This guide is based on advice from manufacturers, architects, insurers and security services on how to mitigate risk with physical security. Only you can decide what your risks are and how acceptable they are. Techniques are mostly those from the world of commercial security – the kind you would expect of a jewellers shop – but include those derived from nuclear, military and embassy standards against terrorism and for high risk personnel. Standards are UK, unless there is a lacuna in free publicly available standards, in which case US equivalents are drawn on. It addresses risks from hungry unarmed mobs kicking your door in, through police jacking your door open to confiscate your stash and gangsters putting an RPG through your kitchen window, to Ivan nuking your nearest city. Whether you want the £20 door brace, the £200 dog, the £2,000 DIY electronic security deal, the £20,000 security makeover, the £200,000 bunker or the £2,000,000 Bond villain lair is up to you – specifications or at least references for pretty much every imaginable option is here.
Each post is a section of chapter from the handbook, and typically takes an hour to read, watch (if you wade through the videos) and think about as you survey your home afterwards and decide what to do. The handbook does not cover bikes, crime reporting, drug detection, RFID or property registration as that is irrelevant post-SHTF.
The British insurance security standard for barriers, such as doors, windows and fences, is from the Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB), LPS1175, which traditionally had ratings from SR1 to SR8 with increasing tool groups from A (eg 12” crowbar) to H (eg rescue chainsaw) and delay times from 1 to 20 minutes. But now it certifies tool groups and delay times separately so manufacturers can, for example, market products designed for different response times. So what used to be SR1 is now A1 – resisting tool group A for 1 minute. High domestic security would be found at around what was SR3, now C5.
SBD means Secure By Design, the police standard for basic security. The (LPCB) information below was correct as at 24/07/20.
To find a security consultant look for ICE RSES or WCSP CSyP registration.
UK research shows the biggest preventers of amateur burglary are locks, outside lighting and inside random lighting, to force burglar to carry tools, be seen and risk you being home. Other measures can either increase risk or do nothing or little. For example, alarms simply change who burgles you so that only professionals try their luck. Your first port of call should be to buy light timers such as the SBD rated MyDome for £29.
It will probably cost in the five or six figures to upgrade your security for a house, probably more than your contents are insured for; but the point is you cannot put a price on your life, so simply must not be attacked or have your only home invaded or have your only food stolen. Given budget constraints, you might have to DIY your reinforcements once you read what is needed; if you are a high net worth individual then you will find out everything you can buy. The guide also introduces you to more expensive tech for large high value target estates that need and can cope with surveillance and perimeters to critical national infrastructure / border level, and how to find extreme rated barrier materials for bunker-style homes or refuges.
One final word on cost though: before spending a fortune turning your home into a castle, consider if you would be safer spending some of it on a refuge and/or bunker that can protect against wider risks, and/or a bug out location with a redundancy stash, and/or wider and deeper preps for non-intrusion risks, and/or training.
The bad (or maybe good) news is in the UK we cannot all lie in wait with a gun as our prepping strategy. The definitely good news is our homes are made of brick not wood, so if we beef up our doors, window, and maybe roof, we can actually delay a professional burglar and stop a random looter. There is, however, nothing you can do to a normal home to stop explosives, diamond core drills or locksmiths (if you want a final exit door). That requires a permanently occupied bunker, which a home can be if you can afford it, have the staff and space, and do not mind what it looks like.
What is involved
As a rule of thumb, the upgrade means where you have glass add plastic, where you have wood change it to steel, where you have plasterboard add steel or plywood.
As well as physical security of the building fabric, do not forget to secure your mail, visitors and internet, as these are ways attackers can slip in without looking like a burglar.
You do not have to install all security at once if you have other priorities, as there is no point securing supplies you cannot afford because you blew all your cash on security. You could protect against the most likely threats first and worry about less likely scenarios later. You could build all aspects of security in layers, one layer at a time. You could gradually install security using modular kit bit by bit. For example, you could get an old home up to housebuilder/police standard with locks and ground floor laminated glass and knock up sheets of plywood riot boarding ready to fit at a moment’s notice, then add shutters or grille when funds allow, and when windows and doors need replacing fit security versions. Cameras, lights and alarms systems can come later; in the meantime you can buy standalone kit for such surveillance, such as infra red camera alarms and perimeter triggers, which will still be useful when you buy separate systems one day for the building.
The advice differs from what you hear from many American preppers, whose audience want easy cheap comforting solutions for the totally insecure sheds they live in (such as changing keep screws in door jambs to 3”) and who believe they can carry on hitting targets after being shot as long as they wear a flak jacket. Some are in the product commission business so need the biggest audience and thus tell it what it wants to hear, whether it is ‘civil war is coming’ or ‘buy more guns’.