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Scenario: Crime and break-ins are increasing in your neighborhood. What do you do to really lock down your assets and preps?

Through multiple sources of friends, social media, and new reports you realize that household break-ins have just exploded in your area. They are happening at all times of the day, happen when people are there or not, and there isn’t any pattern to things that are taken. Even your neighbors with the top of the line home security system, cameras, and beefed up door lock has had their homes broken into. This band of thieves just really doesn’t care, and it looks like there is no stopping them. And the worst thing about this all is that since there has been so many break-ins in your area, all insurance companies have stopped covering burglary claims to your area! So you really are on your own to keep your stuff safe.

You talk it over with your family and they are extremely concerned about it as well and want you to go full out and go Fort Knox on your house. (for those unfamiliar, this is known as one of the most secure US Army forts)

Really place yourself in this situation. What are the steps you would take to deter people from even entering your property, prevent them from getting into your house, and how to hide items from people if they do manage to get in? 

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    • 6

      Carter,

      2 steps:

      1.  Check all doors, windows, possible attic entry sites for security.  Have windows covered with vinyl shower curtain sections for blackout conditions at night. I would not advise the unprepared/unskilled to use chemical irritants like bleach next to door bottom section. 

      2.  During daylight, consider, when feasible, to walk to neighbors’ dwellings to discuss a rapidly assembled neighborhood watch program and possible unarmed patrols.

      I have a hunch Fort Knox is a max secure place less about the tanks and soldiers and somewhat more so in re the gold.

    • 7

      There are only around 10 homes within a square mile of my homestead.  My property is fenced in with a gate out front.  I live about a mile off a rural road, down a dead end lane. So location is important for security.  If someone wants to break in, they will first have to deal with 9 dogs inside the house, so there will be no sneaking up.  Then they will have to deal with me.  I have a home shooting range & practice close in, snap shooting with my pistols.  I keep two in a safe next to my bed.  By no means do I have a Rambo complex but I am prepared to protect my home.

    • 8

      This will be fun!

      I would totally go full out ‘I Am Legend’. I would set up remote explosives, heavy metal doors, metal blast doors on the windows, hoards of guns in every room… oh we aren’t fighting against zombies? Just some burglars? Ok, ill scale things down a bit.

      • Yard/first line of defense: I would set up a good sturdy fence around my area, and there are some motion sensors that you can place in your yard that will chime inside your house if someone is near them.  Big spot lights, and visible cameras around the house will show them that there is a security conscious guy here. The cameras would be local storage only, or one on my own encrypted server that I could monitor. I don’t need some punk at Google or ADT looking at my house either.
      • Outside my house/second line of defense: Getting a solid core heavy door with upgraded hinges, strike plate, 3 inch screws, long locks that aren’t your normal home depot easily picked ones, and another internal only lock for when I’m at home. Upgrading the locks on the windows, placing a wooden dowel in the window frame, and installing security film to prevent shattering. 
      • Inside my house/third line of defense: Have a weapon in every room, if that is a gun, pepper spray, or knife. Evil guard dog. Put a lock on our pantry against the hungry teenage son in the night, or the burglar looking to steal our food storage. Have a safe room (probably master bedroom) equipped with a door that has all the protections our front door has. As for securing items inside my home, I would get security locks for computers laptops, TV, and see if it would work for my video game console too. Get a heavy gun safe that bolts to the floor. For creative ideas to hide things, I was thinking about storing something in the bottom of a trash can before you place the bag in. I’ve never heard of a burglar rummaging through the bathroom trash to look for things, but still need to be careful you don’t throw your valuables away when you dump your trash. I’ve heard about storing valuables in a cereal box in your kitchen as many thieves might not look there, but fruity pebbles are tempting for anyone, and definitely could be found. Maybe put them in an empty bag that used to hold frozen fish sticks and place that at the back of your freezer.
    • 6

      Starting from where I am starting, I need to find a place with a garage. My vehicle is too vulnerable in a parking lot.

      • 4

        Sounds like moving to a better place should e an option.   But honestly, is this a realistic scenario?  Any real world examples?

      • 6

        hikermor – I don’t know of any real world examples that are similar to this scenario. I just thought it would be fun to get people talking about an extreme home security scenario where we can bounce ideas off of each other and learn something, and maybe take a lesser approach to improve our own home security.

        While I don’t feel like this is going to happen any time soon to many of us, I can see it happening quite quickly if SHTF. For example, if the grid went down and stores stopped stocking things and people started to get desperate, I can quickly see how an extreme home security setup would need to be put in place to defend your family and your supplies.

        Again, just trying to have fun with a discussion though.

      • 5

        I agree with you Seasons4. I hate having my car outside, both for having to scrape off snow, it getting all dirty, and for a bigger risk of it being damaged. 

