Tag Archives: home invasion

Stripped Thread Repair & Great Links: Ammo Care, Intruder Home Defense

16 Apr

Just sharing some great information I found on other prepper websites.

David Nash (TNGun.com) talks about the best home defense plan. This is really important: the best thing is to arm yourself and stay positioned to protect your family. Call the police from a safe and protected position. Don’t go searching room to room for an intruder chasing them around the house. If you ask anyone with extensive police/military experience, they’ll tell you Nash is right. If you’re pumped up with adrenaline, it’s difficult to stay put, but it’s the right move.

In the video, there is a hall. This is the best situation. If all bedrooms are together and a hall channels an intruder, you’re very safe. No burglar is going to run down a hall with a homeowner with a shotgun waiting on the other end! Stairwells are another defensive impediment. Reminds me of the end of the movie Rolling Thunder. Good film, I recommend it.

Back in Medieval times, when a man’s home really was his castle, after entering the castle, there was often a long and narrow corridor. Not like today’s homes when you open the door and have full access to the living area. This was for defense. A larger force would be constricted. A small number of defenders could hold off a much larger force.

I searched online to find a picture of this inner castle corridor, but all I found was some castle defense game and yet another prepper TV reality show “Doomsday Castle.”

Here is a neat presentation about castles thou.

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On TNgun there’s a short post about repairing a stripped screw hole in wood. The old toothpick trick. Another option is to drill out a hole and hammer in a tight-fitting dowel pin. You can purchase dowel rod at a hardware store. Use glue, if you want. Predrill the new screw hole.

If you need to reuse a wooden screw hole, give threaded inserts a look. They come in different sizes and allow using a machine screw.

I mention this gizmo in the book for securing portable air conditioners to windows for those who remove ACs after summer.

As summer approaches, if you use a portable air conditioner, don’t forget to adequately secure it to the window frame and window. To many people just set the AC in the window frame. A burglar just pushes it into the house and crawls in the opening.

Metal bolt holes strip out too. If you do metal work or car repair, invest in a good tap and die set. For some holes, you can drill and tap to a larger bolt size. Another option is to use a HeliCoil threaded insert.

I didn’t have time to search and find a good video demonstrating its use, but here is a list from youtube of HeliCoil videos:
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=helicoil

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Some really good information about the care of ammunition on ThoughtfullyPrepping. Cartridges on a leather gun belt look romantic, but it’s not the best way to keep your ammo protected from the elements.

If you shoot spring piston air rifles, you should know about the unique recoil of spring piston air rifles.

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The Three To Five Ds of Burglary Prevention (Home Hardening Techniques Continued)

18 Oct

In previous posts we looked at the nuts and bolts of hardening doors. In this post we’re going to step back and take a more theoretical look at protecting your home from burglars.

Police officers and the military like to talk about the three to five Ds. How many Ds there are depends on who you talk with. We’ll compromise and choose the number 4. The four Ds of home hardening are:

1) Deter
2) Detect
3) Delay
4) Defend

There is overlap between the Ds. A big dog barking is a strong deterrent to a burglar. His barking alerts people to somebody’s presence thus helping detect the burglar’s presence. If he takes a bite out of crime, he’ll also delay and defend.

1) Deterrence. Anything that encourages a burglar to choose another house to burgle is a deterrent. These are common deterrents:

a) Somebody is home and answers the door.
b) A barking dog inside the home.
c) Multiple strong deadbolts, indicating it might be difficult to get past the door.
d) A sign saying you have an alarm system. From the burglar’s perspective, why take a chance?
e) Video surveillance cameras. Burglars don’t want to be detected. They’re usually camera shy.
f) A lack of concealment around doors and windows. More chance of being spotted by a passerby or neighbor.
g) Lights inside the house or a TV on indicating that somebody might be home.
h) Vehicles parked in the driveway, indicating somebody might be home.

Deterrence is the best because in the end it means you’re home won’t be targeted. There are more subtle ways to deter a burglar. A fenced in backyard asserts territorial rights. It sends a message that strangers should knock at the front. Somebody in the fenced in yard is more suspicious.

2) Detecting. The idea is that burglars want to get in and out and not be seen or heard. Anything that alerts others to their presence increases the chances of arrest. These are some common ways of detecting a burglar:

a) A barking dog inside the home.
b) An alarm that sounds loudly when they enter the house.
c) An alarm system that contacts the police or the home’s owner if the shell of the home is breached.
d) The sound of breaking glass.
f) A lack of concealment around doors and windows.
g) Strong hardened doors which force the burglar to take more time to get in. Time is a burglar’s enemy. The more time it takes, the more likely he’ll be caught. The more noise he must make, the more likely he’ll be caught.

