HomePosts Tagged "tips for neighborhood surveillance"

In this post I want to go into what I think are three tactics you could use to even or improve your odds at defending your neighborhood. These should be relatively simple actions you can take that would give your team an advantage over anyone trying to do you harm and make the job of taking what is yours possibly too much trouble to try. Again, the assumption for this series is that there has been a national disaster that has rendered our nation in a crisis where there is no local rule of law.

Within that context, you would be responsible for maintaining the safety of your home at a minimum, but it would be smarter to join together with neighbors to provide security for a larger area, pool resources and provide a harder target to take advantage of by people who might try to do you harm. I don’t think many people will argue that it is wiser to be a lone wolf than it is to form a larger group for safety and security. Some of you may have already planned this out with a larger group. You may have plans to bug out to your remote retreat, but if you find yourself at home without the benefit of a squad of ex-Navy Seal buddies, what can you do?

Keep everyone on the same page – Effective Communications

Midland GXT1050VP4 Two-Way Radio

Simple radio communication is a huge force multiplier in a grid down scenario. Assuming electronics work, just having a few radios on hand will enable you and the rest of the team to stay in constant contact and be aware of anything that is happening around the area you are trying to secure. Most of you probably have radios that you use for camping or hiking or if you have children, even for play. I purchased a few Motorola FMS radios to be used just for cases like this when I need to stay in contact with my home and I am not traveling too far away. Another use was hunting so I could stay in contact with my hunting buddy out in the woods where cell coverage was non-existent. Midland seems to be the other big player in radios like this and they have a lot of models that are geared towards hunters.

We have used these radios for all sorts of activities and they work great. One thing to note is that almost all the radios I have seen will say something along the lines of that they have a 20 or 50 mile range and there is no way you will ever get that much distance from one of these radios. You will be very lucky to get 2 or 3 miles assuming you don’t have a lot of terrain interference. For more range you would want to move to Ham radio, but that is out of the scope of this article. For the purposes I am talking about here, neighborhood security; these FRS radios are a perfect option in most cases. A nice addition is to add an earpiece and microphone attachment like the Surveillance Headset with PTT (Push to talk) microphone. This will allow you to hear the radio communications in private which would be another huge benefit for roving patrols, guard posts or simply maintaining some form of stealth.

Newer models have upwards of 50 channels so you can take simple steps to talk relatively securely. These radios are on a public band so if you are on the same channel as someone within range, they will be able to hear you, just like any radio. It is possible to scan for communications on all channels, but this is probably not something you have to be too concerned with. Keeping radio discipline, changing your frequencies often and having different channels will make it harder for people to hear what you are saying. This isn’t foolproof I know so before you send me emails about how easy it is to hear someone talking, I know… It is just that you can still communicate effectively within the scenario I described above and it will give you an advantage over people without radios. Keep conversations to the minimum, use code words. If you have an enemy group scanning radios and taking that many deliberate steps to monitor and spy on you then you are in for a big fight anyway and military tactics will likely be your only saving grace.

Make them work for it – Restrict access

Trip Flare, Non-Pyrotechnic

I said yesterday that we don’t live in walled compounds. Each neighborhood in America has its own challenges with preventing access but there are steps you can take to slow people down or halt vehicle traffic entirely. You may not be able to stop them from walking through the woods, but you can prevent them from driving up with a U-Haul or speeding their way in past any security you have planned.

I walk through my neighborhood frequently and each time I go on my Neighborhood Recon I am among other things looking for the best places to set up roadblocks. In order to take advantage of the terrain you would want to set roadblocks up to stop vehicles that would prevent them from going around or over the obstacle. Where I live, we have lots of large trees that could easily cover the entire road and then some. The only thing we would have to do is chop down the tree. That limits us when it comes to getting out though and would be more of a worst case scenario precaution I think.

A different strategy in areas with trees like this would be to use 2 or more, preferably 3 trees to create a mini-maze that any approaching car would need to slow down to a crawl to make it through. You would arrange the trees so that each only takes up half of the road but the vehicle would have to weave in and around the obstacles to get through. This would allow you to still exit using a vehicle (assuming they still were running) as well as let people back in if they left in a vehicle. At the same time, it would slow someone down who was trying to get in sufficiently that they could be engaged with small arms fire if the threat was intent on getting in and your Rules of Engagement stated that deadly force was required in this instance. You could pretty easily block several roads in short order with this strategy. You could do a similar thing within the city and you would have the benefit of buildings to block anyone from going around the outside. You can also use cars that are probably simpler to move into and out of place but they can also be pushed out of the way by a big enough vehicle. Trees aren’t so easy, even for an MRAP.

What about people walking in through the woods? This is when roving patrols and multiple observation posts will be a good idea, but not always possible. It really comes down to how many people can watch these locations. If you don’t have enough, you will have to contract your perimeter to something you can manage with the available personnel. Another option would be simple trip flares. These would work at night to alert you that someone has entered your perimeter. These are great ideas, but they have their drawbacks too like only warning you if you can see them. You can purchase chemlight versions which are relatively quiet and trip warning devices that are audible using compressed air.

Cover all the angles – Defensive Positions

Once you have the roads blocked, you still have to manage any traffic coming to your roadblocks. Ideally, this would be an area where people posted on guard could maintain control of traffic while still keeping them safe potentially from incoming rounds at the same time. In a grid-down scenario like this the best thing to stop bullets is mass, but not many of us will have the ability to build or construct concrete pill boxes. I think for the prepper who wants to have a plan, but doesn’t necessarily need to build a bunker a simple foxhole makes a great idea. The design is straight forward and only requires a shovel. As an added bonus, you could add sandbags to the top and sides, but a well-built foxhole should protect you from any rounds that you could expect. What about those big trees you dropped on the road? Sure, those could work too, but only give protection from the front and could even be used as cover by the other side.

