3 Easy Home Defense Steps

In a post-apocalyptic world, protecting your home and yourself should be your highest priority. You will no longer be able to rely on law enforcement to protect you and there are going to be crowds of angry, scared, unprepared people struggling to survive. Just because you took the time to prepare for the events that broke down society doesn’t mean that your job is done. On a daily basis, you will be tasked with protecting the supplies you so carefully stockpiled during better times.

Don’t Show Off

Just about anything you have acquired for post-catastrophic survival makes you a target for attack. Machinery, vehicles, tools, even your garden make you more susceptible to possible assault. Try to keep your possessions hidden from plain view whenever possible.

Fences work but make it pretty obvious that you are attempting to hide something. Instead, consider using natural ways to obscure your possessions. Trees, shrubs, and other foliage block the view of people passing through without making it seem too obvious that something is being hidden.

Make sure that windows in your home do not divulge what may be inside either. If your family is sitting at the table eating a home cooked meal and someone can see this event from the window there is a good chance they will try to join you; invited or not. Take a look at your home from the street to get a better understanding of this vantage point. You are better able to make changes after seeing for yourself what angry mobs of people will see as they pass your property.

As a general rule, home invasions tend to be a crime of opportunity. An open window or unlocked door serves as an invitation for criminals. A home that looks secure is less likely to be attacked by people looking for an easy score. More often than not, these people will move on in search of an easier target elsewhere.

Secure the Yard

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is a technique that relies on landscaping to make your property, and ultimately your home, less likely to be targeted for attack. Trees and shrubs can serve another purpose in addition to obscuring the view of your property.

By carefully landscaping your property, they also make it difficult for intruders to gain casual access. In fact, shrubs can be used to create natural funnels that force potential threats to move into defined areas. These areas should be easily viewable from your home so you have time to make preparations for an attack.

CPTED has another aspect known as Natural Access Control. This refers to the use of holly bushes or other thorny foliage near potential access points. It becomes very difficult (and painful) for an attacker to climb through these obstacles and into your window. It may thwart the attack completely. At the very least, it weakens the attacker making your counter-assault more effective.

Secure the Windows and Doors

exterior-door-2-300x300Sometimes all the landscaping and other perimeter defenses in the world are not enough to stop a determined attacker. Fortifying all the entry points into your home can keep attackers at bay long enough for you to plan your next move.

Doors are the first point of entry that any thief looks for. The front door should be a reinforced security door. Although intricate glass paneling makes your home look inviting now, those glass panels can become weak points in your structure during an attack.

There are thousands of security doors available that compliment the design of nearly any home without sacrificing protection. Installing a security screen door adds an additional layer of protection. The security door can be broken into but it makes access more difficult.

Pay special attention to the back door of your home. As many as half of all home invasion attempts originate from the back door because it typically provides additional cover for the intruder and the doors tend to be much weaker than front doors.

A plain wood or hollow-core fiberglass door is very common in the back of a home and both of these can be destroyed relatively quickly. Consider replacing your current back door with a more robust model similar in construction to your front door.

Be sure to use deadbolts on every exterior door in addition to the handle locking mechanism. Each deadbolt should be a Class 2 (rated the best for residential use) and the throw bolt should be at least one inch in length. Inferior deadbolts are far too easy to bypass with simple tools.

Even if the door is robust, there is another weak spot that should be considered. The door frame itself can often be unseated or broken with a swift kick or a battering ram. Most door frames are simply tacked into place using small finishing nails during home construction.

Installing three-inch screws into the door frame every few inches is an easy way to increase the security of these entrance points. Flimsy striker plates are another weakness inherent to most doorways. Replace striker plates with high-quality metal and use three-inch screws to secure these into the door frame.

Sliding glass doors are easy to break. Consider boarding them up with plywood to make access more difficult. The locking mechanisms on these doors are also notoriously easy to break. Place a wooden dowel into the track behind the sliding door to prevent opening if the lock is compromised.

Windows are the second access point that requires your attention. Even locked windows can easily be popped open if there is a gap big enough to force a crowbar or screwdriver into. Adding stoppers to window frames makes access more difficult. The stopper is simply a metal pin or nail installed in the window frame.

This prevents the window from opening more than a few inches even if the lock is compromised. Since these pins are not easily viewable from outside, the attacker will waste valuable time trying to force the window open. This time can be used by you to prepare a defensive stand or retreat is necessary.

Board up any windows that are not absolutely necessary to survival. Windows that allow in sunlight can help with passive solar heating techniques but other windows are not needed and create unnecessary access points during an attack. Securely boarding up these windows forces intruders to look for alternative entrances and increases the chances that they will give up and look for an easier target down the road.

If you live in a populated area you are much more likely to be attacked. Specially in the days immediately following the apocalypse, high-population areas are expected to fall victim to extreme violence and riots. Although these techniques can help ward off an attack, determined individuals will find a way in.

