10 Home Security Secrets from Venezuela

J. G. Martinez D
By J. G. Martinez D January 21, 2019 07:40

10 Home Security Secrets from Venezuela

How good is your home security? Would it stand up to the tests of widespread civil unrest, burgeoning crime rates, and a starving population? Jose is back to tell us the home security secrets he learned in Venezuela.

Every country is different, but there are some situations that seem to be universal. I lived for some time in a small and wonderful island in the Caribbean, and I noticed that in some small towns bordering the island there were some extra precautions regarding home defense, mostly grills in their windows and doors.

This said, I will describe a little bit the original home, and what we did to improve safety without feeling like we were living in a birdcage. This was not like most of our neighbors.

#1. Looking Like You Have a Lot to Protect Can Make Your Family a Target

Fortified homes, with electric fencing or razor blades on the top of tall walls, are the first ones to receive the visit of commando-style gangs, heavily armed. They just go to the door and wait for someone to go in or out. Sometimes they even wait outside for one of the members of the family and just kidnap him or her. Then their access to the fortress is guaranteed. This is such a common practice that it has caused a lot of wealthy families to flee to other countries. It happens in Brazil, it happens in Colombia, and lots of other countries too.

Passive techniques are more effective.

Let’s see how we can apply passive techniques, without standing out like a sore thumb, so to speak.

Related: How to Safely Clear Your Home When You Think There’s an Intruder


One of the first things to protect are windows. My home has strong steelframe windows The need to add a grille came in recent years. Our neighborhood had always been quiet and reasonably safe, but a teenaged addict invaded a home where an old lady was, jumping through an open window, and beat her badly. So my wife decided we needed grilles for the windows.

These were made of a rough 1.5cms x1.5 cms cross section of square steel. An additional touch was hardening it by tempering with a gas torch and spraying water. This will increase the hardness, and keep the center ductile and resistant to bending. It will prevent the use of a saw to cut them, as it is mild steel. But this was done because I know how to do it. (Here are some basic instructions on tempering steel.)

As a final touch, these grilles were painted the same color as the window frames they were welded on. They cannot be noticed from 5 meters away. If someone gets closer to take a better look, they will notice the detail of the grille, and maybe will decide that the owner is perhaps smarter than the average. This can steer their direction to some other place with better cost-benefit opportunities.

Every little window, including sunroofs and other openings, have this fencing on them. Kids’ bedroom windows, everywhere. Our backyard was grilled as well, but on the roof, like a sort of pergola. Our houses are wall to wall with the neighbors. Light and sun is the only thing that will go through. A double glassdoor on the patio with a bulletproof cover applied to the inner side opens to a wide room in the back of the house with some space for bike maintenance and other stuff. From this room, a passage protected by two heavy duty steel and glass doors allows people to go inside the house. These were already there when we bought the house. When it was built, there were no neighboring homes but open country, so the owner decided to protect his backside. They open in different directions, of course.

#3. Doors

The main door is steel, wide and with heavy duty hinges. This is strategic too. A strong, fortified door such as a famous brand here, screams to the thieves that there is something interesting there.

Our door is ornamental, but it is a safety door with 3 locks. Painted in dark brown, it does not stand out.

#4. Avoid Being a Target

In our own neighborhood there have been three or four home invasions. The targeted homes all exhibited the same qualities: grilled all over but with luxury furniture out there in the veranda, where everywhere can see it. Nice wooden-framed windows, which indicates good taste…and money to pay for it. Even the air conditioning units in the front are an indicator for the trained eye. Whoever can afford to be in their living room watching TV with air conditioning, is a target as well, believe it or not. A luxury SUV, is another check on their list.

Our units are just for the bedrooms. Whenever we wanted to be in the living room for a while, we opened doors and windows, and use a big fan and cold drinks to tolerate the heat (my location was very humid and hot).

Something that many neighbors avoid is that their big screen flat TVs can be seen from outside. This is an indication of wealth for strangers “just walking through” the subdivision.

Under this approach, we never used any furniture in our front porch. We got some garden chairs whenever we wanted to be there. Not any indication of wealth.

But there were a lot of neighbors with ranches and cattle, or business owners. And these were the most targeted. Our front garden was not exactly a winner in some local contest, but it was mostly clean and neat. No expensive ornaments, or any indication of money to spend in, say, a fountain with colored lights for the night. Simple, sober, and elegant.

