GET OFF MY LAWN: Suburban Defense Starts with Keeping Intruders Off Your Property

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by Don Shift

Author of Late for Doomsday and Hard Favored Rage: A Cop’s EMP Apocalypse Story 

Note: This is an excerpt from my non-fiction book Suburban Defense: A cop’s guide to protecting your home and neighborhood during riots, civil war, or SHTF.

Get off my lawn

Since 2020 was the year of the riot, some that spilled over into suburban residential neighborhoods. In times of unrest to SHTF, groups of intruders large and small will be a problem for you. You should also be concerned about the burglar who hopes no one notices him coming up the walk.

American suburbs are just the kind of thing any army of bad guys would want to see from the Romans tearing Carthage down to Genghis Kahn and the Mongols sweeping into Europe. Freeways turn into wide, arterial streets that feed neighborhoods built mostly on a grid pattern. Our streets, let alone the individual lots, are very rarely defensible. In many neighborhoods, rural or urban, there is nothing stopping a bad guy from walking right up to a house.

Our modern homes are flammable, not bullet resistant, weak, and filled with lots of easy access points. Examine the structure of your home. Bullets easily penetrate most suburban construction and burglars commonly exploit windows, doors, and locks. For most Americans, anyone can simply walk up to your door without any sort of gate or other obstacle stopping them. It’s time to change that.

The ideal battle is the one that is never fought

The same goes for the forced entry that never is attempted. By taking simple steps you can enhance the likelihood that an angry mob, burglars, looters, or bandits will simply pass right by for an easier target. With preparation and some luck, your house’s windows and locks will never be tested. We start with the principle that layered security is the key and the first layer is your yard.

Make your:

  • perimeter uninviting to cross
  • perimeter hard to penetrate
  • home difficult to enter
  • house and property easy to defend

If you can keep them out of the yard, you’ve also just won the battle of keeping them out of the house. Let’s focus on that.

Passive defense is anything that makes it difficult or less desirable to enter your property.

Examples:

  • No trespassing signs;
  • Video cameras;
  • Lights;
  • A barking dog;
  • Fences; and,
  • Sharp or thorny landscaping.

All of these things discourage entry either by the danger of apprehension or materially making access difficult. Even signs and cameras signal that you are paying attention to your defense, which incentivizes a bad guy to find someone less aware. Remember, we’re exploiting psychology and laziness here.

Creating a physical and psychological boundary is important. Physical boundaries are barriers that have to be traversed to cross. Fences are obvious, and if tall and sturdy enough, serve as a strong physical barrier. Psychological boundaries are things that break up public spaces from private ones like decorative fences, hedges, or even landscaping that most people wouldn’t want to walk through or across.

Keeping them off your lawn, the front yard

If you have an open lawn up to your house, large crowds fanning out across the street will treat the open ground as a thoroughfare. Even if the person/group is just passing through, wouldn’t you rather have them do it thirty feet away instead of just outside your windows? What kind of mischief might they get up to if they had the temptation of the home so close?

This is basically crowd control. People take the path of least resistance. If cops don’t want people walking in an area, they put up those metal barricades because people don’t want to deal with jumping them. Deterrence is easy and mostly psychological in many cases.

People tend to stick to paths even if the adjoining ground is just as easy to walk on. It serves as a guide for them. They might not even be aware of the effect it’s having on their subconscious navigation. Angry mobs might unconsciously pass by and target the house with no protected yard and not even realize that they made that decision.

Defensive landscaping doesn’t have to be ugly

Ideally, you would want to set up a sturdy fence with thorny plants (like roses) for several feet in front so any jumper lands in thorns. That idea might not work due to design, space, taste, or local codes. You can keep your lawn, but maybe if you don’t want a fence, rip up a two-foot section of grass along the sidewalk, put in some large decorative rocks, and then plant roses in between.

Using the idea of psychology, you could build a landscaped funnel through a path to the front door. Instead of someone cutting up the side of your yard, give them the obvious path where it is to your advantage (where you can see them from the window or where your cameras are). That way, if someone wants to sneak, they’ll have to navigate the landscaping and will stick out like a sore thumb going through the roses for no good reason.

While we’re on the topic of landscaping, don’t create areas for bad guys to hide. Rose bushes are great because generally you can see a person hiding behind them. A dense hedge could entirely conceal a bad guy who could be crouching on the sidewalk with a rifle ready to shoot you the moment you open the front door. You want to be the one behind the bushes ready in ambush.

Securing the driveway is more of a problem. The new trend in super dense housing tracts are driveways too small to actually park in. In older homes or pricier developments, the driveways can actually park cars. Some homes have yards where a simple chain can be stretched across the driveway. Other tracts were built so the only way to secure the driveway would be to build a fence and install a long gate across the two-plus car drive. Again, not something you really see outside of the inner city.

