I`m sure you`ve seen this message “Looters will be shot” before on TV, or on the internet. Or maybe one of your neighbors has already written it on his house walls. But I wouldn`t suggest you do the same thing. And I`ll tell you why in just a moment.
But let`s see why this whole fuss about looters began in the first place. When hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, a lot of people were forced to evacuate their homes and leave everything inside. But they never found them when they went back. And no, it wasn`t the storm. It was looters. They started walking around from house to house, guns in their hands, stealing money and valuables. And threatening or even injuring everyone who dared get in the way.
But they didn`t get to leave unpunished. By the time they finished their “rounds”, people organized a resistance group. They were armed and thirsty for vengeance. And they wanted the whole world to know it. So they got a spray paint and they wrote this message on a wall: “Looters will be shot“. And that`s how it all began.
After this incident, more and more people marked their own walls with way, hoping to protect their stockpile and their families. But here`s the thing: lotters not only loot for food, water and gas stoves. They also loot for guns. And that message written on your wall clearly states: “I`ve got guns, come and get them when I`m not home!” And you don`t want a bunch of violent criminals rummaging your home and scaring your kids, do you?
So here`s how you can keep looters far away from your house, with almost no risk at all:
1. Make your house look unappealing
That doesn`t mean you should trash your front yard, your windows and doors, as others advise. In fact, that`s another rookie mistake. An already trashed house makes an easy target (looters LOVE easy targets) and it may reveal hidden treasures others didn`t bother to look for.
So don`t start ruining your house, there`s no need for extreme measures. Just make it less appealing than your neighbors`. Yes, it`s very selfish and may sound mean, but that`s what it takes to keep your family safe and sound. So if your house stands out among the others, fix that. Make it look like it hasn`t been renovated in a long time, scratch the paint of the walls every here and there. And keep your valuables away from windows (your TV, your home office, expensive furniture etc).
2. Make it almost impossible for looters to break into your home
Keep looters far away from your front door by setting “obstacles” all around your front yard. Plant roses or other thorn bushes in front of your windows, so they can`t get close to you house. Avoid keeping tall bushes or trees in your garden, where looters can easily hide.
Next, check out if your door is protective enough. First thing you need to do: invest in a high-end bolt lock on your door. Not the kind your grandkids could break in less than a minute… I mean the kind you could easily use in a state prison.
When it comes to protecting your home, watch for the soft spots. If you`ve got big, fragile windows, cover them with a protective sheet. You can find it at any Walmart, it`s not expensive, but it will surely make the glass harder to break.
And last, but not least… get a big, mean-looking dog, like a Rottweiler or a pitbull. If trained well, you`ll have a wonderful companion that your family will love… and the most fierceful bodyguard you could ever have!
3. Keep your goodies away from curious eyes
I already mentioned keeping your valuables away from your windows, where passersby can see them (including expensive furniture, TV sets, DVD players, an audio system or other gadgets). But looters aren`t always the enemies coming from the outside.
In times of crisis, even your best neighbors can turn into looters. In a dog eat dog society, there`s not much room for friendly neighbors. So if you`re stockpiling, make sure you keep your supplies in a hidden place, where visitors can`t see them.
If you`ve got a storage room ( a pantry, a garage or an actual room you use to store your stockpile), keep it locked at all times and don`t leave the key in an obvious place. You can put the key in a top drawer or hide it behind a cupboard.
Ideally, you should also hide generators, bug-out bags, survival kits, weapons and the rest of your emergency “tools”. Looters don`t only steal food. They look for anything they can use or sell to buy what they need.
4. Don`t let people know you`re not home
If you go away for the weekend or on a holiday, make sure your home looks like you`re there 24/7. You don`t want people to sniff an unwatched bag of goodies in your house!
So here` s what you need to do: first of all, light up your house. Invest in a motion-sensor lighting system. They won`t be able to get in your house without getting in the spotlight as well. You can use this type of lighting inside and outside your house, if you want to scare looters off before they even get to the front door.
If you leave home for more than three days, don`t leave mail piled up in your mailbox. It practically screams “I`m not home, so come on and break into my house!” Ask a friend or a neighbor you trust to pick it up for you while you`re gone. It`s the safest option you`ve got.
If you`ve got a telephone, plug it out before you leave. If someone wants to know if you`re home, they`ll search for your phone number in Yellow Pages or on the Internet and call you to see if you answer or not.
And here`s the last Golden Rule to protect your home against looters and burglars:
5. If they do get inside, give them hell!
Let`s say you`re facing some really ambitious looters who really want to break into your home and your home only…
Can you imagine the hungry smirks on their faces when they get inside YOUR house? Well, this image should be motivating enough to give them the worst Scavenger’s hunt they`ve ever see in their life! Usually, looters only stick around for a few minutes, to avoid getting caught. So the longer it takes for them to find the goodies, the faster they decide to flee the place with whatever they find on hand.
So as a general rule, never keep your valuables on display. However, there are some things you can`t hide, so just etch your name and phone number on them. This will give them a hard time to sell your stuff.
Another thing: Keep your stockpile in a hidden place, perhaps covered by a curtain or behind a closet (or maybe IN a step-in closet!) Your stockpile is crucial to you and your family during a crisis, so protect it as well as you can. Put a big bolt lock on it and keep it undercover. As long as you`ve got food, water and a heating source, you`re good.
That`s about everything you should know about home defense during the crisis. If you follow these 5 Golden Rules, you can rest assure your home will be more secure than any other in your neighborhood. So have fun with the preparations and stay safe!