DOs and DON’Ts for Your Home Defense

There are many ways one could prepare for a SHTF scenario and one obvious concern for every prepper is the safety of his own home. We all know horrific stories about robberies from our friends or our neighbors; burglars and looters are not mythical creatures that exist only in nightmares, unfortunately.

Some people choose to install a professional security system. But not everyone can afford such a high-tech system; therefore one could try to improvise a DIY home protection system. If this idea appeals to you, read this article.

I bet you enjoyed the “Home Alone” movie series, but keep in mind that using booby traps to catch burglars in the act only works in movies. If you’re considering building booby traps for your home protection, you should consider a few things before doing so.

Firstly, a homemade booby trap may injure or even kill an intruder. And if it works, you can go to jail; it’s as simple as that. Even if this may sound strange to you, there are some legal issues you must be aware of before going full speed ahead with your DIY home protection system.


Here’s a short list of what you can actually do, legally speaking, about home protection:

  • You can build yourself a surveillance system, by turning your computer/web camera into a “Big Brother” kind of device, or a surveillance station.traps
  • You can install motion sensors that trigger motion lights or an alarm.
  • You can install security cameras in vulnerable areas.
  • If you’re not tech savvy, you can consider getting yourself a dog as a mean of discouraging burglars. There are even electronic dogs available, i.e. alarm systems that sound like a dog bark.
  • You can use pepper spray systems for protecting your house. They work just like a regular alarm, but instead of triggering a loud noise when a trespasser is detected, the potential thief will be sprayed in the face with a pepper solution, which is very unpleasant, to say the least. The good thing about such a pro-active mean of defense is that it’s a non-lethal one; hence it’s perfectly legal to use.
  • You can use a silent alarm system that will send you an SMS or it will call you when an intruder is detected on your premises. These types of (cheap) security systems work by detecting motion or body heat and since it’s silent, you can alert the police or you can catch the thief in the act.
  • You can install tripwires in sensitive places. This is the low-tech solution for an early warning system. Attaching a noise-maker device on the tripwire (like a chime or a bell) will warn you in advance about an intruder.
  • If your property is protected by a fence, you can try to make that fence hard to scale by planting nails on top of it, or broken glass; something that will hurt the intruder. Of course, all fences can be breached, in final analysis, so don’t bet your life on it! Also, if somebody is injured on your property, even scaling a fence, you’re legally liable if you can’t prove that he was committing a crime.


Now, read carefully what NOT to do, when building yourself a DIY home-defense system.

DO NOT build actual booby traps inside of your home. They can kill or cause severe injuries to innocent people and they’re actually completely illegal. Yes, you will go to jail for booby trapping your home. There are countless unfortunate stories about when booby traps harmed family members or friends.

DON’T install booby traps that work by triggering a shotgun, or any other weapon for that matter. Even if you’ll manage to stop a burglar in that way (maybe even kill him), you’ll be held accountable for manslaughter, not to mention that you could accidentally kill a child or the cable guy.

Basically, any artisanal devices that can severely injure or kill a person are to be avoided. They are way too risky and work indiscriminately and you’re legally responsible if anything bad happens.

You might end up killing yourself by mistake if you’re booby trapping your own house. This scenario has actually happened more than once and it’s maybe the most ridiculous way to die.


This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

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Written by

Chris Black is a born and bred survivalist. He used to work as a contractor for an intelligence service but now he is retired and living off the grid, as humanly possible. An internet addict and a gun enthusiast, a libertarian with a soft spot for the bill of rights and the Constitution, a free market idealist, he doesn't seem very well adjusted for the modern world. You can send Chris a message at editor [at]

Latest comments
  • If it is truly a SHTF scenario, then all your advice is worthless. Electronic crap may all be fried, and there would not likely be enough law enforcement to send ANYBODY to jail for ANYTHING. Even if they wanted to, which they probably wouldn’t since you are helping to solve their problems.

    • I agree with you, When SHTF happens the cops are going to be doing what every one else is, that being protecting themselves and theirs.

    • If you prepare correctly, say buy a generator and put a faraday cage around it, your defenses may still work, but keep in mind that sensors and cameras are also EMP fragile, so you are better off using low-tech stuff.

  • First off let’s hope we don’t get in this situation,when hunger strke people become desperate and will resort in unsinkable acts,the only way to stop them is a fortress (so to speak) .and that what wealthy people are doing
    And Government official will do,the rest of us will be in trouble.Alarm company or system are useless when
    all utilities are shutdown Only defensive measure will keep trouble away ,pepper spray is good as a deterrent but how much you need when the Government will be shutdown .All measure will only be temporary at best.May God keep us as human helping each other so we can survive what is coming .

    • What is coming ? Did I miss something??

  • Definitely don’t build bullet-based traps. One day you will be in a hurry / upset / whatever, and you will nail yourself. DIY pepper spray traps based on a spring and pin mechanism are quite doable though.

  • Hi Chris I’m a 46 year old man who has lived a life above board for most of my adult life. A few years back a “good” friend of mine allowed me to use his name to turn on some utilities, electric, gas ect …My wife and I had hit some horrific financial hard times and I reached out to a guy I had known since 1982. He gave his permission without telling his wife, well after I assume trying to get credit she found out. He went into denial mode and called their local pd and they in turn contacted my local pd and they issued a felony warrant for my arrest! One year from the date of this being turned over to the authorities the US Marshalls showed up at my address, put my daughter in cuffs and threatened her with obstruction until she would tell them where I was. After an hour or so of drama, I came home from work and they were at my home with my daughter in handcuffs, and their goons was standing outside my home with automatic weapons!!!! Me!??? I’m not a criminal, I avoided trouble with the law at all costs! My question to you is how do I get off their radar?? I went to court and they dropped it down from a felony to a misdemeanor theft charge as long as I paid 1300 dollars in restitution, and I paid it to get this shit out of my life !!! I won’t go into any more details on here but, damn!! I still feel the embarrassment, my landlord evicted me, all my neighbors watched, all this took place in my front yard!!!

    • I really don’t know but consult a lawyer first and at least file a suit for whatever your losses are plus emotional damage to kid etc etc. you had verbal agreement. I’m no lawyer but that is what I’d do.
      Mayb too late tho, after accepting misdemeanor. I would have fought that too. Course I don’t know whole situation so can’t really say. And I know how you felt about getting issue resolved. First off pay for an hour of lawyers time for consultation.

  • The idea of constructing any kind of booby trap to ostensibly protect your home and/or any other property is absolutely beyond asinine. I once watched something on “Sixty Minutes”, about a guy who’d had his store broken into far too many times, and decided to construct a booby-trap. One night, a repeat-burglar broke into his store, through the roof, got caught in the booby-trap and was killed. The store owner later said “Had I known it would kill somebody, I never would have put this booby-trap up.”

    The same thing goes for setting up a gun to go off when somebody opens a door. Booby traps, even home made ones, are far too risky, in terms of lives and the law.

    • What would you do then, if you were in his same situation?

  • How do I set up a pepper spray trap? The meth heads have been all over my neighborhood stealing and breaking into homes..