        My friend just had his car broken into last night. Poor guy…

      • 2

        I’m sorry about your friend whose car was broken into. I just looked at a place for sale yesterday. It was hard to care about anything except the garage. It’s easy for me to focus on what I don’t have. I have to remind myself to keep track of the big picture.

    • 5

      Roving bands of thieves?  You need to dominate your area, so that the thieves give up or relocate.  Form a neighbourhood watch network with an armed rapid response team.  Bands of thieves are easy to spot, a group of people breaking into a house and carting away valuables sort of sticks out. Encourage  them to go elsewhere.

      • 4

        That is a smart idea, having some neighborhood watch system and a way to quickly alert your make-shift response team to gather. Throw in a couple big dogs into your little army and bet you could show the message that this neighborhood is off limits.

    • 9

      Below is an article where convicted burglars were asked about what attracted them to a target home… and what made them leave.  Lots of good info but to me, a lot is common sense.  They don’t want to be seen, so homes with good lighting and well trimmed shrubs deter them.  Having a loud TV on makes them concerned someone is home.  Visible security cameras also deter but then some say, the more security they see, the better the odds of lots of valuables.  Big, loud dogs make most leave quickly, so since I have 9… I’m covered.  🙂  

      https://www.ktvb.com/article/news/crime/we-asked-86-burglars-how-they-broke-into-homes/277-344333696

      Home security is rather complicated and every situation is different.  But basically, you want to do everything possible to make a burglar choose another target.  If that fails, have the proper weapons & training to defend yourself & your loved ones.  In that regard, training & comfort with a weapon is much more important than which weapon.

      • 4

        Thank you for sharing that. It’s nice to hear from the actual type of person who you are defending yourself against.

        What if there was something similar to this for other dangers? Hackers tell you how they get into your systems, or Terrorists leak how they cause the most damage. 

        Now, gotta go trim some bushes…

      • 4

        It’s interesting that in the video the burglars say that large fences are more of a target to them, it provides cover so no one can see what they are doing. I bet many people build up large fences to prevent people from being able to get in so easily.

        Guess you could be the one house on your block with an electrified fence…

      • 4

        “NRA sticker = plenty of guns to steal”

        I can’t rememeber if it was here or on Reddit, but there was a post where people where breaking down all the things you could understand from looking at car stickers: University sports team sticker? Great, you’re probably a parent of an athlete and you might be away during matches. Christian/fish sticker? You’re probably going to be away Sunday mornings. Etc…

      • 3

        Earlier last year during the BLM protests and how police were really being targeted and hated, I was nervous for those who had the Thin Blue Line flag on their car. I was scared that they would get mugged, or at least have their car keyed or something.Capture

        Same goes for political stickers. That’s great that you support your candidate, but with all the horrible political anger going on right now, I am going to avoid putting anything on my car that can paint me as a target against someone not right in the head.

    • 3

      The presented situation doesn’t assume normal times or SHTF, but I think much of this applies:

      1). Group up! Friends, family, and neighbors are important in a crisis -whether natural disaster or roving gangs of thieves. I’d likely do what others have mentioned: organize a watch, and watch shifts. It’d also be helpful to have 

      2). Trim bushes. If you have bushes near your doors and windows, trim them.

      3). Install additional motion sensitive lighting near windows and doors, especially if there are bushes.

      4). Don’t provide improvised weapons. Remove or relocate decorative stones, artwork, heavy objects that could be used by bad actors to gain entry into your home (thrown through window, attacking your entries) or to assault you.

      5). Signage. I have a No Trespassing sign posted on my driveway gate. Although that’s mostly for clueless people who seem to think if there’s no sign, it’s not trespassing, it provides sufficient warning. For the bolder burglar(s), once you’ve stepped inside my gate, you’ve just entered my kill box. That’s all I’m going to say on this because I don’t give away all my preps. OPSEC.

      6). Fence. It’s funny that the burglars in the article view fences as a means of hiding their actions, and it’s not wrong, but really fences also keep burglars from getting away from me too quickly if I discover them.

      7). Reinforce doors. Upgrade your doors, then install bolt catches for doors.

      8). Barricade doors. Old school cross beam anchored at the studs in the doorframe will help. If you’re fortunate enough to have steps on the inside of your front or back doors, you can construct a 2×4 T- or I-bar that also prevents your door from being knocked in.

      9). Build and install window barriers. Install 2 eyelet rings into the ceiling in front of each window. Cut plywood and install 2 corresponding hooks. Install old school slide latches at the bottom of the plywood and at the corresponding position in the wall/window frame. You could also go a step further and attach sheet metal to the street facing side.

