What Should I Do?

Protecting Yourself Against Crime and Violence

Monday, February 28, 2011, 10:51 PM
Note: This post deals with personal security, one of the most asked-for topics by this community. However, we realize it is a sensitive if not scary topic for some. The intent here is have an open and mature exploration of an important subject. Please respect the author's efforts to do just that.
 
My wife and I live in Philadelphia on the “green line” between mostly-prosperous Center City and mostly-wasteland North Philadelphia. People are very aware of crime around here, as you might imagine, and many people have taken numerous steps to avoid becoming victims. That being said, I am still surprised on a nearly daily basis how unprepared and unaware some people are. (I’m a Police Sergeant, so I see many people who have been caught off guard by criminals. And that’s a very important first tip: If the criminal cannot catch you off guard and unprepared, he’s most likely going to pick a different victim. But that doesn’t account for intoxicated/drugged criminals, very inexperienced criminals, and professional criminals.)  
A middle-aged woman who is our neighbor lived alone in a three-story rowhouse one block away from us. At about 10:00 pm one night, she was reading in bed in her second-floor front bedroom. Suddenly, there was a strange man she had never seen before standing in the doorway of her bedroom demanding money. Scared half to death, she pointed out her purse on her dresser. He went through it, took all her money and fled out the second floor rear bedroom window through which he had entered. Responding police were unable to find the perpetrator. Crime is an ever-present threat around here, yet this long-time resident was totally caught off guard. Even more amazing to me was how easy it would’ve been for her to have prevented this whole unnerving incident. She had a burglar alarm system, but she hadn’t armed it, even though she was going to sleep in a few minutes. She also left her rear second floor window unlocked, which enabled the burglar to climb in without making any noise after using her neighbor’s rear second floor deck to access it.
 
I don’t know the lady, but I’m thinking that before this event she had had a theoretical or abstract awareness of crime from hearing so much about it in the neighborhood and the media. You, too, may have such an abstract awareness that has not affected you on a gut level. She had an alarm system as a way of fending off attack (at home), but she obviously didn’t have the motivation to practice simple discipline to protect herself. In my experience, a person’s first time being victimized by a criminal is a real wake-up call. Depending on the person and the crime they are the victim of, the effect on the person may be life-changing and sometimes devastating. My neighbor was freaked out, as you would have been having gone through something like this. She was glad not to have been physically injured and glad the burglar took such a small amount of her valuables.
 
Sadly, I can’t conclude the story here, and this is the part that really shocks me. This neighbor had a very powerful emotional reaction to a very dangerous and shocking crime, but she didn’t take the simplest of steps to protect herself from being victimized again. Amazing! A few months after this first incident, my neighbor was asleep in her bed. She had not armed her burglary alarm system (again) and her rear window was unlocked (again). She was awakened from her sleep by a different man in her bedroom who brutally raped her, took her money, and drove off in her BMW. This man had entered through the same unlocked window! I don’t think it was much consolation to her, but police caught the predator several days later, still driving her BMW.  She sold her house quickly below market and moved away. I wonder if she is more prepared to deal with crime now. I wonder how many of the readers here haven’t taken significant steps to protect themselves.
 
I’m writing this post on preparing for crime and violence primarily to stimulate or inspire members of the PeakProsperity.com community who have not already done so to plan for and begin taking steps to prepare themselves for crime and violence. The next 20 years are going to be completely unlike the last 20 years, and one way they’re going to be different is in the area of crime. Obviously, more poverty and desperation and fewer law enforcement resources will be the main ingredients in generating more crime and violence. It’s going to be more frequent, more clever, and more brutal. From my perspective, these preparations are a normal part of life, because crime is a normal part of the human experience (in varying degrees and types). It only makes sense to think about crime and violence, take some reasonable steps to prevent it, and respond to it if prevention fails. This is true in national parks, rural areas, small towns, and large cities. These are my thoughts, but I believe most people have not thought about these things very much. And more importantly, they have taken very few effective steps to prevent themselves from being victimized and to deal with a crime against themselves once an attack starts.   
 
This post may not scratch where you itch, because I see people falling into one of four categories in regard to preparation for crime and violence. Look at my four categories and decide where you are:
 
The first category consists of those who are already aware of crime and violence and have begun taking steps to prepare themselves and their loved ones. Readers in this first category may find they have already progressed beyond most of the material in this post. If so, a second future post I have in mind may be more helpful.
 
The second category of people are hopefully the largest group, and they are the ones I want to move with this post. These are people who haven’t yet done much thinking and preparing to face crime, but they will if effectively prompted to do so. I say “effectively prompted” because many things could trigger a person’s journey into self-protection. Being the victim of a crime for the first time in your life often qualifies as being “effectively prompted” (though not always, as per my neighbor’s experience). Vicariously experiencing someone else’s crime has “effectively prompted” many people to take their own self-protection more seriously.
 
My brother- and sister-in-law live in a quiet, prosperous, low-crime area in Connecticut which is very close to a brutal 7-24-07 home invasion in Cheshire, CT. That nearby crime, which resulted in the murders of the wife and two daughters of Dr. William Petit, Jr., “effectively prompted” my brother- and sister-in-law, and many others in low-crime Connecticut, to begin taking their self-protection very seriously. They bought guns, took training and went through the arduous process to get concealed carry permits. (If you need to be effectively prompted by someone else’s experience of crime and violence, go to YouTube and watch all the “armed robbery” and “shooting” videos you can find.  Your blood should run cold and your motivation hot.)
 
The third way someone might be “effectively prompted” is by a traditional learning experience such as in a classroom or by reading this post. This is the least effective way of the three, and is most effective when combined with one of the other two. Nevertheless, I have hopes that this post might move some PeakProsperity.com people “off the dime” to start taking their personal protection seriously. After all, if you’re on this site, you’ve taken an “eyes wide open” look at the world as it really is, you’ve made some educated guesses about what the future holds, you’ve begun to prepare, and in many cases you’ve started spreading the word. You didn’t wait for a six month “bank holiday” or a 50% devaluation of the dollar to get started. That’s exactly what I’m trying to get readers to do: conduct a brutally honest look at the world as it pertains to your safety, make some realistic projections about what the future holds, and take appropriate action now. 
 
The third category is also a large group of people. These are the people who won’t prepare significantly in advance to prevent crime and violence toward themselves, but they WILL fight back if attacked sufficiently. Ginger Littleton is the poster girl for this group. Ms. Littleton was in attendance at a school board meeting in Florida on 12-21-10 when Clay Duke pulled out a handgun and began ranting and threatening. I don’t know Ginger, but I saw her interviewed on TV and I know her “type.” She apparently has never taken her personal protection very seriously, but when confronted with an attack on herself and innocents near her, she decided to fight back (sort of).
 