Low fences are about deterring people; not keeping people out

Fencing and landscaping can funnel people into areas where they might be faced with a real gate. This gate might secure your front courtyard or it might be your security screen on your front door. An open lawn creates a wide path to the front door; a single gate from the driveway to the front walk makes only one access point.

One final tip for keeping people out of “denied” areas: motion-activated sprinklers. Usually, these are to scare deer out of gardens, but just imagine the surprise a miscreant would get when suddenly, out of the dark, there is a hiss and a jet of water soaks them until they run away. The sound of the sprinkler or a surprised yell might also alert you. It’s enough to either buy you a few seconds or convince the unserious to go elsewhere. In-ground sprinklers can also be turned on as a mob approaches to create a soft denied area.

Keep vehicles from driving through your yard

If you are concerned about vehicles driving through your yard, several different approaches can be adapted to stop them. Strategic placement of decorative boulders of several hundred pounds about two feet tall will stop most cars, assuming they can’t squeeze through. The same applies to concrete-filled flowerpots. Block walls that have a concrete foundation and are rebar reinforced can also stop vehicles.

  • Install a fence that encloses your front yard or plant landscaping that has the same effect. If a physical barrier can’t be placed, design flower beds or shrubbery to create a psychological one.
  • Narrow the approach to your front door to make it look less welcoming and easier to barricade.
  • Plant thorny shrubs or cactus, or at least very dense bushes, to create denied access zones or make jumping over a wall/fence hazardous.
  • Ensure that your landscaping choices and any natural foliage does not give a bad guy a place to hide.
  • Gate your driveway or have a chain and bollards you can place to create a psychological barrier.
  • Remove large rocks that can be thrown to break windows or hurt you.
  • Place a motion-activated sprinkler or turn on in-ground sprinklers to create a soft denied area.

Looking for more ideas to protect your suburban home?

More ideas on protecting your home from mobs, burglars, and more can be found in Suburban Defense: A cop’s guide to protecting your home and neighborhood during riots, civil war, or SHTF

About the author

Don Shift is a veteran of the Ventura County (CA) Sheriff’s Office and is a student of emergency response, disasters, and history. He is the author of several post-apocalyptic survival novels about nuclear war, EMP, and the non-fiction Suburban Defense guide.

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

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  • Very useful article, thank you! These are nice, concrete things I can adapt to my own urban situation. I already have some of them in place and intend to fiddle a bit more. My entire front yard is 5′ from the street but I’ll think of something.

    One suggestion I would add, with respect to video cameras and surveillance systems: DO NOT put a sign in your yard advertising what kind of system you have! I think the company gives the homeowner a price break, but IMO it’s really not worth giving the criminal the information required to download a schematic of your system from the web. No system is perfect, all of them can be hacked. Make them work for it!

    I’m looking forward to reading your book 🙂

    • 5 feet from the street is why you should start thinking about this. Granted, it’s not an ideal yard but better the neighbors than you.

      • So while stationed in Sicily most home by the roads had a 5-6 concrete wall built and then they would wine and beer bottles in the top, when it dried they would break the bottles and walla a barrier one would thing twice about coming over. Deterrents at its best

        • Dee, they do this in Mexico too. Colorful glass is much more attractive than rolls of razor wire. Although I imagine in the US you’d have to be more discreet than that or risk all sorts of lawsuits and penalties. That might have to be a post-SHTF makeover.

  • The real issue is keeping them out of your neighborhood in the first place, once they get inside the perimeter you better be armed and ready to use force. I suggest having a plan and like minded neighbors ready to control access points and form a mutual aid society…no one survives alone.

    • WTR,
      I get what you are saying and agree with your logic and thinking.

      But how does one secure a neighborhood in the suburbs?

      • I’m gonna say something y’all ain’t gonna like.
        You take it over. It goes against everything you’ve been taught your whole life but you didn’t live in the conditions this require this action. I will be taking over.
        The difference between me and them is I won’t keep your stuff I won’t burn down your stuff and I won’t kill you just because.
        You allow it to get to your yard you’ve already lost. The FPL should be the same distance and terrain you learned when you served.
        Law enforcement can’t stop them they can’t stop us.

        • “You take it over”

          (nod) ‘t’s how it’s done. usually.

          “I’m gonna say something y’all ain’t gonna like.”

          oh nonsense, you can’t wait and you know it. you’re the sheepdog and it’s your rightful place! you get to be sheriff and you get to “volunteer” people and expel anyone who won’t “volunteer”. good times.

          that’s how it will be in most prepper groups. “I’m the sheriff now, and I’m really gonna clean up this town.” gonna take a lot of people by surprise.

              • they’ll be happy to have anybody. like I said, teamwork and cooperation win, and deciding you’re too good to work with what’s available just makes enemies inside the gate.

                • Actually most people will be happy that someone it taking charge. “Just tell me what to do” takes less energy and stress than trying to figure it all out for yourself. Unless he/she has been the neighborhood jerk for too many years and then they will just ignore the strutting bossy pants and do their own thing.

