Chance favors the prepared!

The 3 Crucial Aspects of ANY Security Plan

secure-it1When you hear the word “Security” what word pops in your head? For some, they may think Paul Blart, Mall Cop. Others may think about the excruciatingly long lines at the airport. For preppers, I bet firearms are what spring to mind.

Nothing better than a Remington 870 shotgun for home security right?

While there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with those answers, very few stop to think about security as a whole. There is more to a security plan than just a 12 gauge shotgun or Glock. Whether it is your home, your homestead, or a large company, security has three parts or stages. Each subsequent stage is predicated upon the previous stage.


When it comes to questionable or even illicit behavior, most humans tend to look at the risk versus reward aspects of their actions. Are the potential payoffs worth the possible hassles, headaches, and trouble?

All but the most psychologically warped individuals will try to weigh those factors in their heads before determining a course of action. The less the perceived reward, or the greater the risk for the bad guy, then the less the chance of bad guy(s) attempting to breach your security. That makes this the most important element of the three.

Why is deterrence the most important? Because if you can deter the bad guys, then you won’t need to rely on the other two elements.

Ok James, so how do we go about increasing deterrence? Well, let’s look at what constitutes deterrence? Deterrence can be broken down into two facets:

  • Increasing the risk or the perceived risks involved
  • Decreasing the reward or the perceived lack of reward

In my line of work, I carry a Taser, and on more than one instance I have had to deploy it. There have been a few times where I pulled it out and pointed it at the suspect, hoping that the sight of it would encourage him to comply. Occasionally it worked, other times it did not.

“Screw you! Tase me, I don’t care.”

Ok, so I did.

The sight of the Taser and the threat to use it did not always deter the suspect. The perceived risk was not great enough.

Loyal police k9

My loyal companion!

However, for several years I was a K9 officer, with an 75 pound German shepherd named Cyrus. And while Cyrus and I were partners, I did not generally carry a Taser. Instead, I carried a leash. And like the Taser, there were times I would pull Cyrus out of my vehicle if I perceived a possible confrontation with a suspect.

In all my years as a K9 officer, not once did I have a suspect refuse to comply. Never did I hear “Screw you! Let that crazy ass dog bite me!” Not once. I quickly learned that 75 pound German shepherds who are barking and growling like crazy are perceived as a much bigger risk than a Taser.

The perceived risk of physical damage or even death is quite possibly the best deterrence there is. A 12 gauge shotgun in the determined hands of a potential victim presents that threat.

There is also the ability to increase the risks of the potential threat to you getting caught.

I would encourage you to make sure you house is well lit at night. Some people turn the porch light off before going to bed, but I wouldn’t. I’d install a back porch light also if you can. I might even leave the TV on with the volume low during the night so it appears someone is up.

If you can, installing motion activated lights work great at scaring away potential troublemakers. For less than $50, you can get solar powered ones (like in the picture) that are easy to install. I have a few on the homestead.

The price of in-house security camera systems are coming down, making them more affordable to people. Some even had apps that you can install on your cell phone and watch on your smart phone from wherever you are. And if you can’t afford a real one, a fake camera is less than $10.

Neighborhood watch groups with posted signs can also help. Dogs, even little noisy ones, can help sound the alarm that something is not right. And big dogs….well we already talked about the ability of big dogs.

Anything that can increase the chances of the bad guys being caught or discovered poses a risk to them. And that is a good thing for you.

Next, you can decrease the perceived reward for potential bad guys. If the bad guys don’t think you have much in value, they might skip you and move on for “greener pastures.” And that all starts with OpSec (Operational security).

Operational Security, in a nutshell, is the ability to keep your mouth shut and not let people around you know too much about you, your abilities, your supplies, etc. In essence, “loose lips sink ships!”

I encourage people to be careful what they post on Facebook or other social media. Travel plans, recent purchases of large ticket items, even that you prep could lead people you don’t want to your door step. For hints and tips on this, please check out my article on it by clicking here.

Another thing I have noticed lately are parents with children playing school sports that post signs in their yard with their kid’s name and what sport they play. So Trevor plays Varsity football for the high school? Great! As a bad guy, I know where you will be on Friday night. And it ISN’T home!!

Sometimes, you need to balance both the increase of risk with the decrease of reward.


Let me explain. Remember that Remington 870 shotgun I mentioned earlier? I bet you think it is a great deterrent. Well, sometimes it isn’t. In fact, you could make you a target.

