Author Topic: Defensible Homes and Landscapes: Design for Security  (Read 15934 times)

Offline longhaul

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Defensible Homes and Landscapes: Design for Security
« on: January 21, 2010, 08:11:56 AM »
Not sure where this should go, but after searching for awhile this seems OK.
(BTW if Jack still hasn't done a show on "hardening your BIL" per someone's suggestions, that would be awesome.  Good thread on that in the "Show" area - good info. on "Millerized's" hardened BIL.
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I’m a building designer and landscape architect and have a high interest in how spatial design can create or reduce one’s security – especially from an awareness perspective not necessarily via blockades (knowing someone is coming onto your property rather than putting up a huge fence – not that I am opposed to the huge fence but the awareness is a starting point).  I’ve ID’d a handful of ideal strategies toward this end – but there are surely more… Let’s see what we can come up with here.  Most of these are hard to achieve all the time, especially in a site/house as is, not built from scratch.

Site
•   Strong position: Site and areas we use the most on site are higher in elevation than areas people who would do harm to us or the site, are most likely to come from.  Land above us is ‘hardened.’
•   Can see and hear activity at the site boundaries from high-use areas:  Especially those where people are most likely to enter, like your driveway.  Example of a bad situation: Your kitchen or workshop has a wall between you and the driveway entrance, due to noise in those spaces someone could enter in a diesel truck and you wouldn’t know until they knocked on or bashed in your front door.  What technologies are out there to achieve this?  MURS seems to offer some but not all that’s needed.

Building Area (Zone 1) (especially relevant to more urban locations)
•   Front door: You can see someone at the front door from a higher location in the building (like an upstairs window.  They can’t see you.
•   Cooking/working: These areas tend to be loud and make it hard to be aware of other goings on in the property and even house when we’re in them.  Tough one.  Someone could easily invade my home when I am cooking and listening to music or have my ear muffs on in the shop running boards across the table saw.
•   Sleeping: Your sleeping area is very protected and offers you many ways to hear/sense activity on the property before there is activity in the home.  (Dogs!. Alarms/sensors?).  Strongest sleeping positions are in general defensible:
o   Easy to see much from: scan the property, etc.  A bed just below window level so one can quickly look out in many directions seems optimal.  But sleeping right at window level so one outside could you sleeping would not be.
o   Hard to see toward and ID from people in the landscape:  Hard for someone to tell where you are sleeping
o   Hardened: possibly has bulletproof walls (if in a very bad area or one that could turn so)
o   Supplied with basics to be able to spend time in: communications, lighting, weapons, maybe food, certainly water.  Not a bomb shelter but a strong position.
o   Connected (not physically necessarily) with other sleeping areas of those in family (kids especially): can hear activity in other rooms, can have a sense of any issues happening in other rooms, in the rest of the house and on the property as a whole. 

GENERAL STRATEGIES:  Seem to be:
•   Leverage a good position on the site and in the home
•   High ability to see and hear as much as possible over the property
•   Multiple people to help in this
•   Dogs, dogs, dogs (always on call), trained is especially key
•   Technology: sensors with alarms
•   Other?

Offline Gray Ghost

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Re: Defensible Homes and Landscapes: Design for Security
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2010, 02:29:59 PM »
Couple of books on the subject.

The Secure Home (Paperback)
~ Joel Skousen (Author), Joel, M. Skousen (Author)


Strategic Relocation (Paperback)
~ Joel Skousen (Author), Joel Skousen (Author)


I have not read them yet (so many books so little time), but they have good reviews. The first one came recommended to me by an Architect I used to work under at a major energy company that did his Arch PHD on the subject. Wish I still had his contact info. Two years before the World Trade center we had a long discussion that ended with him telling me the only thing he worried about every day was someone using a plane. It was the only thing he could not plan for realistically.

Good post by the way!
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Offline longhaul

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Re: Defensible Homes and Landscapes: Design for Security
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2010, 03:06:50 PM »
Thanks, great links...
The books seem expensive... not that the author's getting rich, but I'll admit it - in this internet time, I feel that my 60/month connection is kind of my research budget...
I wonder if a lot of what's in there is online...

