Looting is a common after-effect of natural disasters and other widespread emergencies.
As we prepare to survive these events, we also need to take steps to ensure that we do not make ourselves targets for looters.
There are a lot of things we can do to secure ourselves against looting after a disaster or emergency, but there are also many daily habits that can place us in the crosshairs of local mobs or criminals.
Most of us are active on some form of social media, and the apps in each of our smartphones make posting to these platforms far too easy.
There is nothing wrong with posting some preparedness-related content, but you should be very careful about how much you reveal.
Go through your social media every few months and do a thorough audit making sure that the full extent of your preps is concealed.
Related: 5 Apps That Know Everything About You. How Many Are You Using?
Anyone viewing your social media should not be able to ascertain how prepared you actually are, but it is not only preparedness-related posts that can give this away. Check the backgrounds of all the photos that you post to ensure that your supplies are not visible.
Of particular note are firearms. Avoid posting any images that can reveal the number and types of weapons in your home. If too many people know the extent of your arsenal, you will become a target for looters looking to score some firepower.
This would include message boards where preppers and survivalists like to brag about the state of their preparations. If you participate in these discussions, keep the details to a minimum and use a VPN to hide your actual IP address and location.
Not Policing Your Trash
Garbage and recycle bins are great ways to gain insight into what is happening inside a home.
Be mindful when throwing out the boxes for your new survival gear.
People walking by your bins on garbage day will notice what those discarded boxes used to contain, and they will probably remember that when faced with an SHTF situation.
If too many of your neighbors know that you have a generator or solar power bank, it is inevitable that they will come knocking when the power goes out.
Some of these neighbors may turn into looters.
Lack Of Situational Awareness
The best way to avoid trouble is to see it coming before it becomes a problem.
Unfortunately, most people have been lulled into a false sense of security and do not exercise any degree of situational awareness.
It is all too easy to go through the routine and mundane day-to-day existence without paying too much attention to the world around us.
We need to maintain a constant watch on our surroundings and what is happening in the area around us.
Related: Places To Avoid: Where Looters Will Strike First When SHTF
Be aware of who your neighbors are, the vehicles that are commonly parked in the area, any criminal or gang activity, potential targets for mobs of looters in the vicinity of your neighborhood, and anyone or anything that seems out of place.
Looking Like A Victim
Never look like a victim.
If your neighbors see you as the person who walks around with a sense of purpose, head held high on a swivel, and exuding confidence; you will not be considered someone who is an easy target.
Too often, we walk around with our faces in our phones or earbuds in, totally oblivious to our surroundings.
When the people in your neighborhood see you, they should see someone who is physically fit, confident, aware, and not an easy target.
Looking Like A Prepper
Regardless of the situation, we should all be taking the ‘grey man’ approach. The best way to stay off the radar of looters is to appear that you have nothing worth stealing.
Related: How To Become Untraceable When SHTF
The problem is, as preppers, we like to have the gear we need ready to go in case of emergencies. As a result, it is common to see preppers and survivalists carrying get-home bags or EDC bags that look ‘tactical.’
Instead, what we should be doing is keeping our EDC and get home bags as low profile as possible. Instead of tactical bags or MOLLE pouches, choose school backpacks or gym bags that no one will note as potentially containing valuable survival gear.
Other things that make us look like ‘preppers’ would also include plastering bumper stickers or window decals on our vehicles that advertise firearms, survival gear, the second amendment, etc.
Wearing clothing that looks tactical can also give the impression that you are a prepper and would have things worth stealing.
Displaying Your Preps
In some cases, it is impossible to conceal your preps, such as solar panels.
But whenever possible, you should make sure that anything you have that screams ‘prepper’ is hidden from the view of passersby
One mistake some people make is to do inventories of their gear on their driveways, yards, or in the garage with the door open.
When you are pulling your gear or supplies out to check and inventory, do so in a way that prevents anyone who is walking by from seeing what you are doing.
Not Talking To Your Family About Security
It is vital that you speak to your family, especially children, about what they can and cannot speak to other people about.
Children like to talk and brag about how great they and their families are, so either ensure your children know that your preps are not to be discussed or keep them in the dark about the true scope of your supplies.
