For more than 20 years, Dmitri Teslya has been providing security of particularly important people and premises. Now he is applying this experience in the management of Asgard Security and International Shooting Fitness Federation. In an interview for Ajaх, the expert explains who needs to think about protecting their apartment, gives a step-by-step security algorithm and identifies the main mistakes that property owners can make in this matter.
Is it true that having a strong will one can get into any, even a very secure room?
It is true. Having the necessary resources, one can go anywhere, even in Fort Knox, where the US gold reserves are stored. Of course, you’ll have to use nuclear weapons for this.
If it is impossible to ensure complete security, why invest in it anyway?
Because value appreciation, the complication of protection repels non-professional criminals, adolescents, drug addicts. Many of them will come for $20, if the risk is minimal: there is no alarm, the door is simple, or the bars are easily cut through with pliers. In residential areas, where far from rich people live, the apartments are burglarized by the dozen every day.
Without investing in security, you endanger the health and lives of your loved ones. The thief may find them at home, and nobody knows how he’ll behave in this situation. By trade, we communicate closely with the police, asking to share real crime stories. And here is an example, in which a petty thief suddenly committed a serious crime. Why? “I got into the house, there were people. They began to resist, a fight ensued …” It ended in tragedy.
A good lock and a warning alarm will not allow them to climb in the middle of the night when the family is sleeping in the house. Keep this in mind, even if you do not consider yourself at risk. Tomorrow they can come in and check what you have. They will come in without aiming. Simply because it’s easy.
Enhancing the protection of your home, you push the offender to a neighbor who hasn’t bothered with this. If the thief acts without aiming, if he’s not sure that there are values in a certain apartment, then he will choose an easier goal.
What algorithm is used to design security in the apartment? What steps and in what order should one take?
Initially we secure the perimeter: doors and windows, walls. Buy the best lock from those you can afford. Read reviews on the Internet, talk with sellers. They can give you sage advice in the workshops, where copies of keys are made. Most likely, the best lock will be the most expensive one.
Note that cheap and old lock cylinders are easy to break with pliers. You can buy and put a protective cover on top of it, as a countermeasure. But reliable manufacturers armor the internal panel of the locks themselves with reinforced plates that cannot be broken manually.
It makes sense to insert a secure lock only in a secure door. Here you don’t need to save up for the most expensive one. The main thing is the door must be robust, with a thick sheet of metal on top and hidden hinges. Plus additional locks that cannot be opened from the outside if you lock yourself inside.
If you live on the fourth floor, and there are two meters of a sheer concrete wall between you and your neighbor above – then I would confine myself to strong window frames and an armored film. It endures stones, bullets and keeps the broken glass from falling off. If there are any access ways to the apartment through the window, I recommend installing bars. But only strong forged and “smart”, which can be opened in case of fire, if you have to evacuate through the window.
Alarm system is a must. Be sure to have fire and smoke detectors, especially in large apartments and houses. If, God forbid, a fire happens at night, the siren must wake you and, preferably, the neighbors. The apartment must be equipped with a fire extinguisher, which can be used to put out the wiring.
Then we go inside. It is very important for me to have a safe room in the apartment where you can button yourself up if the criminals rush in. Depending on the area size, number of residents and budget, it can be a single room or a spacious storage room. I would install a reinforced door and place the first-aid kit, additional connection, alarm button, weapons inside it.
CCTV monitoring. Who needs it, and what tasks can it solve?
Outdoor video surveillance can repel criminals. This is a sign that you care about your security, and upon entering premises one may encounter other obstacles, such as an alarm system. Of course, it is easy to hide a face from an external camera behind a cap or hood. But one won’t be able to determine the location of the cameras inside an unfamiliar apartment immediately. So there is a chance to get a clear portrait of a burglar.
If you keep expensive values, and those who work against you are professionals, video cameras with motion sensors will allow you to track trespassing to assess the situation in which the criminals managed to open the locks and turn off the alarm system.
For example, close to the ideal security of an apartment is 100%. How much is having an off-limits area of the house and a doorkeeper?
It is 0%. I’ll give you a real example. Gated residential complex where my friends live. Until they contacted the guards, they wouldn’t let me inside either on foot or by car. That is, security does work. But I know that just a couple of months ago, about 20 apartments were robbed in one day in this residential complex. They drove a truck, allegedly of a construction company, under the guise of repair. Calmly walked around several floors. They took everything they wanted.
The fence gives you a false sense of security. In fact, developing a scheme and getting inside is very easy. You can rent an apartment in the house six months ahead, get the right to let cars and people in, and collect information about your neighbors: who has an alarm system, who doesn’t have one.
The building security system won’t guarantee you quiet life without an integrated security system in your apartment. Perimeter security, plus a response unit. Controlled entrance to the staircase: buttons, cards, codes. This is a symbolic barrier, but an open door is even worse. Cameras on floors, at entrances and exits. Good locks, reinforced apartment door. Alarm system is a must.
Which popular security measures actually work poorly or can even harm?
Any, if the protection is not integrated, and the apartment owner is not careful.
A real case. The seventh floor, all security systems are installed in the apartment. There is an alarm system, armored door, two reinforced locks, shellproof windows, the balcony and windows have opening bars with locks on them. All that a security agency could provide with was provided. But the apartment was robbed, and the money and jewels were taken. Because the man didn’t turn the apartment alarm system on and didn’t close the bars on the balcony when leaving. Air conditioners on the outer wall of the house were set the way that the thief came through them to the seventh floor.
If you have an alarm system, you should have a protocol worked out: when leaving, turn on the alarm system. If you have bars, you should have a habit of locking them.
Another case. People live on the ground floor; for many years, they have had simple metal-rod bars on their windows. They install a super-armored door with secure locks. They leave for the weekend. When they return, they see the bars torn away. Of course, the apartment is totally rummaged. Wallpapers ripped off – they were looking for a safe box. Why? Because the criminals came into the entrance hall, saw a serious door and thought: “Oh! So something is there!” And the bars are weak. At night, they broke the bars and climbed in.
What mistake is most often made by people who design an apartment security system on their own, without involving professionals?
They do not design it. (Laughing). No, well, honestly. Who thinks about integrated security when designing his/her apartment? They install an intercom and an alarm system, at best.
How to find out that somebody is going to rob me? And what to do in this case?
For a non-professional, it is almost impossible to notice preparations for robbery. The ancient thieves’ method is to hang a tag on the door (insert a brochure, a match) to check if you happen to be home. But not every ad on the door is left by criminals …
This happens only in movies, but let’s say you’ve noticed some surveillance. Then change your behavior patterns and schedule. Even if you change the time of leaving for work within 10 minutes, your predictability is already altered. Today, drive home one way in your car and tomorrow use another one by taxi. What for? Because otherwise, a person can be put on your regular route so that he can warn the thieves inside your apartment if you decide to return home.
Contact police. Most likely, they won’t pay attention to the phone call that goes as “They are watching me!” – there are too many such calls. Therefore, submit a written statement to the police station as soon as you notice the surveillance. If you call later, mention the number of the statement and report on the threat of attack, this will be taken more seriously. At least they’ll send a squad to check a suspicious car.
Think about door locks. If the lock was installed ten years ago, maybe it’s time to change it? If the alarm system has a perimeter protection mode, be sure to turn it on. And not only for the night when the family is at home. Be mentally prepared for the unexpected and talk to your family about the emergency procedure.
People rarely think about it, because: “This won’t happen to me!” Even if it does not happen, all of this is relatively small cost compared to the possible loss of property, health, and life. Your peace of mind is much more expensive.