The options today for early detection are immense. With a bit of know how, you can set up surveillance cameras that can be remotely monitored with your cell phone. You can set up an auto-dialer to notify you if your alarm system is tripped. If electronics is one of your hobbies, you can create your own cell phone auto-dialer to attach to your alarms.

Remote monitoring and an auto-dialer is a powerful combination. If you get the call, you can inspect what’s happening. You can notify the police with less fear of false alarms.

3) Delaying entry. To keep from getting caught, burglars want to operate fast. Anything that delays their entry into your home minimizes the chances they’ll continue trying to get in. Another D some like is Deny. A strong gun safe might completely deny a burglar access to your most precious possessions. Denying is delaying indefinitely. Here are some common ways of delaying a burglar:

a) Strong locks and a reinforced door jamb.
b) A lockable storm door before your main entry door.
c) Replacing lower level windows with glass block.
d) Installing pins to close unused double hung windows.
e) Installing a bar to keep a sliding window from sliding open.

Anything that creates uncertainty in the burglar’s mind will delay him, if not deter him. If it’s night and the shades are down, he can’t see inside. Is somebody home or not? He’ll knock longer than if he can see into the home into many rooms, seeing nobody home.

4) Defending your home. Defense. This is what many preppers focus on. If your home is under attack, how do you defend it? Your options depend on if you’re home or not! Here are some common ways of defending your home:

a) Answer the door, or not. If somebody suspicious is casing your home, knocking on doors and looking in windows, the easiest way to send them on their way is to let them know you’re home. Don’t open the door to them though. The downside: They might try again later.

Another option is not to answer the door. Watch them. If it becomes more and more clear they’re targeting your home for a break in, call the police. Delay them before showing your presence. This is only a good option if you’re armed and can defend yourself if they breach your home’s shell. Remember, one solid kick can do in many doors. The idea is to maximize the chance that this burglar gets caught and will not to target your home again.

b) Arm yourself. Get your Glock 19 or your 870 Remington and your cell phone. Call police, but be prepared to defend yourself if attacked.

c) Take up your chosen defensive position. If you have hardened doors and secured windows and an alarm, you’ll have a bit of warning before a burglar enters. One option commonly recommend is to have a safe room. The idea is that you can call the police from the safety of a reinforced room with a locked door. That sounds great in theory, but most people don’t have safe rooms.

If you don’t have a firearm or a safe room, another option is to hide. Burglars are less likely to look in an attic. Hide under a pile of laundry in the laundry room. Decide upon a clever hiding place if you go with this option.

The easiest option: If you’ve gone for your cell phone and gun, stay in that room if it’s defendable. If you’ve just awoken, do you really know where the intruders are? You don’t want to be taken by surprise. Staying in the bedroom is safest. If you have small children in other rooms, staying put might not be an option: You want to get to them to protect them.

If armed, I’d prefer to meet intruders right at the entry door. The ideal location would give you a measure of concealment and would leave the burglar exposed. The best situation: You have cover and they’d be channeled into a small area with few options. If you can confront them while they’re in an entry hall that would be great. They only can go two directions.

An entry hall with a few stairs, even better. You want to be far enough away so that they can’t physically charge you. The idea would be to trap them and hold them at gunpoint until the police arrived.

d) If you’re not home, hide your valuables so the burglar can’t find them. Burglars don’t have time to search for hidden compartments. They’ll look the usual places, focusing most attention on the bedrooms.

e) If you have the capability, remotely trigger an alarm and call the police. As I write in my book, I don’t advocate boobytraps because of the legal ramifications. In most or all jurisdictions, it’s not acceptable to injure a burglar merely to protect property.

Sorry this post has gotten so long. I hope it’s given you some new ideas to protect your home from burglars.

Charlie Palmer -author The Prepper Next Door: A Practical Guide For Disaster And Emergency Planning

How To Prep For Top Five Disasters, Emergencies, And Life Events: Job Loss, Pandemic, Earthquake, House Fire, & Home Invasion

12 Apr

I can’t tell you how to survive any disaster. Nobody can. But over the years, as preppers, we’ve all learned some information about surviving various nasty situations. These are just my thoughts about what I consider five of the most likely emergency situations we’re likely to face.

