Congratulations on completing your new book – I just received my copy from Amazon.
I was wondering if you have any recommendations on home alarms – what should one look for in a good alarm system?
Hope you enjoy my new book, “Bugging Out and Relocating”.
An alarm system is the most important step you can take towards improving your home security. Sometimes people focus too much on guns. Guns are great, but its what you end up using when everything else fails in a worst case scenario. For passive defense nothing beats a good alarm. It’s the first thing burglars look for when selecting a potential target. 1) Alarm
2) type of doors and lock
3) if there’s a dog
Generally in that order. Before anything else, an alarm is a deterrent on its own. If your house is one of the few in the neighborhood with an alarm, guess which house criminals will skip? And if your house is the only one without an alarm, guess which one criminals will go for? Bottom line, you just need one.
What to get
Security systems such as ADT that require a monthly payment can be very expensive and are generally not recommended. A security system such as Simplisafe2 Home Secuirty System is also monitored and much cheaper than ADT, and they end up outsourcing to the same call centers when the alarm goes off. In general, a monitored alarm is the best way to go but even a small monthly payment does add up as times goes by. Having said that, if you can afford it, it’s worth it. This is particularly true for properties that are left unoccupied most of the time and are likely to be targeted by more dedicated criminals.
The second best option is installing a security system that while not monitored by a company, has an alarm that will call you to your cell phone. You can even install surveillance cameras so as to check your property through your cell phone. Wireless security systems are easy to install and if done so properly provide a good level of security. The disadvantage is that you will need to replace batteries on sensors, alarm and panel about once a year for most models.
When installing the system keep the following in mind:
1)Cover the main corridors and stairways with motion sensors. Sensors should be placed facing the main entry points, sweeping as much of the room as possible and minding blind spots.
2)All exterior doors on the floor level should have contact sensors installed.
3)The main panel should be close to the main entrance and fairly accessible, but placed in a location that isn’t too obvious whenever possible.
4)Burglars can get inside through windows as well, so buy additional motion sensors for rooms where valuables are kept if necessary.
5)Be very careful who you tell your alarm code to and remember that the alarm only works when you actually turn it on. Alarms with Key Fobs are more suited for people that don’t want to be bothered punching in codes every time they leave or enter the house.
This would be a good basic system for the price. It includes the main console, 5 door contacts, 2 motion detectors, 2 key fobs, panic button and one interior siren. You can program it to call you to your cell phone. You can even listen to what’s going on inside the house and play a pre-recorded message (something like, you are being filmed, the police has been notified)
This one includes main console, 10 door contacts, 3 motion detectors, 3 key fobs, interior siren, exterior siren, one panic button and uses both land line and GSM dialer and will call you if the land line is forcibly cut. You can call and talk to anyone close to the main console.
First of all I just want to say your book was an eye opener and got me away from the fantasy of Patriots.I have been revamping my EDC and came across this product:I was wondering if you had heard of it, effectively it is a universal key to handcuffs, I was curious if you thought this would be a valuable edition to an edc.You talked about kidnaps in Argentina and you also mentioned criminals getting body armor. I was wondering if they got other equipment such as handcuffs, was it more common for them to tie their captive or use a form of handcuffs?Again thank you for sharing your experiences in Argentina, it has really helped me instead of relying upon things such as Patriots and lights out for my source of prepping.Thank you for your time,-Chris
“Don’t kill my grandpa, I’ll give you mi toys”.
The pleads for mercy by his grandchild weren’t enough to save 74 year old Victor Granada, shot through the heart last night during a robbery attempt in his residence located in La Matanza, Buenos Aires. The two robbers also shot Victor’s 36 year old son who is now hospitalized in critical condition. According to the mother’s child, Mr. Granada´s grandson told the robbers ““Don’t kill my grandpa, I’ll give you mi toys” when they threatened to kill his grandfather.
