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How To Secure Your Preps: Lessons From Venezuela

Avatar for Jose Martinez Jose Martinez  |  Updated: January 9, 2020
How To Secure Your Preps: Lessons From Venezuela

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Since I begin to invest (I always say I´m not a prepper, but a smart, retail long term investor) in some useful gear, one of my concerns has been to secure it. 

Best investment ever? A couple of land patches here and there. Even with the current (commies) laws going on (not like they’re going to last much longer anyway LOL ) they have been a good investment. 

They´re not so well located that anyone is going to put an eye on them. Isolated, rough terrain, but with every single feature that made it attractive for a modern part-time hermit looking for some peace between battles. 

In Caracas, thieves are very determined and will go to great lengths to get at your gear.

In Caracas, it’s amazing how thieves have been able to climb and twist themselves to reach places that, for someone not under the influence (or desperation because of the lack) of drugs are impossible. Of course, there’s a lot of them injured or falling to their deaths, but I guess that’s part of their everyday business. Too bad they chose that way.  

Friend of mine and I were talking in Quito (Ecuador) and having a beer in our kitchen, pleasantly looking through the window, and he quickly made an assessment of how insecure was the little apartment we were renting: a low garage roof, a 3-meter high wall wide enough to walk over it and unprotected with spikes or broken glass, and our window was within reach.

Maybe he was right but my only valuable gear (laptop and phone) was on my back almost all the time. 

However, albeit having a few neighbors here and there, our cottage was invaded. There was some junk in it, including a new lawnmower I´d gift to my Dad a few years ago. Good point is, they´re not coming back because there’s nothing valuable left to steal anymore.  

Oh, and if they do come back it’s very likely they will have to face a few surprises here and there. LOL.  

Anyway, that same isolation makes security a primary need. 

Passive methods, like fencing, strong steel doors, strategic positioning of ponds, chickens and small cattle coops, even the positioning of the windows in your house should be carefully addressed. 

Good thing my cottage is about to get finished, because it’s going to be much safer after it’s done. I hadn’t thought of a couple of things my kiddo (God bless him and his brand new, high capacity little brain) mentioned (don’t underestimate time those lads use for their video games!). 

Thing is, sometimes we will have to head to town for running errands, maybe selling/bartering excess products, or just visiting friends…or hanging out. And it’s not always possible to leave someone at home. Depending on your acreage, and using a military-style approach for security (layering of passive defenses, some dissimulated obstacles here and there, wise usage of field of views, and so on), albeit I´m no military by any means, nor have any kind of training but my own common sense and a healthy dose of paranoia (something I´m proud of, indeed, because it saved my sorry bacon a couple of times already), is going to be a sound way to do things. 

Dogs are great if you can feed them.

Using dogs, if you can afford to feed them (something hard to do under the current circumstances in Venezuela because a 3 kg bag of commercial, processed cat food is 25$ and last just one month, barely) is, of course, a great deterrent. But you have to be aware that under serious circumstances, those poor, innocent, loyal critters could be targeted or in jeopardy.

So it’s up to you. With enough financial means, I’d provide them the higher security level, including the needed training to come back home with directions via a radio strapped onto the chest, as I´ve seen in some commercial equipment, and a tracker. They´re part of the team after all. 

Fishing Line Alarms And Planning Out Your Defense Plan

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These key chain alarms can be used to create a fishling line alarm that makes a loud noise when crossed. When someone goes through the line, the rope will pull out and loud noise will occur.

Another useful (and in my opinion, essential) way to secure, is with a simple fishing line alarm. It’s cheap, anyway can do it, and kiddos can be in charge of such an easy everyday task, under our supervision. They will be happy to become an important part of the security team.

Let’s use some common sense now, and define a few logical steps in the process so you don’t even need to think too much about that. I’ve done it already for you covering the most basic aspects. 