The shotgun is a valuable piece of equipment and makes a tempting target for thieves. By itself, it poses no threat to anyone. Instead, it is YOU, standing behind it pointing it in the general direction of the bad guy that makes it a threat.

To the bad guy, knowing you have that shotgun is a deterrent when you are home. So then, what do you do when you are not home? When you are at work? Or at the grocery store?

Not a good idea

Not a good idea

(I have mentioned before and I’ll mention again….signs like “Protected by Smith and Wesson” are NOT deterrents. Instead, they advertise that you have firearms in your house. And that makes a tempting target to a bad guy when you aren’t home!)

I’m not saying you should not have a gun for protection. What I’m saying is that balancing both facets of deterrence, as well as having multiple means of deterrence, is your best bet.


If your deterrence aspect was not enough to scare away the bad guys, the next step is to delay. You want to make their ability to get to you or your valuables as hard and as long as possible. By delaying their process, you increase the chances of them being detected.

Thorny bushes under windows for example, will slow down a thief or force him into choosing another means of entry. Keeping your doors and windows locked, even on the second floor, helps prevent easy access.

If you have secondary buildings, like a tool shed, have the shed entrance facing your house so you can easily see it from inside your home. You might consider placing those thorny bushes around the other three sides, so that bad guys have a more difficult time using the shed as concealment.

Reinforced locks and doors with screws extending to the studs in the wall, as well as striker plates will help to slow down his ability to kick in your door.

Brite Strike makes an affordable audible and visual alarm that you can use to alarm a door or window should it be opened. You can even use it with a trip wire along a path to warn you of approaching bad guys.

If you never use a certain exterior door to your house, maybe hang some loud wind chimes right by it from the inside. That way if the door is ever opened, it will sound the chimes. Glass bottle or tin cans with pebbles in them work also.

In some long term survival scenarios, maybe having trip wire alarms or punji sticks on the outside by windows or other potential concealment places can certainly slow down the bad guys. There are other booby traps I would use as well. But with the hazards and potential problems with that, not to mention the potential for litigation and other lawsuits, I would NOT recommend any booby traps except in times of great peril!

By delaying and hindering the bad guys, not only do you increase the potential to discover them, but you also give yourself more time to prepare the third aspect of security, your ability to defend!


At this stage, if you are now taking active steps to defend yourself, it means that the other aspects of your security plan did not work. Hopefully you delayed them enough to have time to prepare. But when you do need to act, you need to be quick and decisive.

But before you get to that point, the most important part of “defend” is to become familiar with the laws and ordinances of your state and city regarding self-defense. Most states have provisions regarding the use of force in self-defense and firearms. But many times I find people in my state who do not fully understand those laws.

Don’t be one of those people.

Sure, in a TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) all you really need to know are the 3 Ss.

  • Shoot
  • Shovel
  • Shut Up

But no one alive has ever experienced a TEOTWAWKI event. And even after huge disasters, at some point law and order will be restored. You will be held accountable for your actions. So know ahead of time what is legal and what isn’t.

For the majority of preppers, defense involves firearms. But it should also involve training with that firearm. Practice with it. Drill with it. Know your firearms. I cannot stress that enough.

In addition, consider the type of caliber you are using. Rifle rounds and even pistol rounds can travel through the bad guy, walls, doors, TV, stereo, and possibly into a loved one, pet, neighbor, etc. Be aware of not just what you are shooting at, but what is behind your target as well.

Bullets do not discriminate!

Many people carry knives. But I don’t usually recommend using a knife for self-defense unless you have some training and skill with it. Otherwise you are as likely to cut yourself as you are the bad guy.

There are non-lethal options, such as pepper spray or Stun gun. But both have some draw backs you need to consider.

For pepper spray, there is always a chance of blow back. In addition to my training where I was sprayed with it, I was accidently hit by another officer’s spray while wrestling a suspect. It SUCKED. (That’s why I do NOT carry it.)

If you have the foam, GET RID OF IT! I have seen officers in the past use the foam on a suspect. The suspect grabbed a handful of it off his face, and threw it back at the officer. No Bueno!

The Stun gun can be useful. But for it to be effective, you must be at arm’s reach from the bad guy. That means you are close enough for him to grab you.

When it comes to defend, your ultimate goals are to stop the threat, get out of harm’s way, and get help or assistance from the authorities.


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