There are several theories and techniques on how to protect your home and property from intruders. All of them have some advantages and disadvantages, and you should not take any one of them as the “end all, be all” when it comes to protecting your home and family. While I have had nearly three decades of learning and training in the art of perimeter and interior security, I am by no means claiming to be an expert. I have seen, and used, techniques that work and techniques that are less effective. Since this article is geared toward those that want to keep a low profile in their personal life and what they are doing to prepare for a local, state or national disaster, I will concentrate on some good ideas and techniques that both work and do not draw attention to you or your property in a post-disaster scenario.
First, I want to say that fences and walls have their place but if you put up a large or elaborate perimeter fence or wall you are almost certain to draw attention to your location. Though you may dissuade one or two people from trespassing you will all but invite a larger, well organized group or desperate individual on to your property to see what you are protecting or hiding. In a worst case situation the last thing you want to do is draw attention to yourself. That said, the following are some ideas and tips to both protect your home and family and still remain below the radar.
LESS IS MORE
Yes, you read that right. Sometimes less is more. Let’s start with perimeter security and move in toward your home. A well-maintained property line with a good well maintained fence is good for property value but bad for security. Why? Because in a worst case scenario, desperate men will look to see what you have and be tempted to take what is yours. The best way to avoid this confrontation is to be invisible. The bad guys of the world won’t want to take what they don’t know exists. For perimeter fencing, I would suggest a simple T-post and barbed wire fence with a simple metal gate at the entrance. After your fence is in place, don’t maintain the grass or trees behind it. Instead, keep only about a 3 to 4 foot space between the fence and the grass, trees and underbrush. This allows you to walk your perimeter randomly while keeping a visible barrier between the road and your home and property.
My home is built several hundred feet off the road, and I have allowed the trees and underbrush to grow unchecked and very thick for over 200 feet into my property effectively hiding my home from the street. This along with an overgrown dirt and grass driveway makes the outside of my property look like the thousands of properties in my area that are nothing more than a logging or hunting lease. Specifically, you should cultivate the thorny vines and allow them to grow wild all over your fence and between the trees and brush of your outer perimeter. People do not want to fight through this type of underbrush, especially if they think there is nothing to be gained. There are types of bushes that have some nasty prickly leaves on them that are very effective at dissuading trespassers that you can strategically plant in this outer perimeter as well. They are thick and robust and can cause some discomfort when an intruder tries to push through them. These outer perimeter passive security measures are usually enough to make most potential threats move on without even taking a second look. Remember, they won’t want what they don’t know is there.
However, these steps will not keep every threat out. For these threats, you need both deterrents and early warning to their presence. The first step is to “funnel” any potential threat where you want them to go. Funneling is a military term that simply means that you direct the movement of the enemy without them even being aware of it. The best way to do this is by using human nature against them. We as humans are like every other animal on Earth in that we like the path of least resistance. For the average “Joe” who is not tactically sound that is going to be walking right up your gated path. For this individual, the best way to deter them is early warning, so a good wireless camera system is an excellent tool. I found one (Uniden) that has four wireless IR cameras that are motion sensor activated and automatically turn on when movement is detected. It also has a device that is similar to an iPAD that is connected to all four cameras and gives an audible tone to you as it turns on and connects to the activated camera. This particular brand has a wireless range of 500 feet, and the motions sensors can scan up to 40 feet in front of the camera. It costs about 250 dollars and is well worth the expense. Since it comes with four cameras, you can strategically place the other three along your road frontage inside your natural tree line barrier. I suggest at least 50 feet in, so they don’t activate every time a car drives by. That would be annoying. For those trespassers that do want to sneak on to your property, funneling becomes even more critical.