  1. Print or draw a map or a sketch of the area you need to protect. Include trees, bushes, big rock, tree stumps, every structure, big or small, where you can screw, glue, or carve a point to hold the fishing line. You could use some very thin rebar with a small hook at the end, hidden under strategic positions of your hedge fence, and running across those empty spaces a thug team would use. (and please, PLEASE! NEVER assume you´ll have only ONE uninvited criminal! Those guys roam in packs, even 5 or 6, maybe more, when things get rough, because they know numbers are their strength, this is how they have attacked haciendas in Venezuela)
  1. Locate as many points as you may need around the above-mentioned area, maybe leaving a single point where someone (already aware that particular path is clear) can come into or go out in a hurry if the alarm gets triggered.  Getting caught in the line with something in your hands while running is something we must avoid at all costs.
  2. Get a good reel of very resistant fishing line, or even thin metal wire if you prefer. Metal is going to rust eventually, if not coated. It would work though, even for those who are afraid of getting their line cut, an open-circuit alarm could be rigged if we want that degree of sophistication. This means, if some moron is careful enough to see the wire and cut it, this would trigger an alarm…or (as I would prefer it) to open silently the dog pit, allowing my three half-wolves to go for a good night hunting that would keep me from feeding them for some days. (This system is going to be cool to show off in front of your friends LOL). This surely will keep your doggos quite happy. 
  1. Provided the fishing line is not meant for tiny little sardines, it has to run with some degree of tension. On-time, it’s likely this is going to get bent and deform a little bit, maybe even becoming fragile, but that’s not a big deal. One always can buy a case of reels in good times and stash them.
  1. Of course, the next logical step is to fix the end to some alarm: cans in a very unstable position, a good, loud bell, a pot filled with some kind of debris that falls down into the ground, loosely around your ankle (maybe some of you will find this useful! LOL just kidding, don´t do that please), an electric switch that triggers light, that´s a personal choice, and something with zero degree of difficulty. I´ve seen commercially available a myriad of such setups, including some that can be loaded with a .22 blank. I wouldn’t rely on that in our tropical, humid and rainy seasons though.  

Once the alarm has been triggered…please don’t go all grampa and jump out in your long underwear garments with half of your butt naked, shoving the shells in your (open) double-barrel shotgun, hair uncombed and all, as we have seen in so many movies. It is going to be hilarious, sure.

My personal touch includes a good-sized poncho (just in case it’s raining), rigged up with a camo net on top (This must be under your bed, as well as your night vision device) this should make you look just like a small pile of…something. 

In the middle of the night, even with moonlight, it doesn’t matter. You could kneel in the dark and someone steps by your side and not even notice you´re there. Depending on your personal preferences (scaring a pack with a .12 ga maybe a good idea, maybe not as good if there is no rule of law anymore), you will have to address what your next step should be. 

Using a pistol crossbow? Great. 

An unexpected bolt properly positioned in someone’s backside perhaps would be the best deterrent. A suppressed tool should be useful if our cover is exposed. That’s a personal preference and everyone must use their best criteria here.  

Consider patrol paths for your property.

Please take note: you may want to surround the entire area you need to protect, or, in a more sophisticated move, divide everything into several areas, leaving a quite narrow path just for someone patrolling. It’s up to you and your particular conditions. The most areas you have, the most time you´ll spend locating the lines. Doing this every day maybe annoying. I have already selected the areas at my place where I am going to leave a permanent copper wire, good for stealth and I´ve got plenty. 

A good deterrent and one of my preferred methods is the use of native species. Why? Obvious reasons. We have some of these thorn bushes that even produce high protein fruits, very adequate as a cattle feeding complement. If they’re allowed to grow, they provide shadow, just like an umbrella. If kept trimmed, they will make a dense hedge, with thorns 5 cm long. Not bad. As a con, it’s quite invasive, so we will have to be careful.

They love low water environments, but tolerate a good degree of rain, making them perfect for our environment with 6 or 6.5 months of drought. I remember these trees being used to divide parts of prairie, a meadow, leaving the trees on a line and wiring just the spaces between them. Cattle wouldn’t get into the thick branches full of thorns. Countryside folks used to explain the methods, long time gone. 

