Make your home unappealing

Q: “How should I prepare for a home intruder?”

A: “Discourage criminals from entering your home in the first place.”

If you’re looking for ways to make your home more secure, you need to think from the outside in.  What does your home look like from the street?  What does your home look like compared to your neighbor’s?  You’ve likely heard the old adage, “I don’t have to outrun the bear – I just have to outrun you.”  When it comes to home security there’s a lot of truth to that statement.

Curb appeal is great if you’re trying to sell your house, but if there’s nothing at all “prickly” about your home’s appearance, it could look like a soft target to a criminal.  I’m not suggesting you stop cutting your grass and trimming your hedges.  Your home can appear neat and orderly, and at the same time be a deterrent to opportunistic bad guys.  

Your yard doesn’t need to look like a LaGuardia runway at midnight, but having adequate outdoor lighting is important.  Bad guys don’t like to be seen doing bad guy stuff.  Security systems are great, but if you’re on a tight budget, yard signs and window stickers that say, “This home is secured by________” can be highly effective.  “We don’t call 911,” or “2nd Amendment Security” signs should be avoided.  If I’m a thief looking to steal guns, now I know exactly which house to burgle.  Cameras are great for evidence collection after a crime has been committed but are not very effective as deterrents.  That is unless you find some cameras with built-in, motion detecting mini guns.  In which case, please forward me a link.

Anything a bad guy might have to climb over could be a deterrent.  Fences or similar physical barriers are not impenetrable, but they can dissuade potential home invaders.  Especially if they’d have to scale it when vacating your crib.  It’s tough to climb a fence while carrying a flat screen TV.  Also, criminals are often terrified of dogs.  Ron Swanson tells us, “Any dog under fifty pounds is a cat and cats are pointless,” but like a security system, you can get much of the benefit of having a mean dog by simply posting a “Beware of Dog” sign in a conspicuous place. 

Okay, okay.  I know why you’re here.  Let’s talk about the gun stuff.  I’ll offer a few points, and hopefully these suggestions will be a catalyst for you to further your own research.  

Pistol, rifle, or shotgun?  It doesn’t matter as long as the gun is reliable, capable of effectively incapacitating a human threat, and suitable for your specific living arrangement.  For example, if you live in an apartment complex, a high-powered rifle loaded with FMJ ammunition isn’t the wisest choice.

If you have children running around, you need to secure your firearm in such a manner that it’s inaccessible to the kiddos but still lends itself to a speedy retrieval should the need arise.  I’m a major proponent of toting your every-day carry gun on your person when you’re at home.  Take it off at bedtime, and then stow it appropriately.

A rule that I live by is any firearm that might be used for home defense MUST have a white light attached to it.  Failure to properly identify a target has caused many parents to mistake their own children for intruders, which usually ends in tragedy.

Be aware of the longest shot you might have to make inside your home and OWN that distance.  That could be down a hallway and across a room, across two large rooms if your house sports the ever popular “open floor plan,” or, if you live in a two-story home, the distance from the bottom of the stairs to the landing or balcony. 

Your home defense weapon needs to be readily accessible and loaded with a round in the chamber.  Otherwise, you might spend the rest of your life chambering a round.  Read that again.  

Training is an investment.  It’s an investment in your safety and the safety of those dependent upon you for protection.  When your front door is smashed open at 2 a.m., you won’t have time to learn new skills.  Find a reputable, qualified instructor or company that can teach you how to properly defend yourself with a firearm.  You will be present at your home invasion long before the cops.  So, imagine you were looking to hire someone to defend your home from a violent criminal.  Would you accept your own resume?

Thanks for reading.  And remember…

Avoid what you can.  Defeat what you can’t.


Please submit your questions to Ryan via email at

 (Ryan Barnette is not a licensed attorney and no information provided in “Slicing the Pie” or any other publication authored by Ryan Barnette should be construed, in any way, as official, legal advice.)