As I mentioned earlier, people like the path of least resistance even when trying to sneak into your property so you will want to cut small 12” to 14” wide paths that are anywhere from 3 ½ to 5 feet high. You will want to try and camouflage these funnels to look like game trails so that the intruder doesn’t realize he is going exactly where you want him to go. You will want to make 3 to four of these that wind a lot and turn back on themselves but that all eventually lead to one place, a place that you as the protector of your home and family can utterly dominate. A place that you have total control over and that is separated from your home by a barrier, either natural or man-made. Along each of these trails you should put several early warning mechanisms; cameras, trip wires that activate a flare or set off a shotgun shell. Both of these devices should be pointed into a pre-dug hole so that you don’t start a fire or injure a non-threat. They are sure to scare the hell out of would-be intruders and make them question the decision to come on your property but more importantly, it tells you exactly where the potential threat is and gives you reaction time.
If a would-be intruder is still set on approaching your home there are still other steps that can be taken along your “game trails” such as pitfall deterrents. These are simple to construct and easy to hide, and they are very effective. A hole 4 feet long, two feet wide and 3 feet deep is all you need. Build a frame out of 2x4s that fits tightly into the hole and comes flush with the top. The hole should be directly in your game trail. Set the frame, then measure from one end to find the exact center of each of the top 2x4s of the frame. Notch out a narrow slot on both sides of the frame then cut a piece of 5/8” plywood that will fit INSIDE of the frame and screw a wood screw into the edge of the plywood so that you can set them down into the notches in the 2x4s as shown below.
The result will be that the plywood can teeter freely like a child’s seesaw on a playground. Once this is finished, and the plywood can freely spin on top of the frame. Use duct tape to tape the plywood to the 2x4 frame so that it doesn’t spin. The tape is only meant to hold the plywood in place and should freely give under the weight of a person. After you have completed it cover, it with a light coat of the dirt and natural surrounding to hide it. An intruder who steps on one end will cause the plywood to teeter down and they will drop 3 feet into the hole while the other end of the plywood comes up and gives them a sudden and painful warning to turn around as it hits them in the face. There are several other possible additions you can have with this deterrent, but I will leave those to the reader’s imagination. (JR: My imagination is already working with using a steel rod or 2 x 4 fulcrum as shown below)
Now in the military we were taught that it is sometimes better to injure an enemy combatant than it is to terminate them because it takes two combatants to carry one injured, effectively taking 3 out of the fight. I have thought of putting three of these pits side by side so that when the center pit is activated two of the intruder’s buddies step on either side to help him out and they get the same surprise. At this point, it is safe to say that anyone who wants to continue forward is not there to have tea and crumpets, so the following security measures are for a real zombie apocalypse scenario. If a real SHTF situation is going on and you cannot depend on law enforcement to help you out, your “fatal funnel” is what will save your life. The fatal funnel is the “kill zone” that all of your game trails lead to. This should be a place that has a substantial physical barrier to stop the intruder’s movement forward. A wrought iron fence about 5 feet high is a good barrier in this area. You should have several clear fields of fire to this area from covered positions across the front and one side of your kill zone.
Within the kill zone, you can employ some of my very own ideas that I like a lot. Tannerite birdhouses!! A few of these at about 4 feet high can neutralize a sizable threat but should only be used in a worst-case SHTF scenario. Each one uses 2 pounds of tannerite in its plastic container. This is then dropped into a birdhouse that is big enough to give you roughly 3” clearance all the way around. Mount them securely on the fence between you and the threat. Push the tannerite container up against the side of the bird house that is closest to you and then pack the bird house with rocks, ball bearings, glass, nails or screws, whatever you have available is fine. Secure the top of the birdhouse in place and forget about them indefinitely. They are always there until you need them. Please understand, if you have gotten to the point that you have to use these, the next step is fire power and blood will be shed. These are not for simple trespassers. These are for those intruders that have made it clear they are there to harm you and your family or steal what is yours in a SHTF worst case scenario and should NEVER be used when you can still call the police. These are a group devastation weapon to even the odds in your favor and should only be in place after all hell has broken loose.
I hope that this article helps fuel your creative juices and enhances your personal security needs. There are several ways to modify these measures to best protect your family and property so use your imagination and God Bless you.