      10). Remove/relocate objects that could be used to gain entry to 2nd floor/upper levels (trellises, vehicles parks too close to residence, etc).

      11). Don’t divulge all your preps to anyone. Keep it in your circle of trust, even if it’s just you. No one should know your full capabilities.

      • 1

        I’ve been thinking about how I would hang plywood around my windows to prevent break-ins or storms. I see people on the news in hurricane country just nailing it to the frame, but I don’t want all these holes in my house after I take it off.

        Doing something like the eyelets that allow you to hang things on and off will be cleaner. 

    • 3

      In a situation such as this I’d definitely do what others have mentioned and pay extra attention to battening down the hatches.  But in my case, I might also get a couple more dogs – specifically traditional guard dog breeds who’d be both intimidating and on constant high alert.  Only a fool would break into a house that had a couple agro Rottweilers chomping at them.  

      Of course this wouldn’t be an overnight fix, as training and acclimation would be needed, but as a lifetime dog owner I can say that a good loyal dog is a heck of a companion.

      • 3

        One needs to balance having an aggressive, protective breed over having a dog that is safe around guests & family.  For me, I’ll take a mutt any day.  All our dogs are captures or rescues.  I don’t want an overly aggressive dog in my house.  What I want, and most certainly have, are dogs that will make lots of noise when they hear or see a stranger in or around the house.  Can be a bit of a pain when guests come over but on the other hand, no one can enter out house without me knowing it.  From what I understand, that is enough to make most burglars depart immediately.

        Having noisy, alert dogs can most certainly prevent a burglary from ever happening.  It is not unusual for a burglar to first check out your home, by maybe knocking on the door & asking some question.  When they are initially met by these noisy dogs, most will look for another target.  Another way burglars can get info on your house is by having workers in your house.  Even if the worker is not a thief, they just might inform a friend who is.  Several times I’ve had workers in my house that have stated to me no one is ever gonna rob you, when the 9 dogs have to be restrained & kept in a different part of the house.  Point is, many people are scared of dogs.  Not just because they might bite but because they can’t sneak up on dogs.

      • 3

        In general I fully agree, I’m simply speaking to the OP’s imagined extreme scenario.  But as someone who also has had a couple Rottweilers over the years, they can be excellent family dogs if the dog (and even more importantly, the owner) are properly trained.  

        I love dogs, I’ll always have them in my life.  But when speaking about the use of dogs for home security, there are some breeds out there that simply aren’t up to the task.  I currently own a 100+ lb labrador retriever that is likely the strongest and most physically impressive dog I’ve ever owned, but if someone were to break into our home he’d either enthusiastically greet them, or run off and hide under the bed.  Some breeds have had the protective and aggressive traits breed out of them, which is important information to know if home security is a reason you are interested in a dog.

    • 3

      I got some stick on window and door alarms from amazon.  That at least gives me a loud audible warning to be ready to defend myself when home.  If I’m not home then hopefully the shrill sound will at least make someone reconsider sticking around. I also have three dogs that are fairly protective of the property.  Fencing with signs warning of the dogs and a locked gate as well.  Inside the house I have a large fire safe that would slow down a regular burglar at least.  Even with all this I realize crime happens every day and with police being stretched so thin many cases go un investigated, and I already feel like you are on your own.
      honestly my mindset is if you are in an area that has a high rate of crime than it’s time to consider a relocation.

      • 3

        Those are good ideas. Those little alarms are cheap, easy to install, and can give you those couple seconds of warning.

        In a movie that I watched before, the main character sees that a building has one of those little alarms. He takes a fridge magnet and as he is opening the door, slides it between the alarm so that the alarm doesn’t know that it is triggered. I wonder how realistic this is.

      • 3

        Although that seems possible I don’t believe you could get anything through the door jamb and past the door stop trim without setting the alarm off.  One thing for sure though, if someone is smart enough to invent a security device then someone else is smart enough to find a way past it.  I don’t believe there is a way to make anything completely theft proof.  I mostly want to be alerted so I can be the main deterrent to any would be trespassers.

      • 3

        As far as being alerted, I’ll take 9 dogs over any electronics.  🙂  I have a home security system that was installed when we built the house.  I’ve never turned it on.

      • 4

        What does your mountain of dog food for 9 dogs look like? haha

        If SHTF, Redneck’s house is the last place i’d go. I do not want to be dog poop when they attack and eat me. Dogs are a good deterrent. 

      • 5

        While my pomeranian barks a lot, which hopefully will be a good deterrent, if it had to defend me, it probably would pee itself and run away. Poor little guy isn’t that brave. Cute, but not brave.

      • 4

        I wish that was all I feed.  I have 2 cats, 4 horses and hundreds of catfish down in the pond that get feed daily (catfish don’t eat in winter).  I guess I could include a family of bald eagles as they eat the catfish.