It’s best if you watch her “counterattack” on YouTube, but allow me to describe it here. Middle-aged Ms. Littleton fled the room when allowed to do so by the would-be murderer. However, feeling an admirable rush of civic responsibility, she decided she couldn’t just run away. She snuck back quietly to the meeting room. Seeing Duke’s back to her with his gun in his right hand, she formed an impromptu plan. She snuck up behind Duke and swung her purse at his gun hand, hoping to disarm him! The attempt failed, and Duke just shooed her away again (lucky for her he was intent on “suicide-by-cop,” not homicide).
 
Like many others in this category, Ginger Littleton is a peaceable, law-abiding person who wouldn’t normally hurt a fly. And like many others in similar situations, she was completely surprised by her own actions. "Off-the-cuff without preparation" is not a recommended way of dealing with problems, but it is especially dubious when it comes to dealing with crime because so much is at stake. Many unprepared people die or are seriously injured in ill-advised counterattacks. If you think you are in this category, I hope I can reach you. If you’re going to fight back when attacked ANYWAY, why not prepare in advance so you have a better chance of winning and surviving?
 
Finally, there’s a small fourth category of people who will never prepare or fight back against violence, even if that means they passively die at the hands of an aggressor. Some of these people are pacifists by religion or philosophy, but most simply cannot overcome their natural human inhibitions against violence. If you’re in this category, I may never convince you to prepare to inflict violence on someone who is intent on hurting you, but maybe I can encourage you to take some of the many non-violent forms of self-protection (using burglar alarms, for instance).
 
Are you still with me? Do you want to further explore this subject of taking personal responsibility for your own protection and that of your loved ones?   
 
If you’re on the PeakProsperity.com website, to some degree you’re expecting the Economic, Energy and Environmental challenges that our world is facing to dramatically affect us for at least the next 20 years. There are going to be BIG problems all around, and one of those is going to be BIG increases in crime and violence. Since we expect poverty, desperation, and anger to increase, so we must expect crime and violence to increase proportionally. We have to expect drug and alcohol abuse to rise under these stressful conditions, and this will have a proportional effect on crime rates. At the same time, we have to expect law enforcement resources to decline with the economy that pays for them. (Just as crime reaches the worst levels in a century, we’ll be on our own more than ever). We have to expect the number of crimes to increase. We have to expect the locations where crimes are committed to spread to traditionally low-crime areas. And, perhaps most chilling, we have to expect the crimes to be more brutal, more clever, and better resourced than ever before.   
 
The good news is that human predators will always have certain traits, and we can use that to prepare ourselves to defeat them. And by defeat them, I mean convince them not to choose you as a victim and fight back far more effectively than they would’ve imagined.
 
Step 1
Accept the reality of the criminal threat and mentally choose not to be a victim. The denial, distraction, and passivity that many people exhibit concerning crime is the predator’s dream come true. Human predators, just like animal predators, want to take what they want without getting hurt or killed. They survey the population looking for a juicy target who is not paying attention and doesn’t look like it will put up much of a fight. Then they arrange a circumstance to maximize their advantages and minimize the target’s chances of escape or counterattack. Defeating predators absolutely must start with a knowledge that there are predators and a firm resolve to not be a predator’s next easy target. The National Rifle Association has a community education program entitled “Refuse To Be A Victim,” which would be a good place to start if this is where you are (www.nrahq.org/rtbav/). BY FAR the most important factor in your ability to prevent and effectively respond to crime and violence is an authentic, deeply-felt decision to face it head on.
 
Step 2
Formulate a plan for self-protection from crime and violence that fits you and your situation, both present and future. Your plan should include protecting:
 
  • Your home, both when it’s unoccupied as well as when you and your loved ones are in it
  • You and your loved ones while away from home (school, work, traveling, etc.)
  • Your assets that are not kept at your home or on your person (which are more vulnerable to fraud and theft than to street-level violence).

My main concern in this post are the first two areas of protection: home and street.

Your plan must be specific and measurable. “Improve the security of our home” is a great idea or objective, but it needs to be made into a series of measurable goals. Without specific, measurable goals, you’re likely to spin your wheels without accomplishing much. Here are a few specific, measurable goals that someone might include under this objective, just as an example.
 
  1. Install a monitored burglary/fire alarm by April 1.
  2. Repair the lock on the dining room window by March 15.
  3. Replace the burned out flood light bulb in the motion-activated light at the back door by Feb. 5.
Of course, your plan will evolve over time as you learn and grow into it, but at every point you have to be working YOUR plan. Wasted time, money, and effort are to be avoided at every turn.
 
Step 3
Based on the plan you develop, begin accumulating the skills and hardware you will need to make it a reality.  Again, you will need specific, measurable items on your list. For instance, “By June 1, achieve a rate of at least 95% for arming the burglary alarm system whenever the house is empty or everyone is sleeping.” Keep a chart and watch your discipline grow.  
 
Self-protection from crime and violence is really that simple to understand:
 
  1. Mindset
  2. Plan
  3. Skills
  4. Hardware

Of course, your journey into self-protection will influence the rest of your life, so it may look long and convoluted from that perspective. Remember, you’re aiming for steady, sustainable progress in your efforts, not an instant transformation into civilian commando. Your plan may include a long list of skills and hardware and cost $1,000s, but it doesn’t have to. Inducing predators to avoid you and look for someone else can be amazingly simple and inexpensive with the right attitudes and habits. Most of the effort and expense comes from trying to deter determined and well-prepared predators (they are a very small percentage of all predators) and defeating predators who have blundered through all your efforts at prevention and deterrence. It’s all about resilience and flexibility. How much of the threat of crime and violence do you want to be prepared for? 

Remember this is one of those low-probability, high-cost issues. The mathematical probability that you will have your home invaded by three men with guns is pretty low, but if it happens anyway, you could lose everything. (But don’t forget: The mathematical probability that you will be the target of criminal action is going to keep going up significantly for a long time.) Do you feel lucky? Are you willing to depend on chance? Most people are, but if you are reading this on the PeakProsperity.com site, I doubt you are the kind of person who normally buries his/her head in the sand and hopes for the best. Yet in my experience, it is entirely possible that you’ve made big strides in preparing for the Economic, Energy, and Environmental storms brewing on our horizon, but HAVE NOT done anything to prepare to confront the potential crime and violence embedded in those storms.
 
