Perimeter Security

Why do you need a physical security plan for your home and property?

Why do you need a physical security plan for your home and property?

Photo was in Ghazni Afghanistan 2012 – My Last Mission

With home invasions, rapes, murders, natural disasters, burglaries, thefts, and vandalism becoming more prevalent around the country, now is the time to upgrade your home’s physical security plan. An FBI crime report states that over 2.5 million US households will have some form of home invasion this year – that’s 1 every 15 seconds.

Considering all physical security situations are not the same, our aim with this article is to give you the best available Government and Commercial information possible so you can develop your own physical security plan.

What is a physical security plan for your home and property?

Physical security for your home and property is the concentric layered security measures you have in place to deter, delay, detect, and respond to threats from outside of your layered security perimeter. (Prevent unauthorized access to you, your family, and your home)

How do you determine what you need for your home’s physical security plan?

Before trying to implement a physical security plan for your home, you need to do a threat and risk assessment, as well as, a security survey of your home and property. The Physical Security Checklist from Riskwatch International is a great tool to use in determining what your risk tolerance is compared to the potential threats and consequences.

What are the layers of a good physical security plan?

According to Riskwatch International there are three basic layers of a good physical security plan: outer layer(s), middle layer(s), and inner layer(s).

Physical controls at the outer protective layer or perimeter may consist of fencing or other barriers, protective lighting, signs, and intrusion detection systems.

The middle layer, at the exterior of buildings on the site, may consist of protective lighting, intrusion detection systems, locks, bars on doors and windows, signs, and barriers such as fencing and the façade of the building itself. Protection of skylights and ventilation ducts can discourage penetration from the roof.

Usually, several inner layers are established. Their placement is designed to address an intruder who penetrates the outer and middle protective layers. The following physical controls are normal at this layer: window and door bars, locks, barriers, signs, intrusion detection systems, and protective lighting. The value of an asset being protected affects the amount of protection required. A high value asset housed in an inner area might require signs defining access requirements for the area, especially reinforced walls, a structurally reinforced door with a biometric lock, intrusion detection systems, video surveillance to monitor access, and safes and vaults to house the asset itself. Riskwatch International

How do you make your home and property more secure?

Most of us don’t have the money to put HESCO Barriers and guard towers around our home and then man it with a security force 24/7 but most of us can improve our security perimeter layers with a little bit of time and money. How much time and money really depends on what you want to do.

According to Compassionate Certification Centers some of your building areas that need special attention are; basement, walls, doors, gates leading to the basement, ventilation openings, skylights, and any opening 96 square inches or larger that is within 18 feet of the ground.

The layers of physical security use the following site hardening controls: physical barriers, lockable gates, outside lighting, video surveillance, intrusion detection system (IDS), lockable doors and windows, and bars and grills.

If the intruder makes it past all of these, you need to respond with the force necessary to eliminate the threat. Top Ten Self Defense Gun Articles

What do you need to install for your home’s physical security upgrades?

Perimeter Barriers

Barriers offer important benefits to a perimeter physical security. They create a psychological deterrent for anyone thinking of unauthorized entry. They may delay or even prevent passage through them.

According to The Department of the Army FM 3-19.30 protective barriers are used to define the physical limits of an area. Barriers restrict, channel, or impede access and are fully integrated to form a continuous obstacle around the installation. They are designed to deter the worst-case threat. The barriers should be focused on providing assets with an acceptable level of protection against a threat. Protective barriers form the perimeter of controlled, limited, and exclusion areas.

Protective barriers consist of two major categories—natural and structural.

Natural protective barriers are mountains and deserts, cliffs and ditches, thorny bushes and hedgerows, water obstacles, or other terrain features that are difficult to traverse.

Structural protective barriers are man-made devices (such as fences, walls, floors, roofs, grills, bars, roadblocks, signs, or other construction) used to restrict, channel, or impede access.

Fences are effective at delineating a boundary and at keeping honest people honest, but they are ineffective for preventing a forced entry. The design strategy for forced entry is based on delaying the aggressor, and any serious aggressor could climb a fence in less than 4 seconds or can cut through a fence in less than 10 seconds.

Lockable Gates

According to Missoula Technology and Development Center, gates in chain-link fences are often “secured” by a hardware store chain and a padlock. Bolt cutters or a hammer and cold chisel will cut the chain faster than someone with a key can unlock the padlock. Instead using a chain and padlock use lockable gates with the appropriate hardware.

If for some reason, it is necessary to hold a chain-link fence gate closed with a chain rather than with the appropriate hardware, use a long length of chain and “maypole” it from top to bottom around both the movable post on the gate and the stationary post next to it. Secure the chain at the top and at the bottom with peened bolts that cannot be reached from outside the gate. This method requires an attacker to cut the chain and unwind it from around both posts. The amount of time required to do so can be increased by increasing the number of bolts between the top and bottom. More bolts means more chain links must be cut before the chain can be removed completely.

Outside Lighting

According to Global Security, security lighting allows security personnel to maintain visual-assessment capability during darkness. When security-lighting provisions are impractical other security means may be necessary.

Security lighting should not be used as a psychological deterrent only. It should also be used along perimeter fences when the situation dictates that the fence be under continuous or periodic observation. Lighting is relatively inexpensive to maintain and, when properly used, may enhance personal protection by reducing the advantages of concealment and surprise for a determined intruder.

You will need to determine perimeter lighting needs based on the threat, site conditions along the perimeter, and surveillance capabilities. You will need to ensure that security lighting is designed and used to discourage unauthorized entry and to facilitate the detection of intruders approaching or attempting to gain entry into your protected areas.

CCTV/Video Surveillance

According to the Homeland Security CCTV Technology Handbook, a CCTV system serves mainly as a security force multiplier, providing surveillance for a larger area, more of the time, than would be feasible with security personnel alone. CCTV systems are often used to support comprehensive security systems by incorporating video coverage and security alarms for barriers, intrusion detection, and access control. For example, a CCTV system can provide the means to assess an alarm generated by an intrusion detection system and record the event.

A thorough risk and needs assessment should be conducted to identify locations or assets that will benefit from CCTV surveillance as part of an overall security approach.

Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS)

According to Mobile Video Guard there are three principal functions of an IDS: Deter, detect, and delay. Each one of these is beneficial on its own, but combined they deliver much stronger asset protection.

Deterrence – IDS are meant to help prevent intrusions. Signs posted warning approaching persons that the site is protected by a detection system may keep would-be intruders from an attempt. This is the first-order function of an IDS.

Detection – The secondary role of an IDS is to detect intruders. Most are designed to detect intrusions before or as they are happening and to sound an alarm.

Delay – Third, IDS helps security personnel to respond appropriately to intrusions by pinpointing where the breach has occurred. Some systems may also be able to report where the intruder has moved to within the site.

Keep in mind that which one you choose should be based on your home’s unique risks and the systems already in place. Also be wary of totally trusting your IDS to protect your [home] – you may need to overlap or integrate strategies with other measures.

Lockable Doors and Windows

JM Security Canada suggests that you install deadbolt locks and exterior strike plates for added protection, making a break-in more difficult. Deadbolt locks have a minimum 1-inch bolt in the door jam and exterior strike plates should be secured with 3-inch-long screws.

If a burglar sees window locks or security bars, they know the home is protected and that it will be harder for them to break in. Adding bars or grills on basement windows and securing your windows with an extra security film ensures burglars stay out even if they are able to open the window.


Not all security situations are the same and our aim was to calculate for the maximum that you may need while giving you enough information to take these ideas and adapt them to your specific situation.

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