This is the fifth and final article in a five part series on Neighborhood defense and security in a grid down scenario. In the first article, Neighborhood Watch on Steroids I listed some possible reasons and different types of threats you could see that would compel you along with your willing neighbors to take steps to prepare to defend your neighborhood. In the second article we started looking at beginning to think about your neighborhood from a tactical perspective and how you can take advantages that you already possess to give you as the defenders of your home turf advantages over anyone trying to get in. Next I discussed gathering intelligence and thinking about how you would respond to threats you may see walking or driving down the streets towards your neighborhood followed up with ideas on how to increase your odds of survival when it comes to defending your neighborhood.
In this post I want to go into what I think are some logical weapons and supply considerations that would give you an upper hand if you were faced with a situation where you were trying to defend your neighborhood. Just like all the previous posts in this series the assumption is that there has been a national disaster that has rendered our nation in a crisis where there is no local rule of law.
Before I dive in though I want to clarify what these posts were meant to be as I have had some great questions and dialog on the previous posts. These articles are simply thoughts and suggestions from one man regarding a hypothetical event in our country that virtually no one has ever lived through. These are my ideas based upon reflections I have had when I considered potential realities for our country with our current society. That doesn’t mean they will ever come to pass. It also doesn’t mean that what works for one person will work for everyone. I try to give ideas and my reasoning behind those ideas. If none of that works for you, no big deal. The key is to start thinking about how you would solve this problem yourself with your resources and limitations that will most likely be different than mine. I believe the simple act of thinking about a scenario like this could give you an advantage if you ever find yourself in a situation where you were faced with the prospect of defending your home or neighborhood from people in a Without Rule of Law scenario.
If you don’t believe that would ever happen, this series probably doesn’t do anything for you. There are many of our readers; actually a strong majority that do believe that some event could cause a situation just like this. In a recent unscientific poll I conducted as part of a giveaway, the number one response to the question “What is the SHTF Event you are prepping for?” was Economic Collapse. Do you foresee or are you concerned with a possible Economic Collapse in our future? Maybe you don’t but you can see the value in preparing just in case. Could an economic collapse cause widespread chaos and looting? Could an Economic collapse cause people in your town to start acting without regard for laws since there would be no law enforcement anymore? I think it is possible with the right circumstances and that was the motivation behind this series.
What do you need? – The People Problem
One of our readers pointed out that to defend a neighborhood you would need people and lots of them. I agree that the more people you have the more able you will be to defend your neighborhood. I also agree that the more people you have the more resources you will be able to pool, but there are a couple of questions. How do you get these people in the first place and how do you convince them that it is in their best interests to chip-in so to speak to help protect the neighborhood? Do you run around now like Chicken Little talking about the impending doom and risk alienating everyone?
This is a tricky issue because I don’t believe that too many people can convince their neighbors that because of (insert your favorite grid-down threat here) we need to band together now to plan and prepare to defend your neighborhood. Now I know that some of you have survival groups already and some even have retreats and plans to bug out to the woods when the SHTF. You train together every weekend and work on getting your cabin ready with supplies, skills training and weapons practice. You are the exception.
I believe the overwhelming majority of people who call themselves preppers keep to their selves. You might have a buddy or two, but no retreat and no constitution governing how your survival group will function once the grid goes down. Even if you did, these aren’t your neighbors. I know there are exceptions, but I would bet money that most preppers are on their own to a large extent. Now add the rest of the world in there who isn’t prepping at all and you have a ton of people who will not be actively ready for anything like this. They don’t see a threat and don’t care even if they do. You won’t convince them now without jeopardizing your own security. So what can you do?
Hurry up and wait
Wait. Yes, I think in this instance you would need to wait until something happens that is real unfortunately. It would need to be something that started affecting people before they would understand and believe anything you said. I believe that if we had a crisis like I described above, you would have many more people who only then would see the rationale behind your words. Does that mean you live like a hermit until something bad does actually happen? No. It certainly doesn’t mean you should not try to help and encourage others to prepare for disasters if the opportunity arises. I think what is useful is getting to know your neighbors but focus on knowing them not converting them to preppers and drawing up a neighborhood defense plan. Get to know them as people now before anything bad happens. You want to have relationships with people first before you find yourself needing to place your trust in them if the SHTF. It may turn out that in the course of getting to know your neighbors you find out they have similar thoughts and concerns as you. This is useful information but remember to think about OPSEC when sharing your thoughts and preps. A little discretion now could save you later. If you find after a lot of time that you really do have a shared values, thoughts, preps then that person might be a great choice to form some sort of survival group with. I just wouldn’t lead with the neighborhood defense plan or offer up how the sky is falling.
