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Homestead Security: How to Protect Your Property and Family

How secure is your homestead?

Homestead security is very important. As much as we’d like to believe our homesteads are safe and removed from the dangers of society, that simply isn’t true.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, “Property crime is actually more likely in rural areas than suburban areas.”

Which makes sense because there are fewer people around, so it may take longer for police to respond to a call. 

While there may be fewer violent crimes, there is crime in rural settings nonetheless. And many of these crimes are burglaries.

Rather than having to deal with the police and an insurance company, use these tips for homestead security to prevent thieves from even attempting to steal from you. 

A large dog sitting in front of a barn door.

Get a Dog

One of the most effective homestead security options is to have a dog (or two, or three). Simply owning a dog is often enough to deter would-be burglars from trying to enter a home or property.

Ideally, you want to have a guard dog that will alert you to danger and attack intruders. But even if you can’t get a large dog, a small dog with a big bite will have a similar impact.

Sometimes, just a sign that says “Beware of Dog” is enough!

[Related Read: 10 Best Dog Breeds for Your Homestead]

Install Motion-Activated Lights

Criminals don’t want to be seen, so you can keep them away by installing motion-activated lights around your homestead property.

Place these motion-activated lights near entryways and walkways.

In addition to deterring would-be burglars, motion-activated lights can also frighten away animal predators. This not only protects you, but your pets and livestock as well.

Install Security Systems

Homestead security should include a security system. Fortunately, security systems are available for every budget and situation.

For example, if you have the money and power to install a top-of-the-line security system, go for it.

But if you can’t afford a high-end security system or don’t have the reliable Wi-Fi needed to stay connected, install battery-operated door and window alarms. 

Install Video Cameras

A video camera may deter an intruder if noticed. Even if the burglar enters your property anyway, you now have evidence to prosecute.

It’s recommended to have more than one security camera.

If you have acres of land or wooded areas as part of your property, it’s also wise to add game cameras so you have eyes on far-reaching areas of your property. 

A wooden fence around the perimeter of a homestead.

Add Perimeter Fencing

Perimeter fencing is a necessity when it comes to homestead security; it keeps your animals in and intruders out.

The goal is to create a physical barrier that makes it difficult for someone to access your property.

No one should be able to simply walk onto your property.

Add Locking Gates

In addition to perimeter fencing, it’s important to add locking gates to your fencing.

Again, the point is to make it as difficult as possible for someone who doesn’t belong there to step foot onto your property. If they can simply open the gate, the fence isn’t much of a deterrent.

For even more protection, add a gate at the end of your driveway that requires visitors to buzz in for entrance. 

Install a Driveway Alarm

I love this story in the Daily Yonder from Donna Kallner:

“[Our security system] was never quite as effective as my grandparents’ rural security system: Their farm was at the end of a gravel lane that had to be more than a half-mile long. About halfway down it, there was a big tree where a flock of guinea fowl perched. Any time a vehicle got that far those birds kicked up a ruckus. That gave my grandma time to slice a pie and put on a clean apron before a visitor reached the house. I suppose it also gave my grandpa time to grab a shotgun if he didn’t like the looks of you.”

As great as this story is, not all of us have a flock of guinea fowl to alert us when someone is coming down the driveway.

For this reason, it is necessary to install a driveway alarm.

Choose a driveway alarm that provides wireless monitoring that uses infrared cameras to detect someone (or some animal) creeping up the drive.

Keys sitting in a lock on a barn door.

Always Remove Keys

It’s easy to get comfortable on your homestead. You have more space and you feel more at home. However, those feelings often lead us to make some mistakes.

For example, people who feel safe may leave the keys in their tractor. They may leave keys hanging outside the garage.

When you do this, you make it very easy for someone to steal expensive farming equipment.

Invest in a Strong Garage Door

Many homesteaders keep some of their most important supplies and expensive equipment in their garages.

Unfortunately, not all garage doors are the same. Some are stronger and more secure than others.

It is well worth it to invest in secure garage door systems. Doing so will cost a lot less than replacing stolen equipment!

Buy a Safe

Every homestead should have a safe to store expensive, irreplaceable belongings.

In particular, a fireproof safe works well for protecting important documents and precious memorabilia. 

Add Extra Security Measures to Doors

Smart criminals know how to pick a lock. That’s why it’s necessary to add additional homestead security measures to every entrance.

For example, in addition to the standard door lock, install a deadbolt.

You may also want to consider adding additional security measures like door chain stoppers or foot-operated door stoppers. These small, inexpensive additions will provide precious time to prepare for or escape an intruder. 

Rose bushes planted under a window to deter intruders.

Plant Strategically

When you plan your homestead gardens, take time to think about what you will plant at the perimeter or near your windows.

You can plant strategically to make entering your property more difficult for intruders. For example, plant thorn-bearing berry plants along the perimeter and spiky bushes below windows. 

Use Gravel for Walkways

Homestead security should also focus on making it difficult for intruders to sneak up.

One security measure is using pea gravel for your walkways. It makes noise when you walk on it, which will alert you and your guard dog.

Post Clear Signage

With rural property, it’s extremely important to post clear signage—especially if you live in wooded areas that hunters frequent.

Post signage such as:

  • Private Property
  • No Access Road
  • No Trespassing
  • Beware of Dog

Consider adding property markers, video surveillance, and a sign from your security company that says your home is monitored by them, too.

Embrace the Lived-In Look

A basic rule of thumb for homestead security is to make sure your home looks lived in. Park a vehicle in the driveway. Put lights on timers.

If your grass is overgrown or your mail is piled up, it suggests you aren’t home. If your home looks maintained, it will give the opposite impression.

You can even take it a step further and keep dog bowls outside. 

Know Your Neighbors

When it comes to making your home look lived in, it’s helpful to know your neighbors.

If you go out of town, ask them to check your mail or mow your lawn.

You can also ask them to keep an eye out for anything suspicious when you’re not around. 

[Related Read: Why Every Homesteader Needs Community]

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