As the financial crunch continues, property crime is on the rise. Living off-grid you are more vulnerable to opportunist thieves – people who happen to be passing.
Here are some time-tested crime prevention secrets – countermeasures to secure your home, whether you are off-gridders, RVers, preppers, hermits, survivalists, or simply spending a few days off the beaten track wild camping .
There are lots of things we can do that are both inexpensive and do not require utility power. Many are just commonsense. The more difficult your property looks to breach the less likely that would-be thieves will select you as their target.
1. Know your neighbors
In remote areas this is the No 1 safety tip: neighbors and community members who know you by name and by face will be the ones that will watch your back in a crisis.
You do not have to become best friends with these people – but you do need to say hi once in awhile and perhaps get involved in some community activities so that they can get to know you and you them.
2. Get a dog
A dog is a great really great early warning system. Heck my little 7 kilo Terrier makes a racket if a stranger is walking around outside at night.
He might not scare an intruder once he is in the house but he certainly would give the would-be burglar reason to look elsewhere. Plus we would know that someone who should not be here is close by if not inside our home.
3. Landscape with inhospitable plants
Inhospitable doesn’t mean the plants aren’t beautiful. Thorny plants like rugosa rosebushes bougainvillea or blackberry vines make it far more difficult to sneak around outside of windows or to climb fences.
4. Consider an alarm system
We are not talking about an expensive monitored alarm system and as a matter of fact I think advertising that you have a monitored system whether it is true or not simply tells the world that you have lots of goodies that need protection.
When I say alarm system I am referring to a loud horn or blast that goes off when someone invades your territory.
This is especially effective if you have neighbors who will also hear the alarm but even in a more remote area the alarm will annoy and dissuade the burglars from sticking around.
Wireless motion sensors can be installed on doors to scare away a person trying to break in. Best of all they’re battery operated and will suprise the bejassus out of anyone who thought they were on an easy picking spree.
5. Keep your outdoor areas well lit
This does not have to be costly. Even shaded areas will benefit from inexpensive solar lighting.
Motion lights around doorways can be startling since they come on when a person walks up to the door.
6. Do not leave keys out
Even if you think you’re being clever don’t leave keys under mats, under flower pots, on top of door frames or in one of those $3 magnetic key carriers that fit under the frame of your car.
Thieves know about these places and are more creative than you might think when it comes to locating a spare.
Don’t leave a spare key in a coded key vault similar to the type real estate agents use. They are easy to smash into.
7. Add internal locks to critical storage areas
This includes your emergency food storage area, crawl spaces and your larder.
Many people keep their Root cellar away from the house – which can be one of the most targeted areas in times when food is scarce
8. Secure your mail
In addition to minimizing identity theft an overflowing mail box is an open invitation to thieves who will assume you are not at home or traveling. Invest in a PO box – they are cheap.
9. Secure your doors with multiple locking mechanisms
Yes it is an annoyance to carry multiple keys but why make it easy for the bad guys? A deadbolt is essential and even two would not be excessive. Make sure the locks are difficult to pick.
10. Reinforce your door frame
Remember that a lock is only as good as the strength of the door frame. Suppose you were home, up a long remote track, when thre bad guys come calling.
It doesn’t matter how many locks you have if they are only supported by a flimsy interior frame.
A strong person can generally break those down with a well-placed hit from a shoulder.
Invest in a high-quality metal frame. These are very difficult to breach.
11. Be wary of people who come to the door
Whether they are strangers delivery people or even officers of the law if they are unexpected you need to be alert.
These are all common ruses that precede home invasions.
Have your pepper spray handy and ask for ID.
If in doubt do not open the door. Ask for a badge or ID number and call it in.
Remember uniforms can be readily purchased online and in these days of Photoshop fake IDs can be easily created on a home computer.
12. Add locks to your gates
tIf you lock your gate then you don’t have to worry about people showing up right at your door.
Plus you’ll be sure to be on high alert if there’s a knock at the door.
13. Secure sliding glass doors
Before bed each night block the track of sliding doors with a metal bar or a piece of wood.
Those locks are very easy to force.
14. Secure sidelights or doors with large windows
It’s a simple thing for a thief to break out a small window then reach in and unlock your door from the inside.
Invest in some decorative metal grid work to make this more difficult.
15. Create a safe area to which you can retreat
In a worst case scenario if someone breaks into your home while you are there it’s important to have an area that you can run to until help arrives.
A back door leading to a bumpy uneven track that you know well is one good idea. IT all depends ont he terrain. Internally, reinforce a bedroom door with a good quality frame and replace the flimsy interior door with an exterior one.
Have a way to call for assistance inside the room and a method of self-defense.
Think Like a Burglar
Not so much a tip – more a way of life – Walk around your place and pretending you are a bad guy think about points of entry.
Take a look at your home from the street. Are you advertising all of the goodies inside? Or does your home look like a modest well-kept abode with good lighting and well trimmed landscaping? If you were a burglar which home on your street would you hit?
Finally: here is a good youtube video on the subject – there are many more like it: https://www.youtube.com/embed/1NQf8zSOlVY
Buy our book - OFF THE GRID - a tour of American off-grid places and people written by Nick Rosen, editor of the off-grid.net web site
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