I suppose the denial and passivity that this is caused by is natural. It’s one thing to prepare for the impersonal difficulties ahead of us, and it’s another altogether to prepare for a VERY personal attempt by another human directed at killing, maiming, or robbing you. A hurricane or a six month “bank holiday” that hits you is going to be a major problem, but there are steps you can take to prepare. That kind of “attack” is not directed at you personally, and that makes it easier for many to “fight back.” Finally, in your response to these two scenarios, there’s no reason in the world for you to have to harm someone else to survive. However, two seventeen year olds with guns who rob you at the ATM is very personal, and to defeat them you will very likely have to harm or kill two fellow human beings. Maybe you wouldn’t hurt a robber to prevent a $300 robbery. How would you feel about those two armed men bursting into your home, tying you and your family up, and using torture and sexual abuse to get you to give them your stash of precious metals? Ask Dr. Petit if he had to do it over again — and he was armed with a gun and skilled in its use — would he kill those two ex-cons who raped his wife and killed her and his two daughters.
 
At this point, if you are determined and ready to begin your journey into self-protection, I want to point you in the direction of some of the many fine resources in the self-defense “industry.”  I’m not a part of that industry, but I’ve seen some great resources that you might also find helpful. Here are a few:
 
Both of these books are a great place to start.  They both emphasize the importance of mental preparation and attitude in self-defense, and both deal with self-protection comprehensively at home and on the street. Aguirre’s book is based on his personal experience surviving the 2001 economic collapse in Argentina, which will strike a cord with Chris Martenson readers. Aguirre also debunks the idea that you can escape the coming crime and violence by relocating to a rural area or small town. He points out the self-defense disadvantages of such places and describes how some of the worst crimes in post-crash Argentina occurred in them. In addition to their books, both authors have additional resources. Aguirre has his blog at ferfal.blogspot.com and Morris has his SurviveInPlace.com, which gets you the book and many more resources. I found his bonus chapter on acquiring water in a crisis to be worth the cost by itself. My urban family can be water self-sufficient indefinitely, thanks to it. 
 

As you prepare your self-protection plan and begin implementing it, you will have to face the issue of firearms used in self-defense.  I suggest Thank God I Had A Gun by Chris Bird because in it you encounter normal people who were saved by their use of a firearm. I hope their stories effectively prompt you! Second, I would suggest an old classic, In The Gravest Extreme: The Role of the Firearm in Personal Protection by Massad Ayoob.  Ayoob is head and shoulders above the rest of the self-defense industry in understanding and teaching the legal and psychological aspects of armed self-defense. I agree that many people should not carry or have access to a firearm, or even a sharp stick or pair of scissors! Ayoob’s book will help you get your head in the right place so you can decide if a firearm is right for you and, if it is, begin your mental preparation to use it legally and effectively.

There are many, many firearms training schools, if you choose to become armed and properly trained. Some have great, well-deserved reputations, but some are all bluster and actually dangerous. The most convenient and least expensive can be accessed through some of your local gun shops. Others serve a regional or national clientele. I would highly recommend the two I have attended: The Massad Ayoob Group Lethal Force Institute (formerly the Lethal Force Institute, it holds training mostly on the east coast) and Front Sight which trains at an excellent facility in Nevada and a satellite facility in Alaska I’ve never seen. Lethal Force Institute builds good shooting skills, but again the best part is the understanding of the legal and psychological aspects it teaches (which are widely used and adapted by other schools). Front Sight promises to make you a better shooter than most military and police are, and it succeeds. (I’m an excellent handgun shooter and one of the best in my big city department, but I’m quite humbled by many of the civilians I shoot with in advanced Front Sight courses.) Front Sight’s mandatory first course is the Four Day Defensive Handgun course, which accomplishes more with first time and experienced shooters in four days than my policenacademy did in two weeks! If you’re considering Front Sight, you really should take that first course and add the fifth day, which will get you a Nevada concealed carry permit which is accepted there and in 29 other states. Both schools offer courses on unarmed self-defense and self-defense with weapons other than firearms.
 
In January, the media reported that the city of Camden, New Jersey (across the Delaware River from Philadelphia) laid off 46% of it’s police force. Camden and New Jersey are in severe financial straits and leaders are unable to kick the can down the road any further. Severe cuts are being made. Camden is already “the second most dangerous city” in America. What effect do you suppose losing 1/2 their Police Department is going to have on public safety and quality of life? The criminals are already emboldened. Officers have reported seeing thugs standing on high drug corners wearing T-shirts that read, “1-18-11: We Take Back The Streets.” (Philadelphia Inquirer, 1-19-11, p. A7) And to make matters worse, simply buying a firearm in New Jersey is very difficult. Getting a concealed carry permit is, for all practical purposes, impossible.
 
That doesn’t strike a chord of concern in your heart for your future safety because you don’t live in Camden, and maybe not in any big city? You don’t see that news as a thread being pulled from the reality we all share and have to deal with personally wherever and whoever we are? Really? But you ARE concerned about sovereign debt in Greece and Ireland? You ARE concerned about the policies of the Federal Reserve in Washington? You ARE concerned about Peak Oil, even though you don’t work in the oil industry?  
 
The coming storm of Economics, Energy and Environment has within it a the potential for a surge of crime and violence. Face the reality honestly. Form a plan to cope. And gather the skills and equipment you’ll need to survive.
 

thc0655 


This What Should I Do? blog series is intended to surface knowledge and perspective useful to preparing for a future defined by Peak Oil.  The content is written by PeakProsperity.com readers and is based in their own experiences in putting into practice many of the ideas exchanged on this site.  If there are topics you'd like to see featured here, or if you have interest in contributing a post in a relevant area of your expertise, please indicate so in our What Should I Do? series feedback forum.

If you have not yet seen the other articles in this series, you can find them here:

This series is a companion to this site's free What Should I Do? Guide, which provides guidance from Chris and the PeakProsperity.com staff on specific strategies, products, and services that individuals should consider in their preparations.  

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57 Comments

Jager06's picture
Jager06
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
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Posts: 395
Excellent

Great job, well put together and very motivating.

I am looking forward to the next installement!

Jager06

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
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Posts: 2295
Superb!

thc,

I'm always interested when I see you contributions, but this is absolutely outstanding. 
Thank you for the very approachable and flexible write up - I'll be directing a lot of people to your thread!

Cheers,

Aaron 

Tycer's picture
Tycer
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Posts: 553
Great post. I look forward

Great post. I look forward to learning from you. Thanks.