How many positions do you need? Again, it comes down to what you can supply with resources, but I think a minimum of one position at each entry way. This can be manned by one, ideally two people with a radio. If you have remote patrols outside of your perimeter or a spotter high up, they could alert the team that someone is approaching. I have considered the roofs of houses or hunting climbing stands as options to get a birds eye view of the approaching area.

If the scenario really descended into anarchy, you could also construct pits to trap men who made it through the outer perimeter. These would be lined with sharp sticks or bamboo and probably wouldn’t kill anyone but it would give them an injury that could incapacitate them.

If all else fails…

Have a plan B. You could be overrun by superior numbers or they could get the upper hand in some way. Have a fallback location and a rally point somewhere away from your location. This is another great use of the radios because everyone in your group can know what is going on with contact and the plan if you all have to bug out quickly to the woods.

In this post I want to go into what I think are three tactics you could use to even or improve your odds at defending your neighborhood. These should be

I wrote about forming the Neighborhood Watch on Steroids and described a situation where you might need to join together with others in your neighborhood to provide defense from people or groups looking to do you harm or simply steal what is yours. Long ago, there were no such thing as police officers who roamed around in their cars connected by radio and dispatchers who monitored a central 911 system. If trouble broke out, you and your family were on your own. You may have been able to rely on neighbors if they lived close enough but the defense of your property was a personal responsibility.

Flash forward to today and for a whole host of reasons our society has largely abdicated this responsibility to law enforcement. While there are many noble police officers out there, they are woefully outnumbered when it comes to people so while they may arrive in time to help, usually the police arrive after the drama has occurred and try to sort out the players as best as they can. This isn’t ideal when our society is functioning as it should be. A police presence could be non-existent in a crisis or disaster and it will be back to you and possibly your neighbors to defend your village or neighborhood.

Again, I am not talking about some snow that keeps people at home. I am talking about chaos where for whatever reason, law enforcement is unable to get to you much less protect you and you have bad people who are trying to get in. For the rest of these articles I am going to assume a national disaster that has rendered our nation in a crisis where there is no rule of law.

Rethinking your Neighborhood

Your neighborhood could be configured in all types of ways depending on where you live. In a larger city we might have boundaries that are simply streets. Your neighborhood might run a certain number of blocks ending at the river. It could be that your neighborhood is the traditional suburban subdivision complete with a sign out front. You could live in a gated community or your neighborhood might just be a dozen homes in the country.

Before you enact a plan to defend your neighborhood, it helps to think about a few things first.

Understand the Enemy – Who are you defending your neighborhood from? What kinds of threats could you expect to encounter? For the purposes of this article, we aren’t going to consider a professional military force. We will say that the enemy could be lone individuals or gangs who range from simply hungry and desperate to organized and violent. Depending on your location and the duration of the event, you might encounter all types of people.

Neighborhood map with icons.

Use Situational Awareness – This will be key to any defense and that is to know what you are protecting and who is trying to get in. The size of your defensive team will dictate how much area you can realistically try to secure. There are force multipliers obviously and we will get into those in an upcoming post, but you have to know your neighborhood better than anyone so that you can model your defensive strategies where you will have the most advantage.

In another post on Preparing your neighborhood against attack, I mentioned drawing out the boundaries. You may only be able to secure a couple of streets or even one street and it will help to draw out the streets identifying access areas, choke-points, natural cover and the assets you hope to control. Some resources you can use now are websites like MyTopo.com that will allow you to order a detailed topographic map of your entire area or Scribblemaps.com that will allow you to create your own maps and add symbols. Naturally, these would need to be taken care of before any crisis prevents you from access computers or the internet.



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Use the defenders advantages

I mentioned also that virtually none of us have a walled compound so it isn’t like we can march along the wall and shine spotlights down on anyone trying to access your neighborhood like some type of Alcatraz Island. You will have to use the advantages you do have though to give you and the rest of your neighborhood defenders the upper hand. If someone does come into your neighborhood you will be able to rely on your strengths.

You will have the ability to fight from cover and to create fortified positions. Again, this is assuming a SHTF type of scenario. What can you use? Depending on the disaster you can roll cars into position, refrigerators, use stones that used to form your ornamental garden walls. For me if this really was a disaster I would be looking to build my own foxholes and augment those with sandbags. Digging a hole is free and a lot of dirt makes great cover. With planning and enough resources (people) the routes into your neighborhood that you want to defend can be set up to be highly defensible.

You have the home field advantage. You know your neighborhood and where everything is. You will know where your partners are with rifles trained on the bad guys. Communication will augment this but we will get into that later as well. You will know where paths through the woods go, where fences are opened or where special defensive devices meant to injure or slow the enemy are hidden.

You have the ability to prepare. Anyone who is intent on coming into your neighborhood will only be able to observe from the outside what is going on provided you don’t have patrols outside of your area watching for this behavior. You can set up defensive positions, deploy obstacles to prevent unwanted vehicle traffic and reinforce as you go along. If this is a gang who is somewhat organized they could have experience offensively but they will not have had as much time as you to prepare your neighborhood to be defended against them.

I wrote about forming the Neighborhood Watch on Steroids and described a situation where you might need to join together with others in your neighborhood to provide defense from people

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

Get to know your neighbors now before any crisis.

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.

Supply Ideas

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.

– 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.

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