Related: How to Avoid Being Targeted by Looters During a Period of Civil Unrest

#5. Secure Your Yard

The next plan would be a microperforated steel foldable door for the garage and to enclose the front yard.

This has pros and cons, too. If no one can see inside, they will not know if the house could be a target or not. But if someone gets inside that barrier, they would be able to mess with the locks and go inside without being seen lockpicking. Anyway, with a good remote hidden camera, this could be solved. Or with a high pitched tweeters motion-activated that made their ears bleed.

#6. Don’t Drive a Flashy Car

Aesthetics are important, but when you know what happens to those with a luxury Japanese SUV that attracts thugs like a big, giant powerful magnet, you prefer sometimes to sacrifice the look and some comfort.

This is another important safety issue: for a long time, some models and brands have been much more “magnetic” than other ones, but not in a positive way. Yes, they attract the girls, but they attract the wrong kind of attention too.

Sometimes robbers choose a target because of the car. I love nice cars too as everyone does, but under a financially savvy point of view, is it worth it? After two of my friends were kidnapped when criminals stole their Toyotas, I decided that it was not.

I have a plain grey SUV, that no one would give a second look at. I invested a lot of money to keep it like new, with the best available parts. That is where the money goes.

We had to jump over a tree used as a barricade once, traveling at night to my folks’ place 450 kms away from home. If I had applied the brakes, we would have had a horrible accident. I stepped on the pedal, and point the SUV right to the guy getting down the truck next to the tree, with the high lights on. I steered away at the last second. The thug jumped inside his truck again, and I had already identified the tree as a thin one, and jumped over it, flooring the pedal. We were not followed, I imagine that because they would have believed than we were not such an easy prey after all.

It was not all bad after all. My wife could not speak for the next 3 hours when we finally arrived at my folks’ place.

But let’s come back to the house safety.

#7. Hide Your Valuables

In a strategic location, hiding in plain sight, there are 5 caches with some of the few valuables I have been able to collect in my life. Mostly local silver coins. I had a former police agent, a friend of a friend, just for fun, try to find something unusual around the house, if he were looking for something that I had hidden, and after 20 minutes he gave up.

Related: Awesome Places Where You Can Hide Your Food When SHTF

#8. Be Ready to Fortify Your Entrances

As for the current threats, there is no way that any normal home could withstand a horde of zombies looting for food. Even after some improvements are made, I have seen in recent lootings the cement brick walls of the supermarkets with holes opened with hammers.

The best approach, for those who can afford it, is to install steel shutters and doors. Keep close some reinforced steel bars (I believe some cheap rebar tied together with braces would do the trick, they bend easily but bundled up are very strong) to barricate the doors. Even this approach would be not enough, however, if your home is wood.

#9. Be Prepared For Fire

Our roof is wooden, so it would be a great idea to run some cheap pipelines and mount some garden sprinklers (I have an small electric bomb and a large water tank), or some other fire extinguishing method.

#10. Create a Safe Room

I would recommend to anyone with a concern about security to build even one room, with cement walls, and a escape hatch. It’s even better if it is underground. There are lot of ways to mask the entrance of such hideout. And if a horde finds it and tries to pry it open, make sure your shotgun is inside the bunker at all times.

This article was written by J. G. Martinez D and first appeared on The Organic Prepper.

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J. G. Martinez D
By J. G. Martinez D January 21, 2019 07:40
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  1. Joe January 21, 14:08

    This is way too much work and not needed. 2 simple steps have been proven tried and true.

    1) Spend $40 and get dummy camras
    2) buy a shotgun for the ones who don’t care about the cameras because you would need it anyways.

    Reply to this comment
    • red October 10, 06:33

      Joe: One major missing is, countries like Venezuela outlaw guns. Invaders only have to complain someone in the house fired a gun and the house is swarmed by the military. And, any nation where the infrastructure depends on government, electric becomes uncertain. Ask LCC about Kali-fornia and rolling blackouts. You teach you refrigerator to lay on it’s back because that way it still keeps things cold when the power goes down for hours (AKA under the counter fridge like restaurants use). niio

      Reply to this comment
  2. Hoosier Homesteader January 21, 14:23

    Good post, but nothing mentioned that I’d consider a “secret”. 🙂

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck January 21, 17:20

      True, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of the obvious from time to time. We all have a tendency to get blasé after a while. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. I’ll get around to it.”

