In the face of growing frequency of and better awareness of worldwide threats, effort and spending on security continues to increase both from homeowners and business owners.
Security systems have become more sophisticated than ever, with more features and options now available to the average homeowner. While historically a few key security systems were available, such as ADT and Brinks, new technology and modular systems are now available to satisfy a homeowner’s every whim. Companies like Nest and SimpliSafe offer homeowners the ability to monitor every doorbell ringer and alert the owner’s smartphone during any sensor activation.
Of particular interest is the growth of the highest end of security options, including features once thought to only exist in movies!
A plethora of high profile individuals have been highlighted in the news showing their major investments securing their homes to be almost a fortress. In Vanity Fair’s February 2018 article “Does Peter Thiel Know Something We Don’t” the author talks about Thiel’s recent investment in a sophisticated security defense, most impressively his large and secure safe room. His panic room is designed to likely include biometric access with barricaded walls and blast doors, communication features and many other non-disclosed features.
With Thiel owning homes in many locations around the globe – from Miami to San Francisco – this home with its special security feature is in his New Zealand residence. According to many, such as LinkedIn’s co-founder Reid Hoffman, a New Zealand home purchase by a silicon valley elite is an obvious signal that the purchaser is intending the residence for secure use at an end of the world, apocalypse-type scenario. Apparently, many consider New Zealand to be the rare first world country that also offers remote locations to live in.
Many different well-known threats pervading the media increase our collective awareness of the need for safety. Terrorism seems to have had an uptick, from France to the United States. A few comments on any of many terrorist-related events in recent years creates almost immediate memory of the event for most people.
In 2004, a series of coordinated, simultaneous bombs erupted in Madrid’s train systems days before a major Spanish election, inuring over 2,000 commuters and killing 192 people. In 2011 a major bombing in around Oslo, Norway killed 77 young people, the largest attack in the country since World War 2. London bombings in 2005 paralyzed the cities transportation for months. In 2016, the harrowing Nice, France attack is still fresh in many people’s mind, when a 38,000lb transportation truck barreled down a crowded walkway, killing 87 unsuspecting people. Many more large and small-scale attacks have occurred in just the last 5-10 years.
Social unrest has also recently come to a head within the US, not seen since social unrest during the 70s and other times of major change. In Missouri, a hotly debated case involving police and a fatally shot civilian plunged the city of St. Louis into chaos. Individual business and homes were targeted as a minority – but still very large – group of protestors turned violent.
To preserve the peace of mind, many luxury homeowners have sought to establish their homes with much more sophisticated security measures that would have previously been considered. Those in the higher echelon use an array of physical and digital security to deter threats.
The exteriors of these homes often include the most impressive physical security. For the first line of defense, gates are installed around a property, as a major deterrent. Wealthier individuals may employ a part- or full-time guard to cover the main entrance. Flimsy wood doors are replaced with strong iron doors since most break-ins occur there. However, windows are also a common target. These can be significantly reinforced whether through weaker tempered glass or all the way to ballistic glass for the home’s windows. Access to the home may be controlled via biometric access, such as a fingerprint reader.
Inside the home are other features, including defensive measures, like panic rooms. Offensive measures may be present too. Some homes are installed with smoke valves: if an intruder gains entry into the home and a sensor is activated, smoke may fill a critical room to disorient the intruder while a family can gain precious seconds to reach a safe location. Commonly in America, firearms may be covertly stored in one or multiple areas within the home for use in an attack situation.
As greater awareness of national and worldwide crises continue, the trend toward more sophisticated security both for the highest echelon of society and the average homeowner will likely continue as well.