We are all creatures of habit, but there is no reason why we should let our habits affect the long-term survivability of ourselves and our families.
By staying aware of the habits we have formed and taking measures to correct them, we can remove ourselves from the crosshairs of looters or anyone else who may want to take from us after SHTF.
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I feel that the last one – op sec with kids is key. Toss in your wider family too.
Everyone has someone that they think is Important to Save and that person has someone, and so on. Six degrees of separation etc. The only way you can manage the spread of your own information is to manage it yourself. Don’t tell kids things you don’t want shared, start with small safe ‘secrets’ and see if they keep them, move up to juicy low risk secrets. Gradually feel them out. Same with the rest of your family. They are your worse loose lips sometimes!
I’ve always been amused by the blatently army style BoBs that everyone has. Molle looks efficient but it’s a really BIG advertisement too. One of ours is in a teen friendly ‘pacman’ themed backpack. Another in a discrete black ‘office worker going to the gym’ pack. Another in a bright blue “Mario” bag. If we have to hike out the boys are going to look like they’ve packed some jocks in a school bag, and I’m looking like I’ve stumbled out of the office … A well made, simple back pack, with ‘grey’ tendencies is what you want. Look at me and you see two pre teens and a bored office worker, that’s what I want you to see.
We have family who have had the experience with the power outages/generator. It definitely happens and people become emboldened over time. The first time it’s all ‘do you mind’ and polite, the second it’s “We know you don’t mind” and then afterwards it’s “We are on our way”. Yeah. Nope. Generators make a LOT of noise usually too, if you are in an urban environment with the power out (no TV, no radio, everyone bored and looking about) it’s going to be noticed. Consider a couple of discrete solar panels quietly running a small bar fridge and your deep freeze for at least the days, it’s not hard to set up, and might mean you don’t need to run a genset at all.
Light security. If no one has lights… why do you?
If you live in town…… then you’re already dead.
Honestly, no offence but if your able to post online to an open social network like this it’s highly likely your quite close to “Civilization”.
Close as defined as an easy drive to a grocery store. Very few folks have satellite phones and are posting from back behind Dogsled Alaska, where you go to town once a year for supplies.
So, expect that folks around you know a lot about you. The UPS man, the meter reader, the post man, the plumber or electrician and so on. All of these folks talk to friends and family.
My point is everybody on this list is close enough for a few car loads of trouble to drive up and “visit”. In Prepper Fantasy Books the “Enemy” is SO EASY to spot and they are killed with that 3rd eye nonsense by trained shooters.
BTW they NEVER (In fantasy) sneak up and shoot you in the back at 200 yards while you’re tending to your garden.
Fact is it might be the common gang trick of a single mom and her baby seeking help.
Or just your family and their extended best friends showing up because they KNOW “Crazy” Uncle Chuck has extras and solar panels?
Yes, trouble is multiplied by living in cities and town, no doubt. But you’re going to have visitors when things get weird. Have you noticed the new habit of bussing illegals to Vice Prez Kneepads home? You don’t think the leftists haven’t thought that a great way to overwhelm Red American towns with bussed ins?
You need to know your neighbors. Most of mine are fairly decent, help each other shovel out after a major snowstorm types. A few transplants are questionable. A few need to have the riot act read to them by all the neighbors that they are under watch and suspicion already.
You need a few trusted friends, a garden, seeds and dirt skills. You need safe water and shelter. But you REALLY need trusted friends.
Folks who have a vested interest in your hand pump well, solar panels and gardens stay in friendly hands.
Yeah living in the city potentially die sooner. The Suburbs to Rural areas will take longer for potential death too. The roving gangs may have a limited range of operation. Due to limited gas supplies needed. Forget electric vehicles to launch a meaningful attack outside the city limits.
Don’t trust your neighbors. O’, there sweet and innocent now, but they will turn on you.
Don’t put your self in a false sence of security, by thinking your are or will be safe. Every one will do what ever they can to survive, even if it means shiting on you.
Trust means nothing to 99.% of people… even on here…
What a simple assumption.
There’s a great many different disasters that can fall, and for the vast majority of people there will be a start in an urban area. While I know a ‘gold standard’ approach is to bunk out, go and live feral in the woods off the grid and never talk to anyone on the internet again… people have jobs, and families, and lives that tie them to their communities, and to urban areas.
