Friday, December 10, 2010

Crime, Gunfighting and the hard reality of Defending your location against organized Attackers.

Back in the good old days when, unless you lived in a mayor metropolitan area, Americans went to bed with the doors unlocked and windows opened, this wasn’t a mayor concern. Things have been changing the last few years but till this day for many the idea of security is actually locking the door. I remember this one guy in a forum, he was upset because he kept getting stuff stolen from his truck, an Ipod, and other items. Eventually he said that he didn’t lock his car which I honestly couldn’t believe. Like a Windows Error message, it just doesn’t compute in my brain that people don’t lock their cars and leave valuable stuff inside them that is visible from the outside. Around here, even if you lock the doors a purse or some other bag, specially small expensive electronics like Ipods,  will almost guarantee that someone will smash your window to steal it.
But things have been changing for the worse and little by little people will have to adapt. Unfortunately due to the current economic situation, this process experiences peaks and is catching people completely by surprise. The links of news articles regarding rising amounts of violent home invasions are proof of that. People just aren’t ready for violent, somewhat organized home invasions. 

The ridiculous notion that a handful of people can fight large hordes of attackers may as well be one of the most dangerous concepts that some of the “survival” literature out there can offer. Events like the recent death of the Mexican rancher fighting drug dealers show a very different picture. Article: Mexican rancher standoff .
Again, South Africa has a world of examples, with over 3000 white farmers and ranchers dead.
Based on the information I’ve been gathering and what I see in my own country, I would divide home invasions and attacks in three categories that can be well defined. Be honest with yourself regarding you family’s personal level of preparedness and what your're capable of dealing with.

Ordinary Home Invasion: There may be one or several criminals involved, around 3 tops. The solo bad guy will usually take advantage of an unlocked door or opened window. Maybe even forcing it with a crawbar or screwdriver.  He may be someone from your own neighborhood down on his luck, maybe an addict, looking for easy targets and stuff to sell for a few bucks. He may or may not be armed and they’ll usually look for empty houses. Closed solid doors, good locks, motion sensing lights, and specially an alarm will send this type of criminal looking for an easier victims. A home owner that is armed will have little problem dealing with such criminals but violent encounters can of course be potentially lethal for both parties. This type of criminal though, will often chose to flee, specially if dealing with an armed citizen. Basic safety handling and a weapon such as a 38special revolver would be enough. Since these criminals aren’t ready for trouble, otherwise poor defensive weapons such as 22LR handguns or Derringers prove to be dissuasive enough as well. Keep in mind that this doesn’t change the fact that the previously mentioned firearms are poor choices, its just that the firearm itself is deterrent enough for this type of situation.

Commando Home Invasion: Often called “commando” strikes, these are better organized gangs. They wont operate solo, its usually 3 or 4 members at the very least, armed and not hesitant to use violence rather than fleeing. These criminals are more brutal, usually experienced. They will check the victim before striking , do some previous intelligence work but in some cases they may just drive around looking for a careless victim with his guard down. They usually operate with a backup member or vehicle that stays outside while the robbery is committed. For dealing with this type of criminals a better level of security must be reached. Burglar bars or smash resistant glass as well as a specialized security doors, hopefully one that is also bullet proof. I recommend getting one that is professionally made and installed. There’s more to it than putting metal and reinforced hinges to the existing door. Your life is more important than the money you’d save. Alarm, preferably monitored. The reinforced house must also be combined with smart security measures and a constant level of awareness by the entire family. I’m tired of seeing it, no matter how “hard” your house is, the second you let your guard down, that’s when they get you. Going in and out of the house must be done fast and looking around minimizing the risk gap. The entire family must be aware of this and perform it as second nature. Dogs are excellent deterrents, even for seasoned criminals. Studies made with African home invaders revealed that they don’t like dealing with dogs, specially guard dogs that can attack them. These type of criminals wont hesitate and will shoot back if they can. The attacks are fast and violent, but there’s still a concern about not attracting attention and avoiding the police.

