I recently watched a movie about a family that was terrorized by a brutal home invasion.  This happened despite the fact that their defenses were thought to be virtually-impenetrable.  The plot followed a predictable pattern that involved a middle-American family becoming killers as they rose to the occasion and fended off their attackers.  However, the movie caused me to think about how easy it is for us to be lulled into a false sense of security.

Nothing is Perfect

No amount of reinforcements, bars, steel shutters, traps, alarms, cameras or lights will be enough to deter persistent and resourceful intruders.  As long as they have the time and tools to gain entry, they will succeed 99% of the time.  This is something that people don’t like to hear, particularly if they’ve invested thousands of dollars into their security apparatus.  However, it’s a reality that we should all be prepared to accept, because it gives us an opportunity to develop plans to protect ourselves if that were to ever happen.

Security is a Deterrent

Most home-security systems rely on deterrence to be effective.  People see a home that is well-lit and has cameras or protected doors and windows, and they will probably tend to move on to a target that is more vulnerable.  However, in SHTF situation, people will be more desperate and willing to take greater risks, and most of these systems will be useless.  While things like cameras and perimeter alarms can alert us to the presence of intruders, they essentially only buy us extra time so that we can develop an appropriate response.

The same could be said about traps, various barricades or even bunkers.  They will deter plenty of people, but not all of them, and you need to be ready to take matters into your own hands in order to protect your property and defend your family.  Never think for a second that you will be completely-safe, because you could be opening up the door for an unexpected confrontation that you are not in a position to win.

Defense and Escape

We’re not saying that you shouldn’t do what you can to make your home as secure as possible.  However, it’s important to keep things in perspective and constantly evaluate how you would react in a what-if scenario.  How equipped are you to fend-off an attack if people gain entry?  How will you protect your family, or how will they respond to defend themselves if you’re not around?  Take these things seriously, because your life may very well depend on your ability to take matters into your own hands.

While defense is important, there are also times when being trapped in a home can turn out to be a death-sentence.  Make sure that you always build in an exit strategy so that you can take advantage of this last-ditch option if the situation presents itself.  Not only do you need to know how to leave and where to go, but you also need to decide when to flee.  Leave too early, and maybe you unnecessarily surrender your property.  Leave too late, and you may be trapped.  It’s not easy to formulate a solid plan around this possibility, but thinking through some different scenarios can help you to stay focused and objective in the midst of a crisis.

Remember that security is intended to be a tool that you can use to your advantage, but it may not be enough.  Use it to address obvious vulnerabilities that can attract unwanted attention, but be prepared to go to extreme lengths to defend yourself if those options fail as well.