Offline Gray Ghost

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Re: Defensible Homes and Landscapes: Design for Security
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2010, 05:09:31 PM »
Yeah, they are pricey;  had the same thought at first. Then I realized what a niche market he was writing for and the price kind of made sense.

I am actually curious how technical the book gets; if it is written to Architects or to everybody.
"If guns kill people, do pencils misspell words?"
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Offline marauder

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Re: Defensible Homes and Landscapes: Design for Security
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2010, 05:15:18 PM »
I've thumbed through "The Secure Home."  Depending on your own personal skill level, I would say it is "fairly" technical.  If an episode of "This Old House"  makes your head spin, it's VERY technical.  If you are a weekend warrior who can read a set of plans, wire a 3 way switch and know what a header is, it's "fairly" technical.  If that makes any sense to anyone  ;D

Offline rkramseb

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Re: Defensible Homes and Landscapes: Design for Security
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2010, 10:34:57 AM »
I have and used both the books..yeap they are a tad techy for me but I'm not a builder...just constult in harden AO's

They re great addition to the ole library.

regards rk

Offline occeltic

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Re: Defensible Homes and Landscapes: Design for Security
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2010, 02:48:18 PM »
The idea of having a secure and defensible home, should the need arise, is a good idea even if the need for one never arises. After learning about the building technique known as "Super Adobe," and visiting the location where these structures are available to walk through ( www.calearth.org ), I would have to say that these structures are well suited for and adaptable to the topic in this thread. It is hard to send a bullet through a cement type wall, and the size and shape of the window and other openings can be designed to your liking. With the indoor height, a loft could be installed allowing you to have a lookout windows in each direction. This type of home also blends in well with the surround environment, is not subject to damage from fire, earthquake, or even flood. As you can tell, I am really sold on this. Average cost to build is $10 per square foot.

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Offline texican

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Re: Defensible Homes and Landscapes: Design for Security
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2010, 11:33:06 PM »
Agree with OP on everything...

I also think (at least for rural owners) camouflage is paramount.  Disguise the area you live in to look like no one lives there.  If bad guys can't see your home, or even have a reason to suspect someone lives in the area, likely they're going to move along to the 'obvious' homes.  I've given explicit directions to my home to strangers, and they'd end up calling me... I'd go out and 'lead' them in... they'd drive right by my turnoff, not thinking anyone would live down 'that road'.

We have dogs.  Big ones and little ones.  From the soundest room in the house, the big guard dogs next door alert my outside big guard dogs which alert my inside little dogs, and sneaking up is impossible.

In the new house, I'm building an underground bedroom... sometimes I need it to be really really quiet... hopefully about four feet of stone and dirt will do the trick.

Besides camouflage, I like subterfuge... make the place seem uninviting... I have a treasure area (GF calls it a mini junkyard)... most of it has future value (storehouse for iron projects).... I refuse to 'organize' it... I know where everything is... a normal person would be put off by the chaos.

If I were an urbanite, I'd keep tarpaper and paint on hand... if the shtf and things got ugly, I'd 'uglify' my place up, stapling tarpaper on the outside walls, making it looked like someone had already raided the place... going so far as to break the outside windows facing the street... painting around the windows a dark gray to black smoky look... like the house has been razed by fire.


Offline occeltic

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Re: Defensible Homes and Landscapes: Design for Security
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2010, 07:19:23 AM »
Your ideas for de-beautifying your home to make it look like it has already been hit is very creative. And I like your alarm system (big dogs next door alerting your big dogs/small dogs.) We have a rural property that has a few old timing travel trailers/mini mobile homes set up on it by the previous owner. They are set back into the middle of the property and can only be seen from one high spot at the back corner. We've only been broken into once since we purchased it, but that was because the guys who came out to do a perk test left the front gate wide open. All we lost was a deep cycle battery, but the place had really been ransacked.
Thankfully, our place out there is already "uglified," but a little more ugly wouldn't hurt. A fortress under disguise; I like it!

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Offline Imperial Goat

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Re: Defensible Homes and Landscapes: Design for Security
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2010, 09:21:57 AM »
I am a certified Crime Prevention Specialist, and a CPTED believer/practitioner.  What is CPTED? Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.  A google search will give you tons of information, or feel free to shoot me a PM if you want some specifics.

