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1/31/12

Reader Question: Securing Gear

I'm glad to answer your survival/prep related questions, or at least give it a shot. This question came in from a reader over the weekend:

"My predicament: I just moved homes, and I am looking for a way to store my large collection of knives and some firearms. They used to be on stand alone shelves, but in a locked den like room. My new place has no similar room for me to use, so I have to store them in a long garage. I have asked around, and it seems like getting a couple of rifle lockers would be my best bet. 
The garage is essentially my mini bunker at this point: my BOBs, food stash, weapons, etc., but it also houses the spare car. I do not feel it is very secure. Do you have any pointers for added security?


As you see in the picture, there are 2 ways an intruder would be able to come into the house from the outside. While gun lockers would work for what I need for the weapons, the other bulk items would be free for the taking should the entry points be compromised.

Do you have any recommendations for how to secure my shelved items? Perhaps gates/ warehouse type fencing, or large locker types?"
Thoughts
My thought is to forget about securing the individual bits of gear and secure your entrances first. That will get you the most bang-for-your buck - and if bad guys have busted into your home and are looting 'n plundering, you've probably already lost.
You've got three points of entry - back door, door from the house and the garage door. I won't go into reinforcing the door to/from the house, as the bad guys would have to go through your home & you to get into the secured garage.

Securing Doors
Here are some of my thoughts on securing normal doors. There's a bunch of products out there for not a ton of money. And there's lots of stuff that you can improvise or DIY - a sturdy crossbar or a brace isn't too hard to fabricate. The back door would need to be able to stand up to some concentrated effort. I'd also look at setting up an alarm for any breaking & entering attempts - unmonitored alarm systems can be had for pretty cheaply - here's one from G.E. for under $25.

Garage doors are one of THE most common points of entry for burglars and robbers. People leave their doors open casually. Older generation garage door openers can be hacked or opened with a "code snatcher" device. The emergency door release can also be tripped fairly easily with a coat hanger. ITS Tactical has a good post on securing a garage door. If you don't need to open the door frequently, a c-clamp fastened to either track will keep it from opening. You can also put alarms on garage doors, if that's of interest.

Camouflage
Aside from securing the entrances, I would actually look at camouflage over fortifying your gear, if it's possible. Only the most desperate thief is going to spend time searching through boxes marked "textbooks" and "baby clothes" wedged in the back of the garage. Throw in a couple real boxes-o-junk for good measure. If they've ransacked everything and have turned to searching through random bins buried in the garage, things are really bad. 


If you want something lockable, check out surplus file cabinets from office places. They're usually pretty sturdy construction--about as good as the cheap stack-on cabinets--and they look like they're full of old files, tax records, etc. A couple labels and some added trapping--papers hanging out the top--and you're good. A job box for tools is another option, but a little more interesting to thieves.

Comments
Those are my thoughts - I'm sure you guys have got some more ideas/suggestions. Let us know!

19 comments :

  1. I can tell you from 19years law enforcement experience that for the doors at least, to have them secure as they can get, you have to have METAL door frames and solid wood or metal doors. What breaks in a burglary is not the door itself, but the door frame...metal frames negate this problem and a solid wood or metal door makes it virtually burglar proof.....unless they just bust through the wall. Also...I don't think I have ever worked a burglary where there was a large dog roaming freely about the property or inside the house...even if they just thought there was one....criminals are cowards and will move on to a softer Target, easy prey. Hope this helps.

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  2. One other idea to lessen the likelihood of being chosen as a target. Thieves are lazy. I watched the show "To Catch a Thief" and those guys automatically skipped the houses with security company signs in the front yard when casing neighborhoods for a target. Just get a sign - $10 could make a thief go somewhere else.

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  3. Looks kinda like my garage, 'cept I have a window where he(?) has the door to the back yard. I framed in the back of my garage, which upped the amount of storage space and keeps everything nicely out of sight.

    If the house has another way to the backyard, he could frame in the door to the back yard and use that door and door frame for the door to the storage area.

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  4. One big weakness of the garage is that all the neighbors can see your stuff 2-3 times a day. Even if they are trustworthy folks talk and a friend of a neighbors scumbag cousin types do a high percentage of break ins and home invasions.

    I agree with securing entrances, etc. Also I would look at some exterior stuff like motion lights, etc. If your home is a tougher target than the neighbors and nobody knows you have valuables crooks will likely go elsewhere.

    When it comes to securing weapons from thieves there are two good ways to go. You can make them hard to get to (safes, etc) or hard to find (caches, attick, plastered in a wall, etc).

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  5. I saw a pretty nifty storage unit totally diy. It was a double stud cavity wall, with peg board rolling board which held the firearms between them. You pulled it out via the door jamb - pretty simple.

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  6. Whatever you do get them out of the garage and back into the house. Any humidity will begin to damage the guns and you don't want to let the rust do its work. I recommend the small rifle lockers you can attach them to a wall in the closet and they can be out of the way.

