Neighbors can be great. If you have friendly, helpful ones they can make life easier and more pleasant.
As a prepper, if your neighbors share your interest in preparedness you can work together and achieve a lot more than either of you could on your own – splitting the cost of expensive equipment, for example, or each specializing in different aspects of prepping.
The people next door can be a huge asset to you in all sorts of ways.
Unfortunately, they can also be a complete nightmare – or even a danger. Antisocial neighbors are no fun but the worst case is neighbors that compromise the security or effectiveness of your preps, all the way up to being a direct threat in an emergency.
The good news is that problem neighbors often give you advanced warning, so you can be ready for issues before they appear. Here are some signs that your neighbor could be a menace.
We don’t all have the time or money to have a well-kept and attractive yard in front of the house, but there’s a difference between a yard that could do with some weeding and a lick of paint on the fence and a yard that’s just a mess.
If your neighbor’s front yard is full of trash, old furniture and piles of dog poop, that’s a sign they have a pretty disorganized lifestyle.
Disorganized lifestyles are bad news. Prepping is all about being able to cope with whatever crisis the world throws at us, so do you really want a neighbor that can’t even cope with everyday life?
If they can’t organize getting rid of the trash they’re not going to cope in an emergency, and they’re likely to come to your door for help.
If half your neighbor’s trash is beer cans or whiskey bottles that’s bad news. Like a messy yard, it’s a sign of someone who has a disorganized lifestyle and will struggle to cope in an emergency.
There’s the additional complication of addiction. How are they going to behave if they can’t get to the liquor store?
Are they going to start pounding on your door, asking if you have any alcohol in the house?
Having an alcoholic neighbor is bad. Having a drug-addicted one is worse.
You have all the same problems of addiction, and the extra one that some drugs can make users act irrationally – even violently.
On top of that, drug addicts often associate with criminals – and in a crisis they’re going to be dangerous people to have around, because they’re not likely to have any qualms about using violence to take what they need, and that could include your supplies.
Be particularly careful if you suspect your neighbor might be a drug dealer. Look for blacked-out windows, highly visible security around the front door or a large number of visitors who don’t stay long – they could be customers.
Is your neighbor very interested in your preps, but not so keen on investing in their own?
Are they full of questions about how much you have stockpiled, where you keep it and how it’s protected? Do they watch you when you’re building something in your yard?
There’s a risk they might have decided they don’t need to prepare for an emergency, because it might never happen – and if it does, Plan B is to take your stuff.
Unfortunately, technology makes it very easy for neighbors to keep an eye on what you’re doing.
Modern security cameras are a fantastic security tool for preppers who want to know what’s happening around their property – but they’re just as useful for someone who has less honorable intentions.
Your neighbor could have a small camera sitting on a windowsill watching your yard, recording every movement inside its field of vision. If you have a nosy neighbor who seems unusually interested in your preps, try to disguise what you’re doing.
The Neighborhood Activist
It seems like there’s one in every neighborhood.
The one that’s always proposing new rules at the Home Owners Association, writing to the local newspaper to complain about livestock in yards, or organizing a petition to make you tear down your new shed.
In a way, TEOTWAWKI would be a relief, because these people won’t have anywhere to complain anymore.
Unfortunately, while civilization survives they’ll be free to continue harassing everyone around them – and preppers are likely to be a frequent target.
How To Deal With Problem Neighbors
Apart from neighborhood activists, there’s a common theme to all these problem neighbors – they’re all likely to come after your supplies in an emergency.
They might turn up at your door demanding their “fair share”, they might try to mobilize other hungry neighbors against you or, worst case, they might grab a gun and try to just take what they need.
Whatever they try, though, the end result is the same; you losing supplies.
Of course, as a prepper, you’ll have a plan to protect your supplies – but it’s better if you don’t have to. Any time you need to get into a confrontation there’s a risk of you being injured or worse, so the goal should always be to avoid conflict.
The best way to avoid a conflict with your unprepared neighbors is to prevent them finding out that you have stockpiles. Don’t let neighbors know you’re a prepper unless you’re reasonably sure they’re one too.
Keep barrels of fuel and water out of sight, perhaps in a shed. This will also help protect them from damage and theft.
Follow basic operational security whenever you can. That way your neighbors will still be problematic, but they hopefully won’t become a problem for you.
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