There are a few Backdoor Survival articles that discuss natural plants for fortifications. Check out the links below:

Man Made Versus Natural Barriers, Fences, and Fortifications

Best Perimeter Security Practices For Preppers

If you live in a secluded place, a very important safety feature to consider is a panic room or safe room.

This is a pic of a safe room being constructed for a home by professionals. While this is nice if you have the resources and time, you can make a space in your home that allows for better defense without spending a ton or doing a lot of renovation.

In my particular case, that panic room is limited to the entire house. In a small house, it’s quite easy to fortify doors and shutters. There are a  lot of components you may use. Just using a little bit your brain should be enough: a small hole, maybe half an inch of diameter carefully opened on the floor, aligned with the lower edge of your door, and inserting a steel piece like a “T”, will impede someone kicking the bottom of it.

 I´ve seen steel doors being pulled up in the lower right or left corner, taking advantage of the steel ductility of some cheap doors. This can be avoided by welding some good thick angles in an “X” shape or even a square pattern maybe. On the inside you could add some wood or other material to disguise these angles, leaving some metal exposed that will be polished, later on, adding an interesting decorative effect. You may get creative on this one. 

This is one of my particular methods, and maybe I should not expose it, but it’s OK. 

Have some other methods too. You´re going to need a good safe. I´ve been checking on our local buy and sell marketplace and found out a quite adequate for everything I´ve been thinking about protecting. Thick plate steel, with padlock tabs. This steel is quite likely a mild one; being a metallurgist…hehe, I can work it out to make it much stronger. Sure, someone maybe will be able to cut it…but NOT with a regular handsaw. They will have to use something usually not available to regular thieves. And…in the meantime, maybe that will delay them the necessary time to receive a nasty surprise. And of course, there will be more than one safe. Maybe one will be just sitting there, maybe another one will be welded to my bed frame with a “few tack welding points”(LOL). 

I´m an imaginative guy, so someone breaking into my place will better have to be quite intoxicated, and be lucky enough to not find me there. Of course, several safes and distributing every valuable possession into these boxes seem to be the most logical approach. 

This is where having a plasma cutter and a welding machine (both can be inexpensive, but durable brands) and knowing how to use it for simple works is going to make you multiply their value. As an example: one of the boxes already built I found, was $60. A good combo, plasma cutter, and welding machine could be around $400-4$50. The steel sheet price is variable. 

I don´t know about prices because it depends a lot on your area. But just by fabricating your own safe, or box, with some well-thought design, it’s going to be much better. Take it as an interesting project, and as this is not something difficult with the adequate tools and a friend in the know. Maybe it’s a good idea to use all the material, avoiding waste, and manufacturing some extra cases as a gift for some friends or use it in the truck, screwed down in someplace. You´ll have some practice in welding and will know what works and whatnot. You will learn to use a grinder. 

Make sure, though, to use the safest and better practices when working with power tools. Use your common sense, and be safe.  

Don´t forget other areas you should secure as well, like fish ponds (trust me, marauders will take everything edible unprotected so they can go for a good feast), orchids, chicken coops, rabbit cages, you name it!

 To make the trespassing difficult, I´d thought about surrounding the main area with a U shaped pond, with the garden in the middle, and the rest of the structures nearby, far away of the limit of the area.  Ponds will have to be covered with framed mesh at night, something not hard to build, and an alarm system can be easily rigged up. That way, we´re limiting the access and optimizing space usage. 

In the future, I will be posting more about how we incorporated these improvements in our cottage. 

Stay tuned!

Be safe, 


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7 Responses to “How To Secure Your Preps: Lessons From Venezuela”

  1. Hi Jose,
    Nice to read an article from you. I always find something that makes me think. With all that is going on in the US I feel compelled to prepare even more. Marcia

  2. the people had everything and were prosperous. they like many listen to the lies the left uses to convince many that they are not paid what they are worth. but only they can fix it. now they pay with their lives too bad and yet people never learn because the leftist using the same rhetoric to sway the small minds who want or think they deserve so many things free.———–Grampa

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