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  7. Just make sure if you go with the locker/safe, that it is boltrd to a stud AND to the floor, that eay there is no leverage. One of the networs did a reality show about how unsecure a home really is, even when you think it is...a SWAT cop has his tactical rifles in a rifle safe in his walk in closet, bolted into the wall, but not the floor, when the perps found it, they knew what it was and simply tore it loose from the wall and caried it out, safe and all...work on gettin into it later, worth the effort for them. If it had been bolted tovthe floor , they probably wouldnt have had the leverage to tear it loose from the wall. But like the other contributers said...prevention is the key, best if they move on to someon else, lookvat your home as a hardened target, not worth the trouble.

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  8. Ironically, some acquaintances of ours had their garage broken into last night. Husband parked in the driveway, guys broke into his car and used the garage door opener to get the garage opened. Robbers then broke into the wife's car and stole her purse, which had been left on the front seat. Bad guys took a bike and a couple other things and then bugged out. The family was asleep in the house during all of this - luckily, the bad guys only wanted a quick smash-n-grab and nothing more.

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    Replies
    1. That's seriously lame.

      Last year's crime stats for my town just came out and it's about what I figured, all the big scary stuff is really low around here and was lower than usual last year, but things like petty theft from cars and carports was up a bit for the second year in a row. Time for me to start getting my carport more secure if I don't want the stuff in it to go missing.

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    2. Heck, two weeks ago, one of my coworkers went to a club and when he came out, they stole his pickup tailgate. You might be surprised to find out how easily they are removed and how COSTLY they are to replace!

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  9. Sucks...condolences, bad leason on not leaving things visible in vehicles. I get onto my wife and daughter all the time for wanting to leave the purse, cellphone, whatever in the car if we just getting out for a minute or at home. The less imcentive they have, generally they'll move on. Thank God they are safe though, worlds gettin crazy and we see it more and more, random acts of senseless violence.

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  10. No security system in the world better than a good alert dog! Gets annoying sometimes but worth the aggravation!

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    Replies
    1. Evile451 -

      I agree with you here. The wife and I were talking about buying guard dog this evening. Something to think about.

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  11. I've always thought a gutted-out soft drink vending machine would make a nearly perfect gun cabinet. Rig it so the front panel is illuminated and place in a man cave for extra deterrence.

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  12. Love the comment on metal doors and door frames. Not sure why homes aren't just automatically built this way! Some of us are renting, but if you own your home I think the cost of replacing doors and reinforcing door frames is well worth the reward. Think about how much money you spend on guns, quick access safes etc. You'll never need a "home defense" weapon if the criminal literally can't get into your home. I'd have one (or 10) anyways but IMHO turning your house into a fortress is a much better strategy for security. (Plus you won't have to spend hours cleaning bad-guy-brains out of your nice carpet)

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  13. Use the metal tool boxes that go across a truck bed. Bolt it to the floor. Add extra strong hasp and locks to the lids. NRA magazine had a story on this back in about 86. It has worked great for me. I live in the desert and don't know much about the humidity part of it though. Good luck.

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  14. Mr. Wolf, dont be in a rush to pay an ungodly price for somekind of "trained" guard dog. A common mut or selected breed of dog will do just as good, all depends on the temperment. I've seen 10thousand dollar police canines retreat and back down when confronted with an aggresive suspect or the first time they get smacked hard and I've seen a regular yard mut drag a burglar off a fence and chew him up. I think it really comes down to the individual dog/breed. I'd look for something med/large size, breed known for its loyalty, protective nature and socialization with people/other animals. We got lucky, got a Lab/English bull mix from my wife's sister as a puppy. He's large, heavy and built like a tank, called a Bullador. Very good with the family, extremely suspicious of strangers and I have no doubt that if someone was to invade the home, they would have to kill him to get to the wife or kids. Patrols the house and yard like he owns it and wont let anyone step one foot onto the property without being confronted. He is intimidating in size and look, but very good natured and playfull...best of all he was free. Really comes down to the dog, but most of the "guard/protection" breeds do just fine on natural instinct, without any formal training, especially when a good bond is made between you and him.

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  15. Try a job box, the kind used on construction sites. The boxes come in a number of sizes. i cannot afford a safe i am able to store 8 rifles 12 cases of ammo 12 handguns and still have room. i have put pegs on the inside ends for pistols and i put std long gun racks on the inside long sides i put concrete steeping stones on the inside with a rubber mat over it so i can take them out if i need to move the box. I know it is not theft proof, but you would need a forklift to take the box or need tools and quite a bit of time to get into box. i panted the ugly box and put a tablecloth over it we use it as a side bar.

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  16. I have a boxer, and a yapper. Both are good alarms, and the boxer is huge. Lovable but protective. Guns are inside, as are 72 kits. Other stuff in camper, again dogs are good.

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