Consider retreating to a bug out location in a remote area. Attacks are much less likely in these areas and your chances of launching a successful counterattack are much better.

Taking steps to secure your home now is helpful after a catastrophe but can also thwart home invasions now. In the United States, a home is broken into approximately every 11 seconds. Fortifying your home and property now ensures that you are less likely to become a statistic now or in a survival situation in the future.


This article has been written by Bryan Wilde for Survivopedia.

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Latest comments
  • Good advice about using the shrubbery, especially thorny bushes, to force people approaching into a cone. The outlet of the cone should be in a good field of fire from a fortified window. If there is a blind side to the house, a fortified window can be installed to see what is going on on that side. A mini-cam could also be useful, but only if the power stays on.

  • One thing (sort of related) that I’ve never heard addressed is -if you shoot somebody or otherwise kill/immobilize them when they attack you on your property, what do you do with the body?? Can’t leave it there for long, although there might be some deterrent effect. What if there is no transportation other than a wheelbarrow? How far away is safe from cooties? Not to mention the smell!

    • thats actually pretty easy to address.
      First, find a depression not too far from the hone. A wash, gully or simple sinkhole will suffice. just a depression or low spot next to a boulder will do. Place the body in the hole, and then liberally cover it with lime. The lime will break down the body FAR faster than nature, and will control the smell till its decomposed. A few bags of lime should be a staple in any preppers arsenal. I suppose it would be far easier to NOT have to shoot anyone, but in a push comes to shove scenario (SHTF), it may be unavoidable. Best thing would be to find a good bug out area thats a bit more invisible/remote to avoid conflicts if possible.

      • Some tips from a Vietnam Vet LRRP (long Range Recon Patrol) team member. While serving in Vietnam (68-72) we learned from the Montagnard (mountain people ). Specifically the Koho and Bahnar tribes how to deal with these type of people. The “Yards” as we called them became one of our greatest allies during the war. Many were killed for helping U.S. Troops. The “Yards” were excellent at stealth and hunting in the high regions of Vietnam. They showed us that even though the crossbow was an ancient weapon, it was an excellent and decisive tool in the jungle. If a yard killed a VC soldier they had to dispose of the body so it would not be traced back to them. They would usually find an open pit or make a hole and cover the body with firewood and burn it as much as possible. Once burned it would be buried along with any trace of uniform or Id. They would first cover the body with with ants, worms, beetles and bugs then cover the body with large palm leaves. After this they would put a layer of sap from any number of trees over the palm leaves and then cover will all kinds of foliage and dirt to conceal it. The moist and humid weather plus the addition of sap and bugs provided a natural enzyme that broke down the body tissue without leaving any rancid sent to be traced by human or animal. Within 3 days the body was pretty much a cream colored pile of goo. After a week it was just a wet spot. In 3 weeks it was totally gone except for a few pieces of bone .
        The key to stealth was their hand made crossbows. No noise like a gun and totally stealth. A crossbow bolt placed in the correct spot would even prevent the person who had been shot from screaming out. Along with my standard firearms I have three high powered crossbows. I shoot a 2219 shaft bolt with Muzzy Broad-heads.
        Lethal can’t describe what it can do so quietly. Lime does work best to break down any remains. But it can still give off a decomposing scent adding sugar or any kind of liquid sap will seal the body off and keep any scent to a minimum. On several occasions the VC would go into a village that was aiding the US or the ARVN they would actually impale the village leaders or their wives for all to see. In one village it was reported that the VC actually used what was called “coronal cranial impalement”. In this case, a bamboo stake was supposedly thrust into the victim’s ear and driven though the head until it emerged from the opposite ear opening. This act was allegedly perpetrated on three children of a village chief near Da Nang.
        As a response to this some teams reverted to a really psychological deterrent by cutting off the heads of the VC and placing them on poles surrounding the perimeter of any encampment. From a psychological stand point this was really effective and one of the Cong’s greatest fears. If they came across one of these spiked heads in the night they would most times make a run to get as far away as possible. I’m sure this offends a lot of people but truth is truth. War is not a pretty thing. Neither is survival in a chaotic society. Lawlessness and roving gangs will think twice if they think the opposing force they might face is much larger than they would expect. 9 times out of 10 they will book out or move on. Either way be prepared to use what ever force is necessary. That’s all I can really offer you. The first thing you have to do is change your mindset.

  • The latest jump-start battery packs have 12V and 5V USB outlets, so that you can power a surveillance system if it runs on either of these. There are also quite cheap 12V TVs available now on the net, so you can keep a lot of things powered if you keep a 12V system charged, either from the mains or a solar panel. Consider an 18V battery bank to keep your computer running, and an inverter to keep your fridge running, or a DC camping fridge. Candles rather than electric lights might be a good decoy. 12V LED lights are available from camping stores. Camping stores are a great place to go for ideas.
    Many old houses have fragile window glass, so it is advisable to replace with new stronger glass otherwise they can smash it and walk straight in.

