The 4 Ds of Security: DETECT

Your mom was never happy with 4 'D' scores on your report card, but if you are serious about
security, you need to consider each of these 4 'D' principles today (and every day !)

1: Deter - Prevent criminal activity
2: Detect - Detection of breaches
3: Delay - Slow down an intrusion
4: Defend - No more Mr Niceguy!

An improvement in any of these 5 areas will make you safer. But if you apply all of these together, you become Fort Knox. Don’t play around with your safety. Clever people apply their sunscreen BEFORE going out fishing. Don’t consider these ideas only AFTER an intrusion which can easily end up in tragedy. Do it now.

In a nutshell:
We try to deter the would-be intruder from even trying. If this does not work, we want to detect his intrusion as soon as possible, allowing us the opportunity to do something about it. After we detect him, it would be great if the intruder can be delayed. We make him cross several obstacles designed to cost him time. Time we can use to make decisions, to flee, to load a firearm, phone someone. We need to Deny him access on multiple levels. Deny him access to the property, to the residence, and to the room. Finally, if all fails, you need to be ready to defend yourself. Don’t be a sitting duck.


If you have not seen the section on “Deter”, then you are catching tiger’s milk in a colander. Go back and check it out before considering these clever detection strategies.

Please forgive a car analogy... We expect modern cars to simply work. Turn the key and it must go. It has a thermostat to automatically regular engine temperature. If that thermostat does not succeed, what (do we hope) happens? The temperature warning light comes on! - This allows you to deal with the problem, which is to stop and phone a friend. First prize is obviously for the thermostat to work, but obviously we cannot rely on that alone. Second prize is you need to find out about it in an elegant way. Perhaps with a blinky dashboard indicator. I am sure you agree this is way better than finding out about it when it is too late and your engine falls out. Do you get my drift?

If your intruder was not scared off by your lights, your cheapskate fake cameras or even your bloodthirsty Yorkshire terrier named Muerte, we have problems. We need to detect the intrusion as soon as possible so that you can do something about it.

It’s a dog’s life.

Yes, there are all sorts of tech gizmos that can help with this, but let’s start at the bottom. Get a dog. At least 3 of them. Two (or more) big ones outdoor, and a small one indoors. The big dogs help with deterrence (first D!), but they also make a considerable racket if you have unexpected visitors at night, alerting you to intruders. The indoor doggies are the second line of canine defence. They can be effective in waking you up.

Downsides? Dogs may be man’s best friend, but they are by no means perfect, and you should not rely solely on them. Dogs fall asleep. They can be bribed with some meaty treat. They get sick. They like to bark at nothing. When they bark, you are not sure where the action is and if it is an actual threat. Should you have a dog? Hell yeah!


The best option is an early warning system. A set of gadgets that will monitor your property and alert you when an intrusion is in progress. The sooner the better. This is your dashboard light. Most “traditional” outdoor security beams are designed to be installed against the outside walls of a house and detect movement when the intruder is already very close to the residence. This is typical because these sensors are hard-wired to the alarm system and installing them right at the house makes the wiring job so much easier.

Outdoor security beams in close proximity to the house are better than nothing, but it is best to detect an intruder as early as possible, even before he is able to get close to the home. For this purpose, it helps if your outdoor security beams are wireless, and especially if they have significant range. The drongo outdoor security beams are a great example of this. Your point of detection can now be on the perimeter of the property, giving you a much better insight into the intrusion.

Choose a wireless system that:

  • Works well in an outdoor environment
  • Has sufficient range (at least 200m / 600ft)
  • Alerts you in your own, recorded voice

This last point is critical. Keep in mind you may be woken up by the system in the middle of the night. You do not want to have to decipher an alarm panel or recognize some irritating jingle. You want to know what is going on, RIGHT NOW, even if you are still finding your feet after being torn from that dream of you and Claudia Schiffer in the Lamborghini. Time is of the essence. No time to apologize to Claudia. Get going! Take Action! The whole idea behind early warning systems is to buy you critical time in an emergency. You cannot afford to waste any of it just to decipher the alarm system warning!

Clever strategies

Some properties are quite large, and on the surface may appear to require a few crates of sensors to effectively monitor, but this is not necessarily the case. Each property has its unique quirks. From a tactical point of view, one can easily figure out from what direction an intrusion is likely, and which route to the house will present the lowest amount of risk to an intruder.

Simply put yourself into the intruder's shoes and think about it. The intruder will obviously first have to cross your outer boundary fence or wall. Which walls or fences give the best access to your property? - those are the ones you want to cover first with an outdoor security beam. It would make sense to purposely create one or two areas of fence or wall where access is much easier than anywhere else on the perimeter. Your intruder will typically follow the path of least resistance and go for those easy access points. It is then a simple matter to install outdoor security beams at those easy access points. This way you can sometimes cover huge perimeter areas very effectively.

Let us assume they make it inside your perimeter. Once there, they will prefer to immediately find some cover, preferably at a location where they have an ideal view of the house. Here they can collect themselves and check out the place at their leisure. It is for this reason that it makes sense to change your garden layout such that there are only 1 or 2 good hiding places available, and then place sensors to detect movement at those "hot spots". Remove all other possible hiding spots like large bushes or garden features that may be used as hiding spots.

So in summary, make sure you buy yourself time by detecting intrusion as soon as possible. This works better if combined with the next D, which is to Delay...

Aware today - Alive tomorrow

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published