It seems that word got around that Mr. Granada had property for rent and had received payments for it recently. Turns out that the tip was inaccurate and he had no money to surrender which may have angered the criminals.
Both criminals, one armed with a handgun and the other one armed with a knife, managed to escape after shooting both men and stealing a few valuables.
Consider the following:
*They entered through the main door, quickly forcing the security metal door. In 99% of homes, doors can simply be kicked opened. (and 99% of people thing their door is MUCH stronger than it actually is)
*Loose lips sink ships. They went after them because they knew the guy had property up for rent and thought there was rent money there. Don’t tell others about your business, lie if you have to but anything that sounds like money can be the cause of your doom in a violent society where crime is out of control. Most people just talk about everything and have no regard about these sort of things. As the world keeps moving, you better adapt before you end up learning the hard way.
*They just shot the old man, no mercy was shown so learn to expect none, same for the son. Which brings me to the much mentioned moral debate of killing in self-defense. It seems that putting down one of these animals scars you for life, that you live in regret and see their faces every time you close your eyes. Ah, Hollywood can be so sentimental. Brutal honesty moment here? Maybe that´s the kind of thing people debate about in SoHo NY while sipping green tea. In the “conurbano” of Buenos Aires there’s no such philosophical ponderations, we know perfectly well that you do the world a favor by ending the evil lives of these walking scumbags.
I’m a longtime follower of your blog… good stuff my friend, keep it coming!
I lived in Portland Oregon around 2004 and there was a vicious dog attack
where a young child was being attacked (I believe there were 2-3 dogs) and
then an older woman tried to help her and she was attacked as well. If I
recall correctly it took several other people to finally chase off these
dogs. Both the child and woman sustained serious injuries, hers taking a
long time to heal.
Since then I’ve kept a can of bear spray in the glove box for just such an
occurrence. This kind of pepper spray shoots about 30 feet and has the
capacity to address multiple threats. It’s available at most sporting
goods stores. I carry this when hiking on my waist belt and keep it handy
Parks that have fenced in dog areas for people to use will still have
people who think it’s okay for their dog to be unleashed elsewhere. My
two boys are naturally fearful of dogs that come right up to them and I
always keep in mind that animals can be excited by fear.
With this in mind, I have stood between them and dogs off the leash
several times without it escalating by using this method: We usually
stop in our tracks, I step in front of the boys and I give the owner a
look that if they don’t get their dog back it’s going to get hurt. One
hand is holding my boys back behind me and the other hand is near my
pocket knife. This stance shows the owner that I’m concerned and ready to
react. If the dog gets near I would do exactly as you did, especially if
it’s ignoring a command from its owner.
Dogs are a threat and so are strangers hanging around playgrounds watching
kids. I always take an assessment of who is there and if they have kids
associated with them or if they are just watching other people’s children
which makes me a little suspicious. There are often homeless people
sleeping in parks and camping there too, usually a short distance away
from facilities but out of site. It’s surprising where they are able to
set up unnoticed. These things can’t be controlled so being aware and
ready to react is all a person can do.
When I go to the park/playground with my family in summer months I carry
my Glock 23 in a little red fanny pack that also holds a water bottle(half
full or empty to keep weight down.) This never gets a second look. It
holds the gun and 2 spare mags and I can climb all around without issue.
When it’s not so hot I go IWB or OWB with jacket. Spare mags are handy in
a pocket. Quick enough for me and keeps weight off the waist. I totally
agree with you that it’s imperative to have a gun large enough to shoot
accurately and with significant capacity. Learn to shoot AND carry the
same gun you use for home defense!
Hope this info is helpful for other people like myself who frequent parks
with their children. Many people live in condos or apartments and don’t
have play space available without going into public where there are
unknown people and animals around. These things I mentioned are just some
of the basics that I follow to keep my family safe.
You’re welcome to share any portion of this with whomever you’d like but
please exclude my name if doing so publicly.
Thanks again for all your hard work in sharing your important messages.
