I think that those that decide to take riots and violence to the suburbs will get a rude awakening. That doesn’t mean that those that live outside of big cities should be too comfortable with this likelihood.
There have already been cases of violent protesters trying their hand at demonstrating in smaller towns and suburbs.
Note: There is a difference between protests and rioting. I have seen some protests that have been peaceful. Over the last few days, it seems there have been more peaceful protests but I do not expect that to last or to be the case this weekend.
Most people in the suburbs and small towns will not go to larger places to protest but if the protest comes to them, they will respond with force and extreme force when necessary. There is a difference between protesting where you live and going somewhere else or protesting in a way that provokes or creates an atmosphere of violence.
A lot of my readers are very prepared people that have done at least a few of the things I am going to talk about. However, if you are just realizing that you should take some precautions, do not despair, there are a lot of things you can do now. Everything helps and increases the odds that you will be able to get through a situation safely or at least with minimal harm.
It is impossible to plan for everything. A lot of my job is trying to plan for everything and it seems like I am always forgetting something. The important thing is to try and at least do something. Even doing just a few things will give you more advantage than you realize.
Consider the easiest egress points of your property and set up security and deterrents.
While some people will go to more trouble than others, the truth is that people often take the easiest route. Anything you can do to make it harder for them to reach you is a good thing while keeping in mind using some common sense about how drastic of a measure you need to try for.
This is going to vary a lot by property. I have a 1/4 mile winding driveway up a mountain that most cars cannot manage so it is very low traffic. If anyone comes via car, there is only one way to do so from the main road. In town or small suburbs, you may have multiple points and many neighbors close by. If someone can jump it easily or approach via walking from another street, that is something to be concerned about.
Protection From Molotovs and Other Projectiles
The windows of your home are one of the easiest things to breach. Molotov cocktails are flying in a lot of urban areas. If violent protesters come to a suburban area it is likely they will try similar tactics to what they are using in cities.
Listed below are some things that you can do to protect your structures from incendiary devices and projectiles such as bricks. Will these methods completely prevent your windows from breaking? I cannot guarantee that but I can tell you that they will prevent dangerous shards from flying into rooms and possibly keep your home or business from burning down.
I wrote an extensive article on the advantages of window film that I will refer you to for lots of details. In short window film is a plastic sticker that is applied to windows and prevents them from shattering if they are hit. This also keeps windows from turning into shards if they are blown out for any reason at all. I like window film because it is something you can do for a relatively low cost even if you are renting. It is just a film so it is not something that is going to get you in trouble with a landlord.
Tightly stretched chicken wire can deter projectiles, including Molatovs.
Any window can be made to deflect projectiles and Molotov cocktails by tightly stretching and securing inexpensive metal chicken wire. The tighter you can stretch it the better. If you use this method combined with window film, you have increased the security of your windows exponentially.
Dogs are great for general security but there are some psychos that will use them against you. You need to consider the positives and negatives of leaving them in your yard to guard.
If you live on roads that could get a lot of traffic, you need to consider how wise it is to let pets run loose without supervision. People can be incredibly cruel to animals during times of civil unrest. If you have a backyard then that is better than allowing them out where they could potentially interact with anyone marching through.
Remove anything from your yard that could be used as a projectile or incite strong feelings.
Lawn ornaments, signs, furniture, etc should all be secured or removed. Regardless of how strong you feel about something, having signs up that proclaim this or that or even having any flags at all does increase your risk of being a target or standing out. Think about this as the gray man concept for houses.
I am not going to tell you to take your flags down or criticize you for any personal choice related to flags or banners. I just want you to realize that even small things can draw attention that you do not want. This is about getting through a violent situation and living to see the next day.
Don’t let ego get in the way of your survival.
It is a lot better to be realistic than egotistical in a survival situation. When it comes to defense we all need to be honest about our abilities, both physical and mental in nature. Now is the time for people to get a thicker skin and assign tasks based on the true strengths and weaknesses of family members. Letting your ego get in the way might get you or someone you love killed.
Multiple layers of security are best
It may help you to print out an aerial view of your property and make notes on it to create a defense plan. Make note of the main roads and how far away they are from your home. Houeses that sit back futher from main streets will be in a better defensive position from the start.
Unfortunately, security cameras can be destroyed or damaged rather easily if they are not well concealed or made for extreme conditions. Of course, the more armored and heavy-duty a camera is, the higher the price tag. You may want to compromise and get a variety of cameras for various points and uses. A camera that is made for inside costs less. Cameras are very useful for observing the approach to your home. Having a warning that trouble might be approaching could save your life.
I recommend getting a shotgun if you don’t already have one. I think everyone should have one in the home during good times too. They are reasonably priced, easy to use, and they don’t throw lead as far as a regular rifle so there is less chance of stray shot going into an adjoining apartment or room.
If you already have other guns then that is great. Personally, I prefer the AK-47 for my main defense rifle that I can just grab. Many Americans have AR-15s. I just grew up in a household where the AK was always present and it was one of the first rifles I ever shot. A scope is nice if you can manage to buy one.
A sidearm for each adult is a good idea. A small handgun in a common caliber is invaluable. 9mm is one of the most common. I carry a Bersa .380 or occasionally a .44 Magnum if the situation may require it.
This can be bought at any Tractor Supply or Farm Stores and as far as I know, all the home improvement stores carry it. It can be stretched across places where you want to make passage difficult.
A good fence can provide the beginning of your line of security. They are a deterrent and can help prevent people from using your property as a way to get somewhere else. Regardless of intention you probably don’t want a bunch of people using your place as a thoroughfare.
Try to be at home at night.
