First of all, thanks for writing your excellent blog. I've also purchased your book and am reading that now. I just wish I didn't have to, if that makes any sense at all...
One thing that I'm concerned about is how security after SHTF. Let's be optimistic and assume that I keep my job. I live alone in an apartment...when I head off to work, my apartment will be left unattended. Given what you've said about police response times, I'm worried that my supplies will be picked clean. Plus, it seems to me that although I am on the third floor, it'd be easy enough to get into my apartment via the balcony rather than the front door. Any suggestions? I'd really appreciate any insights you can share on this topic.
Please keep my email address private. As long as you use only my first name, though, I am fine with you replying on the blog if that's easier. Thank you!
Good down to earth question, thanks.
By the way, with the trip and all, I'm behind in replying to emails, please have patience. Not playing any games just dont have the time, but I do reply, takes time thats all.
One of the things I've noticed while in USA, (and still seeing it again now in Texas) is that security is certainly not much of a problem in "normal" parts of town.
Some people dont bother to lock the doors, and even if locked most houses do not have serious barriers or security. I have a hard time adapting to that, not because I'm an idiot, its just that my head has been working in a different setup for too long. I cant leave stuff in my rent car or friends car, I cant leave the car door unlocked even for a minute when I get out, I cant relax easily while hanging out outside the house. Getting there, but not there quite yet.
Back to your question, yes definitely, you are right, and unlike Lala Land fantasy, you wont have an Ex SEAL buddy posted in the LP/OP guarding your $700/month little condo while you go work from 9 to 5 if you know what I mean. Doesn't work that way, does it? And getting told to simply get together a survivalist group and setting up a multi million dollar retreat... kind of isn't helping you much. :-)
Back to reality, if your asking me regarding serious criminal activity in your area, what it will depend on is basically 4 factors:
1) You living in a good neighborhood, safest one you can afford to live in.
2) You keeping your mouth shut about what you have, and keeping it out of sight.
3) Having a realistic layer of security. Can someone simply break inside with a screwdriver (or brick)? Then you dont have a minimum security layer. If they get in, will something bite them? Keep in mind that the door is most often the easiest point of entry. People usually think that because they have a solid wooden door they are set. No, it can be easily pried opened, sometimes in seconds, or just kicked down much more easily than people think. I've written posts about security door before, look them up. Invest in a security door, bulletproof if you can, and a frame upgrade if needed. Fancy? You may think I've got loads of money for even suggesting it? No, it cost me about 400 USD to get mine, and even for the poorest person you simply cannot find a better way to spend money securing your house and protection you and your family. There's no security door company in your area? Then even better, get busy, learn and start one. You'll have a door and I promise you, given today's times, you'll be making lots of money if you have half a working brain cell.
4) Having an alarm system that alerts both you and another family member, and the police if someone breaks in, as well as the loudest alarm siren you can afford, both inside the house and outside. The inside the house alarm (+120 dB) physically hurts your ears in close quarters, disorients and gets the burglar nervous. Cameras also help if there's a crime committed, there are game motion activated cameras you can set up without much trouble. There PC connected cameras that allow you to see inside the house with your phone.
About the balcony, you are right and let me tell you, its a favorite point of entry, these guys are like cats, and we've seen our share of "spiderman" burglaries (that's how they call them on the news in Argentina, sometimes they have some rappel and climbing training of some sort)
What we do here in those cases where the balcony its an easy target, we use some sort of wire grating or bars, looking for one that gives both protection and doesnt look too bad. You can use safety concern for kids as an excuse, your sons or nieces, whatever. Here are a few examples and a company offering this service in Argentina.