We are constantly being told by our governments that the increase in the level of surveillance we have to put up with is making us more secure. And yet, police patrols have all but disappeared from most streets, we know our neighbors less and less and we hear about home invasions all the time being on the rise.

In such circumstances it makes sense to increase the effort you put into protecting your own home from such an incident. Ideally, one of the most important steps you can take is to cooperate with your neighbors in a neighborhood watch scheme, under which all neighbors would agree to look out for each other’s property and bring to light any concerns they have and deal collectively with any threat or suspicious behavior.

A good neighbor can be trusted to take care of your property when you are away. Even if you have fully automated your lighting and curtains, a neighbor can sort your mail and deal with little tricks that people spying on your property might play, such as leaving a nickel on your door handle and returning the next day, perhaps in the guise of a door-to-door salesperson, with the sole intention of seeing if the nickel has moved in order to better scope out your house.

A great deterrent to many would be intruders, especially opportunists, is to get a dog, preferably a loud one. It doesn’t matter if your dog doesn’t look scary – intruders down want the problems that a dog can cause them, from alerting the neighbors to a full on vicious attack, it’s simply not worth it and they will move on to a softer target.

If you can’t handle a dog for whatever reason, don’t bother hooking up a sampled recording of a dog barking to your doorbell. Someone who visits twice will soon be able to figure out what you have done and may conclude that, as you seem to be out, now would be a perfect time to break into your home.

A surveillance system is a sensible thing to install – often the sight of a camera has a similar effect to that of a dog barking, that is to say, the would be intruder is put off the idea of breaking into your property. This also gives you a chance to monitor who is hanging around your property and at what times. In case of an invasion, this can provide you with great evidence to give to the police and the courts. You can check out some of the better surveillance system available on the market at http://www.groundedpower.com/.

Signs can be useful as a deterrent, too. Many people put up signs saying ‘beware of the dog’, regardless of whether or not they actually own a dog. Other people put up darkly humorous signs saying things like ‘Beware of the owner’ and a cartoon picture of a guy looking down the barrel of a gun at you.

Using a gun for home protection is serious stuff. On the one hand, you want everyone to know that you are armed so that they won’t break in. On the other hand, you know that if someone breaks in, they might know you have guns and have therefore armed themselves in preparation. The target of the home invasion might even be your firearms. In such an event you must be prepared to use your firearm without hesitation. You should ideally have a pistol on your person – perhaps a .22 semi auto, and the gun cabinet nearby with perhaps a 12-guage shotgun as your weapon of choice for home defense.

The last form of protection is another form of prevention. Don’t post too much personal information on social media. Photos taken in the interior of your house reveal its contents which might be of interest to thieves. Don’t mention any long trips or vacations that you are planning and don’t post any photos of them until you are back at home with the door locked. Speaking of which – if you haven’t already – observe the first rule of home protection which is to securely lock all your windows and doors, preferably with deadlocks!