These people need to access quality ideas and information about prepping as much (more so!) as others and just shooting people down isn’t helpful. Good on you for having the ultimate bug out hole in the middle of somewhere that’s far enough away that no one will come across it on their march out of the city, full of remote communication and chickens. But please don’t shoot down people who are still on the journey.
OPSEC can you really trust some of your family members when SHTF?
Once SHTF, does it really matter to have solar panels. Most of the internet, cable TV will be gone. Broadcast radio may survive as a stable form of relaying information.
Depending on what State we live in, we will not have gas stoves to cook on. The moron environmentalists want us to use electric stoves to cook on, Ha, Ha. The electrical grid will be in shambles, dependency on all electric stuff is a joke.
What ever sporting goods stores are left will be ransacked by freeloader wearing brightly colored backpacks. Those people will be easy targets for sure.
Bob have you ever shut off your main breaker for a grid down weekend?
A few hundred watts of power gives you options that only the very rich 1800’s folks had. A 12volt water pump instead of man carried buckets. A floor fan to help keep you cool as to sleep. Maybe a small freezer?
Not to mention lights that don’t involve open flame and the fire hazard. Plenty of family history mention how some family was burned out.
bob: Yes, I CAN trust my children to keep quiet about prepping: they are preppers, too. I’m an only child, dad is gone, mom is nearly so, only 2 children, no other close relatives. maybe that isn’t so with most people, but with me, it is. And yes, I know having a community of friends is a good thing, but I don’t have that either. Never was very socially adept, since retirement, less so. Always have been a bit of a loner, but that also has advantages. I do have the acquaintance of most of my close neighbors, but wouldn’t trust them with any of my preps.
I take my own trash to the dump, so no one really sees what I have. Yeah, maybe the delivery people, but I don’t feel that they will come alookin’: Too spread out deliveries, and they aren’t going to remember one person in hundreds of deliveries in a semi-remote area.
I have 4 solar generators, one tiny one for my vehicle. Two mid size and one large. I have several solar panels. I don’t have tv in the normal sense. I have hundreds of dvds of tv shows and movies. No cable, satellite, etc. Don’t even get “local” channels; I have a computer that even if not hooked up to internet has thousands of posts and photos that I will be able to access after SHTF. (I’m getting a faraday cage ready to build out of a large metal trash can…these are now very hard to find)
I have never done social media, I take care of my own trash, so no one really knows what I have, I am always aware of what and who is around me. I walk, and take pepper spray and an air horn. I never wear a headset or earbuds. I am mostly ‘invisible’ to others. I am a 69 year old woman, and don’t buy in bulk from one store, I visit many and collect. My preps ar in plastic bins and normal duffel type bags.
I have several ways to cook, heat, have light, get water, etc. My home is normally quite dark, even at night as I have light blocking curtains, and plenty of packing blankets to add to the darkness and keeping heat inside.
I have only two ways into my house, and I can use a battery and electric hot wires to electrify. Yes, I do have windows, and am looking into adding plexiglass to the inside to help make them more difficult to break or enter. Already have alarms if they are opened, but I have 2×4’s to prevent opening.
I feel pretty well prepared, but who knows? I may not be. But you do what you can with what you have.
Be safe, and God Bless us all
Good points in this article. My house is very grey in the street view, 1950s ranch, basic landscaping out front, 6ft privacy fence around back yard. I plan to put solar panels on the roof later this year and I know that will tip my hand a bunch but utility bills are going crazy. I am careful about identifiable items going out for trash pickup (a black plastic yard bag will help conceal items from a casual observer). Preps are out of site, but I was caught off guard by comments from my mail man about my woodworking tools. It was a reminder about what can be revealed by an open garage door.
It’s amazing how many people simply throw out empty packages and mail with their addresses on it in the trash. It makes it so simple for anyone to not only target their house, but have the exact information they need for their future reference.
99% of the population can be identified with just their street address in a 5 minute google search. I seriously doubt folks are hunting through landfills for the addresses of people to rob. Too many easier ways to find them.
CityChick didn’t say anything about landfills. She’s talking about trash right on the curb in front of homes.