                • You are a known racist, anti-Semite (I read your posts before they got deleted, man you really hate Jews), incel.
                  You are not the kind of person people want to have on their team.

                  There are a number of people whom have posted on this site, I have never met, and would gladly team up with them.

                  Just not you.

                • “You are not the kind of person people want to have on their team”

                  by “team” you mean “subordinates”. you’re used to giving orders to subordinates.

                  you might want to think about that. if you insist on subordinate “volunteers” and evicting everyone else you may wind up without a team to lead. fragging is a thing outside the military too, even for the amish.

        • Do you even think before you post?

          If you did, you would understand how dumb, “at the entry points.” is.

          • “Do you even think before you post?”

            you mean do I think like you. no.

            “how dumb ‘at the entry points’ is”

            feel free to explicate. lots of people here could learn from you.

      • Have a look at how it was done in Durban, South Africa, during the recent ANC staged riots.

        Very soon after the riots kicked off and the police mysteriously “disappeared” neighborhoods quickly organized self defense zones at access points, put up road blocks, and starting shooting people who did not get the message and moved on to looting the commercial zones . There was lots of video online at the time of what went on.

        Was talking at the time to a dear friend with family in Durban who said that the old timers who had done their time in the pre ANC SADF knew what to do. Her dad did his military service in Anglo in the 1980’s. They collected weapons. Put up defensible road blocks at access points to residential areas and made it very clear to any potential looters what would happen to them. And after a few of them were shot they got the message.

        So almost none of the defended residential neighborhoods had problems. The only exception were the Indian neighborhoods because none of them had military experience but had plenty of weapons. So after a few days in there was informal mutual defense between a lot of these areas and the ones with SADF veterans. Swapping firepower and ammo for experiences.

        Although the ANC organizers of the riots were mainly interesting in looting the commercial areas, mostly Indian owned, the main reason the rioting did not spread to the residential areas is because the residential areas went into self defense mode almost immediately and had the weapons and will to defend themselves.

        And if the ANC had got their way in 2018, and are still trying to do as of this year, almost none of those people would have been able to legally own guns to defend themselves. Not that it really mattered that much. The only reason for the law is so that the ANC controlled police can just extort more bribes. You keep you current guns to protect your family and just pay off the local police to ignore the law. Thats how the ANC works.

        I think South Afreica is a good case study for one of the in-between SHFT places. Not quite Venezuela but further along than most states in Mexico.

  • I would suggest that if you have a fenced in yard with 2 or more gates, consider keeping the other gates padlocks 24/7. Leaving only the primary gate open (keep a lock ready to apply on primary gate should the need arise).

    We’ve 3 gates into our yard. Front, Back and Side. Back and Side gates we keep locked all the time. A lock is clipped on the Front. If neighborhood unrest becomes an issue, the Front can be locked at a moment’ notice.

    Good article with lots of great tips and strategies.

  • This article is for people that live in HOUSES !!! IT is not for those in a DUPLEX or a TOWNHOUSE or a CONDO that has ajoining neighbors…It does NOT apply to people who live in apartments or campers or mobile home communities (think Florida or any warmer climate locations)…It does not appy to ROW houses (think cities Chicago, New York, Boston, San Francisco etc.) SO if you live in a house (good article), otherwise NO help at all !!!

    • Wandakate, not every single article will work for every single person. If it did, the content here would be bland, generic, and unhelpful. We have other articles for apartment dwellers and people with other living arrangements. I live in an apartment complex myself and found this very useful.

      Please be polite to our writers. They’re sharing their knowledge to help us.

      • Well, IF you have the ability to fence off, even with a low one, your yard, such as it is, I’d suggest investing in one made of buckposts, i.e., 6″ or 8″ thick-wall steel tubing, galvanized, painted, with eyeholes for fence cabling, and pour grout once installed, both inside and out, to better secure them. Few vehicles are going to be beyond that.

    • Wanda, in those sorts of situations you are in a community of people with more tightly bound common interests, which is possibly a better position to be in as there is more incentive for mutual support and aid, and is more flexibility to organize distribution of surveillance around the clock. The point being , you have an interest in helping the guys on the perimiter of the community to better defend their interests and, by extension, better defend your own.

  • All of this are good ideas, but they are just a starting place.

    If (or more likely, When) the guns come out, that is when the real, SHTF.
    Various factors apply like caliber, distance, etc.; but most home exteriors will not stop bullets or will not stop repeated hits at the same point of impact.

    So the next level of defense, would be in building Planter boxes and having them placed in front of the areas you plan on defending your home from.
    Concreter planter boxes would be best, but wood ones, lined with some heavy gauge metal
    concealed on the inside of the box and about least foot wide would work.
    A secondary choice would to be to have a bunch of sand bags around and material available to
    quickly fill them with, in case of such an emergency.
    That extra foot or so of dirt in front of your wall will help stop bullets and provide you with some cover and any plants might add some concealment also.

