Benefits for You and Your Clients

storm resistance. A huge item in my mind is a reduced likelihood of an accident involving the family car and a child.

The term “home hardening” has been used to describe this process, where did it come from? Do you feel it is a useful term for discussion of this topic?

The term “home hardening” comes directly from the term “target hardening”. Target hardening is the process of making a target harder to attack. Primarily, “target hardening” is used by security professionals who often have work in military and government arenas. While the term "home hardening" is very descriptive, it doesn’t seem to sit well with the average home buyer. After all, who wants their home to be hard? I personally prefer to refer to the process as “home security design” and “home security remodeling”. The finished product should be called “the Secure Home.” Unfortunately, several national home security system companies have spent billions of dollars creating the perception that the words “home security” mean cameras and alarm systems. Simply using the term “home security” will not be descriptive enough for the average home buyer to understand the product being offered.

If a home has been built in the ways you would recommend, would there still be the need for additional security measures, such as a security system with cameras, or the homeowner getting a gun?

The Secure Home will incorporate any available resources to help prevent crime. Cameras and security systems have a place in crime prevention and should be integrated into the layering of crime prevention tools. Speaking of tools, the fifth and final layer of prevention falls into the hands of the home owner. We can build four “walls” into the design of the home that a criminal will have to overcome before they come in contact with a homeowner. The fifth and final layer is the tool that the homeowner would use in a worst case scenario. The builder can provide the connection to a professional who can evaluate the homeowner’s personality and match them with the best defensive tool. The firearm is ultimately the most effective tool for stopping a criminal bent on harming a homeowner, but there are many other options that may be more appropriate for a specific person.

Outside the home, what can be done to discourage a would-be invader from even starting?

CPTED, or Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design provides us with tremendous tools to create an environment that deters criminals passively, without the direct interaction of the homeowner. We can Designate areas as public or private and Define boundaries by using the design of the exterior spaces. There are strong psychological tools that tell everyone “outsiders are not welcome here.” The traditional white picket fence can simply be stepped over by an abnormal user. Ask yourself, would you step over a stranger’s white picket fence? Of course not. This is because you are following society’s rules. The abnormal user follows no rules. His presence inside the fence causes neighbors to identify him as a person who should not be there. The neighbors then say, “Hey, what are you doing?!” Even with no neighbors present, the abnormal user knows that to enter the yard protected by the white picket fence will be to paint himself with a giant sign that says, “I am a bad guy”.

Other more tangible defenses include aggressive landscaping, such as rose bushes planted under windows, phone lines installed in metal conduit, utilities that cannot be easily shut off by a criminal outside, providing locking storage for ladders and tools that aid a criminal in gaining access, ensuring security lighting doesn’t blind homeowners thereby providing cover for criminals, etc.

Eliminating ambush points and hiding places represents a very important element for the outside considerations. Landscaping choices that allow a clear view throughout the areas around the home from 2 feet above the ground to 6 feet above the ground are critical. The “2 foot -6 foot rule” removes potential hiding places for criminals. One cannot hide well behind a bush less than 2 feet high. If trees are pruned so that there are no branches lower than 6 feet high, criminals have no place to hide. Other ambush point concerns can include hiding places designed into the façade near the front door.