarm if you don’t have it already. Most houses don’t and there’s really no excuse for that since today good alarm systems are cheap and have an excellent bang per buck ratio. The first home alarm system I bought, I sold the Play Station I had to buy it. I bought a good one and did the installation myself. Read the manual and did some internet search to do it properly and it worked fine. So there's really no excuse for not having an alarm. A wirelss alarm costs a bit more but is much easier to instlall if you're not very handy.
A properly set up alarm may save a family from a rapist or burglar trying to crawl its way in at night. If the stalker has been doing some scouting and he notices you deactivating an alarm as you go in, he will probably look for a less prepared victim. A good door and lock should complete the setup. Windows are very weak points in most American homes.  Other than installing burglar bars, your only other alternative is having solid shutters. At the very least, acknowledge this weakness and don’t leave opened windows unattended.
A good dog is also a great deterrent. Unless you have previous big dog experience, I’d go for a good, easy to educate breed such as the German Sheppard. The more I learn about security, the more I notice how bad guys simply dont like dogs. They are affaid of how the animal may react, even if they overpower the vicitm. You often hear criminals mention how much they worry about big dogs.
Good family awareness is probably your greatest asset: Close doors and windows, being careful not to open the door to strangers. Never go anywhere without letting the family know where you’re at, always have your cell phone with you and generally being safety conscious. Not paranoid, but do the mental exercise of noticing who’s around your home when you go in and out, notice suspicious looking people/vehicles.
As for self defense, I’d make it a priority for your mother to learn how to shoot, and you’re old enough to handle a gun as well. Guns in the hands of citizens have saved countless lives, often without firing a single shot. At the very least get basic one day training so as to handle the weapon safely, and a dedicated self defense shooting class wont hurt at all.

Let me mention something else about his: Self defense shooting classes aren’t for 7 feet tall muscle mountain Rambos. Some people have this pre conceived notion. Nothing further from the truth. Most defense shooting classes are attended by average folks, men and women from all walks of life, all sorts of shapes and ages. If you’re taking advanced tactical training then yes, you may find people that are more into all of this, and they are more physically demanding, but for the typical self defense shooting classes, know that they are precisely made for just ordinary people that like you, want to be able to defend themselves. 

You can take slef defense as far as you want, make it a lifestyle. If that's nto your' thing, at the very least be safety concious and aware of your surroundings, install an alarm and keep your cell phone hadny with 911 on your speed dial and give seriosu consideration to buying a family dog if you dont have one already and getting a firearm. Doing this wont mean any lifestyle changes, and you'll be much better prepared security wise.
Hope that helped some, take care.



Anonymous said...

If I may add a few suggestion to the this young lady's inquiry:

* 3M sells an adhesive film to prevent window shattering. There are videos on youtube where a guy tries to break, with a bat, a window which has the film on. After several hard blows the window was still in place held together by the film.

* Install sensor lighting outside the perimeter of the house and thorny bushes at the foot of windows.

* I have a German Shepherd dog. She is an excellent companion, ever so vigilant and a light sleeper. Once or twice at night she gets up and makes a round though the perimeter of the house. This is just a natural instinct of the breed. I never taught her that. They are also very protective of family young members. The other day, may kid got out the back gate. When I heard the gate open, I rushed to catch my her. Well, to my surprise, my dog was there by her side, blocking her from getting on the street. Normally, she, the dog, would have darted away to pee on every neighbor's yard at the first opportunity of an open gate, but not that time.

On the downside, a German Shepherd needs a firm hand or it will run your house and your life. It also needs a good dose of daily exercise and a sense of purpose or it may find ways to entertain himself chewing on your favorite shoes. Lastly, German Shepherds are happiest inside the house by your feet, but once a year they go through a full shed of their coat. During this period, they need daily brushing, and even then, they still shed plenty, making sweeping and vacuuming twice daily almost mandatory.

* German Shepherds are alpha by nature and need leadership. Do not hit the dog. He won't obey you that way and you may turn him shy against a man with a belt on hand or a stick.

Gallo@GTA Forum

dc.sunsets said...

The pistol club in my area runs a basic pistol class (two weekends in a row for 4 days total, I think) and 40% of the "students" are women. Good clubs are friendly places happy to help people develop comfort with the tool that goes "bang." www.pinetreepistolclub.com

To me, the most important home security mod one should do (and I need to also) is harden the storm door. The easiest way to enter a typical American home is a stiff kick to the front door, which is usually only bolted into a wood frame. Any male above 150 lbs can kick in the typical door. A second door on the outside of this, one that is set into a STEEL frame that is heavily anchored into the wall, has a key lock, and opens OUTWARD makes an easy entry difficult but allows you to meet people at the door without giving them the ability to easily force their way in. The issue to me is buying time. You have to have time to Observe what's happening, Orient yourself, Decide what to do (like retrieving a gun) and Act. A good door contributes to the time factor. Doors run from $300 to >$2000 (you probably get what you pay for) plus installation when I googled "steel storm door."

For whatever reason, in the US the preferred entry for criminals is reportedly a door, not a window.

If you do get a dog, get a female. To me they're easier to manage and integrate into a family. Males are often "one-person dogs" and are more likely to play dominance games.

Anonymous said...

I installed this Larson door last year.


Between panes, it has thick film to prevent flying object from shattering it.

Gallo@GTA forum

a nony mouse said...

I'm one of the lucky ones - virtually crime free neighborhood. I don't expect to live here forever, though, and found this to be a link to hang on to:


Also, this man has a blog that might be of interest. Not all the articles will be, but some of them are specific about how to set up safety measures in your home. His purpose is to teach people who have already been victims of crime how not to be victims again:


Jada said...

My boss's 72 year old mother has a Glock 21 and is VERY proficient with it. The part that's amusing though, is she's quite frail and is unable to hold it in the typical shooter's stance. Instead, she bends her elbows and rests them on her tummy to shoot. It's quite hysterical to watch, but no one laughs when the lady brings in the target to reveal a perfect grouping of 13 rounds.

Every woman, regardless of her age or size, can learn to shoot the bigger calibers, and shoot them well. :)

As for dogs, in the US, check into the livestock guardian dogs. Different mentality, not so easy to train for obedience because they are bred to think on their own and act accordingly, but they are bred to guard livestock (or whatever is their charge) and they are usually huge. My two always position themselves between me and anything they deem a threat, and the female will herd small children back to the house while the male investigates the subject of interest. Anatolian Shephards and Kuvasok are my favorites... and those breeds don't make your home owner's insurance skyrocket (or be denied all together) like a Doberman, German Shep, or Rottie will.