      “A body at rest tends to stay at rest” applies to us as much as it does rocks on a hillside.

      Reply to this comment
  3. Albert Weir January 21, 14:57

    I have often thought of the idea of a sprinkler system on the roof of your house would be the wisest thing for those say in California where fires are the biggest problem..

    Reply to this comment
    • D Bro January 21, 16:59

      The sprinkler system is a good idea. I lived by San Diego when a big fire happened and the one neighbor with an old wood shingle roof had his sprinkler going. They were on his roof. None of our places burnt down as the fire department did it’s job. If it get cold where you live, you might have to do a little bit of engineering to prevent busted pipes.

      Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck January 21, 17:11

      In addition to sprinklers on the roof you may want to enclose your eaves. One of the major causes of house fires in a wildfire situation is burning embers getting caught up in the eaves of the roof and starting the fire there. You might think that you can run around with a hose and put out the burning embers before they catch the roof on fire, but in real life it doesn’t work.

      Make sure you employ someone who know what they are doing and has done similar work on other houses. You need some ventilation to the attic, so that problem must be addressed when covering the eaves.

      Another thing you can do that helps but is not as effective as enclosing the eaves is to put metal window screening on the ventilation openings. The hardware cloth that is over most ventilation openings allows burning embers to enter the air space under your roof which then allows the fire to actually start inside your house. Metal window screening won’t melt the way plastic screening will in the face of burning embers. It is small enough that it keeps out the small burning embers that can enter through the hardware cloth openings.

      Reply to this comment
      • Jennie D January 22, 17:15

        I hope building codes change soon. Embers in the attic could easily be prevented with metal screens which is against code. If we put screens over the vents I’m sure the insurance company will find a way to deny any claims. No logic.

        Reply to this comment
        • left coast chuck January 23, 22:18

          Wow. My house which was 50 years old last year came with hardware cloth on the vents. And that is in the PDRK. I’m surprised that your building code doesn’t allow them. I wonder why? Screens not only keep bugs out but keep critters like bats, birds, and climbing varmints from getting in your air space. Interesting.

          In the PDRK, screens over the vents is encouraged. I don’t know if it is mandatory or not. I suspect 50 years ago it was mandatory as the builder of these homes didn’t do anything that wasn’t required.

          Reply to this comment
    • MikeyW January 30, 23:02

      Installing sprinklers that are effective is a lot more complicated than running a 3/4″ copper pipe from your domestic water supply and attaching garden hose-type sprinklers. Most domestic water supply pipes don’t allow sufficient pressure and volume to be developed for sprinklers to be effective. Minimum sprinkler pipe size is 1″, and minimum pressure needed at the end head is 15 psi. Way too complicated to describe here, but seldom feasible without extensive engineering and providing a separate, substantially larger water supply pipe.

      Reply to this comment
    • Miss Kitty February 10, 03:45

      I think what the writer had in mind was arson aimed at forcing the family to evacuate the building and leave it open to be looted. I’ve read other posts by him on The Organic Pepper web site and he mentioned that before.

      Reply to this comment
  4. Emanon January 21, 16:30

    Yeah I’m not allowed to do most of these per my lease. Can’t modify the home in any way without the homeowners approval.

    Reply to this comment
    • Angel January 21, 17:01

      Most of them wouldn’t do me any good either since I own a flimsy mobile home, and can’t afford to upgrade.

      Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck January 21, 17:15

      If you live in an area prone to wildfires, ask your landlord. It is to his benefit to protect his property as much as yours. He may even be willing to foot the cost of installing sprinklers and taking other fire protection measures. He may not have thought of it himself and you pointing out that it can be done might bring it home.

      Don’t count on insurance paying for all your losses. There are almost 1,000 property owners in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties in SoCal who can attest to the fact that insurance never covers all your losses.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Mitchell January 21, 16:51

    For the front yard a low waist high fence that can have razor wire or tack strips with electrical current when things go to hell are really good options. Along with putting a wall mount for a 2×4 to go over each exterior door isn’t so bad an option and can be made to look like a door coat hanger on both sides and a random 2×4 in the nearest closet doesn’t raise many eye brows. The other fun things to do for the yard is get all light weight window smash type items off the lawn and locked up in the garage. As for a safe room anything interior without windows is the safest way to go and turn it into your food and water storage zone with an interior lock that’s not attached to the door knobs.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Thinking fire escape January 21, 17:12

    One of the purposes of windows in bedrooms is to allow an occupant to escape to the outside of the house in case of fire inside the house. Bars welded to the frame would preclude a person being able to escape a fire.

