Two Letters Re: The Legalities of Preparedness


Like Ed S. I purchased several rolls of new razor wire to string up in case of a sudden rash of nearby home invasions.  I bought it on eBay along with some used razor wire gloves (they have steel in the palms and digits) to enable speedy deployment without losing a lot of blood.  At the farm supply store I bought a couple boxes of hog rings and some hog ring pliers, as well as some small steel conduit straps and a box of screws for mounting the deployed razor wire.  (Two or more parallel coils can be joined together with the hog rings.) 

I knew there was a local ordinance against installing razor wire, plus its very presence suggests there is something worth stealing on the other side.  While it may discourage the petty thief it might also encourage assault by a criminal gang.  If I were such a gang member, I would think of ways to breach the barrier, possibly by teargas or home-made chlorine gas bombs to drive out or kill the occupants.  One partial solution to both problems, but rather like having a porcupine for a house pet, is to deploy the coils inside the home. A thief inspecting a potential entry point might reconsider after spotting the razor wire, yet it would not be visible from the street for neighborhood snoops or criminal gangs to notice. [JWR Adds: This would also shield the home owner from many lawsuits. Any pain or injury-inflicting obstacle set up outside could a best be considered an “atractive nuisance”, or at worst intentional mayhem, with a six-figure+ lawsuit likely in many First World nations.]

I also stocked up on heavy steel stake holders to serve as door bar brackets and lag screws for mounting them.  I would remove the inside door casing and mount one set low and one set high, sinking the lag screws into the house framing and running a 2×4 wooden bar through each set.  I also bought two extra hinges for each exterior door that I can mortise into the door and the jamb and secure with long screws. 

Finally, after devising this solution for a friend’s rental properties that had twice been broken into by someone kicking in the doorand breaking the jamb, I bought two lengths of heavy angle iron to shape (I used a reciprocating saw with metal blades and cutting oil, then drilled holes for screws) and recess into the sheetrock, the door jamb, and the door casing, each secured with five long, heavy timber screws. Very unobtrusive once the casing was gouged out for the srew heads, reinstalled, and some wood filler and paint was applied.  They serve as a stop for the striker and deadbolt, and hopefully as a foot-breaker for the karate-kick thief’s next attempt.

These survive-in-place precautions should really be considered only slow-down measures, allowing you time to grab guns and take aim or begin firing, depending on the circumstances.  Once they enter the residence they are fair game in most jurisdictions.  If the very term jurisdiction has been made meaningless by civil breakdown, I wouldn’t be much concerned with satisfying legal threshholds.

(The aforementioned product links are intended solely as examples and not recommended or endorsed by me.) – Jim in New Hampshire


Mr. Rawles:
First one should look to state,  city , county laws and ordinances about restrictions on the use for residential usage and commercial usage on razor wire,  fencing materials,  height of fencing,  distances from property lines and road ways,  etc..   For razor wire or barbed wire, think of it  this way — if one’s space is assaulted by an intruder might the party get injured by not being aware of the system.  If so,  consider whether your efforts to protect yourself,  your family, and your property would be viewed by an attorney with a whinny injured thug client as a booby trap.  Booby traps are deemed a ‘no-no’.   Consider the placement of your home security items,  if say a kid came wondering into your space and fell into say the razor wire.  Is it low enough for the child to get injured?  If yes, come up with a better plan or location.    Think things through about how a stupid person might injure themselves — your neighbor down the street comes by and grabs hold of your low level razor wire.   Think ahead and plan for stupid people just suddenly showing up on your property.   Do you have pets such as dogs or cats that might leap on the razor or barbed wire and injure themselves?  Had a friend whose dog recently met up with some new barbed wire and within 12 hours the dog had a life threatening body infection.  Dog was taken to the pet emergency center and placed on two weeks of antibiotics.

Second,  yes,  security grills can be a sign for law enforcement to put your dwelling on a possible naughty list.  But typically that means that the dwelling is ‘out of place’ with its neighbors and/or not well maintained property.   In one of the communities that I lived most homes had security grill on their doors and windows.   In another place I lived,  I tried to get them for my doors only to have people raise an eye brow that ‘no one’ has such things in our safe little town.   Security grills around a home that is landscaped and /or well maintained is not as likely to get one on the suspect list just because one has opted for personal security.

Dog signs:  it took me a long time but I found signs that simply state “dogs on premises’.  I am hoping that it doesn’t carry the same dreaded notice of “Beware of Dogs”.    I have several dogs and my notice is so that anyone who might open my gates might think to close them so I don’t lose my pets.    And, it gives notices to those who are allergic to dogs to be aware that if they enter my property there are dogs present.    Years ago when I could not find a “Dogs on Premises” sign,  I bought “beware of dogs’ signs and cut off the “beware of” portion before posting them on my fence.

Security should be consider the current restrictions and work as well to blend in those security options that are legal to exercise in one’s area.    Landscaping is a great time to start building in security items — repainting the house might be the time to add those security grills.   

Think of your safety from thugs and plan for what if a stupid person/neighbor comes upon your place and falls or trips on your security system.

Always planning for Stupid People, – Cynthia W.