Concealed Carry & Home Defense

CCW Weekend: How To Secure An Apartment Or Condo From Intruders

Lucky Business/Shutterstock.

Guns and Gear Contributor

By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters

Recently, I went over some tips on how to secure a house from intruders, but what about an apartment or condo? After all, not everyone lives in the typical suburban home. For such a person, fencing does not exist – or you may live in a rental and can’t build one – and why bother talking about exterior lights when you live on the fifth floor?

After all, a good number of home invasions happen at apartments, townhouses and condominiums as well as in typical houses. Anyone anywhere needs to know what they can do to improve home security.

Of course, a gun is the implement of last resort. The presence of firearms alone does not a secure home make, though it is the most effective tool of last resort. Preventing a break-in is good, but if one does occur you may not have time to deal with the threat before police arrive.

First is the methods of ingress and egress. Most burglars, thieves and other home invaders gain access by doors and windows. If you do nothing else than reinforce doors and windows, that goes a long way.

KGW, an NBC affiliate in Portland, Ore., surveyed 86 inmates in the Oregon DOC that were serving time for burglary. Most gained access through windows or doors.

Above all? Make sure your doors and windows are locked. If an exterior door or window cannot be locked, ask your landlord to install a window lock.

The best practice with doors is to have a heavy steel door installed with steel framing that is professionally hung. The door frame is solid, and the door itself cannot be broken. You can ask the landlord to install a steel door if one is not currently installed.

Additionally, any exterior doors must have a locking doorknob and a deadbolt, with reinforced latch plates in the door frame. If you ask for a deadbolt to be installed, make sure to request a new one. Many landlords will circulate deadbolts between properties to save money, and you don’t know who may have a key.

Cheaply-installed locks can actually be gotten around; if the frame is weak, the door can be simply kicked in even with a deadbolt installed. Therefore, the door installation is critical. KGW reports that some inmates prefer kicking in doors to breaking windows; a loud “bang” from kicking a door could be a number of things but the sound of glass breaking is universally recognized.

You might also wish to add a tertiary device, such as a sliding chain lock, kick plate or similar device. If a home invader has already got the door open, it won’t stop them, but it may slow them down long enough for you to call 911 if home or get to your gun.

If your landlord won’t spring for window locks, an improvised block can be made with either wood or metal. Jam it between the window frame and the sliding window pane. Make sure that it’s slightly too big to fit; you should have to force it into place. This ensures the greatest amount of rigidity and therefore is harder to get into.

This applies equally to sliding glass doors. If a robber, burglar or person with seriously ill intentions is deranged enough to break the glass, it won’t stop them, but a person trying to pry it open will have a much harder time of it.

Lights on don’t always deter burglars, and since most burglaries occur during daylight hours, may actually be a sign that someone’s not home. Leave it on at night, regardless, however; it is a sign of an occupied dwelling at night.

Another good deterrent is to install a camera, even if its a false one. The presence of a camera chases off many would-be burglars, though KGW reported some think the opposite. An alarm system is also a decent investment, but that only alerts authorities if a break-in is occurring.

If you live in a ground-floor unit and can have a pet, getting a big dog can be an effective deterrent. Thieves casing houses look for the presence of pets. A cat or chihuahua is no never mind, but a larger dog is.

A car in the carport, if you live in a tenement small enough to have an obvious parking space, is also a sure sign that someone is home. A thief can’t tell if it hasn’t started in years. Another good signal that someone is home, that might deter a would be burglar when you’re gone? Leave the television or a radio on.

Ultimately, though, some home invasions are not about taking property that can be easily fenced for cash, such as a recent home invasion in Jacksonville, Fla. reported by News4Jax.

The perpetrator, a 24-year-old man, broke into the home of his ex-partner around midnight between June 4 and June 5 with whom he had two children. The victim, an unnamed 25-year-old woman, had a domestic violence restraining order against him as he had begun making death threats after their breakup.

Luckily, she was armed and his ill intentions were put paid. Multiple parties called 911 including the victim. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

While home security can prevent some break-ins from happening, and alert authorities more quickly, a home defense gun will stop one in progress.

Click here to get your 1911 Pistol Shopping Guide.

Click here to get The Complete Concealed Carry Training Guide

Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.