I will add www.corneredcat.com to the list of resources for investigating the idea of a firearm for protection. The website author Kathy Jackson's book Lessons From Armed America is also very good at mentally preparing for how to and how not to act in an emergency. Laurence Gonzales' book Deep Survival is an outstanding look at the psychology and physiology of what makes a person survive or not in stressful situations. Rambling read, great for self evaluation.

Travlin's picture
Travlin
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Posts: 1322
Thc You have written an

Thc

You have written an excellent introduction to personal security.  It is a big topic so a second installment is definitely in order.  Your four categories of people, and three steps for preparation, were well thought out.  Your description of predators was crucial.  Most of us just don’t understand that there are people who stalk and attack other people as a way of life.  They  don’t understand the brutality other people are capable of, and how quickly our lives can be shattered.  Your introduction of the issue of guns for self defense is also crucial.  It has received little discussion at this site and I think it is important that more people think and talk about this.  Our time for avoiding unpleasant subjects is steadily dwindling.  Thanks for your fine article.

Travlin 

Poet's picture
Poet
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Posts: 1840
Thank you!

Really excellent. I am particularly heartened by your reference to Aguirre and Ayoob. I've read both Aguirre's book and some of Ayoob's past articles in Backwoods Home magazine.

Any advice on helping someone who is more of a pacifist, "don't-want-to-think-about-it" person overcome her reluctance to look into protection?

Poet

Southerner's picture
Southerner
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Posts: 36
Well done.  I appreciate

Well done. 

I appreciate CM.com formally acknowledging the need for this information by providing the venue. 

The threat is real, even if it is a low probability - high impact event at this point for many people.  Unfortunately, as the 3E's decline, the probability will concurrently increase.

Having worked with law enforcement for several years in forensics as a firearms and toolmarks identification expert has biased my views in preparing for these scenarios.

Southerner

Quercus bicolor's picture
Quercus bicolor
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Posts: 234
LFI Link is dead, use this instead

The lethal force institute link points to an old website that is not updated any more.  Massad Ayoob's new organization can be found at http://massadayoobgroup.com/  2011 course offerings are listed there.

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
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Posts: 1792
LFI link fixed

Thanks for the correction, Steve. I've amended the link in the post above.

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
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Great job!

What a wake-up call this post was for me.  I am definitely in group two, having been lulled by decades of living in places where locking the door was completely optional.

While I have strong training in guns (I've been a shooter for decades, and reload, etc) my house could use a once over.  That is going to move to the top of my personal plan as of today.

I am especially grateful for the logical, structured and powerful yet unemotional writing of this post.  Well done, it's very effective.

tripp's picture
tripp
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Thank you

thc0655,

Your article was well organized, well written, and most importantly, motivational. Thanks for taking the time to contribute to CM. I look forward to reading your followup article.

JAG's picture
JAG
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Posts: 2489
Excellent Write-Up

Thank you thc, please considerer your warning heeded by this CM'er.

I don't know if it's a blessing or a curse, but I believe I live in one of the more well-armed neighborhoods in Texas. There are also three cops that live in the neighborhood, and ironically, the only two home robberies in the 9 years I have lived here involved the homes of two of these cops: as the thieves were looking for guns. 

It makes you wonder if popular "Guns & Gold" paradigm (that comes with the territory here in Tejas) really serves to protect you or just makes you a more appealing target. 

Thanks again for the excellent contribution...Jeff

GiraffeOK's picture
GiraffeOK
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Posts: 24
Should I admit having a gun?

One evening a young man I had hired several times for lawn care knocked on my door and asked if I had a gun with which to shoot a badly injured dog. I did not see the dog and did not know if the request was legitimate. I was in a quandary about how to answer. If I said yes, would he later rob me to get the gun? If I said no, would he later rob me because I can’t defend myself? I lied (against my principles, but…) and said no. Advice, anybody?

suziegruber's picture
suziegruber
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Posts: 140
Thank you for a really great

Thank you for a really great piece on a really important topic.  I look forward to the next insttallment as well.  I have been preparing for over 6 years, but have been in denial about this piece until recently.  Thank you for another wake up call.  I second the recommendation for Cornered Cat, especially for women who are approaching the use of firearms for the first time.

--Suzie

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
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Advice

GiraffeOK wrote:

One evening a young man I had hired several times for lawn care knocked on my door and asked if I had a gun with which to shoot a badly injured dog. I did not see the dog and did not know if the request was legitimate. I was in a quandary about how to answer. If I said yes, would he later rob me to get the gun? If I said no, would he later rob me because I can’t defend myself? I lied (against my principles, but…) and said no. Advice, anybody?

First, let's cover the rules.

  1. Any time your internal alarm bells go off, heed them.

I know it's hard to think quickly in the situation you were in.  My advice would have been to not answer the question either way by responding that it might be the dog of someone I know and to ask to go see it, assuming it wasn't too far away or in an unsafe spot.

Next I would begin asking why he'd knocked on my door, how he came to see the dog, etc all in the hopes of securing more information from him than he got from me.  The idea here is that if any of the answers were inconsistent or set off further alarm bells I would have immediately placed this guy into the "caution flag" probationary area of my mind.  If the bells were loud enough, I would have even informed my local police force about the guy saying something was just not quite right there.

And, in fact, something was not right.  The normal response/request to an injured dog is to find out if it has an owner that can take it to the vet.  Anybody whose first instinct is to shoot an injured dog automatically gets placed on mental probation by me unless there's a really good explanation like it's theirs and they backed over it or something.

rbh110's picture
rbh110
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Non Lethal choicefor those of us in states hard to get licenses?

I've seen these 'Laser Dazzlers' on some TV show (maybe History Channel).  They basically shine several flickering laser beams into someones face.  Seems like they would be effective in giving you a few seconds to flee or to run over to them and crack them on the side of the head with a bat because they can't see you.  Thoughts on whether they would be a good choice or would just serve to get a burgler more agitated and more apt to severely injure you?

Farmer Brown's picture
Farmer Brown
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Excellent info.  Thanks for

Excellent info.  Thanks for posting. 

PastTense's picture
PastTense
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Many people on this site are

Many people on this site are heavily into precious metals. So the following news article is relevant about a man who had $750,000 in silver stolen is relevant:

http://www.chilliwacktimes.com/silver+stolen+from+home/4302467/story.html

But the key sentences:

"Obviously, some friend, or friend of a friend, or friend of a family member was told and they leaked it to the wrong people," he said Wednesday. "When I bought it in January a year ago, some people said, 'You are crazy,'" he said.