Tactical Ballistic Shiled at
The home owners must be well armed since in this case the gun alone will not send the criminal away. You’ll have to use it. This means at least intermediate firearms training (two classes at least, basic and intermediate, preferably advanced too) and seriously practicing what was learned in these classes or repeating them every 3 months. Regular dry fire helps but these techniques must he honed with certain regularity. The weapon must be adequate as well: A high capacity auto pistol, 9mm or bigger. A tactical light, preferably one that is attached to the weapon and body armor. I’ve been talking with like minded individuals that train with me and we’re liking the idea of a shield a LOT. Sometimes you see them being used by SWAT point men along with the pistol. Makes a lot of sense for encounters with armed, determined criminals.
We’re considering experimenting with thick acrylic. I’ll write when we have the results. 

House Attacks: These are not home invasions but house attacks. There’s not a quick strike and hurry to get everyone inside and out of sight. Here, the siege may go on for hours or days and the building itself and the residents are attacked from the outside if necessary. These are full-blown attacks by groups of heavily armed criminals with no concern of authorities showing up any time soon. This is why these attacks don’t occur in populated areas and are most often seen in isolated homesteads and retreats. Like the article linked above, heavy military weapons, including grenades may be used. The attackers mostly have time working in their favor since help isn’t expected to show up.

In this case, the only solution is having enough manpower (by this I mean security personnel) , weapons and tactics to deal with the attack or escaping. Back in the colony days here in Argentina, Indian attacks called “malones” were common occurrence. Since help wasn’t going to arrive, these estates often had escape tunnels that went for dozens or hundreds of yards so that the owners could escape. Today, when this type of attack takes place, it means the security problem in the areas is out of control. Unless you have a dozen guards ready to fight 24/7, it just a matter of time before they get you. Even with all the manpower and weapons you could have. Once the situation gets this bad its time to leave as soon as possible. Attackers can slowly snipe you to pieces, just catching and kidnapping a family member would be enough to force you to give up. This tactic has been used here in the country to avoid any surprises. Criminals would wait until a family member goes outside, maybe drives to town or goes for a walk. Once they have a hostage they don’t have to worry about facing resistance.

Take care folks and have a nice weekend!



Shambhala said...

I find it funny when you tell us about all the bad things that can happen ... then end on a cheery note.

parabarbarian said...

Yesterday (Friday ) there was a home invasion in Hickman (Stanislaus County, California) Five SureƱos decided to attack some guy's house but the exact motive is still unreported. He ran them off, killing one and seriously injuring another.

Across the border in Arizona, many DAs have stopped bothering to prosecute homeowners who shoot burglars except in the most egregious cases. Citizen who make up the juries have an attitude that a dead burglar is a good burglar and vote to acquit. That state has much less of a problem with hot burglaries and home invasions.

DaShui said...

Fer Fal,

What can we do once the bad guys start using body armor consistently?
I think it is only a matter of time.
Maybe we will have to carry those .223 pistols?

russell1200 said...

Your link is not working.

Is this the case you refer to?

Anonymous said...

type #1 invasion on local news:
bottom line: always have your gun
within easy reach.

Anonymous said...

Hello Ferfal,

The link to the heroic story of Don Alejo is not working. Here are two links with the same story:

Gallo @ gta forum

Wabano said...

"What can we do once the bad guys start using body armor consistently?"

Sticks of dynamite in a pipe...

Seriously, guys, when it get to this point, it's better to get the hell out.

Even Florida stunk, come to think of it.

Better be in a location where you have to dress warmer and sleep soundly at night(and live a normal lifespan).

Yes, Grizz and Polar bears will eat you too, but you need real shitty luck...or be asking for it, like that idiot Treadwell!

Shane and Michelle said...

INTERESTING and VERY informative. Passed this along to husband and Parents. Hoping to start making these security measures right away. Thank you!

Shane and Michelle said...

Also, great idea about arming yourself with a shield! Look forward to more on that.

Shambhala said...

Shotgun slugs seem to do a good job even when ceramic armor is used.