In a SHTF situation, you may need to defend your home and your preps from looters and other criminals seeking to capitalize off the chaos. You can begin fortifying your home before a crisis hits to turn it into a difficult target for would-be intruders who want a piece of your stockpile.
There are varying degrees of home fortification. Some of the more extreme measures – like laying booby traps – you wouldn’t want to implement until all hell breaks loose, but you can start preparing with some of these home defense strategies today. That way, your home will be a ready fortress for you and your family when SHTF, and in the meantime, you’ll be less likely to suffer a break in or home invasion.
While you may not have a castle and a moat, by following the advice below, you can make your home more secure and deter potential criminals.
First Things First: See Them Coming
If potential intruders are stalking your home, you’re going to want to see them coming. Security cameras on your property will let you know if any unfriendly faces are creeping around your home so intruders can’t sneak up on you. Motion-detecting lights also make it difficult for burglars to take you by surprise. Even a simple peephole at the front door will let you know if it’s a neighbor who’s knocking or a door-to-door solicitor you’d rather ignore.
Secure the Perimeter
The hope is would-be criminals never get the chance to reach or enter your home, and that starts by securing the perimeter. Any physical barrier is one more obstacle a criminal needs to overcome in order to gain entry. Installing a fence around your property is a good first line of defense to keep people out. Plus, it allows you do further fortifications privately. In a SHTF event, you can add barbed wire to your fence to make it even more difficult to climb over.
Threatening signage is another simple way to discourage people from stepping foot on your property. Common but effective signs include “Beware of Dog” and “No Trespassing: Violators Will Be Prosecuted.”
Even better than a decoy dog sign is actually having a guard dog on the premises. Statistically, neighborhoods with more dogs have less crime, and dog ownership is associated with reduced property crime rates.
Allow Plants to Do Some Dirty Work
Plants are a great natural barrier that make it more difficult for trespassers to access your home. For defensive landscaping, choose thick vegetation – especially if it has thorns or spikes. A blackberry patch or cacti hedge is a painful hurdle for a potential thief to overcome. It’s also smart to place thorny or prickly plants beneath first floor windows or along the fence line.
Set Booby Traps
You’d want to reserve this measure for a true “end of the world as we know it” scenario, otherwise, you could accidentally injure friends, neighbors, or visiting loved ones. If you do have a plan in place to set up booby traps if SHTF, make sure your friends and loved ones know the drill so it’s only unwanted visitors who are in for a nasty surprise. Booby traps to consider include trip wires, pit traps, and snares if the criminals are on foot. If you want to roll out an unwelcome mat in the driveway for unwanted traffic, you could use tire spikes.
Reinforce Doors and Windows
Hopefully, your outdoor measures are enough to keep criminals at bay. In the unfortunate event that they’re able to make it to the house, you’re going to want to make it as difficult as possible for them to gain entry. That starts by reinforcing your doors and windows. Choose solid wood or metal doors, and don’t underestimate the power of a good lock. Have multiple locks on doors, including deadbolts. Adding a door stopper or door brace is another layer of door defense. You can also reinforce the hinges and strike plate with longer screws.
When it comes to windows, if you really want to beef up security, you can install bullet proof glass. Secondary options are tempered glass and window film, both of which make it harder to break. If you have a sliding glass door or sliding windows, put a wooden dowel in the track as an added security measure.
If you choose to install burglar bars, make sure they have built-in safety mechanisms that allow you to open them from the inside in case you need to make an emergency escape.
Home Defense Lessons from The Three Little Pigs – Don’t Forget Other Entry Points
While it’s important not to overlook the obvious like your front door and first floor windows, don’t forget to block off other potential entry points as well. A determined criminal may turn to your doggie door, or, like the Big Bad Wolf in the Three Little Pigs – your chimney. Make sure you’re able to block off any potential entry point looters could use to access your home.
The other home defense lesson to be learned from The Three Little Pigs is that brick worked best to keep out the dangerous unwanted guest. A home made of brick, stone, or concrete will be more secure than homes of other materials. If SHTF, you can stack sandbags or cinder blocks in front of vulnerable walls.
Last Line of Defense
Hopefully the safety measures above make your home secure enough that thieves are stopped in their tracks before they’re able to set foot inside, but you should also prepare for the worst-case scenario. Equipping your home with a safe room serves as a last line of defense if all else fails. Additionally, you also need to train for self-defense and have an escape plan in place in case things go south.
Final Thoughts on Home Fortifications for SHTF
Disasters make people desperate. There may come a time when the rule of law fails, and you need to protect your family and what’s yours. Boost your home’s defenses now by installing security cameras, securing your perimeter, protecting your property with prickly vegetation, adding a four-legged guard dog family member, fortifying doors, windows, and vulnerable walls, setting up booby traps against intruders, and building a safe room as a last line of defense. These fortifications should be enough to secure your home’s status as a safe haven if SHTF, but it's also wise to prepare for every contingency and have an escape plan in place.