For far too many people, the concept of security begins and ends with firearms. While self-defense weapons are an important component of the plan, they shouldn’t be the entire plan. There are many facets to a well-rounded approach to security—from hardening the home to protecting your digital assets, and all should be addressed.
Keeping things close to the chest is one of the best ways to avoid being a target. Often, we have a tendency to reveal far more than we should, and we do so without thinking.
1.1 Conceal Big Purchases
Big-ticket items often come in large boxes. Dragging the empty box to the end of the driveway for pickup tells anyone going by that you just bought a brand-new TV or another item that might interest them in what else is in your home. A better idea is to slice up the box and slip it into your recycling bin.
1.2 Keep Preps Under Wraps
Whenever possible, store your extra food, water and supplies out of sight. There are no prizes for bragging rights. Make judicious use of closets, basements, space under beds and whatever storage space you have available. Just remember to keep “grab-and-go” items such as bug-out bags in locations that are easy to access with only a moment’s notice.
1.2.1 Creative Storage
You can conceal long-term goods “in plain sight,” in a sense. Use boxes or totes and label them “Grandma’s sleepwear” or something similar. The idea is that if someone were to search the home, they’ll probably pass up something like that.
1.3 Loose Lips Sink Ships
This is a double-edged sword, because you might want to help family and friends get better prepared. Nevertheless, you don’t want to expose yourself as a potential target for theft. Weigh the risks of sharing this information with others and act accordingly.
2.0 SITUATIONAL AWARENESS
“Situational awareness” is a popular term in the security and defense world, as well as among preppers—and for good reason. Basically, it means to be aware of the world around you so you can act as needed before, or if, a threat arises.
2.1 Put the Phone Away
When you’re out and about, keep your phone in your pocket instead of in front of your face. You can’t be observant if your biggest concern is who’s posted what on social media.
2.2 Be Abrupt if Needed
If there’s one positive that’s resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a heightened awareness when people get too close to you in public. Don’t be afraid to be firm about this, because the closer someone is, the more of a threat they could be. If you’ve tried to be polite and it didn’t work, be blunt. However, avoid being confrontational.
2.3 Technological Assets
Motion-sensitive cameras and lights are great for perimeter use at home in order to increase your ability to keep tabs on what’s happening in your area. They might not work during a grid-down scenario, but they’ll work well until that happens.
If you’re threatened or attacked, you should be prepared to take appropriate action. This might not always mean deadly force is needed. Be sure to check local laws to avoid carrying something that could get you into legal trouble.
Seek out martial arts or self-defense training from a qualified instructor. This should go beyond strikes and blocks and incorporate mental fortitude, as well as the aforementioned situational awareness.
Because defense response should be something of a spectrum rather than a singular approach, your arsenal, such as it is, should incorporate less-than-lethal options as well as firearms.
3.2.1 Less Lethal
Pepper spray is a popular choice, and it works well. Opt for a stream rather than a fog-type dispersal. In addition, stun guns can be quite convincing when used properly.
Many people carry knives for defense but have little or no training for this sort of use. Furthermore, using a knife as a weapon takes a certain mindset; one that most folks don’t possess naturally. If you’re determined to carry a defense blade, seek out training on how to use it properly.
Carrying a handgun isn’t a responsibility to take on lightly; nor should it be done without proper training and regular practice. You need to be able to hit your target confidently … or the weapon is useless to you.
4.0 DIGITAL PROTECTION
We live in a world in which computers are part of our daily lives, whether we like them or not. It’s best to learn how to keep your data safe rather than relying on hopes and prayers that nobody will bother with you.
4.1 Antivirus Software
Like locks on doors and windows, the best antivirus software in the world is worthless if you don’t use it. Have it set up to scan attachments before you open them, as well as perform a complete system scan on a regular basis.
“Phishing” refers to attempts to glean your personal data through fraudulent e-mails or other communication. Never directly respond to e-mails asking for your information or click on links embedded in such e-mails. Go to the bank’s (or other entity’s) website directly yourself. Better yet: Call them to find out what’s going on, if anything.
Use a unique password for every website or account. Make it something you’ll be able to remember but that’s nearly impossible to guess. Never use names, including those of your pets.
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the 2021 Spring/Summer Prepper Survival Manual print issue of American Survival Guide.
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