We’re sure you have noticed we are living in a time of civil unrest. It appears the tension is increasing over time and has yet to reach a crescendo, which is why it’s critical to know to protect your home from rioters.
As we have seen, peaceful protests often turn into riots. In the cover of dark people start setting fires, looting, and smashing windows. Even if you actively avoid the epicenter of riots, they can end up spilling onto your neighborhood.
In this article we will cover the fundamentals of protecting your home from rioters, including passive and active strategies. Some of these steps will be taken prior to danger, and some will be taken when danger is on your doorstep.
Either way, if you follow these strategies, you will greatly decrease the risk of damage to your home or harm coming to your family.
Home Protection Basics and Fundamentals
At first, figuring out how to fortify your home and protect your family might feel daunting. That’s why we think it’s important to simplify the process. When protecting your home, just keep in mind the 4 D’s:
The 4 D’s will guide you in fortifying your home from rioters and home invaders from start to finish. If you thoroughly follow each of these steps, you will drastically reduce the risk of getting your home broken into.
Perimeter Defense (Deter)
Having self-defense weapons and knowing how to use them is great, and even encouraged. But following Sun Tzu’s words in the Art of War, you want to defeat the enemy without even a battle. This means deterring rioters far before they even approach your home.
This could be as simple as leaving some lights on, even when you’re not home. For more robust defense, fences are the most obvious choice. Whether you install a ten-foot fence with barbed wire or a cute little picket fence, you are sending a message:
In addition, we suggest putting a deterrent sign on the fence. This could be a ‘no trespassing’ or ‘beware of dog’ sign (even if you don’t have a dog). Heck, we even know people that have a recording connected to their doorbell or motion detector that sounds like a dog barking.
Security Cameras and Motion Detectors (Detect)
If rioters aren’t deterred by your initial defense, you must rely on your next layer, which is detection. Security cameras and motion detectors are the best way to accomplish this. Even a basic alarm system will go a long way.
Nowadays security systems are relatively cheap and can be managed from your smartphone. A security system such as Nest cameras from Google are a popular choice. They come with built in speakers and microphones so you can scare away looters at the door.
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Ideally you want to have cameras covering the entire perimeter of your property. After this step is done, you can set up motion detectors around your house. Just the fact that a light comes on when intruders walk by is often enough to send them running.
Since camera and motion light systems are relatively inexpensive these days, you should have a system in place as soon as possible.
Door, Window, and Garage Security (Deny)
If rioters have gotten past the perimeter of your property, you need to have systems in place to keep intruders out. Home invaders of all kinds will generally enter the garage, doors, or a ground level window. These points of entry should be your primary focus.
Secure your Garage
Let’s start with the garage. Often we don’t think of this as a potential entry point. But did you know that skilled thieves can enter your your garage in less than 10 seconds?
For roll up garages, it is incredibly easy for an intruder to use only a coat hanger to enter your home. You can prevent this from happening quite easily with a zip tie. As an added line of defense, ALWAYS make sure the door leading into your home from the garage is locked.
Secure your Windows
After securing your garage, you want to move on to your windows. We recommend you purchase a clear security film that holds the glass in place even after broken. This is a relatively cheap option that buys you previous time to call for help when all hell is breaking loose around you.
In addition, you can buy sensors that detect when a window is being opened or when glass has been broken. These sensors can set off an audio alarm and alert you on your phone as well as the police.
You might be wondering about window bars. While we think window bars are a decent option, keep in mind that what keeps intruders out also keeps you locked in. In the case of a fire, you’ll want multiple exit points.
Secure your Door
Door security is absolutely critical. Your standard door is super easy to kick in or pry open, so your first action should be to replace your doors with either a solid wood or a metal door. You will then want to replace all of the standard screws in the door and frame with longer screws of at least 3.5 inches that drill down into the studs, not just the frame. This is one of the best and easiest things you can do for your home security.
In addition, there are also emergency door block devices built specifically to keep intruders out at primary entry points. Many schools have started using these devices to lock down classrooms in an active shooter scenario. Some of them secure the door in place at the base, while others secure the door at the center. Either way, you are better protected than just relying upon a deadbolt.
Gear: Knives, Guns, etc. (Defend)
Unfortunately, your first few lines of defense might fail. This is the worst case scenario, but one you must prepare for.
You will want to have a variety of weapons to defend against anyone that enters the home. These should be both lethal and non-lethal weapons that can easily be reached.
Since you’ll often be in your bedroom when an invasion occurs, you should have some key tactical items always in arms length on your nightstand. Some items we like to include are:
- Tactical Flashlight
- Pepper spray
- Cell phone (fully charged)
You want weapons that you are comfortable using as well as a way to communicate to the outside world. Always make sure your cell phone is charged before you head off to sleep.
In addition to a tactical nightstand, we recommend keeping at least three weapons in every lower level room of the house. These weapons can range from a baseball bat to a semi-automatic shotgun.
Tactically speaking, handguns and shorter shotguns are your best options for defending your home. Handguns can be kept close at all times and are perfect to maneuver through your home. Shotguns are bigger and tougher to maneuver, but they pack a bigger punch. Just be sure any adults in your home know how to properly use these weapons safely.
It is also advisable to have several reliable survival knives around the house. Tasers and pepper spray are also good options for close quarters.
And finally, one type of gear that is often overlooked is a fire extinguisher. With rioters often comes fire. Make sure you have smoke detectors on each level along with a few fire extinguishers. Sometimes looters will use arson to force homeowners to leave the home and abandon their belongings. Be ready for this tactic.
In many cases, once rioters enter your home you will not have a chance to sneak out the back door. The ultimate last resort is a safe room. This is a fortified room in which you can safely wait for the intruders to leave or for the police to arrive. Building a safe room is costly and not for everyone, but if you have the means it is a good idea.
In worst case scenarios, you may want to hole up in your safe room for several days. Always have some food and water, change of clothes, firearms, and a five-gallon bucket with a lid for a makeshift bathroom. Keep a first aid kit in case you are injured along with any medications you might need.
Communication and Planning for Home Intruders
Being ready for rioters during civil unrest is not just about reinforcing doors and buying weapons. You need to practice this scenario with your family. Be sure everyone knows what to do if you have an intruder on your perimeter cameras or a glass break sensor goes off.
Where does everyone go? Who stays out front to fight? Who calls the police? When do you head to a safe room? Treat this like a fire drill and practice it regularly.
At the end of the day, knowing how to protect your home from rioters largely comes down to thinking like the rioters. Wealthy households with no deterrents to keep people out are typically the homes that get hit first.
If you have the ability, try not to make the outside of your home flashy. If you drive high end cars, keep them in the garage. Keep your blinds drawn so people can’t see that 80-inch TV in your living room. Don’t give rioters any extra reasons to target your home.
In addition, use our home security tips to make it as difficult to get into your home in times of civil unrest. Every layer of protection will be another reason for rioters to move to the next home.
When it comes right down to it, YOU are the ultimate deterrent. Just standing up to people with a weapon will often scare them off. Many of these rioters will be looking for some easy loot, not a fight to the death. Make it clear that you will not allow them to threaten the safety of your family.
We hope that this guide has given you some ideas on how to defend your home from civil unrest. Let us know in the comments below what you think and if you have any other recommendations we can add to the list.