It is pretty hard to defend a place that you are not at. Many cameras will send a message or pic to your cell phone if movement is detected so if you have to be away you may be able to at least provide yourself the peace of mind of getting an alert if something weird is going on in your area. If multiple people live in the same home and need to go out for something, not being alone any more than necessary can help.A single person out and about could be seen as an easy target to a certain type of person.
Have a go-bag packed for each person.
What if you had to suddenly evacuate your home? Have a bag packed for each person in your family in case you need to leave fast and stay gone for a week or more. A lot of you already have bugout bags. In your case, you might want to just use those but also consider what else you would like to have in your vehicle possibly and throw it into totes that you can grab in minutes and go. At the same time don’t put too much value in your things if it gets this bad.
You might just want to have your bag nearby and grab it and leave as soon as possible. You could also just keep some things staged in your vehicle and ready to go. In some areas vehicles that are not really close to the home could be targets for looting.
Keep a scanner on or listen to local scanners online
You can sometimes hear about things well in advance if you have a scanner that is programmed to the right frequencies. This means you can hear some of the public service calls. If you are having trouble programming your scanner, you should consider paying the $15 for 180 days of Radio Reference. They make it very easy to program scanners and offer a lot of content. Your programming remains on the scanner even if you cancel your subscription or let it lapse. It saves a lot of time inputting channels.
Your neighborhood may have a Nextdoor Community group already but if it does not then maybe you should start one. I am a member of the one where I live and I am also a member of the community Facebook page. It is very helpful at times, especially if any strangers are around or suspicious activity occurs. During good times it is usually just people saying their cat or dog is missing and then reposting when it is found.
Avoid trouble. Never knowingly go towards the trouble.
Curiosity can be dangerous. If you want to watch things then do it from afar. Thanks to the internet and live streams you can see a lot from the comfort of your home.
For national coverage of the unrest in this country, I have been tuning in to Steve Lookner at Agenda-Free TV. If you are tired of hearing the news from people that always have a big political agenda then you should check him out. His broadcasts are the most unbiased I have seen and the moderators do a good job of keeping the live chatting and comments civil regardless of differences in opinion. You can also watch his videos later if you cannot tune in live. I like that he scours the internet for a lot of different sources while live so you get a very broad perspective.
Consider what everyday objects can be used as a weapon.
A lot of things can be used as weapons. If you have never thought about your surroundings in this way then you should definitely do it now. Here are a few things that you can use as a weapon. I am going to list a few things here but I recommend checking out my article that is more in-depth on the subject.
String or wire can be made into a garrote
Belt, especially belts with buckles.
A leather belt with a buckle can be formidable and no one is going to think it is weird if you are wearing one except for maybe a very formal setting.
- Small figurines
- Brooms and Mops
- Frying Pans
- Sports equipment such as bats and hockey sticks
Purchsing Non Lethal Items For Self Defense
Some non lethal methods may not be legal in some areas or they may be illegal for anyone under 18.
The Suburbs could turn very violent in a short amount of time.
At least part of why I say that is due to my belief that those outside of cities especially in the more rural outskirts will show little tolerance for rioting or trouble. Considering how many of the so called “Peaceful Protests” around the country have turned violent there is also the chance that those in the more rural areas will just think that they need to stop if with force before it even starts.
As people make an exodus from the city to get to safer parts of a region, they will bring some of the crime with them.
Plenty of people are fleeing the city and even if they are not violent demonstrators, that doesn’t mean they are stellar citizens that don’t have any distasteful habits like petty theft or hard drugs. Even if actual civil unrest doesn’t make it to your area you may still have to deal with an increase in some crimes and a neighborhood that is not as safe as it once was.
Social distancing may seem annoying but it has made a lot of people better at situational awareness.
While distance between people is still a good idea due to the pandemic it also has the benefit of getting you in the habit of not letting strangers get too close to you. I never liked it when someone stood too close in line at a store or at an ATM, especially the walk-in type that only has one way in or out. Most people won’t even think it is weird if you are a little evasive.
Avoid main intersections, bridges, and other “funnels” or chokepoints during times of unrest.
It is very easy to get trapped on a bridge or find yourself in the thick of it. Always know at least a few ways to get to place and to get back. Even if it takes more time, it is better to be safe during times of severe unrest.
Have packages delivered to your work if you can or opt to pick them up at an alternative safe location.
Amazon will deliver to an Amazon Locker. The ones in my area are at a Whole Foods. This allows you to pick up packages rather than risking leaving them unattended on your porch. Amazon will also let you opt to have packages delivered on a certain day each week.
In my area some people that live near roads have packages go missing. Some mailboxes have been targets for thieves. Packages piled up at your door also draws attention.
Remove bumper stickers. Insist that others in your home do this too.
You can tell a lot about some people from a bumper sticker. They draw too much attention and could even incite violence. All those cute family stickers that tell how many people and pets are in a home drive me nuts because they give away so much info.
Talk with kids and teens about how much they reveal to friends and to the public online.
I get a few emails from readers and pay attention to comments in forums and I can tell you right now that there have been plenty of cases where kids and teens revealed how much food their parent’s have and other personal info and the result was home break ins and robbery.
Some kids may express that they feel badly that their friends have so little while they have plenty of food and supplies. Now is the time to talk to them about the seriousness of revealing too much and the unfortunate realities of the world that we live in. It is for their own safety.
I hope you never have to make use of any of the tactics and methods I have described that goes beyond a fence for your pet, but it is important to consider the possibility of civil unrest coming to your area. This has been a remarkable period of history to live through but do remember that those before us went through many great challenges as well and life continued.
We can too.
I wish you and your family the best during these uncertain times.