    In areas where random gunfire is already a problem, planter boxes might be a good choice anyway.

    Landscaping can be used to “funnel” attackers into certain areas that are better suited and prepared as “defense zones”. Make the most Obstacles as you possibly can, but avoid providing them with “cover”.

    • Check out the website “The Box O’ Truth” Original Chapters, #7 Sand O’ Truth for a general results of how much sand it requires to stop bullets.

      And you put sandbags on the interior or behind the wall. Then they have no idea of your level of protection, waste ammo.

      External concrete planters, I can see them, I can destroy them using a sufficient sized caliber rifle/bullet weight. Once the concrete form fails, the medium inside also loses integrity and falls apart.

  • This is a great start and practical. I’m not in the typical suburbs, there are only a couple roads into my rural neighborhood. I can still use these tactics in securing my property better.
    Daisy, I’d love to hear more from this author!

    • Dragonmaker: it’s a great piece isn’t it? This is an excerpt from his book, which I enthusiastically recommend. There are links in the post. It’s very different from your normal prepper book and you’ll get a lot from it.

  • Good advice for those able to take advantage of those great suggestions n precautions.
    Thank you!!
    I was advised years ago to put large heavy flower pits with either real or fake foliage inside my ground floor windows to detour intruders since its a noisy obstacle. I did/do that with a table that allows for two layers of heavy pots.
    Motion lights n a “Beware if Dog” sign in the windows closest to the door along with a sign saying “24/7 surveillance” gives me some comfort.
    Not having the wrong people in your neighborhood is assisted by signage of an active Neighbor Watch program, just a suggestion.
    Thanks for your assistance. We all need to be more proactive in protecting ourselves.

  • Thanks for your article Don. Many bits of good info on keeping vermin out of the yard. We live rural on a dead end road on small acreage with brush and trees. I store rusty unused barbed wire in brush that I cannot see from the house, we have lots of thorny brush as a deterrent as well.

    As far as a neighborhood situation there have been discussions among some of us of cutting down trees as a deterrent and to control traffic flow on the road . There are pros and cons to the tree scenario that must be addressed prior to starting the saws.

    A suburban housing development scenario would seem to be much more challenging to protect and repel vermin simply because there are more people living there.

    As Matt in Oklahoma mentioned , someone will be in charge, and that will be a position with hard questions and decisions to deal with.

  • “Keeping them off your lawn”

    it’s easier to keep them out of your neighborhood.

    but (shudder) that requires working with Other People ….

      • (laugh) likely few of us will be. but I meant most preppers shuddering at the thought, most of them are loner isolates.

        • Have you been paying attention to the past 20 or so months?
          Lot of new preppers and our advice to them has been to network now, talk to their neighbors, other like minded people.

          Granted, you might be a “loner ioslates,” the rest of us are not.

  • Decent info to be sure but the harsh reality is that in a grid-down/sustained chaos situation the urbanites are going to run out of liquor stores to loot pretty quickly and will start looking for soft, accessible targets. Guess what they are going to figure out pretty quickly: the suburbs are easy pickings. Affluent, soft and White makes it a goldmine for looting and mayhem.

    The best advice for suburban dwellers is to get out and put as much distance between you and cities as possible. If you think you can ride it out in a densely packed suburb just a short distance from the city, you are deluding yourself.

    • “The best advice for suburban dwellers is to get out and put as much distance between you and cities as possible”

      disagree. the rural areas are just as dependent on outsides supplies as the urban. rural will run out of supplies and be cut off from re-supply much sooner than the urban. and most rural locations are no more defensible than urban.

      • You really think they 3D print beef, pork, chicken, eggs, milk, butter, fruits and veggies in the urban areas?
        Where all the raw materials produced?
        In the rural areas.
        The processed/finished products are also in the rural areas. Something about that NIMBY thing about hog/chicken/beef farms or processing plants in the urban/sub burbs areas.
        Once the JIT/BAU system fails, no more raw or finished products coming into the urban areas. There is only 3 days of food supplies in the urban/sub burbs at “normal” consumption rates. Not talking about panic buying.
        As Matt in OK mentioned about taking/securing choke points/bridges in another article, we did the same thing to the Nazis during the Battle of the Bulge. If we could not hold it, then we dropped the bridge so the Nazis could not use them, halting their advance.
        But we know how fond you are of the Vichy government.
        All your fans do.

        • “Where all the raw materials produced?”

          fuzzy thinking leads to fuzzy conclusions. sure rural areas produce quite a few raw materials, but they all do so individually. one isolated area produces corn, another isolated area produces cattle, another has timber, another has a mine for whatever, and so on. they’re all banana republics – each produces one or two items and uses that to buy everything else they need. none of them are free-standing or independent or self-sufficient, all are dependent on imported finished goods to get by, and without those imported finished goods they’ll collapse just as hard as any city.

          and first. cities have the votes, the money, and the primary access to the trade routes that bring in the finished goods. whatever is available, they’ll get it all first, and the rural areas will be cut off first.

          now I know your situation is a little different, you being the future sheriff of amishville and all, but the above dynamic will be true even there, so you’ll feel it less but you will feel it. and you can bet that all the civic polities within a hundred miles of you will notice you and your peasants, and will take action to secure what they need.

          by the time anyone is bugging out of cities the rural areas will be picked clean and decimated.

