Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter,
sponsored by the SurviveInPlace.com
Urban Survival Guide
We’re going to cover a couple of questions this week on keeping animals, fruits, & vegetables safe after a breakdown in civil order as well as some quick and easy ways to keep your house from being targeted for robbery or home invasion.
So…here are two questions sent in by readers: John & Errol: “What is best way to misdirect potential thieves and looters from your property?”
Keith: “We’re in a rural setting, we’ve got chickens and depending on the season, a garden that would make an inviting target.
We’re currently in the process of hardening the house proper, but still have sheds, chicken coop and workshop to keep in mind.
I’d rather people just pass us by then have to fight anyone off.”
Two great questions, and something that everyone needs to consider, no matter their level of preparedness. I’ll cover the urban situation first.
Misdirecting potential thieves and looters.
In short, make sure that your neighbors look like better targets than you do. Criminals are creatures of opportunity and will, in general, pick the targets that offer the most potential reward in exchange for the least potential risk.
If you buy expensive products, try to cut up the packaging into small pieces and/or dispose of them away from your house.
Also, look at your house as if you were a thief. Do you have a big screen TV, a gun case, or other valuables in plain view through your windows? If so, move the items so they’re not easily visible.
If you have an alarm system, make sure you have signs advertising the fact and then use your alarm. It won’t stop a truly determined home invader, but it will give you a few seconds advanced warning. If you don’t have an alarm, consider getting one or at least getting alarm stickers.
While you’re looking at your house through the eyes of a thief, do you see any places where you could hide? Either because of bushes or because of shadows? One of the most basic things that you should do is to add lighting with motion sensors on the approaches to your house. Also, consider clearing out the bushes that provide concealment or replacing them with roses or other thorny bushes.
The next thing is to look at your doors. Do they LOOK secure? Is the bolt lock a high end one or the $12 special from Home Depot that lock pickers use for practice when they first start picking locks?
How about your windows? Fragile antique windows may look great architecturally, but they’re also very inviting to someone who wants to break in. If replacing old windows isn’t an option, one thing you can do is install some inexpensive alarms, back up old locks with a piece of wood or PVC cut to size to prevent someone from opening the window from the outside, and even have a security film applied.
If you find yourself in an urban survival situation, you not only want to look like a bad target from the OUTSIDE, you’re probably going to want to go one step further and make sure you don’t look like a target to people who are INSIDE your house.
You can accomplish this by separating and hiding as much of your survival provisions as possible so that if need be, you can actually let people in to your house and show them that you don’t have much food or supplies worth stealing. This obviously isn’t an ideal scenario, but it IS a realistic one.
Historically, almost no urban survival situation has been a “Mad Max” type scenario. Instead, they’re extremely fluid scenarios where people dying of starvation, people struggling to get by, and people with health, jobs, and food all live in close proximity to each other for long periods of time.
When most people think of survival, they are planning on a dramatic, instant, across the board breakdown in civilization where people are eating one another within 3-4 days. Again, history proves that this just doesn’t happen. One of the biggest reasons is because the majority of people will simply act like zombies and do nothing, unless they’re told to do something by an authority figure. They don’t know how to make decisions, they don’t know how to take initiative, and they sure as heck don’t know how to spend their times and resources in a way that improves their chances of surviving.
There’s no doubt that a complete breakdown is POSSIBLE, but this melting pot of people in completely different phases of desperation living near each other is PROBABLE and requires a completely different approach.
In these in-between scenarios, “going loud” and shooting/fighting isn’t the answer to every conflict. In many cases, you can reduce your risk of becoming a target by simply hiding the fact that you have supplies to steal.
This will be MUCH harder to do with generators, solar panels, deep cycle battery arrays, and other large items, but the principal of hiding everything you can holds true.
I’m going to be releasing a book on cacheing this year that provides a step-by-step road map for handling this exact situation. It not only covers how to hide weapons, but also how to hide all of the rest of your survival supplies.
The author wants to remain anonymous and I’m simply going to be publishing it for him, but I can tell you that he’s knocked it out of the park with this book and it’s one of the most exciting projects I’ve worked on in quite awhile.
The second question on chickens and gardens in a rural setting is great too.
With chickens, you might need to have a plan to move them inside your house if things get unstable. Again, your options are to hide them, increase deterrents, or have a 24/7 watch.
On the garden, there are a few options, but none of them are real easy. One would be adding a skylight to your garage or attic and switching over to a hydroponic or aeroponic garden.
Another would be to surround your garden with weeds to disguize it.
A third strategy is to make sure that you don’t plant things that will scream “FOOD!” As an example, carrots blend in with green weeds because the orange is under ground but tomatoes stick out because the red is above ground and visible from a considerable distance.
Keep in mind that it’s very difficult to grow enough food to provide all of the calories you need if you’re gardening part time.
Between the number of calories you’ll need, the time that it takes to maintain the garden, protect the garden, and the potential shortage of water, fertilizer, pesticides, and herbicides, it’s a 50/50 bet at best whether or not you will get enough food to survive or just end up wasting a LOT of time trying. Add in vitamin, mineral, and fiber requirements, and you start to see how big of a challenge this really is.
If you’re already living off of your own garden, then this doesn’t apply. But if you don’t have a garden, or are just a hobby gardener and expect to be able to flip a switch and start growing everything that you need to survive while adjusting to civilization breaking down AND doing something to earn money at the same time, you might want to rethink your plan.
A better approach may be to switch over to medicinal herbs that are low maintenance and native vegetables that grow easily and have low water requirements and blend in and don’t look like food to passer-bys.
This brings up an important point. Even if you have chickens, a garden, and a rural location, you still need to have a good supply of food in the event of a breakdown in civil order.
Even without having to defend against looters and thieves, chickens get sick and predators get hungry. Bugs come, hail happens, and sometimes gardens just don’t grow the way you expect them to or they have in seasons past.
One of the best things about these two questions was that both people asked how to “misdirect” thieves and looters instead of how to make an impenetrable fortress.
US houses just aren’t made to withstand a determined attack.
A determined, focused attacker isn’t going to screw around with your doors and windows. If they want you bad enough, they’ll just launch Molotov cocktails with a water balloon launcher over your neighbors’ house and smoke you out.
If they want your stuff, all they have to do is drive a truck through one of your exterior walls and use smoke, gas grenades, or just mix household chlorine and ammonia to take care of you.
Both of these people were spot on that a better approach is to do whatever you can to stay invisible, and that’s one of the points that I hit repeatedly in the SurviveInPlace.com Urban Survival course. I cover this topic extensively…from tactics for deflecting questions and more ways to make your house look unappealing to up-armoring your house without looking like you’re the neighborhood kook. If you haven’t already, I strongly encourage you to re-read the course description and get signed up by going to SurviveInPlace.com.
What thoughts do you have for these two scenarios? What operational security measures are you using to keep your preparations under wraps? Do you have any “wicked-smart” strategies for hiding livestock & gardens from passers-by? What’s your top question that you’d like answered in an upcoming issue of the Urban Survival Newsletter? Share your thoughts by commenting below.
Have a great Labor Day Weekend! I did Amway back in the 90s and we called it “Free Enterprise Day.” I kind of like that 🙂
God Bless & Stay Safe!
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P.S. Did you go to the 8/28 rally in Washington DC? If so, please let me know what you thought of the whole experience..