So don't tell people that you own physical precious metals. They will tell other people who will tell other people--until finally thieves hear about it.

Poet's picture
Poet
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Posts: 1840
Friend Of Mine Got A Safe...

PastTense wrote:

Many people on this site are heavily into precious metals. So the following news article is relevant about a man who had $750,000 in silver stolen is relevant:

http://www.chilliwacktimes.com/silver+stolen+from+home/4302467/story.html

But the key sentences:

"Obviously, some friend, or friend of a friend, or friend of a family member was told and they leaked it to the wrong people," he said Wednesday. "When I bought it in January a year ago, some people said, 'You are crazy,'" he said.

So don't tell people that you own physical precious metals. They will tell other people who will tell other people--until finally thieves hear about it.

An acquaintance of mine found a huge, heavy old-style (pre-1930s) safe in a junk yard. She liked the antique look to it, but was too petite to move it herself, so she hired two itinerant day laborers to help her haul it to her house. She used it to store dog food and some other junk - there's no key to the safe because it was a junkyard find.

A few days later, the two day laborers saw her at the local market and asked her if she was using it to store money.

A few days later, some strangers she didn't know (also apparently day laborers) asked her about her new safe.

This has got her really afraid, because she's lives in a high-crime, border town area.

Poet

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A. M.
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Reference Videos

thc,

Not a plug for a different thread, but a lot of the videos you reference are here:
http://www.peakprosperity.com/forum/definitive-tactics-thread/19952?page=0#comments

If folks are interested in a condensed source for videos of violent encounters happening to all sorts of people; Mil, L.E. and citizens, in a variety of venues.

Cheers,

Aaron 

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dtstein
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Protecting Yourself Against Crime and Violence

Thank you also for an excellent overview of the mental and physical steps to self protection. I am one who is transitioning from group 2 to group 1. Other than shooting 22s at summer camp this was not something I have thought about my entire adult life...until recently. I think for anyone contemplating to get a firearm for self defense - for all the right reasons, it is imperative from a practical, legal and even ethical point of view to attain the necessary training to know how to competently and confidently use it.  With rights come responsibilities. You can never take a bullet back once it is fired, so learning not only proper safety skills,  but real functional skills and  having really thought through the practical, moral and legal implications of lethal force  BEFORE confronted with the unthinkable is essential. Each of us must think this through for themselves and will come up with different answers.

I should also mention that I have taken the Front Sight 4 day course and was incredably impressed with their professionalism, safety consciousness, practical training and lectures on ethics and legal aspects of armed self defense.   For those interested, unlimited expiration certificates for all of their  training courses can be purchased quite inexpensively on Ebay. This is totally legitimate. They sell course certificates and  lifetime memberships on their website, but they are expensive. Discount lifetime memberships can be had. For those interested for more info, feel free to contact me. I have no connection to FS other than having been there as a student.

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Jager06
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Laser Dazzeler?

rbh-

During moments of high stress, most folks lose some sensory perception. Some undergo time compression where events seem to happen in slow motion, others have auditory exclusion (event/ stress induced hearing loss) tunnel vision, paralysis or some combination of all of the above and more.

The laser dazzler may work on an unsuspecting individual, but the liklihood of it working on someone who is hopped up on adrenaline and possibly drug adled as well makes you a shiny target. If they are armed expect to be shot as the laser works both ways, identifing your position as well. If not then I would expect them to either run away or depending on their level of aggression, charge you.

Getting close enough to hit someone under those circumstances is insane. Distance always favors the defender. It buys you time, sometimes measured in miliseconds, options and security. So maybe a Taser or large can of super hot pepper spray to keep your distance, if you are deliberately avoiding using a firearm.

Also be advised that cracking someone in the head, upper torso, spine, or groin with a baseball bat, axe handle or golf club type item is considered using deadly force in my jurisdiction. Be prepared to face the same charges as if you had shot them.

Pepper spray and Tasers have their limitations too. I have personally experienced several instances where I have administered pepper spray to gain compliance from a resistive suspect and had them fight me anyway.

Best wishes,

Jager06

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GiraffeOK's question

GiraffeOK said,

"One evening a young man I had hired several times for lawn care knocked on my door and asked if I had a gun with which to shoot a badly injured dog. I did not see the dog and did not know if the request was legitimate. I was in a quandary about how to answer. If I said yes, would he later rob me to get the gun? If I said no, would he later rob me because I can’t defend myself? I lied (against my principles, but…) and said no. Advice, anybody?"

Yikes!  Your story made the hair on the back of MY neck stand up!!  Chris Martenson is right - that feeling of dis-ease you got when this happened is your natural instinct sounding a VERY LOUD alarm.  (Remember that feeling: it's a priceless gift and you must pay very close attention to it and respond appropriately!) A criminal/predator was "interviewing" you in preparation for an attack of some kind.  (Imagine an African lion crouching in the grass watching a zebra and it's newborn walking along 30 yards away!)  I'm kind of surprised you weren't assaulted and robbed on the spot.  I guess that means he was planning to come back at a future time, break in, steal your gun and whatever else he could find.  I wouldn't go anywhere with him, and certainly not a place of his choosing to allegedly inspect the injured dog!!  Your "no" answer might have reduced the probability of a future burglary by him, though it increased the probability of a robbery or sexual assault.  Most of the people who break into a home or business have been there before (teenage neighbors are prime suspects in every home burglary in my mind).  Prepare accordingly.  I'd start by banning him from my property for any reason, telling him so and why, and calling the police as soon as you see him on your property even if he hasn't definitely started the overt action of attacking or breaking in.  I'd like to deal with this more in a second post because it's so important.  Your answer wasn't bad/wrong, but it could've been made more likely to induce him to decide to choose a different victim.  Have you got a burglary alarm that calls 9-1-1 and do you use it faithfully?  Panic alarm? Want to get a gun now?

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The reluctant partner/friend

Poet asked,

"Any advice on helping someone who is more of a pacifist, "don't-want-to-think-about-it" person overcome her reluctance to look into protection?"

I couldn't say it better than CM's post on this site about how to deal with a "reluctant partner" regarding the Crash Course and its implications. Review that, then see how to apply it to this subject.  VERY similar.

Start with the realization that some people can never/will never get over their refusal/reluctance to deal with violence directed at them.  But which ones?  I wouldn't give up on anyone, but I'd be patient.  My wife got her concealed carry permit after we had lived here 20 years!  