Hi R, thanks a lot for sharing your experience.
I think the same way as you do. Unfortunately it’s the people that are the true problem, not the dog, but we have to sometimes act a certain way to protect ourselves and our family because of their lack of respect.
I have a dog, in fact I just walked it not 30 minutes ago. I kept it on a short leash and even crossed the street when I saw two young girls coming my way and my English Bull Terrier showing too much interest. If I put myself in their position I wouldn´t want a strange animal that is almost as big as I am, definitely stronger and with big teeth jumping and pulling towards me. Out of respect for others, I keep a good distance, keep the leash short or even cross the street if I feel its called for. These people that simply let their animals run loose, not worrying if the dog bites someone or not, let along worrying if it scares a kid or even a person that just happens to not like dogs as much as them. The way I see it there’s just no excuse for that, and a half rational person knows its simply disrespectful to others, even dangerous.
I’ve heard different reports about spray for dogs. In general it does work very well. Dogs having such a sensitive nose, it will react to OC spray. In some cases with certain terrier blood breeds like Staffys, English Bull Terriers, American pit bull terrier and Dogos Argentinos, when blinded by the rage of the fight they don’t react to OC at all. In fact I know of many cases where even shooting the animal wasn’t enough and entire mags where shot into them. I know of a Dogo that took all 7+1 rounds of 45 ACP before dyeing (still killed the person, in this case a carjacker) and similar cases with Pitt bulls. It seems that terriers with a fighting instinct are very tough when driven like that.
You’re right about strange people in the park. Sometimes a homeless person is just that, but others its people with mental problems and it wouldn’t be the first time a person living on the street pushes someone into the bushes of a park to abuse them.
People that look out of place too, maybe adults looking at the kids play but don’t seem to have kids of their own that justify their interest would be another sign to watch for. Perverts can be founds everywhere in the world, there’s really no place safe from that sort of crime.
I like your choice of gun too, cant go wrong with Glock. I carry a bottle of water as well. My kids often need a drink so its one of the things I clearly use the most of my EDC bag.
I just started reading your blog a few weeks ago, and have begun implementing a few of your suggestions. Even with the little I have done so far, an incident last night showed me just how valuable a little bit of preparedness is.
At 4AM my wife shakes me awake and whispers, “I think someone may be in our house.” I jumped out of bed, fumbled around a bit for my 9mm Glock, then though, “Oh crap I need a flashlight!” Obviously what I needed was a tactical flashlight, but those were in another room. However, what I did have was a keychain LED I started carrying after reading your blog. Not much, but at least I could see. I then proceeded to check the house. Thankfully it turned out to just be our cat making some noise.
Even though it was a false alarm, I was glad I knew the basics of how to handle it. Also, I knew that if it came to a fight, I at least had some knowledge of how those go down. Nowhere near as good as actual training, but better than nothing.
Here are my lessons learned:
ALWAYS keep a tactical flashlight with my gun
Install a light where I keep the gun that comes on automatically when I open its container so I’m not fumbling around with a loaded gun. I’m thinking one of these magnetic switches wired to a AA battery and a red LED.
Buy some JHP ammo. I did not enjoy having to worry about overpenetration from my FMJ rounds.
Sleep in something I can clip a knife and a reload mag to.
Secure my doors and windows better. It was hard to feel like I had fully proven that there was no intruder when there are so many EASY ways in.
Make sure my wife knows that if she thinks there is a problem, wake me immediately. I later found out she had been awake for 10 minutes worried that someone had broken in but thinking it was probably the cat and therefore did not want to wake me up. I told her what I read on your blog, that she has to wake me any time she thinks something is wrong because even though 99% of the time it will be nothing, that 1% could be life or death. I will gladly trade a little lost sleep for the safety of my family.
Also, before I read your blog I had kept my gun with the magazine removed. Now I keep it with the magazine in but no round chambered. This is because my wife is absolutely not ok with having a round chambered before we go through Front Sight. However, I was quite thankful last night that I at least had the mag in because finding both the mag and the gun in the dark and getting the mag in correctly would have taken a LONG time.