            • “Do you live in a rural area?”

              surrounded by it, yep.

              “I do, and I totally disagree with your premise”

              maybe you’re in a special place. they’re around – a town near here will, if the grid goes down, be an unbeatable city-state power.

              but for most people I’d advise you just sit above or in view of where you live, and just look at it for a while, and consider what will happen grid down. eventually most people will get past their normalcy bias and see their situation for what it is.

          • No fuzzy thinking here.
            Just reality.
            I get it, as a racist, anti-Semite, incle, you dont get out often, living in your mom’s basement.
            You must have never been to the Mid-West, as driving down the road, or on decent in an airplane, you can see dozens of different crops within a few square miles.
            Driving down my road I can see corn, wheat, field peas, cows, sheep. I also see gardens, and people who never had gardens before do now. And people who did not have small livestock now do.

            Cities can have all the votes and money but they cannot eat either. The trade routes are not controlled by those in the cities as they are hundreds of miles away from the source of raw and even processed food. Once the JIT/BAU system fails as it will during SHTF, food stops coming into the cities.
            As for those “civic polities” hundreds of miles away, how are they going to get here during SHTF? You really think people have not already thought about that?
            Oh! Your “hardened survivors in RVs with their personal turnpike with fully staffed and supplied service stations/food stops every 25miles and still taking debit/CC” idea.
            Yeah, that is a reflection of reality.

            • “No fuzzy thinking here. Just reality.”

              normalcy bias.

              “I get it, as a racist, anti-Semite, incle, you dont get out often, living in your mom’s basement.”

              (laugh)

              “Driving down my road I can see corn, wheat, field peas, cows, sheep.”

              like I said, you’re in a slightly different situation (kudos for your foresight), but it will hit you too. and since you think it won’t, then harder than you know.

              “As for those ‘civic polities’ hundreds of miles away, how are they going to get here during SHTF? You really think people have not already thought about that?”

              you really think people have not already thought about that?

          • Every time I read all this bickering all I can think is “I hope these jack holes don’t live near me.” But, with my luck you just moved in down the street.
            I’m not saying where I am, but when the shizzy hits the fan for real or the JIT system shuts down we will survive, but I sure will miss chocolates.

            • Yeah, it is annoying. But Jarhead isn’t as smart as he thinks he is. He doesn’t know the difference between a 1 oz gold coin and a silver dime. As I write this the difference is about $1,850. He thinks that everybody that owns precious metals only have 1 oz gold coins. While that is true for some of them, but certainly not all. Jarhead’s knowledge seems to be limited to marine and farming skills. Certainly good skills to have but more skills are needed. Diplomacy certainly is not one of his skills and without diplomacy leadership skills fail.

  • If you want to keep people out of your yard you must mark your yard with anything. It can be nothing as long as it’s well kept or with flower or fence or whatever you want within the code.

    It does not matter. Whatever it takes to stand up in court to prove it was yours.

    • Lethal,
      When things get real dicey, as I think they will, the only courts we’ll have left are tennis courts.

      • Bluesman,
        “. . . the only courts we’ll have left are tennis courts.”
        That made me chuckle.
        Thanks for the morning laugh!

  • I read this earlier today and have thought about it since. So you live in suburbia on what… a quarter acre. Maybe a little more or a little less. Hundreds, maybe thousands of houses on some thought out grid pattern or design. Light retail. Some restaurants. You want to establish some security… to keep those with ill intent out of your yard? Maybe to the point of just making your neighbors place look more inviting. That may be the extent of your increased security. Signs, gates, little fences mean nothing to the really dangerous crowd. Have you not paid attention to what the mob does to security fences at government facilities or the drop-down security gates across businesses? I’ll likely take heat from this statement, but if you live in a suburb and something really bad and dangerous occurs, you are screwed. Easily cut off and with limited resources. Doesn’t matter how much freeze-dried food you have in the basement. Here’s some really good advice…. move… to a more secure location. Good luck.

  • Some of my thoughts on home area denial tactics and options

    While the following ideas are primarily for single-family dwelling properties, many can be modified for use in and around multi-family dwellings, given a bit of cooperation by the residents.

    It should be noted that almost all defensive measures, no matter how good, will lose effectiveness if there is no one on hand to ensure that the measures are simply gone around. Not so much physically, as one does not want to be in harm’s way, but the knowledge that there is someone there that is watching, probably recording, and often reporting what is happening while it is happening.

    There are methods of static defense where a place can be protected even if unattended, but they are much more expensive and difficult to accomplish. So, the ideas included here are for those that can have a presence on-site, even if it is through cameras and speaker systems. If the intruder knows someone is watching and listening it will change how they act.