For about 96% of the population no one takes self-protection seriously until some kind of emotional connection is made (I made that number up!).  That can happen many ways, but almost never by "forcing" someone to face it.  Unfortunately, the emotional connection is often not made until the first time a person is victimized.  Beside that, the next most common way is to vicariously experience someone else's crime and related emotions.  Books and videos can work sometimes.  Talking to a crime victim about their experience might work better for others.  Interacting with a predator is another way (Police ride-along, prison ministry, watching video of a killer speaking about himself and his crimes, go to court and listen to/watch murderers and armed robbers on trial). That's a tough one to arrange (safely) but there's nothing better (short of being victimized) than to see, in person, how cold and brutal predators can be.  

Good luck with that one.

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Great Post

Great Post with a lot of Heartfelt Sincerity.

I put a link to this post on our Personal Security Guide at http://PersonalSecurityZone.com

I talk to folks who are building up their self defense skills and stragegies and equipment every day, from professionals in law enforcement to very timid folks who are worried the pepper spray might hurt a dog that may be attacking them.

I always try to remember that each person is on their own path or continuum from timidity to empowerment and refusing to be a victim - from unskilled to skilled and prepared. It seems you take this personal approach as well. That's why I thought your post was very good for this web site especially.

Mary Kay
PersonalSecurityZone.com

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Arthur Robey
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Defence.

ex C Squadron SAS trooper.

I cannot watch violence on the TV without freaking out.

I do not mean I choose not to.

I mean I cannot.

Here are the rules. There are none. Whoever loses dies.

The biggest mistake I hear civilians make is the "Fair Fight". It is neither "Fair", or a fight. It is butchery. My hat off to those who kill without causing pain or distress.

After 10 seconds there should be only the sound of the wind. 

Anything else is not good enough.

"Sold my soul to the Devil,

And the fault is only mine.

Sold by a little squiggle

On a little dotted line"

Arthur Robey1972.

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Dragline
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Crime Rates

I like the post -- its good advice, but I don't think this thesis is borne out:

"The next 20 years are going to be completely unlike the last 20 years, and one way they’re going to be different is in the area of crime. Obviously, more poverty and desperation and fewer law enforcement resources will be the main ingredients in generating more crime and violence. It’s going to be more frequent, more clever, and more brutal."

It is well documented that crime rates have been decreasing since the early 1990s.  Violent crime rates also decreased sharply during the last crisis period in American history, which encompassed the Great Depression and WWII.

If there is an increase in anything lately, it's typically just plain old stealing when there's nobody around.  Everything from money to guns to copper pipes.  That makes more sense for the economically desperate.  Why confront someone when you don't have to?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we shouldn't be prepared.  But I don't think making scary predictions is necessary -- this should be just common sense.

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capesurvivor
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Crime Rates

Excellent essay.

It's true that crime rates have been falling but one wonders if that is partially due to increases in the community policing concept. The police force in my town, as many places in this country, is being cut and fewer officers will be available to respond to crimes. As for "plain old stealing"...why would you trust someone who is already  committing a felony? That is denial, IMHO, and relying on the "goodwill" of someone who has already proven to be a criminal. If you came home and confronted a "mere thief", he might turn into a "mere murderer".  Several years ago a local criminal at a rest stop who saw a "rape of opportunity" turned into a murderer when he became angry and "lost it" (his words) when she fought back.

Don't be naive, my friends, I've assessed psychopaths and worked with LEO as a psychologist for 4 decades. You are just a means to an end for them.

CS

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Crime Rates

Freakonomics suggests that crime rates have decreased with the advent of birth control.

Other studies

 indicate that happiness is relative and we might want to consider how future welfare /entitlement cuts are presented.  A we're all in this together approach involving community might be crucial to reduce how deprived people feel. 

Some of the books presented in this excellent article look very interesting. Looking forward to checking them out!

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It is well documented that

It is well documented that crime rates have been decreasing since the early 1990s.

Yes it is well documented. Point to all the statistics you want about crime falling but people are still being mugged, raped and murdered every day  It is also well documented that people that cannot feed their families will do ANYTHING to get food or necessities. It is not a scary prediction to tell people to be prepaired to defend themselves and their family. Crime can happen anywhere at any time for any reason. . This has happend through all of history and will continue into all of the forseeable future. Being prepaired for all possibilities is just the smart thing to do.

Rich

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Thanks for the contribution

Thanks for the contribution to the site.  I have never been one to be paranoid, but I just a week ago finished having my security system upgraded to the best.  I, also, did something I NEVER thought I would do and bought a gun.  I hate guns, but I know how bad things could get with a worthless dollar and no food available.  If someone came to my door, I would be more than happy to help them, but if someone breaks into my house, I am going to protect myself.

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rural vs. urban

I have chosen to live in a rural location, partially to build community and self-sufficiency. I bet many others on this site are in a similar position.

thc and others in this situation, I would appreciate hearing more from you on your thoughts about security in a rural environment, since you mentioned that as a tradeoff. What are things to watch out for, and how to guard against them?

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Lower or higher violent crime?

Dragline wrote:

I like the post -- its good advice, but I don't think this thesis is borne out:

"The next 20 years are going to be completely unlike the last 20 years, and one way they’re going to be different is in the area of crime. Obviously, more poverty and desperation and fewer law enforcement resources will be the main ingredients in generating more crime and violence. It’s going to be more frequent, more clever, and more brutal."

It is well documented that crime rates have been decreasing since the early 1990s.  Violent crime rates also decreased sharply during the last crisis period in American history, which encompassed the Great Depression and WWII.

If there is an increase in anything lately, it's typically just plain old stealing when there's nobody around.  Everything from money to guns to copper pipes.  That makes more sense for the economically desperate.  Why confront someone when you don't have to?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we shouldn't be prepared.  But I don't think making scary predictions is necessary -- this should be just common sense.

My wife's country experienced it's own depression and hyperinflation in the early 90's, and by her and her family's account ALL types of crime increased.  Theft and alcohol-related crimes showed the most dramatic increase, but violent crimes increased substantially too.  We're talking cold-blooded home invasions and store invasions where the victims were killed, and this is a country where murders were rare and guns rare as well.  Argentina's experience also showed dramatic increases in violent crime.  Is this 100% probable in our case?  No, but I see that risk as very high in our case, as in over 90%.

