Take a minute, sit back in your chair and consider the possibilities that could lead to a collapse of society. Imagine the dominoes needed to fall in order for something of such magnitude to actually happen. Would it be a systemic failure of global economic systems? A virulent disease outbreak wiping away whole communities? Or maybe something completely out of our control, a solar flare lashing out from the sun rendering all electrical systems useless as it engulfs the Earth wrenching society back to the 19th century? While the chances of such sweeping events happening are slim, they are not improbable. Should the worst truly deliver a massive load of SHTF you and your neighbors will be left on your own as the infrastructure we often take for granted falls in upon itself. Who will defend the lives and properties of your neighborhood? It will take the coordination and cooperation of everyone to ensure the safety of all.
Where to Begin?
Amidst the aftermath of any given disaster, each of us want our friends and loved ones to be safe as they weather the crisis. Being prepared is the key to surviving yet for many thinking about the worst happening (let alone prepping for it) is akin to being labeled a conspiracy theorist. You’d likely be dismissed out of hand if you broached the topic at a neighborhood barbecue. So how do you start getting the neighborhood on board without alienating yourself?
Start a neighborhood watch. It’s familiar and respectable minded enough for people to get behind without the self-consciousness of feeling overtly paranoid. This can serve as a first step towards identifying existing access points for vehicles and foot traffic as well as potential weaknesses requiring shoring up or defended during an emergency. People will become accustomed to doing weekly patrols and they will become increasing observant of the surroundings, the initial mental step toward developing a strong situational awareness.
Once your neighbors become more involved with the watch it will seed the notion of being prepared in the minds of some creating an opportunity to talk prepping and defense without any attached stigma. The program will attract the interest in like-minded individuals who you can network with and begin advancing neighborhood defense planning.
At this point, the new group of defense-minded neighbors can begin planning further. Start collecting road and terrain maps and Google imagery of your neighborhood and the surrounding areas. These will give you a foundation for conceptual planning. Utilize road maps to assess the primary entrance and exits to the neighborhood proper and gauge effective routes between priority areas (food storage, water resources, secure safe points, and weaponry) your team has assigned. Use terrain, topographical maps of the neighborhood and surrounding area, including adjacent forested lands (available at USGS or local Forest Service and online sources), to determine how the geography can benefit your plans and where vulnerabilities are located. Google satellite imagery provides an effective visual aid for planning as people can recognize their own homes and features of the neighborhood. Use these maps to set lines of defense and assign fall back positions pulling inward encircling vital resources and supplies where final defensive positions will be located.
Remember not to overextend your defensive resources by trying to guard to broad an area. Keep it manageable, maybe limiting it to a couple of streets.
As a defender of your own neighborhood, you have an inherent set of advantages. The first of these is the home field advantage. You and your team know the area inside and out, where the vital resources are, the routes in and out and throughout the small area you defend. You have the ability to prepare a solid defense, to set up defensive positions and obstructions to funnel intruders where you want them to go. You control the situation.
Remember, now is the time to prepare, not when the disaster is fast on your heels.