Security in the Suburbs

Those who work in population dense areas have found refuge in suburban settings and enjoy the many conveniences that go along with it. Let’s be honest, how great is it to have multiple coffee shops to choose from and grocery stores a few streets away from your home? It’s great – but this comes with a price.

As safe as we think suburbia is, it seems that crime is beginning to trickle into the so-called safer neighborhoods. In an article published by the Wall Street Journal, the writer believes crime is beginning to migrate to the suburbs.

The decline in homicides nationally has overshadowed a countertrend: rising murders in the suburbs, the communities that ring cities and have long been promoted as havens from violent crime. U.S. homicides fell sharply from 2001 to 2010, including a 16.7% drop in big cities, according to a federal Bureau of Justice Statistics study of the most recent, reported data…But homicides rose 16.9% in suburbs during the same period, according to the BJS. This came during a time when populations in both large cities and suburbs grew substantially.

If you live in suburbia, security starts from the inside out.  Your home should be a fortress, although not so blatantly that it catches the attention of casual passers-by, making them wonder, “What’s in there?” Here are some simple updates to harden your domicile against intruders.

  1. Doors should be sturdy and steel core.  The frame around the door is equally important.  Even the strongest door will not hold up to a determined intruder if it is seated in a flimsy frame.  Look for a sturdy steel door-jam. Always use at least 3 inch screws to anchor the components of your door and its frame.
  2. Install hardware for a door bar.  Envision the bars reinforcing doors in medieval castles or on barns.  By installing brackets into studs on either side of doors to the exterior of the house, you can have a bar that goes across the door from side to side.  The bar can be a very heavy piece of wood, or it can be iron or another metal. Unless you are in a high crime neighbourhood, this barricade would not be necessary under normal situations.  However, during a SHTF scenario, it will make your doors virtually impenetrable without the aid of a battering ram with a team of burly men behind it.
  3. Secure your windows.  Particular attention should be paid to windows on the ground floor.  Install a sturdy piece of wood cut to fit so that the window cannot be raised from the outside.  Consider coating windows with a shatterproof film.  Keep valuables out of sight from the windows.  If your door has a window in it, or if it has sidelights, a piece of decorative metal grid work can easily be screwed in over the window, making it impossible for an intruder to break the window and reach through to unlock the door.

Once you’ve made the house itself more difficult to penetrate, concentrate on making it less appealing to criminals.  They do not want to draw attention to themselves and will pass by homes that look more difficult to access.

  1. Install motion lights around the perimeter of your home.  If they are solar-powered they will also work in a SHTF and grid-down scenario.
  2. Practice defensive landscaping.  Use thorn-bearing plants around your home to make ground floor windows less vulnerable to access.
  3. Install cameras.  Even fake cameras give criminals the feeling they are “being watched” – just make sure they are the kind with a light on them.
  4. Beware of dog.  People who don’t have a furry friend can still make use of this tactic by posting signs on their property.  Criminals are looking for easy targets – fending off a growling canine can be dangerous for them and also draws attention to them.  Often, they will choose a different home to rob based on this factor alone.
  5. Fence your yard.  Enclosing your entire property with a fence is a deterrent.  Doorbells and cameras can be installed at the gate, giving you a safer distance from those who come to your home.  This added layer of distance can make a home invasion-style attack far more difficult to perpetrate.  If the top of the fence is “decoratively” spiked, it serves to make it difficult for someone to jump or climb the fence.

Don’t forget the importance of community in a SHTF or disaster scenario. To survive a shtf-situation, it will take a group effort. The neighborly way can extend itself far more than just helping a neighbor out in the yard. A group of people banded together with the same goal can defend far more effectively than each family for themselves. .

  1. Get to know your neighbors.  If you don’t already know your neighbors well, take the time to be more outgoing.  Say hello when you see them outside, compliment their landscaping and do little things to be helpful.
  2. Have a party.  Another good way to pull the community together is through social interaction.  Organize a block party or host a barbecue as a way to help people become better acquainted.  Getting to know your neighbors better is not only a good way to make allies, it’s a good way to subtly identify those who might be a problem in an emergency situation.
  3. Organize a neighborhood watch.  If you and your neighbors are already accustomed to looking out for one another, it won’t require as much additional organization if disaster strikes.
  4. Make a plan.  If some of your neighbors are like-minded, you might be able to do some advance planning, like choosing the most defensible property as a place to send the children, creating defense strategies for your cul-de-sac or figuring out the best way to patrol your immediate area.
  5. Don’t forget the importance of OPSEC.  No matter how much you like your neighbors, never put all your cards on the table.  Be sure to keep some things private, like your food stores, back-up weapons, caches and ammo stores.  If desperate people have to one day make decisions between their families or their neighbors, you can be certain that family will win every time.  They cannot take what they do not know about.

