So your hard work and vigilance paid off; you sacrificed, scrimped, saved and religiously laid in supplies and stored provision ample enough to see you through a crisis that you hoped would never happen, but lo and behold it has. Mercifully you and your family survived. Your house is intact. You should be okay, after a while.
Your basement and storeroom are bursting with stashes of food and water. You are full and happy, where others are hungry and hungrier by the day. You have lights and power thanks to your generator. Not many other buildings in town do.
You are warm and wearing clean clothes. Your wife still has prescription meds she needs. The kids even have enough batteries to run their toys. Life isn’t exactly good in the wake of the disaster, but your life is still chugging along better than most.
But people start to notice. You see the resentment in their eyes. You help as many as you can but eventually the handouts start to accumulate and you clamp off the charity.
You notice a few people milling around in the distance near the end of your street. Then a car slow-rolls by. The same car the next day. You fear the worst. What will you do if the criminal or the desperate come for what you have?
In this article we’ll explain precisely what you should do before, during and after a crisis to protect you preps from intruders.
Need is the Ultimate Motivator
Need knows no limits. It cares not for boundaries of culture. It effortlessly bypasses social standards and niceties. Over time, pressing need will erode manners and even virtues.
Need will make an upstanding man into little more than an animal. Need can turn friend into foe, and set blood family against each other in a frenzy of instinctive consumption.
Need is far removed from mere want. Want can be tamed by all kinds of things. Tamed by fear, tamed by discipline. Want can be driven off. Need cannot.
Real needs are things you truly cannot do without. Air to breathe. Water to quench thirst. Food to quiet the growling stomach. Medicine, when seriously ill or diseased. If you deny real need long enough, you die. This is a law of nature, and reality. Full stop. The end.
You and everyone you know and everyone you don’t are subject to the same needs more or less. Historically, this has always created tension, strife and confrontation when the “haves” hold what the “have-nots” need… and don’t have.
These poor wretches may be victims of circumstance, bad luck, poor or no planning, or something else. While not inherently bad or even nominally criminal, they probably have people counting on them the same as you.
You have doubtlessly heard that desperate people do uncharacteristic and equally desperate things. That makes them a possible danger. You cannot blind yourself to the possibility that these suffering folks may kill you to get at what you have, or what they think you have.
You might have more than enough supplies to enable you to be charitable in these instances, but how long will your supplies hold at that rate? Now double it. Or quadruple it. It does not take much imagination to see where such a chain of events will eventually lead. Never forget, if you feed it once, it will follow you forever…
You may not need to resort to force if you take measures to keep hidden what you have worked so hard to accumulate.
The Lawless and the Depraved
There is an entire other class of person who might seek to help themselves to what you own. These people are your box-stock criminals of various stripes, given new licentious impulse and freedom thanks to the confusion, chaos and lack of law enforcement oversight. Brigands and cutthroats will take to mayhem and wholesale robbery like a duck to water in such times.
Then there are the sickos, psychos and sadists. People who have been looking for an opportunity to dispense with their excuse of a civilized life. People that really just want to have a good time, and their outlet of choice is carnage.
Your arsonists, vandals and outright murdered occupy this bleak category, and they will, at long last, be able to act on their impulses without fear of institutional reprisal.
You cannot rely on police to protect you in the best of times, though their operative presence always helps to suppress criminality, and now you’ll be truly on your own until the current situation gets better.
Are you prepared to defend your preps and indeed your very lives from people who are, in all probability, far better acquainted with violence than you are?
You had better be. You will need the right techniques, the right tools and the skills to use them if you are to stand a chance of hanging on to what’s yours.
Protect What is Yours
Protecting your preps from those who would take them, whoever they are and for whatever reason, will be of major importance in the wake of a SHTF event. It makes no sense to invest so much time, effort and materiel into surviving a disaster if you are going to let some scumbag or needy Jonny come along and swipe it.
You can protect your invaluable stash through a variety of methods, both active and passive. Passive means will stymie attempts to locate your stash or prevent ne’er-do-wells from even knowing you have it while active measures will involve considerable risk to their own hides if they want the prize.
For a cohesive, multi-layered defense, you’ll need to use both. Passive efforts to reduce the chances of an attempt on your goodies while reducing the chances you’ll need to use active measures, and of course active ones to show the bad guys what for when push comes to shove.
In the following sections, we’ll discuss active and passive measures you can employ to protect your stash.
1) Lock and Key
One of the most straightforward ways to defend you stash is to lock it up, either all together or spread out across multiple secure storage rooms or containers.
How large your stash is and what exactly you are trying to secure will dictate what options you have available to you.
In the case of food, water and other supplies you can help protect them whether you are home or not by hardening the door, door frame, hinges and locksets you have going to your storeroom. If you have a smaller stash, a heavy duty container bolted down to the floor might be the ticket.
Things like guns and tools will obviously require more substantial protection. Investing in a proper safe and installing it according to the manufacturer’s recommended guidelines will go a long way toward flummoxing your would be prep-thieves.
Probably the ultimate setup in secure storage is the construction or addition of an actual safe room, and I don’t mean the run-and-hide kind of safe room. I mean a vault.
It sounds beyond the reach of most people, but it is really not too taxing or difficult to do, and may be more affordable than you think.
By bulking up walls, floor and ceiling with concrete or composite sheets that will resist attempts at breaching them and installing a proper vault door on a special frame, you can create a huge walk in safe that can keep all, or at least most of your preps safe and sound in one place.
But do keep in mind, any fortified container or structure can be breached if enough force is brought to bear or given enough time. Physical defenses like this only buy you time to respond, or ideally will encourage the attackers to give up for fear of reprisal or discovery.