1. Job loss. Not the zombie apocalypse or a nuclear war or even total economic collapse, just mundane job loss. Prepping is about making preparations before something bad happens. Once it happens, if you haven’t prepared, you have fewer options. This is especially true if you’re living paycheck to paycheck and you lose your job. Suddenly, life is difficult.

There are many good resources on the Internet to help you prepare with job loss. As with anything, use the power of Google to learn more. If you have a month’s supply of food, to save on your grocery bill, you can invade that. Having financial reserves is best. Keep your resume and references current. If you suddenly lose your job, reduce unnecessary expenses right away. The sooner you act, the more likely you’ll keep your head above water.

2. Pandemic. Now we’re prepping! Why pandemic? It represents about the worst disaster where our preparations can make a difference. Those who have read my book know I’m a prepper from way back. I actually own and read one of the earlier editions of Nuclear War Survival Skills (link to online edition above) back from the 1980s. Do I think I can survive a nuclear war? No way.

Do I think I’d have a good chance of improving my survival odds in a pandemic? Absolutely. The key is to isolate your family from contact with others as much as possible. Your supply of food, water, and cleaning products can make a difference. If you don’t have to venture out, there is less likelihood of contacting any socially transmitted illness.

Concern of pandemic is in the news today, because of events in China. An editorial in The Star Tribune  and others contemplate why tens of thousands of dead pigs and thousands of dead ducks  are showing up in China’s rivers.

They speculate this could be related to a virus. The Chinese government says it’s no big deal: Dead ducks just happen. Most of us know we can’t trust the Chinese government. The worry is that such a virus could mutate into a virus which could be transmitted from person to person. It could then spread worldwide.

If a pandemic hits, there are extensive preps you could have taken. You could wear protective gloves, wear a respirator or air filter, seal a room in your home with plastic and duck tape and filter air into it. You could even wear a simple hazmat suit when you venture out and establish a decontamination zone prior to entering your house.

Me? I’d probably just stay inside and bake cookies. Being able to hunker down for a month or two buys important time. Viruses don’t survive long when they kill off their hosts. They mutate into less harmful ones. Scientists would be scrambling for a vaccine.

If you can hold up for a month or two, you have a good chance of surviving. If you don’t meet a lot of strangers, you live in the country, and you have a three month supply of food and water, you’ll almost certainly survive.

3. Earthquake. This is largely a regional problem. If you live where earthquakes are a concern, there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself. My motto of earthquake prepping would be: Construction, construction, construction.

If you’re in a modern building up to code, the building probably won’t collapse. The advice then is to drop to the ground and cover yourself up as best as possible.

I get a kick out of the people taking cover under an IKEA table in the link above. The idea is that if you’re under a table, a broken lamp won’t smash you in the head. Still, an IKEA table doesn’t instill confidence!

Hiding under a table during an earthquake is common in modern areas.  Most people survive, but they do get…ah…a little shook up. The link above is to a nice first person account of surviving an earthquake.

Another nice account of the Christ Church earthquake is here.  This site has a nice list of things you might want to secure.

I don’t live in earthquake country and the table I’m at right now has pressed wood for legs. Furniture today isn’t built like it used to be. It’s much lighter. It’s seldom strong hardwood. Old growth dense-wood forest isn’t used for new construction of furniture. If you need to take refuge under a table, it should be a good one!

If you can’t find strong tables, consider making your own. If you’re not handy with woodworking, but you know how to weld, maybe make one out of strong tubular steel with a heavy wood top. That could offer considerable protection.

If you happen to be in a part of the world where shoddy construction is the norm, ducking under a table likely won’t save you from tons and tons of concrete falling on your head. Because you don’t want to get buried for a month, sipping sewage for sustenance, try to get out of the building and get far away from all structures. If the building density is high, you probably won’t be able to get to safety. Even if you make it to the street, buildings can fall on you.

4. House Fire. There are many great articles about what to do in a fire:
http://www.firesafetycouncil.com/english/pubsafet/plangrid.htm
http://www.burnsurvivor.com/how-can-i-survive-a-house-fire.html

I don’t think you need to draw up a floor plan: You should know where the exits are in your own home! But the last two points in the second article are critical. In a fire, you might find you’re unable to open your eyes. Can you exit your home blindfolded? Keep low to the ground because that’s where the lowest concentration of smoke will be.