    The barrier fences and obstacles were noted, both physical and psychological. If installed to make access difficult or controlled, without providing any concealment and especially no cover, they are some of the most effective deterrents available without using animals and very high-dollar electronic systems.

    All the systems listed were static systems. Installed at a point that protects an area and it stays right there. Unfortunately, there are many homes where using fixed systems simply will not work effectively, will be too expensive, or will not meet CC&R rules of many Home Owners Associations.

    Again, it requires being on-site and available to take some action before things reach the dangerous state, to have a system that can be activated from an acceptable ‘look’ to an effective deterrent.

    The planters, rather than being installed in a fixed position, are mounted on heavy rollers, with either some supporting guides or simply on a concrete patio that is part of the outdoor living area of the home.

    Since many homes are built so the lot slopes toward the street it is often fairly easy to set up the mobile barriers so they can be moved into position easily, with gravity assisting. Putting them back into their normal position would require some additional work, but the danger and time constraints of an approaching mob would not be a factor the way it is when danger is approaching.

    Many of the same types of deterrent plants can be used in containers just as they are planted in the ground or in fixed planter containers. It will take a bit of ingenuity to build the mobile containers to provide the barrier and still deny concealment and cover from anyone approaching. It will partially dependant on the general design of the home, the actual placement when not in use and when in use, and several other factors. It can be done, however. Landscape artists are amazing designers.

    Some barriers might simply need to be hinged on one end so the bulk of the barrier can be swung around to block the area needing protection.

    There could be places where the line of sight might not allow enough visibility to keep an eye on an area, so mirrors and cameras, with protected lighting may need to be installed to provide that visibility.

    While certainly not much of a barrier to a vehicle, children’s larger outdoor toys can be left in strategic locations on the lawn, walkways, driveways, and porches to be hindrances to approaching the home on foot. This is especially true if the items are linked with unobtrusive cordage so if someone tries to push or kick one of them out of the way, it will not move far and will disturb one or more of the others. Often causing the person to lose their balance.

    Which, while effective, like some of the other following ideas, could become a liability factor. Signage will help, but depending on the social climate at the time, these types of semi-active responses might not be worth it. Certainly, nothing lethal should be set up. That is always a mistake.

    Most places will not allow eye-sores such as children’s toys in the yard on an ongoing basis, but placing them if/when something is anticipated should slide through the HOA rule cracks.

    I would be cautious with wading pools and other water features even though they make excellent barriers. They can definitely be a liability during normal times, so think long and hard about having water-filled features running all the time.

    Sometimes things can change and new requirements might not be ready when needed, so stockpiling sand anywhere and everywhere you can, along with protected empty sandbags and a couple of quality hand sandbag fillers will provide fairly quick and easy additions and re-enforcements of areas that might need it due to construction going on, damage to an element of the protection, and simply to have alternatives in case something is discovered that needs to be addressed quickly.

    Now, as mentioned above, liability must be considered when defending a place. Nothing that even hints at a dangerous booby-trap should be considered. There are methods of area denial that are simple and more or less natural hazards in many places anyway. Again, signage will go a long way to protect one for some of these ideas. Warnings that a product is in use or a situation exists.

    Not very many people are going to have a clue as to what the warnings are about, so will ignore them and proceed.

    First, in areas where freezing temperatures occur, even though riots and such seldom happen during extreme weather if it is likely that they might, running lawn sprinklers every so often to build up a layer of ice on the yard will make footing very problematical.

    Second, in a like vein, though in weather in which ice cannot be formed, the use of a yard fertilizer applicator with powdered bentonite to put a thin layer of the clay on the ground around the property can set things up so a minute or two of running the yard sprinklers to get the bentonite damp, will result in a similar inability to stay standing if there is any slope at all. And often even if there is none. Wet bentonite clay is slick to a degree that you cannot imagine unless you have experienced it.

    The next three systems require some electrical power. As well as protective equipment for the user. A high-output, disorienting strobe lighting system can make it almost impossible for anyone to stay in the area and do anything remotely effective. There are liability dangers, of course.

    Couple the high-intensity strobe lights with a high-power disruptive sound system outputting sounds on the correct frequencies to make thinking, much less doing, anything and the overwhelming majority of people simply cannot stay within the area.

    Another highly effective area denial system is a fogging machine, with the addition to one of the extremely effective practical joke gagging solutions added to the fog-producing liquid. These formulations can cause the toughest person around to lose all control of the gag reflex and vomit triggers. People will do just about anything to get away from the source.

    Very effective PPE is needed to use these systems or you will be in the same condition as everyone else exposed. You must protect your eyes, your hearing, and your nose, or you will not be able to do much of anything either, other than try to get away.