A description of collapse that I found helpful was by Dmitri Orlov who categorized collapse as having 5 stages, each one worse than the one that came before: financial collapse, political collapse, commercial collapse, social collapse, and cultural collapse.  The Great Depression in the US could be categorized (as a whole) of experiencing financial collapse and perhaps to a small degree political collapse.  Argentina 10 or so years ago could be described by the previously referenced Fernando Ferfal Aguirre as financial, political, and commercial collapse.  My wife's country along with Russia in the 90's would be similar, but tiptoeing a little further into partial social collapse.  What I am trying to do is compare the rate of violent crime to the degree of collapse, and there appears to be a rough correlation.  My sense of things is that, using Orlov's scale, the US at minimum is headed for both financial and political collapse, with a high probability of varying commercial collapse as well (from oil shortages, just-in-time delivery systems being stressed, bond markets rebelling, etc.).  So the Great Depression's experience of lower violent crime, if true, might not be the best fitting example.  I think either Argentina or Russia would be the closest fit, depending on how far the government and Federal Reserve push deficit spending and QE and how they react to the crisis that inevitably results.  I don't want either one to be the case, but that's what I'm preparing myself for nonetheless.

- Nickbert

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public enemies

Dragline wrote:

Violent crime rates also decreased sharply during the last crisis period in American history, which encompassed the Great Depression and WWII.

I'm having a hard time believing this.  Were Al Capone, John Dillinger, Machine Gun Kelly, Baby Face Nelson, Ma Barker, Bonny and Clyde, etc., etc. all just anomalies?

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Star Trek

No, that subject line is not a misprint, bear with me.

(First off -- thanks to thc for this excellent, thoughtful post/essay!)

Now:  about that Star Trek thang --

I've started using this analogy when I'm speaking to somebody about the coming challenges and it comes up that I've purchased a 12-gauge -- and then they're surprised or freaked out that ol' live-and-let-live Sager owns a firearm?!

(The fact that [a] I thought of this analogy and [b] I share it with friends -- which I do because I believe it might foster some of those "light bulb moments" -- probably means I have some nerd tendencies still hanging around from my formative high school years [and so do some of my friends].  If so, that's cool with me.  Cool)

One of the deep underlying premeses of the old "Star Trek" series was that the Federation was all about peaceful exploration and the acquisition of knowledge and so forth (as opposed to the Klingons and Romulans who were very warlike and aggressive).  But it's not like the Enterprise went out into the great unknown with nothing but open arms and a smile.  It packed all sorts of offensive and defensive gear and the willingness to use it if they had to.  

So in a world that's likely to get less lawful and therefore more dangerous as time goes on, it's just unintelligent not to have the capability to fend off those with malific intent.  (Or as Mr. Spock would've said:  "To do so would be illogical.")

Allright, I'm takin' off my propeller beanie and vulcan ears and sending in my check for this year's dues at the local range...

Viva -- Sager

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Re: Orlov

Quote:
A description of collapse that I found helpful was by Dmitri Orlov who categorized collapse as having 5 stages, each one worse than the one that came before: financial collapse, political collapse, commercial collapse, social collapse, and cultural collapse.  The Great Depression in the US could be categorized (as a whole) of experiencing financial collapse and perhaps to a small degree political collapse.  Argentina 10 or so years ago could be described by the previously referenced Fernando Ferfal Aguirre as financial, political, and commercial collapse.  My wife's country along with Russia in the 90's would be similar, but tiptoeing a little further into partial social collapse.  What I am trying to do is compare the rate of violent crime to the degree of collapse, and there appears to be a rough correlation.  My sense of things is that, using Orlov's scale, the US at minimum is headed for both financial and political collapse, with a high probability of varying commercial collapse as well (from oil shortages, just-in-time delivery systems being stressed, bond markets rebelling, etc.).  

I'm also a big fan of Dmitry Orlov. He was the person who first nudged me to a realization that what had happened to the USSR likely will happen here.  [I spent a significant chunk of time in the USSR back in the 1980's because I was a Russian major]. So he has a special resonance for me. Other shocks followed, like realizing that I didn't beleive anything on TV or in the mainstream media now any more than I used to believe Pravda . Orlov has stated that the "5 stages of collapse" kind of started off as a bit of a joke, a riff on Kübler-Ross but actually turns out to be useful at describing how bad things are at a given point.  The stages are not always sequential. There's an old CM forum thread devoted to Orlov fans (started long before I got here). 

When I saw him speak last fall, he said casually that financial collapse has already occurred in the US.  It's just a question of when people realize it.  When that happens, .you won't want to be the last one out the door.... Orlov scares the hell out of me by pointing out the comparative social atomization of the US compared to the USSR.  All the broken parts of the Soviet economy built up a lot of informal networks among people for getting food, helping each other out etc.  Money was basically irrelevant.  The difference points to a much rougher landing here, espcially given the large number of guns available. (Speaking in aggregate terms).

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Dragline
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Depression Era Crime

Here you go with some stats.  Very easy to find.  

http://www.jrsa.org/programs/Historical.pdf

See murder rate on page 38, which peaked in 1933 and fell dramatically thereafter through the entire crisis period. Interestingly coincides with the end of prohibition.

The people you reference were virtually all locked up or dead by '33-'34.  Look it up -- its very interesting.

Dragline's picture
Dragline
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"I think either Argentina or

"I think either Argentina or Russia would be the closest fit, depending on how far the government and Federal Reserve push deficit spending and QE and how they react to the crisis that inevitably results.  I don't want either one to be the case, but that's what I'm preparing myself for nonetheless."

I don't think either of these countries are apt examples.  The crime rate in Argentina rose in the 90s but has fallen ever since the complete government default on debt and revaluation of the currency in 2001.  See the homicide stats at  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

Russia went from being a totalitarian state to a wide open free-for-all    Totalitarian states have low crime rates, because they are essentially prison camps.  Cuba does well on that score.  But even the crime rate in Russia has fallen the last decade.  Probably because they are getting older and clamping down again.

Again, I'm not saying you should not be prepared.  But the facts show that overall crime is declining and the youngest adults in the country (the Millennials) are not the violent drug addled thugs that my generation was.  (Go rent Colors and Boyz in the Hood or Less Than Zero if you need a reminder.)  In fact, the young ones are more community-oriented than the rest of us.  The Boy Scouts are quite popular again these days.

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Dragline- How can we

Dragline-

How can we automatically assume all those numbers in that link are reliable?  How many examples are we given in the Crash Course and Chris Martenson's other work showing the "fuzzy numbers" our own government is giving us in regards to inflation, GDP, etc?  Now extrapolate that and imagine how bad it'll get when things get worse and the stakes are even higher?  I think it's reasonable to expect even 'fuzzier' numbers, due to both the authorities' vested interest in making the numbers look better AND their inability to get solid numbers in the first place (overworked police + 'no go' areas = more unreported crimes).

