At Home in the Real World EXCERPTS

Secure Your Property: Think Like a Predator

By on March 9, 2018

Below, is an excerpt from my book, At Home In the Real World, pages 51-53. It kicks off the Prevention section where you learn how to assess your property to keep bad guys out of your house. Assessment begins in Zone 1, the perimeter of your residence (be it a home or apartment). If you learn to think like a predator, you can deter them before they get close to your doors and windows. Why are your perimeters so important? Because, YOU WANT PREVENTION MORE THAN YOU WANT HOME  DEFENSE



Identify illegal activity that actually exists in or near your neighborhood. Talk to neighbors who read the paper, watch your street like a hawk, or listen to police scanners. Look online to see if local police publish an annual police report. (The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police publishes one that’s detailed and informative). Talk to the sergeant at your local police station, ask about recent crime trends and break ins. Inquire about your street and those adjacent to you. Ask where the hotspots are. (Don’t be intimidated, they work for you).


Zone 1, the outside of your residence.


Security in Zone 1, the perimeters of your property, focuses on Eliminate Surprise. You want to  be forewarned of an approaching person or persons. Watchmen of yore have been replaced with small devices sensitive to movement, body heat, or metals, that when triggered, can turn on lights, make noise, take photographs, or start videotapes. Zone 1 is where you install these things.

The outer edge of Zone 1 may be your property boundary; it may be the hallway outside your apartment. Whether you live on 1/8 of an acre, or 80 acres, Zone 1 extends a reasonable distance from your house, not necessarily to the full perimeter. Assess where and how someone can gain access to your property and work back from that. If you’re alerted to an uninvited presence, have a plan to respond accordingly.


Know what bad guys look for! If they find your home a possible target, they’ll get close enough to look in your windows and doors. They’ll assess valuables and people inside, (to prey upon or contend with), and tfigure out which is greater: the risks or the rewards. If there’s promise (a laptop, plasma TV), they’ll want easy access in and out.

Here’s the fun part: Let’s size up your house, see who’s inside, see if there’s stuff worth stealing, and determine if the effort’s worth it. ($20 at a pawn shop is enough incentive for many). So, get up, put your shoes on, and let’s consider these points:

From inside: Look out each window and door, especially those on the first floor. Locate places outside where a person can see in.

From outside: See the views into your house from the yard or sidewalk. What rooms can you look into? Kitchen? Living room? Which parts of those rooms are visible? C’mon now…get up and look!

  • What stealable stuff or vulnerable person(s) do you see? Do this in daytime and at night. (Predators do).
  • Where would you have the most time and least detection to break into your home. The back porch by the overgrown hedge? The basement door?
  • Now, step back to the edges of your property or apartment.
  • How would you approach your dwelling? Through a neighbor’s yard? The woods? The fire escape?
  • Where would you hide until all or most family member have left? Behind a bush?

Use this process to locate where outside detection devices makes sense, before unwelcome eyes get close enough to peer into your doors and windows.



Install a motion sensor outside your home to know when someone’s on your property. This model (on top) is from A bird house makes it inconspicuous. Many more ideas are in my can-do manual, At Home In the Real World, 25% off now ’til the end of April. See below for link & coupon code!

Do your best to deprive the bad guy of “power and hope.” This is your castle, you’re the keep—the heart and soul of it. Don’t let them close in without detection. Change the minds of pillagers and predators while they’re outside. Prevention is crucial.

If the idea of being alerted to a trespasser outside your home or apartment hallway gives you the creeps; if you’re reading this because you live alone and/or live in a declining neighborhood, then keeping trespassers and criminals out of your dwelling is imperative.

Think strategically about Zones 1 & 2, and work toward an integrated security measures. Adopt a mindset that’s proactive and aware.

The pages that follow are rerelevant info for all ages! By the end, you and your kids will have a better idea how to implement strategies to prevent home break ins. Many products listed in the Zone 1 catalog are inexpensive and easy to install.


A determined intruder with enough time and proper tools can get in to any home.


Vastly improve your odds

Eliminate Surprise • Deny Access • Have a Plan!

Spring into Action! Buy this book today for  25% off. Coupon code at checkout: Spring

Suzy Meyer, Author
Pittsburgh, PA

I'm a landscape architect, gardener, and of late, a certified NRA instructor. I enjoy practicing T’ai Chi, playing bocce, and walking through watersheds.. This blog is my journey full of learning curves to calm the chaos.


Receive a FREE PDF of the 5 Myths!

* indicates required