In the book and in blog posts here, I’ve written extensively about preventive fire safety. That all applies. The best way to survive a house fire is not to have one!

Fire safety applies to your home garage too. If you’re not careful, simple things can become serious, like this fellow who took his vehicle to a fast-oil-change-place and had his fuel filter replaced. His car burst into flames.

5. Home Invasion. This short Youtube lecture has some good advice about what to do to prevent/survive a home invasion.

A home invasion occurs when undesirable people enter your home—murderers, robbers, in-laws. As with home fires, the best way to survive a home invasion is not to have one.

Simple things like keeping your doors locked and not letting unexpected strangers into your home can minimize the dangers of this happening. Common advice is to have a “safe room” to retreat to. Have a weapon there so you can defend yourself. Have a phone so you can call the police. I would suggest you don’t rely on a chemical defense spray inside your own home, unless you have tested using them in confined spaces.

As with most prepping advice, you need to adjust it to your own situation. If you’re ex-military or police, you might feel very comfortable moving around inside your home, even if there are intruders present. If your family is dispersed throughout the house, getting everybody to a “safe room” might not be easy.

Some of the scariest home invaders masquerade as law enforcement officers. Others pose as repair people. If you have a bad feeling, don’t open the door and let the person/people on the other side of the door know you’re calling the police. You’ll open the door when you see police cars outside and when the police arrive.

It’s easy to understand why violent home invaders pose as police. If a bystander sees what’s going on, it creates doubt in his mind. Maybe these are real police just doing their job. The bystander won’t call the police. It creates doubt in the mind of the defender too.

If you see three guys in hoodies kicking your door, you’re not going to hesitate to grab your shotgun. If it looks like three police officers are trying to kick in your door, you’re much more likely to think they just made a mistake and have the wrong house.

In other posts we wrote about information denial. If somebody casing your house can see through many open windows, they have a good idea of how many people are in the home. In a story about a home invasion, a lady was accosted by a guy with a gun outside her home. He asked her: “Who else is inside?”

She said her children. He entered the house. I’m not a big fan of bluffing. But, maybe if she had said, “My husband, and my cousin who’s living with us. He’s a Marine back from the war and you know, he’s having problems with PTSD and he has these anger issues…please don’t hurt his pit bull.” that might have created just enough doubt to send the invader away.

I’m not saying that’s the right or wrong thing to do. I wasn’t there so I couldn’t judge the guy’s demeanor. The most important thing in any disaster, emergency, or stressful situation is to try to keep calm and keep your wits about you. Think on your feet. Then roll with your decisions.

Charlie Palmer  -author The Prepper Next Door
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Burglary Prevention

15 Jan

In the book, The Prepper Next Door: A Practical Guide For Disaster And Emergency Planning, I write quite a bit about hardening your home against intruders and burglary prevention.

When burglars case a home, their main goal is to find out whether or not you’re home. Most burglars don’t want to break into a home with people in it. When criminals knowingly enter a home with people at home, it’s called a home invasion. Those criminals are particularly dangerous, because they aren’t trying to avoid a confrontation.

When we’re away from home, we want burglars to think we’re at home. They’ll choose another house to rob. Denying them information about whether or not we’re home is important. Information Denial is one key to maintaining security.

This fact was hammered home when I was looking at some footprints in the snow of some burglars who had cased a house, but had been unsuccessful in robbing it. One set of footprints stood right in front of the garage window. The garage was unattached. They looked in to see what goodies were present or to see if a vehicle was there. A lack of vehicles about a home could make burglars think nobody is home.

If you live on a street where few cars are parked and you keep your own vehicles in the garage, give some thought to purchasing blinds or drapes for your garage windows. Can a burglar see your cars inside your garage? How could a burglar casing your house know whether or not you’re at home? Look for telltale signs you inadvertently give away.

While we’re talking about garages, many burglars like your tools. Either to steal or to use to break into your own home. Family Handyman has a nice article about protecting your garage from intruders.

More tips on avoiding break ins.

Usaonwatch.org has a nice pdf about home security, which emphasizes the key goals of: deter, detect, delay. You want to deter burglars from targeting your home. You want to detect them as soon as possible. The quicker they’re detected, the less chance they have to succeed. You want to delay them. The more time it takes them to get into your house, the more likely they’ll leave and attack an easier target or someone will discover them.