Of course, most of these are things you have said over and over. They made sense when I read them, but now I am quite motivated to actually do them. Even the few changes I have made over the past few weeks in both preparedness and mindset helped tremendously. If this had happened a month ago, I would have been fumbling around with a magazine in the dark, blundering about the house with no light, and still convinced that a round or two of FMJ 9mm will put down an intruder no problem.
So in sum, thanks for writing this blog! My family is and will be safer because of it.
Hi John, thanks a lot for sharing your experience.
You’re correct in assuming that time can be a significant factor. Sometimes you have more of it, sometimes its just a matter of seconds! A bad guy just kicking down the front door and walking inside can be in your bedroom in a matter of seconds. You’re reaction has to be as fast as possible. As soon as you’re conscious, WLL YOURSELF INTO MOVING, jumping out of bed, picking the gun, in your case chambering a round and get ready to face any intruder. Sometimes we hear something and just freeze. That’s our gatherer/pray instinct kicking in. Like a deer we straighten our head and listen to see if we hear that noise a second time, a very typical instinctive reaction. On the other hand, a predator would charge the noise the first time. What we have to do is will ourselves into developing a predator reaction in which we quickly move to fight instead of freezing.
Should you stay put and defend your bedroom instead? I prefer to first and foremost react as if the potential threat was already attacking, think worst case scenario. If later I decide that its better to go pick the kids and get them to the master bedroom, confront before the breaking in is completed, the variations are infinite, but in my opinion the key is avoid freezing and move, react to the potential threat as fast as you can.
About gun, mag and flashlight, you might want to look into getting a load bearing vest with molle attachments for those as well as a holster, even better, make the vest one that includes body armor panels. That way you just get up, put your vest on, and all your stuff AND boy armor are already on you.
Again, thanks for sharing, take care,
This happened yesterday in Buenos Aires, Castelar.
10.07PM a young couple arrives home. The pregnant woman “keeps an eye” on things, while the husband parks the car in the garage. A criminals rushes in, struggles with the husband and shoots the pregnant woman. She’s in critical condition, the baby died today.
What went wrong here? First of all, this is Argentina, ok? Its not a normal country. I’ve blogged about this more than enough I believe. In normal countries there is crime, but its not this bad. In Argentina, every morning, “sabes que salis, pero no sabes si volves” (you know you leave, but you dont know if you will make it back).
Some of the mistakes made in this case.
1)Some of my friends in Argentina, they don’t enter the car to the garage. They prefer to leave it outside and make a quicker entry to the house. This is standard procedure for many.
2)The wife was obviously looking around when he was entering the car to the garage. It was clear to me that she knew well it was a dangerous moment. Problem is, what could she do if someone did come after them like it ended up happening? Just looking doesn’t work when there’s actually dangerous people out there. The way I did it was parking with the gun ready, looking yes, but ready to throw lead in their direction if something like that happened. You drive in, gun drawn and in your hand, looking around expecting these bastards to come after you. That´s how you mentally prepare yourself. That’s how instead of being surprised, you have a target to shoot.
3)The husband struggled with the attacker, and the attacker instinctively did what we often do it training: Use the “sacrifice” hand to create distance and keep the adversary away from our weapon. The husband then does another mistake, instead of keep going at him, closing distance and trying to get control of the gun, punch or kick him, he hesitates and stays back. That’s when the criminals puts a round into the chamber and instead of shooting the husband, does what his natural evil nature dictates and shoots the pregnant woman instead. Notice how in this case, if the husband had at least grabbed one of the criminals hand, he wouldn’t have been able to rack the slide and put a round in the chamber. If he had continued fighting, he could have stopped him from shooting at all. For this same reason, if you carry a firearm, you NEVER carry in condition 3, empty chamber.