Essentially, CPTED principles such as teritoriality, natural surveillance, natural access control, maintenance and activity support come together to make a location attractive to legitimate users and unattractive to criminal users.  It has large benefit when used in commercial, retail, or mass residential settings, but can be addapted and used in conjunction with other, more traditional methods, of target hardening.  In Patriots, Jim Rawles mentions a character getting the idea for the cross cut outs in the shutters from Outlaw Josey Wales.  I had been using that scene from the movie in my CPTED presentations for several years before I read Patriots.

A nice thing about CPTED in the rural residential/retreat environment, is that it can be done as you go and modified as you see fit.  Most efforts can be very cost effective.

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Offline longhaul

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Re: Defensible Homes and Landscapes: Design for Security
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2010, 01:17:34 AM »
Fantastic - never knew such a field existed: CPTED.  That is great. 
And uglifying the home - that is brilliant. Tar paper is now on my list.  I'll be stapling over my beautiful siding when the need arises. 

Offline ridgerunnersurvival

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Re: Defensible Homes and Landscapes: Design for Security
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2010, 01:48:43 AM »
WOW This topic should be the name of a magazine!  To heck with Better Homes and Gardens, I want my monthly copy of Defensible Homes and Landscapes!

Offline Storm

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Defensible Homes and Landscapes (Revisited)
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2010, 12:44:49 AM »
Stumbled upon an old thread, and instead of necroposting it and risking a 'Mad Mod', I thought I'd just throw it up here.

Old topic: http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=12795.0



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Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Defensible Homes and Landscapes: Design for Security
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2010, 10:45:52 AM »
bump
F_M
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Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Defensible Homes and Landscapes (Revisited)
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2010, 10:46:23 AM »
No problem bumping an old thread.

I bumped that thread and will add this to the end.
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Offline SteveandTracyinKY

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Re: Defensible Homes and Landscapes: Design for Security
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2010, 11:27:28 AM »
One option I can think of is having open area around the home. My father's home sits on top of a hill with a very large yard. Any vandals coming to damage the home or "contents" would have to advance over 150 open yards of grass that is well lit. The front of the house is elevated allowing for clear viewing of the entire area, and very nice glassing while laying prone of the front porch..lol.

Also you can turn a simply motion activated light into an alarm with the installation of a small audible alarm that can be wired to sound when the light turns on, and will turn off when the light goes off (motion stops). One of these alarms wired outside with the light is enough to strike terror in someone creeping due to the fact that they do not know what the alarm is, or where else it is alarming, or worse, who it is alarming.

The entrance to all out the outbuildings on a property should be facing the main house. That way you can easily observe whether the structure is still secure without leaving the main house. Also make defending it easier due to opening up shooting lanes. I would also only place one entrance to an outbuilding to lower the security risk. Outbuildings should also be spaced to that a fire in that building would not endanger the main house, or other buildings.

In you depend on streetlights to light you area, remember that a simple pellet gun can be used to take out that light source silently from a distance, and from cover. Wondering if a plexiglass box could be used to replace the standard plastic globe on a streetlight?

Just some ideas.
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Offline Storm

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Re: Defensible Homes and Landscapes: Design for Security
« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2010, 12:30:51 PM »
Thanks Fritz. Tooke me a few minutes to decide what to do, and I just wanted to be safer.  ;)

I'm not sure how I even found this particular thread, but when I saw that, I was like 'Oh man, I've got 5 minutes.' Ha! TSP exclusive.
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Offline fndrbndr

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Re: Defensible Homes and Landscapes: Design for Security
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2012, 02:03:46 PM »
I know this thread is old...just wondering if anyone knows of some good resources for designing a secure, defensible home.

We're starting the planning stage of building a retreat property/country home and I could really use some pointers for designing it right.

Thx!

Offline Insidious

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Re: Defensible Homes and Landscapes: Design for Security
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2012, 03:05:30 PM »
I found this article by Jeff Cooper interesting (I'm posting an alternate linke because awrm.org requires a login):

Tactical Residential Architecture by Jeff Cooper
http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/archive.cgi?noframes;read=124897
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