When disaster strikes, the best place for you to be will likely be your home. That is where your food, supplies, and most importantly, where your loved ones are. Your home is your castle. It is the one secure place you have when the world around you seems to be burning down. You need to prepare your home to be your safe haven.
You should already have preparations for food shortages, water, and power supply disruptions. If not, please check out those articles, and start preparing today. Protecting your castle requires you to anticipate potential threats to include looters, thieves, home invaders, mobs, and any others who would threaten you in your home. Every home is different, and the future is unpredictable. There will be no way to perfectly prepare for every possible contingency. You can, however, start preparing now to make your home a hard target for those who would threaten it.
The same principles for personal protection apply to securing your home. Just as you need to be aware of your surroundings, you will need to be aware of the security strengths and weaknesses in your home. Take a look at your home from an intruder's perspective. How close could you get to the home before being detected? What barriers exist blocking entrance to the home? How long would those barriers delay your entrance if you were determined to enter? How many people would it take to break into the home? Two? Five? One hundred?
By evaluating your home from the perspective of a potential intruder, you will identify potential vulnerabilities. You won't be able to eliminate all risks, but you can take steps to mitigate them. Do you live in an apartment or condo with high traffic areas, or in a secluded rural setting? Does the exterior have sufficient lighting at night? Does your yard have dense vegetation or concealment that intruders could use to get to your home undetected? Do you travel frequently, and is it obvious when the home is occupied or vacant?
Do you have a perimeter wall or fence? A fence can protect you both physically and legally. While trespassing laws vary from state to state, people generally can't be prosecuted for trespassing if they simply wander into someone's yard or even their house. Climbing over a fence or breaking through a gate indicates that the person knew they did not have the owner's consent to enter the property, and are trespassing. How many entrances/exits does your home have? Do you have security cameras or motion sensors installed?
Take note of the inside of your home as well. Do you have a safe for your valuables? Do you have alarms or a video doorbell system? According to a 2012 survey of incarcerated burglars, about 60% of the burglars surveyed indicated that the presence of an alarm would cause them to seek an alternative target altogether (Keep in mind this study was funded by the Alarm Industry Research & Educational Foundation). Once you evaluate the potential vulnerabilities in your home, you can address ways to mitigate them. Even minor reductions in your vulnerabilities can significantly decrease your likelihood of becoming a target.
Next, you need to plan for your response to a home invasion. Just as you can use improvised weapons to defend yourself, you will find that your home is full of resources you can use to defend your castle. Furniture can create a temporary barrier to buy you time. When planning the layout for your home, place furniture where you may want to build hasty barricades. Plan the layout of your home to gain an advantage over intruders. Stairs and hallways are defensible chokepoints against intruders. Plan for your safe room or rally point to be on the second level, if your home has one. Practice with your family so everyone knows what to do, and where to rally during a home invasion. Keep a cell phone, flashlight, medical supplies, and any weapons available to you at your rally point.
Finally, prepare to defend yourself, as your life and your liberty depend on it. If home intruders break into your home, clearly the law will not deter them. They pose a threat not only to your property, but to the life of everyone in your home. You may have to resort to force to protect yourself and your family. All states have some variation of the Castle Doctrine, which grants you the right to defend your home against intruders. Check the laws in your state, as you don't want to wonder what your state laws are when there is an intruder downstairs at 3:00 AM.
If you defend yourself with a weapon, what would make the most sense for your situation? Non-lethal weapons such as hornet spray or an air horn can effectively deter intruders. They may provide enough of a disincentive to cause the intruders to leave. Melee weapons such as a baseball bat, pool cue stick, or a chair can also deter intruders, but could also be lethal. If you choose to defend your castle with a melee weapon, train with it under realistic conditions. Learn how effectively you can access and use your weapon in the dark.
If you choose to use a firearm for defense, consider the best option for you. Do you live in an apartment building where bullets could travel through walls and into neighboring apartments? Shotguns can be very effective at the close ranges you would expect indoors. Instead of firing one bullet at a time, they fire multiple lead balls or other projectiles that can effectively stop threats. They also can be bulky, and hard for smaller people to manage. Shotguns tend to have a limited shell capacity, so they would not be effective against a large mob. Pistols are smaller, and you can store them easily at your bedside. Rifles are very effective, as they pack a lot of power, and generally use magazines with a higher capacity than pistols or shotguns. Rifles can deter even large mobs from trespassing onto your property.
Whatever option you choose to use to defend your castle, make sure you train with it in realistic scenarios. Practice accessing, loading, and using your weapon effectively with little notice in the dark. A home invasion will be extremely stressful. You need to be able to go from condition white to condition red quickly, and remain effective.
The video below shows some pointers for Close Quarters Battle, as taught by an eight year old. Train under expert guidance and according to the conditions in your home.
Decide beforehand what you plan to do in case of a home invasion. Will you defend yourself and your family with a weapon? Will you barricade yourself in a safe room, and wait for the police to arrive? Will you escape through an emergency exit? All circumstances are different, and you must choose the best course of action for yourself and your family. How you protect your home will depend on your personal circumstances. As long as the economy remains stalled and the country becomes more politically volatile, the risk of home invasions will rise. You can't always count on the police to protect you. You may only have minutes or seconds to respond and protect yourself and your loved ones. Your home is your castle; it is your safe haven. You must do what you can to protect it.