Michael, absolutely right; An eight year old can be taught to gather intell when they’re alone or with their ‘mother’ knock on your door to beg a meal. Sure, they’ll gladly work for it, all the while gathering intell for “their group”. Going to do outdoor chores? Have you thought about the ramifications of not having one or two people providing (responsible) overwatch security? Pulling two or three hour security watches will get very demanding after a few days, after a few days or weeks, people start letting their guard down.
Hey! What’s up with this “Crazy Uncle Chuck” business??
I knew you don’t love me anymore!!
One thing that someone suggested was to put as much of your food into home-canned foods because others are afraid to use your canned foods because they are afraid of botulism. Plus, being the gray man includes living in the middle of an area where everyone is a prepper. Living in an old rundown trailer that you have paid off and having old vehicles gives the indication that you don’t have much.
Get a dog, train it to fiercely defend you and your family. They’re worth their weight in gold as a security system and defense against an intruder whether you’re in bug out mode or stationary.
Great companions, better than 99.9% of humans in survival situations as well.
Good to have on those cold nights as well.
Always get a big one. You might have to eat it someday!! 😉🤣
It’s not just dogs.
Certain cultures overseas, like China eat cats and dogs, also endangered animals. In past survival situations, history shows us people will eat other people to survive.
The UN vegan plan is to have nations make their people eat bugs for protein. That’s funny while the wealthy still get to eat real meat. Why do you think people like Gates is buying up large parcel of farmland.
China buys American farmland to supply food to their citizens, not us. We are being sold out by our govt and greedy corporations.
I think some people that live in a high-dollar $$$ neighborhood – maybe even a security protected gated community – will be surprised to see the usual local landscaping company pulling up in front of their homes in the middle of a high tension major SHTF ….
Not to cut the grass or trim bushes – the community was the top target on the list of familiar customers – not driving the company truck and towing a trailer as any disguise – their landscaping employer was their first victim that morning ….
When you hire a contractor of any kind – make sure it’s long time established – insured – licensed – good local reputation – and find one with a tenured employee base >>> hire the HVAC duct cleaning company off Facebook and you get what you deserve ….
I’m always really nice to the people that I can’t avoid coming over for service calls. At the same time, I hang out with them and distract them by talking about harmless things that make them think, and leave subtle clues I’m not an easy target.
Yup, people are sloppy these days forgetting to vett the local help. The companies these days also hire temp workers who maybe a scout for gang activity. Or they get paid taking smartphone pictures of potential marks to rob.
Absolutely! What better way to case a place then come in as a contractor, cleaner, or some sort of delivery or service provider. Even reputable licensed businesses may not have the ability to conduct any sort of sound routine background check, be able to supervise the job on sight or they may simply have a high turn over of employees. This becomes even more pressing when there is no agreed upon contract that tells you exactly who will be coming into your home when you agree to the work.
Just move to the woods.
Too late as many all ready have.
The bushes are better, they know how to hid their stuff. Hunter is more of an exhibitionist, Ha, Ha.
PS: Not the Hunter on this post, mean the real Hunter exposing himself on the laptop from hell exhibitionist, that is.
I was on fb way back, for only two years. One of the most stupidest things I noticed, was when idiots would post their “vacation times/dates”, how long they would be gone from their homes, how far away they were going, and all the fun they are going to have when they get there.
I do know others on these SMS that tell me, even now some people will still post all this information out there for all to see. Talk about in invite to get your stuff taken. Of course, I know that a lot of people have home surveillance, so that is a plus if they can catch them.
Your right, FB vacation posts are the best information for the criminals.
Nothing like an Insta feed showing you with a new gaming console one week, and your feet up on a beach the next….
This article brought to mind when I bought something off Facebook marketplace from someone who lived next town over.
Nice woman, she and her husband were moving to new digs, so she was shedding some stuff. She put the items I bought in a sturdy box. Only after I got them home did I notice the box has her and her husband’s name on it, and the return address was a prepper’s food site.
I let her know about the info I was able to gkean easily. I told her it made no difference to me, but she might attract the wrong kind of attention if she kept up with that. She thanked me, and that was that.
I am fastidious about removing all labels, and if I think the boxes tell more than I would like, I break them down and turn them inside out before taking them for recycling.