    Reply to this comment
  7. fyrftr45 January 21, 19:25

    Window bars need to have a quick disconnect inside the house, in case of fire! As a retired fire fighter, I know they can be removed by fire fighters, but it takes time that is critical! I have seen the results of being trapped inside because of fixed bars on windows!

    Reply to this comment
    • Abigail Adams January 22, 14:38

      That’s what I was thinking. Many families in the city of Detroit have died in fires, trapped inside by the bars needed to keep criminals out. Best if you can get away from such areas and live somewhere else!

      Reply to this comment
  8. red January 21, 20:24

    Bentonite clay, the cheap stuff for construction, is fireproof. If your home can stand the load, a few inches covered with shingles would do the trick to prevent torches thrown at the roof (something Americans moving to the Southwest in the 19th century discovered the hard way, darn apaches :). I’d like to convert this place to Native American style flat roof with sheet steel over vigas (log rafters). That would give us a patio on the roof, and also make it difficult to access the house.The house is concrete brick (not block) with a low-angle roof.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Wannabe January 21, 21:27

    Land mines, bazookas and flame throwers. Keeps them out every time. 😆. How is Venezuela doing anyway? Last I heard they ran out of toilet paper couple years ago and now they are running out of food.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck January 21, 23:38

      This is kind of crude and cruel, but I guess running out of food solves the problem of no toilet paper.

      I would like to feel really sorry for the folks in Venezuela but they got the kind of government they voted for.

      While Venezuela’s problems are as a result of their rushing down the path of populist socialism, Argentina has the same problem as the U.S. — spending way more than they take in and running the printing presses 23/7. They have had to devalue their money two times, most recently mid-2018.

      We don’t hear so much about Argentina because it is far away and theoretically is still a democracy although I am afraid that term has been terribly abused in the last 100 years.

      As a result of the devaluation of their currency, prices are astronomical, services are poor to non-existent, corruption is rampant as is crime. I just finished reading what purports to be a first hand account of daily life of the average Argentine. While I think some of his accounts are an overstatement, there is no that question life sucks after devaluation. I don’t know how much longer we are going to be able to avoid it here in the U.S.

      Reply to this comment
      • Sweetp Holt August 19, 23:43

        This is kind of crude and cruel, but I guess running out of food solves the problem of no toilet paper. — There is a problem here in the USA about how to control a gun – would another pettifogging politician help?

        Reply to this comment
  10. Goblin January 21, 23:12

    In answer to wannabe, If you have no food, there becomes a time that you don’t need toilet paper. I would think that Venezuela has probably reached that stage by this time. I wonder when they get to the point of real socialism when meat is the only option for food- after all its been done by many in the past (Andes plane wreck survivors, Easter islanders, etc.).

    Reply to this comment
  11. EthanEdwards January 22, 12:51

    Instead of rebar, I have metal bed frames cut to size for the doors. Cheaper than rebar as I pick them up from the curb.

    Reply to this comment
  12. PB dave January 22, 12:57

    I’d say a couple photos would have helped this article, but I see the original article had no photos of the exact location, just some general city shots. The photos of the city and the author’s descriptions of life there are depressing if not scary, and I can see the possibility of us going down the same path.

    Reply to this comment
  13. barbuto January 22, 17:55

    i read Ragnar Bensons latest book. He has been a survival writer for 50 yrs or so and has lived in many countries over the years. He has seen collapse of many gov’ts. I was shocked to read in his latest book “Survival End Game”…that he believes the only way to survive the end…is to escape the cities for the country. Build a small retreat where you can grow food fuel etc…Make friends with the locals becasue when the end comes…you will not shoot it out with the zombies…this is all sci fi…IF you are friends with your neighbors in your new location you can as a group fend off some stray bands who may challenge threaten you but for the most part….city people are not going to survive and if they venture from the cities it won’t be far….Yes, I was shocked when he doubted that we will be able to hunt for our food that the only way we can survive is grow our own after the turmoil….interesting book I suggest you read it…his background spans 50 yrs…he has his retreat in Idaho some where…where are you all???????

