Perimeter security defines protection layers against both physical ingress and information egress of your property.
Defining Your Perimeters
If you have a single family home in a fenced yard, you might define your fence as the outer perimeter and the walls of your home as the inside perimeter. In an highly urbanized environment, you might not have a yard and a fence. The walls of your home might be your only perimeter. On the other hand, if your home is a farm house far from civilization, you might define an outer perimeter far from your house which is not protected by any sort of fence.
Most often, the outer perimeter is defined by your property lines. The standard protection for an outer perimeter is some type of fencing. In an urban environment local building codes and covenants may restrict your fence to a decorative set of white pickets. In a rural environment, your property may be too large for fencing to be economically feasible. In that case you may define a “Medium Perimeter” which is the portion of your property which is protected by fencing.
You may also define a final perimeter, a safe room in your house which every family member is trained to fall back to in case of emergency. This might be a professionally designed home vault, a bedroom with a sturdy door, or a room in the basement which you have reinforced for protection against natural threats such as tornadoes.
Fencing provides many benefits, but there are also several issues with fencing:
- Many types of fencing restrict visibility for you. Fencing can create cover and concealment for a potential attacker.
- Fencing can draw attention to your property. If you build a 10′ fence with concertina wire on top, bad people are going to wonder what is in your property that is worth stealing.
- Building codes and covenants often restrict your fencing options.
- Fencing can be aesthetically unpleasing. Good fences make good neighbors, but bad fences can annoy good neighbors.
- Fencing can be expensive.
Types of Fencing
Stone, Brick, or Cement – These materials provide the strongest walls in common usage, but they are expensive and they limit your visibility. With a fence of this type, attackers are more likely to go over than under or through.
Wood – Wood fences are less sturdy, but it’s usually still easier for attackers to go over them than through them. Maintenance of wood fences can be a hassle. They also limit visibility. Cost is the only advantage over stone, brick, or cement fences.
Chain Link – Chain link is inexpensive and protects your visibility. It can also be augmented with sensors to detect people climbing or cutting the fence.
Barbed Wire – Barbed wire is less expensive than full chain link, but is easier to cut. Barbed wire offers little protection against humans, who typically just throw a heavy blanket over the fence. On the other hand, barbed wire can be electrified for additional protection.
The weakest part of many fences is the gate area. A proper gate should provide visibility of the prospective entrant and protection from unwanted entrants. Gates may be locked by physical or electronic locks and may be opened manually or with motorized doors. The easiest place to attack most people is when they exit their vehicles to open a gate. Because of this, electrically operated gates with remote openers are recommended. For properties without external fencing, the equivalent analogy is the remote-control garage door opener.
If you cannot build a fence, or if your fence could be breached, obstacles can provide another important line of security. A large concrete planter, filled with dirt and plants, can be decorative while still providing protection against a person driving a truck through your front door.