While you are waiting for a reason to rally your forces, should you sit idly by not doing anything? No, I think each individual can continue to make preparations for disasters like this so that you are prepared in the eventuality that something does happen. Most items on my list below have other uses so it isn’t like you are only buying supplies for the grid going down and you may find yourself able to help a neighbor through some issue while the grid is still up and peachy.
Weapons and Ammo – Within reason. I think there are several weapon options that make sense for general home defense, hunting and even grid-down disasters. In my post on the Top 5 Firearms you need to get your hands on now I explain what they are and give my reasons for each. I don’t think you need an arsenal but the assortment I mention in that article should do just about anything you need. Now, if it comes to neighborhood defense there are some options better than others in my opinion. For starters, a battle rifle like an AR15 or and AK-47 would be my first choice primarily for range and effectiveness. Just about any good hunting rifle could pull double duty as a sharpshooter weapon by someone in an over watch role provided they were a good shot. You probably do not want to rely on pistols or shotguns as their range is more limited. They are better than nothing though. A .22 rifle while I know can kill people would not be my first choice for a defensive weapon. I know others will disagree with me.
Make sure you have more than a box of ammo for each too. I have my personal minimum ammo counts listed as well as an ammo inventory spreadsheet. Do you need 50 guns? No, but there is nothing wrong with that if you have all the other bases covered first.
Radio Communications – Radios are a great equalizer. You can relatively cheaply provide communication options to your entire group just by purchasing some good radios.
Food – What is food doing on the supply list? You want to make sure you have enough to feed everyone in your home at least so that you aren’t forced from the safety of your neighborhood to find more. By having food supplies you are eliminating one reason people will be wandering around if we do have an economic collapse.
Binoculars – Get a decent pair of binoculars to see what is going on or coming your way. If we never have a crisis you can watch birds or do like I do and watch my neighbors doing foolish things with fire in his yard. Better than TV.
Trip flares – Its probably more accurate to call this intrusion detection. The two options I came across are non pyrotechnic so there is no flare really. The first alerts you by breaking a light stick. Great for areas where you have a good bit of visibility and the glowing chemlight will alert you. These can be seen for a pretty good distance in darkness. The other option uses a CO2 cartridge to create a noise that will alert you too. Don’t buy anything like this until you are squared away on Food, Water, Shelter and Security
Chain Saws – Chainsaws sure make the work of cutting down those trees much easier and you never know when you will need one. If you live in ‘the city’ a chainsaw might not get much use. Our yard has trees in it, but we aren’t cutting them down so I don’t have a need for a chainsaw in my day to day life. This is another nice to have for me I think but extremely valuable if the grid goes down. You don’t want to rely on an electric chainsaw if there is no power.
Shovels – As well as a good selection of regular hand tools will come in handy. Shovels will be useful for digging in the garden, digging your defensive positions and digging your sanitation trenches to keep waste from making everyone sick.
Work Gloves/Heavy duty boots – I have talked to other readers before about this subject and even wrote an article on making sure you have the right footwear for the occasion. If the grid goes down, you do not want to be running around in flip flops ladies. A sturdy pair of boots will be what is needed when you have to survive and staying pretty isn’t the most important part of the day. Men too should have a good pair of boots, some good work pants like Carhartt and sturdy gloves. The same goes for cold weather gear and rain gear. Those flimsy raincoats they sell now (yes I have one too) won’t keep you dry in a real rain for long.
Sandbags – Sandbags are relatively cheap. You can buy sandbags in bulk for .36 cents each and they have a ton of uses. This is on my list to buy once I have a few more of the essentials out of the way and I plan to put them in the shed until they are needed. Sandbags can be used to secure your home from water if it is flooding and they can be used to stop rounds from penetrating your location.
Power – You will need a source of power to recharge those radios you purchased as well as all sorts of other things. You can purchase smaller solar chargers from a lot of places or work your way up to a 4 panel system. Gas will run out eventually and you probably don’t want the noise of a generator running if you are trying to keep your neighborhood safe in the first place.
Concertina/barbed wire – Concertina is also called razor wire and you need specialized gloves to work with this but if you are willing to do that, it offers a great deterrent. Traditional barbed wire is much easier to use and it won’t slice you open but still can be used as a means of keeping people out or tripping them up. You can always use it as fence too…
Night Vision – Probably the single most important thing you can buy and one that almost nobody has. I don’t have any night vision but I recognize their extreme utility. When it comes to force multipliers, there aren’t too many higher on the list than being able to see your enemy in pitch black darkness, but they aren’t practical for everyday use in any capacity. These are designed for only one reason and they are very pricy. This will be one of my last purchases unless I win the lottery but if money was no object I would have a pair or two. You can offset the cost by only purchasing a weapon scope with Night Vision, but then you can only use it if your weapon is up.
Hopefully this series was helpful and if nothing else gave you something to think about. I hope I was able to give out some ideas about how you could start thinking about neighborhood defense. Above all, I hope that none of us has to ever worry about it in our future.