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck January 23, 22:30

      If you think about it, game will be quickly exhausted. There are several millions of people in the PDRK but less than 300,000 hunting licenses are sold annually and the game limits preclude hunting to extinction. Many hunters regularly buy a license but don’t get drawn for the lottery style hunt. The more years you don’t get drawn, the closer to the top of the draw you get, so for some good hunting areas, hunters will apply year after year. They play a gotcha game. You have to have already purchased a hunting license, purchased the tag and then enter the lottery. No refunds, thank you.

      In an EOTW scenario, there will be many more folk tromping the woods (not necessarily hunting) trying to locate game to kill. They will fatally wound some but not know how to track and will lost the animal. They will shoot birds and lose them because having never hunted before they don’t know how to track the path of the bird and mark the spot where it falls.

      It won’t take long before all the unwary game have been eliminated and the only animals alive will be the ones who know how to hide from hunters, making it even more difficult for real hunters to find them.

      Short reply: Better use of your energy to farm than to hunt.

      Reply to this comment
  14. Brett January 23, 02:36

    About exterior doors. I’ve always wondered why they open “in”. Seems like it would be more secure to have them open out because you have a lot more substance in the jamb to prevent the door from being kicked in.

    Reply to this comment
    • Wannabe January 23, 14:14

      Because it would rain on your door and harder to bring things into the house for a lot of homes.

      Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck January 23, 22:22

      Buildings open to the public have to open out in the PDRK. It is a safety measure. Get folks backed up by the door all trying to get to it and it has to open in, leads to unnecessary loss of life.

      Reply to this comment
    • Mitchell January 23, 22:29

      Well how can you reinforce a door from the inside if they open outward? Back in ancient times they had two u shaped pieces of iron that held large 4×6 beams to reinforce a door going past the frames of the doors making breaching it nearly impossible. Also for safety to a firefighter if the doors open outwardly the pressure from a fire could launch the door extremely fast and far away from the door frames when smoke and air pressure rise. The other reason you don’t have the doors open out is the deadbolt system wouldn’t work properly same with the door chains. It’s easy to barricade for dirt cheap a inward door with a chair under the doorknob and some heavy boxes to add extra resistance to it.

      Reply to this comment
  15. Jerseykris January 25, 17:04

    Jeff Foxworthy had a good joke about southern houses:

    “If you see a house where the grass is this tall [about three feet] with a dog chained to the clothes-line and a motor swinging from a tree, buddy that’s a house where a GUN lives. And if you want to find out what kind it is, just crawl through the window after dark…”

    Reply to this comment
  16. red January 25, 22:30

    Foxworthy is a genius, always. Desert yards work, too, AKA sand and rock, no lawns allowed. After dark, wear cast iron socks and steel athletic cup because rattlesnakes do not like you messing in their cactus. And, as an old desert rat told me, “If it ain’t got thorns, horns, or fangs, it’s poison.” The tastiest plants have 3 or 4 of those. Agave (century plant) have horns, fangs, and thorns and are poisonous unless cooked. Next to them, rattlesnakes are woosies. And like to hunt around the agaves. Cast iron socks are to ward off cats, who get a little angry when they have to mess with humans, and the steel cup is because rattlers (big ones, anyway) will ram you if they can, just a friendly warning from a gentle woodlands critter (as liberals call mountain lions and such).

    Reply to this comment
  17. Jose, Your Writer January 28, 20:04

    Hello Buddies. I am the author of this article. I will come back to answer all of your comments, or questions. I just received the link to this site.

    Reply to this comment
  18. Trained Vet November 13, 16:46

    Bars on all windows/Razor wire Perimeter/Camera’s/Trip wires/boobys traps/Mannequins hanging upside down and plenty signs with warnings and threats.
    just a few miles from HOVE Hawaii-

    Reply to this comment
    • red November 16, 16:22

      Vet: You and my stepson (he was stationed for 4 years at Schofield Barracks). You make your place sound attractive to gangs if only to take over and fort-up.
      How to defend a home incognito. It works by not attracting attention. Bougainville works better than razor wire. Thorns are long, curved, and will pierce boot soles. Yucca, agave, thorn brush, and more at the perimeter. Zombies will not be drawn to it, and most gangs would avoid it. Roof sprinklers in case someone decides to burn you out. Most citrus is thorny, as well. niio

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