      • 2

        Why haven’t we heard of these catfish until now!? I’d love to learn more about them. What maintenance do you need with those, are you farming them for food/eagle chow, when you want to eat one do you use a net, fishing pole, or noodle for them?

        Your dogs could live off of catfish for quite a while with that many

      • 3

        OK, I’ll make a post this weekend about my catfish.  I have some video of them coming up to eat their food.  They are primarily a prepper resource but also for my enjoyment.  We fish out each year just enough to keep the population healthy & in check.  I have lots of structure underwater so they reproduce heavily each year.  I used to let neighbors & friends come catch a bunch but this past year I’ve had two mature bald eagles and several of their immature offspring (no white on them) visit daily.  So from now on, I’ll restrict the fishing and just let the eagles thin the herd for me.  They are just so danged huge… and majestic.  They can catch 25-30 lb catfish & fly them to the bank to eat.  Here is a pic from a couple of years back with my neighbor & his son.

        catfish2

        Here is a  rather poor pic of an eagle on the pond.  Note one of my aerators bubbling.

        eagle pond 2020

      • 2

        Those are huge! Thanks for sharing. 

        Pretty cool an eagle can carry that. 

      • 3

        Adult eagles are very strong & have a huge wingspan.  In that pic, it looks smallish but it is actually rather tall.

      • 2

        Great resource!  I love fried catfish….  I have three ponds  on the front of the property here and had some bass and large coi in the middle one.  Unfortunately between the cranes, hawks and the occasional storm washing my fish downstream I’ve given up on keeping fish on the property here.  There is a large creek on the back of the property too and there are fish but most are really small and wouldn’t sustain anyone for long.  I’ve considered a wire mesh cage to keep some fish contained but it sees more work than it’s worth.

      • 3

        I never knew how dangerous these birds were to everyone’s fish ponds. Would hanging reflectors or a scare crow do anything for these predators do you think? Probably not. 

        Is catfish a very fishy tasting fish?

      • 2

        In a non SHTF time, eagles are not dangerous to a fish pond… they are a blessing.  They lift my spirits every single time I see one.  When I see both adults together, it is just amazing.  One thing you learn as you strive toward self sufficiency, is that you can’t beat mother nature.  You need to learn to live with nature.  Part of that is allowing nature to take its share.

        They spend an unusual amount of time around my pond simply because the fish population is WAY above a normal, naturally sustainable level.  I achieve this high fish population by feeding daily during non winter months, when they go dormant.  They would starve if I didn’t feed them.  But then again, watching them come up to feed is sight to see… and once again they soothe my soul.  Because my fish are so healthy, due to the feed and water aeration, I have to reduce the population each year by around 75-100 fish… to make room for the newly hatched.  As I stated earlier, as opposed to allowing others to catch these fish, I just let the eagles do it.  It is a win win situation.

        Is grain fed catfish tasty?  OMG, YES!!!  It is pure white, very firm with no “fishy” smell or taste.  Pick up some frozen filets at your store & try them.  Of course they are great fried, which any southerner will attest, but they can be used in any mild fish recipe.  I love them cooked as done with trout meuniere.

        Note I said grain fed catfish.  Natural catfish they you would catch in any local pond, lake or river down here, can have a rather strong “muddy” flavor.  Anything you get in the store will be grain fed, like mine, just on a MUCH larger scale.

      • 2

        i’ll have to go keep an eye out for some at the store. I don’t like fish because of the fishy smell and taste, so having some without that would be an excellent food source. 

      • 2

        Then besides catfish, I’d suggest halibut & cod.

      • 2

        I’m not a fan of fishy taste either.  Mild white fish is all I’ve ever eaten, and usually fried. Unfortunately that pretty much gets rid of the health benefits….  I just started liking salmon in the last couple years.  Especially with some blackening seasoning.  Grooper is my favorite, but catfish are good as well.

      • 2

        https://apple.news/ASPHyCHwdSs2xZy3pbCpV2w

        I don’t know if that link will show up as an Apple subscription or not.  It’s about a ten ft catfish species that’s spreading across Europe called a wells catfish. It can jump out of the water to snatch a pigeon (or possible an eagle in your case).  In the article there is a video of a guy catching one of them.  I’d love to fish for one!

      • 3

        Man! That sure would be scary to catch one that large. I’m afraid it would turn on me and eat me.

      • 2

        I’m with you there.  The one in the video is only six feet.  I’d be really wary if a ten footer!  
        Catfish is fairly mild and pretty good.  It’s best to eat the smaller young ones though. The large older fish aren’t as good and have more toxins built up in them.

      • 2

        Guess I better go do some noodlin this summer!