    All of these suggestions should be looked at with an eagle eye as to legality in a given area, and decisions based on the individual’s needs versus responsibilities. You must do your own due diligence research for these systems, as there can be repercussions. For myself, I would rather still be around, with my home intact, than laid out on the ground, my house burning to the ground while emergency services are standing around taking notes.

    As always, these ideas are:

    Just my opinion.

  • Thanks everybody.

    The important thing is to not let them in the neighborhood in the first place, if you can help it. Unfortunately that may not be possible for a variety of reasons. Depending on how permissive the situation is, SHTF versus the law in force, there is more that you can get away with. Some of the suggestions in here are great and I cover some in other chapters. Other stuff had been cut, but just use your imagination!

    • because of the demographics make-up – our neighborhood knows almost immediately who’s a stranger and has questionable reasons to be there …

      screw the PCing – they get reported to the PD and they are the ones to confront and question >>> best trained for the job with the resources to get the job done correct …

      noooo thank you about confronting them personally – that’s how you land up in a kangaroo court ….

  • Rural areas are the SOURCE of supplies. It’s where the food and dairy are produced. And even the smaller rural residences usually have chickens, livestock, and gardens on the side (Also, in most cases, they already know each other by name and trade with one another–and are armed) Eggs for some squash, anyone? Nice place to be.

  • We live on an acre of land. The house is set back 2/3 of the way on the property. The whole perimeter is fenced. There is only one gate in the fencing, at the front, at the driveway. It is kept chained and padlocked 24/7. We have cactus and barbed wire as the thorny items along our fencing. There are no street lights out here. We have motion detector lights in strategic locations. We have lots of solar lights placed throughout the yard, letting us see anyone that comes within the vicinity of one at night. We have desert landscaping and no hedges. We have dogs. We have the resources to defend our home and property.
    —We are not concerned about rioters in our location. We live 50 miles north of the Mexican border. There is a dry wash located about 1 mile west of us that is frequented by illegal aliens traveling north to Phoenix. This is the reason we keep our gate locked 24/7 (besides not wanting someone opening our gate and letting the dogs out). Others in the neighborhood don’t, but we do, hoping they will go somewhere else if they see that our place is not as easy to access as others.
    —We haven’t been bothered in the 11 years we’ve been here, and hoping it stays that way.

  • Read a book many years ago about “cheap” ways to protect yourself. One item that stuck with me was putting old nails through the top of fencing. The idea was having someone injure themselves while trying to climb over your fence; the now or later of preppers: it will injure them now and may kill them later. On this same vein it may be a good idea to have nails/screws in pieces of wood to damage tires.

  • when it comes to burglars – don’t worry as much about the street/front entry to your property >>> unless they are pulling a big promotion type break-in posing as a contractor of some kind – they’ll be coming from the neighbors to the side or thru the back – RARELY are corner houses burglarized >>> WAAAAAY tooooo much open ground to the street ….

    “channeling” term isn’t used in the article but that’s the common for coaxing the unwanted to come thru a surveilled / alarmed / guarded opening in your defensive line >> this is probably what you’ll have with your side neighbors – privacy gardening & fencing with an opening for your friendly neighbor policy – all the better if you have no reason to be friendly …

    if you’re like me with a public alley in the rear – that’s your primary defensive position >>> every single problem I’ve ever had with security came from that direction – the alley actually draws the crooks to the neighborhood – don’t be the One with weak security

    • Glad I read the comments. I live in rural small town and am on the corner of a street and an alley. The house is on the alley side and the yard on the other. 10′ from alley to house. Considering building a cinder block wall and filling it. Don’t know where to start in securing the driveway off the alley at the back of the house.

  • The typical American house – single family home, wood frame + plywood construction, open front yard, easy access to a prominent front door – is very atypical globally, even in very safe countries in Europe. It was producted in a (now past) high trust society with open land, ample forests, and cheap oil, an entire country built around cars and trucks. Security wise, things can be done to put lipstick on a pig, but why swim upstream?

    I know this will be an unpopular opinion, but I think the best place to be is a gated – yet unassuming – high density community close to the city center of a small city with low crime, traditional values, and surrounded by farmland. The template is the walled cities of Europe, not the homestead go-it-alone fantasy.

  • Methinks a Korean-War vintage M1 Garand rifle would serve well, along with a terse warning, as only Clint Eastwood could deliver.

  • Yall are no different than the “covid” fear mongers imho. Instead of the “church” pushing spiritual people into monasteries rather than executing them and making martyrs, the “state” pushes possibly the true “patriots” into “survival” mode. Please tell me WHERE CAN ANY OF YOU HIDE from the technology these monsters posses which can probably by now see through the whole depth of the earth?
    So the stat uses the “fear of JFK’s murder” to literally twist minds to SELF “quarantine from BEING STATESMEN. “Hide in the woods” ain’t “safe”
    My dad who served as a radar man during nam told me many times even in the 70’s the military tech was 30-40yrs advanced than “consumer tech”, it would be NAIVE to think this gap has not become greater now.
    Mankind as witnessed by the western draw of europeans in the “founding” of this country shows us that MANKIND has been running from himself for thousands of years.