    • its virtually impossible to fortify a home to make it 100% safe. Best one can hope for is to slow them down a bit to give one time to mount a response. funneling intruders so thay they may be more easily managed like the article covers, and having a good early warning system will be a far bigger benefit than spending thoudands of $$ to try to fortify. A determined intruder WILL get in. Best if those energies were focused on dealing with THAT, IMHO. One of the very best things one can do is get a DOG. Best early warning system on the planet. Sure, its another mouth to feed, but its a mouth well worth feeding.

      • Great idea about the dog. We have 5 dogs, 3 of which are Pit/Chow mixes. NOBODY comes near our house EVER!!! Having said that…you need to pay attention for bad guys throwing over poisoned meat to kill them. They need to be trained to NEVER EAT FOOD FROM ANYBODY BUT YOU…EVER!!!!!

        Also, you may need to post signs around your property warning of security dogs being present. Just sayin’…now with all the nannies out there lookin to cause trouble whenever they can.

        Bougainvillea bushes do a great job of protecting your house and perimeter not to mention they have beautiful color flowers.

        Good luck Patriots and remember to IMPEACH OBAMA…NOW!!!

        • I agree with the dogs. They are great home alarms. I have read that posting a beware of dog sign can be used against you if your dogs bite someone, as you are posting that you know you have a dangerous situation. Just something to think about.

  • Just a friendly positive note. I’m retired from the Federal Government and I held the position of Physical Security/Antiterorism Specialist. What you are teaching is solid information. I’m impressed and happy to see someone is putting this inoformation out. Even if someone is not expecting economic collapse; this is great information!

  • Also, having a professional risk analysis and/or vulnerability assessment done, when finances and time are available, would help a a lot. Ideally, this would be best served at initial construction but is effective on existing construction as well.

  • Just to address what Eric Miller said about 12V appliances. You don’t have to spend money on 12V appliances unless you are planning on buggin’ out with them. If your’e setting up at home you only need an Invertor and charge controller for solar/wind power. 12V backups and Invertors are used worldwide. Especially, in third world countries where power is interrupted on a regular basis. Part of their daily life.

  • all this stuff is great, but if u have a stroke mom like i do, i;m in trouble, and only have a pistal to defend, also have direct deposit from social security and i’m afraid what martial law will do to our bank accounts, any ideas on this???

    • Miguel, In your case you will need to have help or will have to face hard choices. I too had a similar situation until recently. 1.) If you only have a single pistol; I hope it is an semi-auto, in any case you will need to have the ability to carry it at all times and have easy access reloads ready. Both on your person and stashed at different points as your defense plan allows. Many people think that one extra magazine is enough, it is not, you should have at least 10 reloads ready to go with much ammo in reserve. 2.) You will have to have enough food, water, sanitation supplies and “no power” supplies on hand as you will not be able to get them without much trouble and having to leave Mom alone undefended. 3.) Defend in depth: as much as you can and counter attack hard until you win or lose. 4.) Make delays within your defense in depth; can be large toys, trip wires, hard items, etc. 5.) If you have to have a redoubt; fire proof, bullet proof, and stock it. All this can be done for cheap or next to nothing if you are not lazy, and if you are, you are not going to make it anyway. 6.) ONLY leave enough money in the bank to pay up coming bills, take everything else out and keep some cash to cover up to 4 months of normal expenses, the rest buy what you need to survive what is coming in this order: water purification/storage, food stocks (you can easy and cheaply make hardtack/nature bars), security, comfort (hot/cold/disabilities) and pick a “cause” to live or fight for. Without a higher purpose few will survive when it gets to the end. Believe it or not, self preservation falls to the way side very early once a person becomes exhausted, hurt, hungry, alone and without a bright outlook. Good luck!

  • I don’t know if anyone else has covered this or not, but one easy (& cheap) way to help secure a doorway that opens inward-as most exterior doors do-is to drill a hole inside, & nearest to the middle of the door as possible, & insert a crowbar, or similarly heavy piece of metal into the hole you’ve drilled into the floor to keep your door from swinging inward in case someone wants to try to kick/batter their way in while your inside! I’ve seen this technic work wonders in some of the worse neiborhoods!! An intruder will at the very least spend so much time trying to get past this simple doorjam, that you’ll have the time you need to meet the attack on the otherside with whatever force you need to repel it furher. Can be employed on inside doors too if they be strong & heavy enough!

  • did not say anything about dark areas of your property back yards ect.

  • All ideas are great for keeping people out but as several have said “They will eventually get in”. Have a practiced plan for attacks from any direction. Panic Room?

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  • Since I live near the coast of South Florida, the best and safest bug out area would be to have a boat to escape to an uninhabited Island until things settle down. Experience from several hurricanes tells us that the interstate highways turn into parking lots and that the everglades is certainly not a hospitable place, considering the quicksand, insects, poisonous snakes, gators and pythons. Those roving bands of former food stampers usually don’t swim very well and you can easily pick off any of them who do.

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