It is possible to survive in suburbia.  We can’t all afford to retreat to the woods or a bunker.  Take steps now to prepare and make the best of your personal situation.

 

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published May 27th, 2012
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  • Ed_B

    All of this is very good advice.  To it, I would add that a 2nd dead bolt located about 2 feet from the floor is an inexpensive precaution that increases the strength of a solidly mounted door considerably.  It will be FAR more trouble to kick in such a door and this 2nd deadbolt can be of the type that locks from the inside and does not have a key.  This is most useful for when you are at home but it also works well if you routinely exit and enter your home via an alternative route, such as a garage.
    Also, pretending to have a dog can increase your security but not nearly as much as actually having one.  Crime thrives on anonymity, so anything that brings attention to crime will also reduce it.  Even a small but noisy dog is an intruders’ worst enemy, as it is virtually impossible for a human to sneak up on a dog.  Unlike most people dogs sleep very lightly, so even tiny noises or a strange smell will get a dog’s attention pretty quickly.

    • Mr. Green Jeans

      Got a greaaaat IDEA. Especially if your mechanically inclined. This could be my million dollar baby and I have a friend already looking into the intellectual rights. So..here tis. Many people don’t want ‘ the dog’ and all it brings. However, what is u had a motion sensor that sets off a revolving(very important here) action between speakers(if possible) that sends off the deep throaty sound of a rotwilder or other big dog  growl. That way, it sounds like the dog is running from door to door or that there may even be 2***** big bad saliva drenched fur raised fur balls that are ready to rip your balls off (or whatever lol lol)
      if u even think of getting thru your dead bolts. hehehe. It also is not a bad idea to have an outdoor speaker that actually emits those doggie sounds once in a while, just to let the neighborhood know u have a dog, like leaving a huge doggie food and water bowl right outside those door hehehe. OPPS……this burglar isn’t even going to risk having his throat torn out. yeeaaaaaaaa 

    • Jan_S

      Not my silly dogs!  I’ve snuck up on them myself.  But once they’re awake, they are very noisy!  My brother’s neighborhood was targeted by thieves a while ago.  They hit every house except those with dogs. 

  • Jim

    My what a sad fearful world inhabits the space between your ears. 

    • Hobo

      It is NOT fear; it is preparedness and/or caution. Big difference. Use the space between your ears for something other than believing that the world is a wonderful dreamland. It is not. Conflict is the natural human condition. Read history if you don’t believe that. 

    • dennydean

      Unfortunatly for you Jim, things could get real bad real fast. It’s happening all over the world and it’s bound to happen here also. A few dollars towards precaution now, will prove invaluable later. This is nothing more than a simple test to sort out the wise from the foolish. 

  • charlie

    Unfortunately Jim, not wanting to believe something does not make it false.
     

  • Being stuck in a big city with no bug out opportunities  i am grateful for any advice I can get. Some would work for me, some would not but I think that makes me sensible Jim, not sad or fearful, just willing and able to take information in and sift to find what would work for me.

    I would far more prefer to be viewed as a little fearful now, than ill equipped to cope later. Emergencies come in all shapes and sizes and most people have the desire to be able to cope with such events.

    Take care 

    • dennydean

      Hi Lizzie, the Church of Jesus Christ of Ladder Day Saints has a 21 week program that you buy a little every week from a local market and hardware store for emergancy preparedness. You don’t have to join the church to get help to prepare just tell them you’re not interested and they will still help you get prepared.

  • max

    Jim, you may ignore the reality of the situation. however, you CANNOT ignore the consequenses of that reality. Next time you see brake lights on the car ahead of you, pretend they are not there. hope you have an airbag.

  • TeriK

    My 4 BIG dogs would never bite anyone, but I am the ONLY one that knows that!!  Visual deterrents are great!

  • Loren

    read about the Argentina financial meltdown in 2002. ggogle ferfal and spend a few bucks for his book it is the reality of urban survival.

  • Loren

    yea, I know, GOOGLE

  • Rebecca

    My neighbors are mostly retired elderfolk who don’t think anything could ever happen bad enough for us to need to prepare.
    We all look out for each other, for the most part. But my family and I, we’re young, the “children” of their “children”, and so there’s a barrier.
    Maybe WHEN something happens there will be some cooperation between all of us.
    Let’s see the only other “young” people on the street are the couple across from us and the mother beside us, who’s husband was executed in their home while he slept.
    …maybe they’ll be interested.

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