    Yes i do agree with a manner of prepare for worst hope for best.
    Stop running from yourself, in the grand tradegy which are these vessels they are nothing if you think about it. Maybe 90 yrs? What is 90 yrs compared to a billion?

  • Forgive me if I repeat the obvious.

    #1 Know your Neighbors. Some might be inclined to “Support” the Antifa sorts *THINKING* they will be spared as “Allied”. I know some who have “We support BLM” signs and such on their homes and cars. Betrayal really sucks. Some might be folks barely held together by Legal Drugs and those will get really scarce once things get weird. Some might be cowardly hotheads to cause trouble for ANYONE that tries to establish mutual defenses.

    #2 Know when your outclassed and need to flee. Talk to your family about that as THEY have input about “Dying in Place” vs letting the Insurance Company to handle the damages. Have several routes to escape and a realistic rally point to go to. An Armored Humvee with supporting Antifa might be a good reason to deploy defenders to cover the escape of the families.

    #3 Know your terrain. Are their natural pinch points where a tree or three felled would force automobile assault teams to dismount? KNOW that any obstacle with out covering fire is but an Annoyance. A no headlights Nighttime fast auto assault is a PROBLEM. There is almost nothing in a stick build home to stop bullets or flame weapons. Thus your defense has to be outside the homes. Fox holes, storage tubs filled with Dirt (Not forest duff-sod but hard dirt) can provide prone shooters cover, many other options. 360 degree observation, 24 hours a day required.

    BTW Trees DON’T stop FMJ Military ammo. I’ve chopped down a large pine tree with a M60 machine gun. Be prone behind that tree.

    #4 Communications. Yelling that they are over here doesn’t work well. A typical tactic is a mock attack here and the REAL Attack occurs over there while the “Defenders” all rush to the mock attack (who Flees with covering fire). THEN you have crazies with flaming bottles of “Peace” inside your housing area. I favor whistles with laminated simple code cards.

    #5 Once your doing the Leadership thing you will have insiders trying to undermine you and become the Top Dogs. Internal Betrayal is a thing “Et Tu Brutus” sound familiar? Adsorb them as your responsible Lt’s and hold them responsible for their duties. YOUR going to be held responsible for things like Safe Water, Sanitation, Food and repairing damages. Getting good Lt’s to handle these things is critical.

    #6 What are you going to Do when the Law Enforcement shows up asking what happened. Some cities last year found out that the JOB of the Police was to PROTECT the rioters (ah “Peaceful Protester’s”) FROM Angry Civilians. DO you KNOW your Police and District Attorney’s attitudes about Antifa-BLM?

    And folks wonder why I have a MAG in the woods of New England. Suburbs are dangerous target zones for terror attacks. I have three roads with bridges into my area. Otherwise your hiking through miles of woods to visit me.

  • A note on fences that I did not include in my first comment. The comment about nails in the top of a fence reminded me. Along with nails, things like broken glass, barbed wire, and razor wire are often suggested as toppings for fences.

    To me, they are all liability problems in today’s society. Also, most are easily defeated by simply throwing something over the top of the fence. And since they are well-known ‘deterrents’ people looking to get in will probably have an old piece of carpet or such to use for that reason.

    While short fences and open work fences such as chain link and metal post security fences will not really benefit from the following, any fairly tall fence, of solid construction so there is nothing to attach ropes or anything to, if a smooth, rounded top is installed, it makes it very difficult to get over the top.

    Throw a piece of carpet over the top and it will just slide off. Throw a grappling hook over, and unless it catches on something close to the fence or on the ground, it is simply going to come back over the fence toward the perp when he/she pulls on the rope.

    Now, if a ladder is handy, or the big no-no, trees up against the fence, it will not make much difference. If thorny growth is planted next to the fence, to keep the base of a ladder well away from the fence, it makes it much more difficult to use a ladder to get over. If the ladder is at a large angle it loses strength quickly. And needs to be so long that it is very awkward to handle.

    The rounded top does not need to be large diameter, it does not need to be on rollers, and it does not need to have other, additional deterrents such as were use on section of the Berlin wall made in a similar fashion. Actually, using bearings so the top of the fence is a cylinder that rolls, while making it more difficult to get over, results in gaps between the rollers. And even very narrow gaps can be used to wedge devices into place so a rope or rope ladder can be secured and climbed, thrown over the wall, and then climbed down.

    So, simply a smooth, rounded top, from one end of the fence to the other, at least ten or twelve feet above the level of the ground.

    If a ditch can also be incorporated, so much the better. That is unlikely, however, in urban areas. Now, there are ways to defeat the fences like this, but I will not go into them.

    More of just my opinion on area denial techniques for prepper properties.

  • Move. To somewhere that people who hate you can’t easily get to you. It’s what people who are oppressed have done since the dawn of time. Not an easy answer, though.

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