Security Sunday 20160918 Privacy Fences, Walls, and Other Obstructions


Security Sunday 20160918

Privacy Fences, Walls, and Other Obstructions

Our homes are more than a defensive castle. We spend time and money to make them comfortable and pretty. Typically the front of our home is decorated for “curb appeal.” We live in our backyards. For this reason, we build privacy fences and walls to keep people from gawking at us while we lounge around our pool, or metal tub (don’t judge). In some areas, fences are mandated by Home Owners Association (HOA) or even by local law (where pools are involved). Privacy fences, walls, and other obstructions pose a security risk. But there are ways to deal with these.

Light. Criminals hate light, especially lights that come on unexpectedly. It costs money, but hey they are lights (from $40US). With some creative organizing, you set up the lights to come on as soon as someone crosses the fence. The key in selecting a system is that it be easily calibrated and covers the entire area contained by the fence.

Observation. No need to creep out into a dark backyard with your slippers and a baseball bat. Security Cameras are available for under $200US. These systems will even allow you to record, are motion activated, and night vision capable. As with lights, they must be easily calibrated, unless you want to video cats and possums. With some creativity, you can use just a few cameras to cover all of those pesky hard to see areas. DO NOT USE wireless systems. Many of these systems will also allow you to connect them to the internet. Before connecting anything to the internet make sure you have a very good cyber security system installed.

Yelling. Yes, an unexpected human voice can freak out even a hardened criminal. Installation of external Public Address systems is easy. If you have a stereo system that is already feeding sound to the outside, you only need a few more things to scream “Get Off My Lawn.”

To this point, we have dealt with the security of the outside of your home. Criminals like easy targets, at this point you are hardening your home.  Most of the people I have known that were burgled were burgled by someone that had been in their home. We will now shift to Internal Controls in the next post.

To Be Continued….

News 13 September 2016

Updating the website to add a mobile-friendly version in preparation of launching a series of applications.

Security Sunday posts will resume on 18 September 2016.


Old Woman and The Coyote


One of the advantages of being in the military was the exposure to different cultures. While stateside I had the opportunity to study Native American myths. This was in the days before the Internet, and these stories come from oral tradition.

My favorite story is one of the many creation myths passed down among the Navajo. The characters of this particular myth are Old Woman and The Coyote. Old Woman is the partner of Old Man, the godlike creators of the world. Unlike gods from other myths Old Man and Old Woman do not help nor hinder humans they merely observe. The Coyote is a complex character. What we may see as evil is not always so. The Coyote is a trickster who attempts to sway events. These attempts are not evil or good, but they do teach us many lessons. This is the story of Old Woman and The Coyote.


One day The Coyote came upon Old Woman while she was cooking. The Coyote asked, “Old Woman, what are you cooking?”

Old Woman replied, “I am cooking the people. They will move among the animals and become their overseers.”

The Coyote watched as she put her first batch of People into her oven. After a few short minutes, The Coyote began, “Old Woman remove them now! If you cook them too long they will surely burn!”

Old Woman replied, “Not yet Coyote, they can’t be done so soon.”

The Coyote continued, “No they have been in too long and have surely burned by now!”

Old Woman gave into The Coyote’s continual begging and removed the people from the oven. She saw that they were still white, and very under-cooked. She said, “She what you have done Coyote, these people are not ready yet, they are still raw.”

The Coyote said, “I was just trying to help you Old Woman. Make another batch.”

Old Woman put another batch into her oven. After some time she went to take them out.

“No!”, said The Coyote. “Remember last time? You took them out too soon. Let them cook a little longer.”

The Coyote begged and pleaded so much that Old Woman left the people in the oven twice as long as before. When Old Woman removed the people she saw they were burned black as coal. “See what you have done Coyote? I have left them in too long now they are burned black!”

The Coyote put his tail between his legs and said, “I am sorry Old Woman. I will leave it up to you next time. Please do another batch.”

Old Woman did just that. She placed another batch of people into her oven. This time, she ignored the pleading and barking of The Coyote. She removed the people from her oven, and they were perfectly golden brown. “See Coyote, these people are perfect.”, she said.

“We will see.”, said The Coyote.

And that is the creation myth of Old Woman and The Coyote.

Security Sunday: 20160904


Security Sunday

From the Outside Looking In.

The key to a good Security Analysis is being through. A security analysis is the most important step and the most active part of your overall security plan. Put on your walking shoes, grab a sketch pad, pencil, and lets get started.

In the middle of your sketch pad make a diagram of the outside of your house [fig 1]. leave room for your front and backyard. If your property is large use a larger sketch pad. Duh.

Fig 1. Basic House

Now walk out to the street in front of your house and center yourself on the house as best you can. From this vantage point, you should be able to clearly see all entry points and windows. Anything that is blocking a clear view must be removed or trimmed to give a clear line of sight. Hedges and bushes should be trimmed to keep someone from using them as cover for breaking in.  Move to the far right and left  and repeat the procedure.

Add all features that can’t be moved to your sketch [fig 2].

Fig 2. Yard obstacles

At this point, you need to think like a criminal. How can you get to doors and windows without being seen?

With the front and sides of your house sketched, we move to the big threat area. The back.

Many people love privacy fences, so do I. However, a privacy fence offers excellent concealment for bad actors. We will deal with this type of fence later…for now repeat the procedure in the backyard as you did for the front yard.

This next step will require either another person or a stick to act as a marker. The stick needs to be no more than 4 feet high, and easy to see. If you are using a person they should be average adult height (no midgets). Now go inside your house.

You will make several sketches at this point. One for each window
or other entry that allows you to see out of the house. From each of these points have the person start at the far right of your property and move left just until you see them. Add this point as your line of sight right. Have them continue to move left while you note anything that blocks your view. Add these items to the sketch. When they just disappear from sight on the left this is your line of sight left [fig 3].

fig 3

I know this sounds like a lot of work, but it will pay off. While you are doing all this sketching you are training yourself on what a bad guy can, and can’t use to his advantage. You are becoming the master of the terrain which we will take advantage of later.

We will expand on these sketches, and discuss what you can do about that pesky security fence.

To be continued…..