2) Keep it Secret, Keep it Safe
Just like the One Ring, if no one knows about it no one will get to it except by blind bad luck. Well, your bad luck, I suppose it would be their good luck! At any rate, this is one defense you need to enact now and one that requires the most discipline.
First… SHUT! UP! Stop telling people all about your prepping ways, your food, your water, your guns, etc. etc. It is no one’s business but your own.
I get it, you want to share the good news and encourage other people to do the same, but you’d be sickened to know how far your name and reputation (along with other specifics) can travel playing Telephone.
Especially in the Info Age, where it is all too easy to make use of open source intelligence for planning purposes, you don’t want your name up on some would-be raider’s board in red sharpie with a matching pin on a map…
Second, take care to conceal pertinent preps and things like stickers, logos, etc. that will tip off others as that you are a “gun” or “survivor” guy. Trust me; the wrong people take notes on stuff like this.
Get all of that off your car, keep it off your clothes, etc. Lots of folks talk about being the gray man, but no one really wants to act like him, instead being content to wear some prepackaged identity and “support the brand!”
Lastly, take great care when buying and installing big-ticket preps like generators, or bringing home large shipments of anything from food to ammo. Things like that attract attention from neighbors and delivery people alike.
Keeping up with all of the above takes discipline, but it is something you must do if you want to remain off the radar when the balloon goes up.
3) Out of Sight, Out of Mind
You should make an effort to conceal your preps. And I don’t mean hide them under the bed or in the back of the pantry. I mean hide them from people who might potentially be looking for them.
I am talking about hidden room, secret compartment, buried in the yard kind of hiding. This works especially well if you leave a sacrificial “hidden” stash that is easily discovered to make your invaders believe they found what was being kept from them.
This can take a fair bit of work. Constructing secret rooms that stand up to more than casual inspection takes a fair bit of knowhow and more primitive methods like burying your stash, while effective, take a serious toll on your back when hiding and retrieving, and can also ruin your preps if not meticulously stored and preserved.
Something else you might try is “plain sight” hides, keeping valuables in entirely conventional but unexpected locations so that intruders never think to even look for them there. This works well for discrete items like guns, cash and other small, high-value things but obviously not so good for bulk items like food and water.
4) The Great Bamboozle
An advanced trick, but one that all magicians know works too well; misdirection and sleight of hand. If you have time and opportunity, you can setup in the wake of a disaster a scene of ruin where you keep your supplies.
A spill, a fire, a leak, anything that will “ruin” your stash so any would-be thief who sees it gives up and goes to look for greener goods. In reality, you are only using a small portion of set aside for the purpose materials to perpetrate the illusion of loss or destruction.
This could even take the form of the old empty shelves deception, where you have presented a storage solution someone looking for your supplies would expect to see- shelves, barrels, a safe, etc.- and have it left in an obviously empty or otherwise expended capacity; left behind detritus, packaging, etc.
Done well with a high degree of fidelity, this visual decoy will be highly convincing. In the meantime, your real supplies are hidden safely away elsewhere.
5) Over My Dead Body
The only active method of prep defense you’ll be able to rely on is exactly what you are thinking: manned, armed defense. Get ready to repel raiders! If you are going to protect what is yours, the perimeter, as it were, must be manned and you must be ready to tell your would-be robbers “no!” in the only universal language there is: force.
You can consider any home invasion scenario, especially one occurring in the aftermath of major SHTF event, to be a lethal threat. Most jurisdictions do.
Disclaimer: It is solely up to you to know, understand and adhere to your state and local laws regarding the use of force in self-defense. Consult an attorney as part of your preparations.
A lethal threat means you can respond with lethal force in kind in defense of life, not property, an important distinction.
Your most valuable weapon in a SHTF scenario will be your gun, whatever kind and variety you have chosen. Only guns afford you the ability to maintain distance from your attackers while projecting accurate lethal force of your own in a rapid manner, keeping you out of arm’s reach and hopefully beyond the reach of any melee weapons they are packing.
Their ability to process multiple baddies as fast as you can pull the trigger means you have better odds than taking on two or even three or more intruders armed with a knife or club.
Another good option is trusty pepper spray. Yep, bet on it. High quality, high-test pepper spray is ounce for spicy ounce one of the most important non-lethal defensive weapons you can buy, affording you both reach and a strong chance of knocking the fight right out of someone.
Somewhere around 90% of folks who get spicy treats in their face give up their malicious activity in short order.
Consider that you will have problems you need solved that don’t warrant the level of force a gun or knife brings to bear and you will begin to see the value of pepper spray.
What if you were facing down a fit and aggressive but unarmed man, or a mob of smaller but no less aggressive teenagers? Will you take your chances going to fists and feet? What, call the cops? Ain’t no cavalry coming, bub. A better solution is to give them The Solution: soak them one and all with pepper spray!
A jumbo “riot” model of pepper spray will afford you drastically more shots and reach than the tiny cans that are commonly sold for civilian carry on a key ring or riding in a purse or pocket.
You can even use those larger units that spray a fine mist or fog to “season” an area prior to the advance of your assailants. Moving into the cloud will quickly begin to degrade their ability to fight.
No matter which tools you choose, they will do precious little good without the skill and tactics to employ them to best effect against thinking adversaries.
The best way to acquire both is through training! Seek out, now, the best training you can afford with your chosen tools. Yes, even pepper spray.
You must take greater steps and invest more effort now to keep secure what you have worked so hard for later in the aftermath of a SHTF event. With the right combination of active and passive methods, you’ll hang on to what you need to keep you and yours alive.