Jim Cobb, author of Prepper’s Home Defense (SurvivalWeekly.com), wisely adds “defend” to the motto. If your security is breached, you must fight or flee, if you happen to be at home.

I’ve heard some fellows add another “d” to the motto: decapitate. It sounds bad-a** but is a bad idea. Under normal circumstances, you really want to avoid confrontations, and you shouldn’t seek to hurt a burglar, unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Information denial can sometimes work the wrong way. If you’re an old codger taking a nap at noon and you wake up to use the bathroom and discover three gents trying to beat down your door, it can be a big surprise to everybody involved.

They probably followed the proper burglar etiquette of knocking on the front door to see if anybody answered. They probably knocked loudly next. They knocked on the backdoor. They didn’t see activity in the home. Lights were largely off, to save electricity. Just when they’re completely convinced nobody is home, you pop up at the window. Surprise! Somebody is home.

Even if you don’t want to invest in a home alarm system, purchasing a cheap door alarm  can alert you to the most common break-in attempt, kicking in a backdoor. A barking dog is another option.

Don’t feel bad if you don’t answer your door though. Many people, including police officers, don’t. That’s just one of the risks burglars must take! Most burglaries occur during daytime hours in middle class neighborhoods because people are away at their day jobs.

If you do have an alarm system, it might have a “panic” button, designed to set off your alarm manually. You can use that to your advantage if burglars are casing your house, while you’re inside watching them. Somebody knocks on your door. You ignore it. They’re probably trying to sell you something, convert you into something, or get you to sign something. Any which way, you don’t need it.

The guy comes back and knocks again. He has buddies with him, peeking into your windows. Well, this isn’t good, you think. Maybe you dial the police to let them know what’s up. If you don’t want to test the integrity of your door, just when one prepares to kick the door, you hit the alarm button.

Waiting until the last minute had both a downside and an upside. On the upside, it gave the police maximum time to respond. On the downside, the burglars had more time to case the house and learn more about it for a possible future attempt. Unless they’ve tried to break the door down, they might not have broken the law either. There is a chance they’re in possession of drugs, have outstanding warrants, or are in possession of other stolen property which could lead to a direct arrest. Police can see what they look like.

The other option is showing yourself at the last moment, if you’re a fairly strong-looking guy. The burglars will probably be in a hurry to get away at this point. You shouldn’t open the door, there might be several other burglars with them.

What if you’re facing a home invasion and are told to turn off a sounding alarm? Does your alarm system have a duress code?  That’s a special code like a silent alarm used by banks. While it disables the audible alarm at the home, it sends a message to your security company or to the police. You’re turning off the alarm under duress.

Cobb and many military guys like silent alarms. These alarms alert you to an attempt to breach your security. It gives you time to respond, without letting the adversary know that you know about their presence. If you’re trying to survive under harsh social conditions, where the attackers are likely to continue attacking, a loud alarm offers little advantage. Police aren’t available. The intruders might not be scared off. You want to retain the element of surprise for your counterattack. Under normal social conditions, a loud alarm can alert neighbors, police, or scare away an intruder.

I wouldn’t recommend this for most people, but if you had problems with repeat burglaries and are desperate to put and end to them, you could wait until the burglars had breached your door before responding. You’d want to be armed. The idea would be to hold them at gunpoint until the police arrived, after they had broken into your home. In some states, this, technically, wouldn’t be a viable legal option: You’re legally required to flee your own home rather than confront intruders inside of it.

Once criminals have entered your home, your scope of operations is greater. If necessary, you could use lethal force with less risk of legal prosecution. This doesn’t mean there aren’t risks: you could get sued by a burglar or even charged with a crime.

There is an issue of “premeditation” if things go horribly wrong and you’re forced to shoot. Premeditation means you thought through the sequence of events in your brain before you were forced to act. It sounds dangerously close to prepping! I’ve read that in England keeping a bat near your bed could be deemed “premeditation” of intent to hurt a burglar!

Well, this post has gotten a lot longer than I planned. I hope some of the advice will be helpful to you. And, remember, be alert and pay attention for your neighbors too. The burglar that successfully strikes them today might come after you tomorrow.

Charlie Palmer -author of The Prepper Next Door: A Practical Guide For Disaster And Emergency Planning

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With the school shooting, some say America should emulate Australia and “buy back” all military style weapons in the country. Although a great country, Australia is by no means perfect, it has one of the world’s highest burglary rates (nearly 3% a year).