"We have four boxes with which to defend our freedom: the soap box, the ballot box, the jury box and the cartridge box." - Congressman Larry McDonald M.D.
(1 April, 1935 - 1 Sept., 1983)


God Save The Republic

06 October 2010

Perimeter Security

In my last two postings, I discussed the importance of identifying and beefing up easy breach risks of your structure, then the prudence behind utilizing mechanical devices for intrusion alerting, should an intrusion attempt be made into your structure. I suppose it follows a logical progression to now talk about securing the perimeter around the outside of your structure.

As in my last post, I want to warn against the use of any "booby trapping" that could result in the injury or death of an interloper, regardless of their intentions. There is a very real possibility that these situations can bring about a civil and / or criminal action against you, even if said interloper were a Hannibal Lecter wannabe who is found with a can of Pinto beans and a bottle of "Mad Dog 20 - 20" in his mess kit.

Just like with home construction, landscape design is primarily intended as eye-candy to wow your neighbors and folks passing by, but not enhance your security measures. There are instances where some landscape designs unintentionally enhance security risks. A good example of this would be shrubbery along an outside wall of a structure. If only a few feet high, they can still provide cover and ambush points for bad guys, and covert locations for window peepers.

Low voltage and solar type landscape lighting dresses up shrub beds real nice. Problem is, low voltage systems can be unplugged or their wires clipped / shorted out, and solar lights are easily broken or buried under a layer of mulch. Save the decorative lighting money and pull out the shrubs. If you absolutely feel the need for something in their place, go with a flower bed. And keep decorative block walls around those beds no higher than two or three courses.

Large diameter trees provide another source of interloper stealth plus bullet resistant cover. If you have large old growth trees within 100 feet of the structure, I suggest removal and having stumps ground down to ground level. Stumps too can provide some cover, and they might present a trip hazard if YOU need to beat a hasty escape in the dead of night.

My own property is almost two acres. About 120 feet from the rear of the house is a heavily wooded area that is, at it's deepest point, about forty yards, and bordered by a steep bank creek. The property on the opposite side has a thirty foot grade that rises quickly above the creek. The wooded area is a mess of high weeds, old and second growth trees, junk trees, fallen trees, some very nasty long thorns attached to long slender stems, thick tangle-foot, poison oak, poison ivy and Copperheads. I had considered clearing the land until I considered it's security advantages and discovered it is a bedding and feeding area for a family of fresh venison steaks.

What I have done is create a small opening where the deer trail comes closest to the edge of the back yard. Call it a decompression point that "forces" trespassers to an easy exit of my choosing, and into a 120 foot clearing with no bullet resistant cover and little chance for stealth. High watt motion sensor lights and a pair of Labrador Retriever "alarms" round out the back yard security system. Of course the lights are only a plus as long as there is electrical service or they haven't been shot out.

For some folks, fencing around their perimeter is a good way to go. A fence may not stop someone intent on entering your property, but even a split rail fence will slow people down, and slow equals time... as in time for you to react. Fences provide an advantage over high solid walls; they allow you to see an approach and a breach where with a wall, you only get to see the end result of a climb over breach, if you're lucky enough to be looking in the right area at the right time.

Human beings are like electricity in that they will, more often than not, follow the path of least resistance. It is a predictability that you can almost count on. Put up a fence or wall and include an opening, most folks will chance the opening rather than work at cutting or climbing. At least up until a group sees the first few get picked off by an observant property owner.

So, the optimum perimeter security designs are going to take away cover and close-in ambush points, but creating small choke point openings into designated shooting zones that would force a hoard of zombies to enter slowly in single or double file, rather than an all out bum-rush, and make for easier targets.

As for using mechanical intrusion warning devices, there are certain considerations that need to be addressed during the planning stage. Tripwire noise makers or flares, for example, may be practical in some situations. However, there is the possibility of false alarms, caused by wild or pet animals. In my case, I don't want to chance scaring the hell out of and possibly running off a fresh meat source. You will have to assess your own needs to determine what is right for your situation.



  1. ...ooops,i think i "commented early" for this post(in last posts comments...lol)...anyway,good reads Brother...

  2. Excellent series, MikeH.

    I have a concern about the Labrador Retriever alarms, though. Since it appears to be SOP for SWAT Teams to shoot the dogs first (assuming there are no kittens around to stop to death, I guess), don't you think a determined raider would do the same?

    I don't have a handy answer to this problem. Just wondered what your thoughts are.

  3. GB,

    I still have my trusty Chihuahua and a Boxer as inside "alarms." This place is like a freaking zoo.

    To put complete trust into any plan, even with backups in place, is a trip down the path to a false sense of security. Nothing is fool-proof.

    You put together security measures in layers; for example, a couple along the property perimeter, a couple up close to the structure and a couple inside the structure. The hope is that (1) the bad guys will get tired of looking for and disarming each layer and give up, or (2) assume there can't possibly be any more layers, and then screw-up by not finding the next.

    You do the best you can and pray it works.

  4. Great post.

    I'm a big fan of using thorns as deterrents. Blackberry hedges are part of the plan for our in-the-works remote property. They're a physical deterrent as well as food source.

  5. Two point: Given all the insurmontable problems with protecting a house from a horde; I think the most important part of your security should be some way to know that people are apporaching. Idealy this should happen without alerting the intruder that they have been discovered. A dog is excellent but it does alert the bad guy. Without some really good electronics and/or a 24/7 guard achieving the second part of this goal is difficult.
    2) Most intruders intending to assault your position will do two things; try to stay under cover and observe for awhile to plan the attack. What you need rather then taking away cover is to design cover. Create a few "natural" looking spots that anyone would pick to hide in/behind. Then set up a wired light buried in the ground at those spots. You've seen those lights where just the top glass cover is visible and they shine up to highlight a tree or something. Wire each of these lights seperately with individual switches on a mapped out board so you can turn any light on without turning them all on. Then when TSHTF replace the light with an electrically fired 12 device that fires straight up and place a quart mason jar ful of gasoline on top of the device. Then when you notice a bad guy has choosen one of your prepared hide spot all you have to do is light them up. Obviously this is illegal so please understand I am only writing a chapter for a book not proposing you break the law.