In Ferfal's book about the Argentina collapse, he made a point of mentioning how most of the statistics were nonsense...

"In Argentina, the official statistics managed by the INDEC are openly modified to fit whatever the president wants. 22% unemployment looks bad to our international investors, so a good patriot is expected to put 8% instead. That sounds so much nicer. Besides, the worst the media can do is say it's a lie.

The unemployment numbers are BS.  The crime rate is BS, so is the inflation rate, cost of living, and everything else."

He also made mention of how one of the more independent television networks suffer interference and scrambling, most often when negative news regarding the government is being aired.

I'm not saying I automatically accept what he says, but I think it's less probable that he's the one being dishonest rather than his government.  A corrupt government with vested interests in convincing the people "everything is fine" will lie through its teeth.  At that point we'll just have to accept that good information is going to be hard to find, and a cross-section of personal anecdotes and experiences (especially from police officers) and the handful of truly independent media are probably the best we're going to get.  Just something to think about.

I hope you're right about the young generation as a whole being less 'thuggish' than the one before.  My personal experiences so far aren't showing it compared to my generation (mid-30's / late-GenX), but mine is only one area in the country, and a remote one at that.

- Nickbert

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crime and economics

Dragline wrote:

Here you go with some stats.  Very easy to find.  

http://www.jrsa.org/programs/Historical.pdf

See murder rate on page 38, which peaked in 1933 and fell dramatically thereafter through the entire crisis period. Interestingly coincides with the end of prohibition.

The people you reference were virtually all locked up or dead by '33-'34.  Look it up -- its very interesting.

Thanks but did I miss something?  The document I found only goes to page 15.

Anyway, what you state is consistent with crime matching adverse economic circumstances.  The worst period economically was 1929 to the early 1930s.

http://stockcharts.com/charts/historical/djia1900.html

The years of the mid to late 30s and WW 2 were simply sequelae of that earlier, more economically traumatic period.

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VeganD
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increase in bank robberies

The statistics on crime reduction, if true, are very good news. Of course those are only the crimes being reported, obviously the rates are always higher as many victims choose not to call the police for various reasons.

However, anecdotally every bank within a five block radius north of my office has been robbed in broad daylight since the recession began (four out of four) and one of two down the street from my home so far.  I think there are 3 different perpetrators overall and fortunately no one was hurt. Still, this is very unusual in my memory.

Also, bank robberies in the New York City area are at an all time high (I live near New York City)

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/14/nyregion/14bank.html

"But if the frequency and ease of bank robberies in the city have been striking — the number is up 46 percent compared with the same time last year — the lineup of those arrested for holding up banks has been interesting as well.

In April, a rookie New York City police officer was charged with three bank robberies, including two last year at the same Sovereign branch in Manhattan. Last month, a retired New York City detective was charged after the authorities said he had pulled off a string of bank robberies in recent months. And two sisters once sent their young daughters to a teller with a note announcing a robbery and used the proceeds to buy flat-screen televisions."

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crime rates

fiatagogo wrote:

Freakonomics suggests that crime rates have decreased with the advent of birth control.

Other studies

 indicate that happiness is relative and we might want to consider how future welfare /entitlement cuts are presented.  A we're all in this together approach involving community might be crucial to reduce how deprived people feel. 

Some of the books presented in this excellent article look very interesting. Looking forward to checking them out!

Actually Freakonomics suggested that the crime rate started to decrease in the early 90's because of Roe vs Wade. Basically, all the children that were being aborted were never born, and therefore were never born into an unwanted situation where they were more likely to become criminals. The crime rate started to decline about 20 years after Roe v Wade, just as those kids would be reaching their peak crime years.

Having said that, I still think crime rates will rise in the next twenty years, given what we all know is coming. I used to live in Panama in the 80's and the people were nice people, not unlike anyone else, but if you went to the beach, and left your towel, it would be gone in minutes. All the houses had bars on the windows, and most had large dogs. If you didn't you would eventually have a burglar in your house, we did. We got bars the next week. We lived next to a church that was broken into. During the robbery, our dog was going crazy, so my dad let him out, not knowing what was going on. He scared off the thieves. The priest loved that dog more than me. We lived in a pretty "nice" area.

My point is that if you have pervasive poverty, but you are prepared financially, you and your wealth and belongings will be a target. Americans are no better ethically than Panamainians. I could argue that we will be much worse. I am currently armed and trained, with an alarm system. My alarm is wireless, no phone line to cut, and the power source is my battery backup, so you can't cut the power outside to disable. I am looking at adding bars to my windows. That might be a good business in the future. No dog yet, but I'm considering it.

Thanks

Phil

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Dragline
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Crime Rates -- Depression Era Data

ao wrote:

Thanks but did I miss something?  The document I found only goes to page 15.

Anyway, what you state is consistent with crime matching adverse economic circumstances.  The worst period economically was 1929 to the early 1930s.

http://stockcharts.com/charts/historical/djia1900.html

The years of the mid to late 30s and WW 2 were simply sequelae of that earlier, more economically traumatic period.

It's an excerpt -- the relevant graph is five or six pages in, but it bears the page number 38 at the bottom.  Sorry for the confusion.

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Dragline
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Dogs

zeroenergy21 wrote:

Having said that, I still think crime rates will rise in the next twenty years, given what we all know is coming. I used to live in Panama in the 80's and the people were nice people, not unlike anyone else, but if you went to the beach, and left your towel, it would be gone in minutes. All the houses had bars on the windows, and most had large dogs. If you didn't you would eventually have a burglar in your house, we did. We got bars the next week. We lived next to a church that was broken into. During the robbery, our dog was going crazy, so my dad let him out, not knowing what was going on. He scared off the thieves. The priest loved that dog more than me. We lived in a pretty "nice" area.

My point is that if you have pervasive poverty, but you are prepared financially, you and your wealth and belongings will be a target. Americans are no better ethically than Panamainians. I could argue that we will be much worse. I am currently armed and trained, with an alarm system. My alarm is wireless, no phone line to cut, and the power source is my battery backup, so you can't cut the power outside to disable. I am looking at adding bars to my windows. That might be a good business in the future. No dog yet, but I'm considering it.

Thanks

Phil

I have a couple aunts living in a poor neighborhood in Belize City, Belize, where my father grew up.  They are nuns.  One thing the have always had in that neighborhood is a big mean dog.  I highly recommend one if you can care for it -- even one that's not big and mean will make a lot of noise and send an erstwhile burglar elsewhere.

The other thing they have is community -- everyone knows them, and that they don't have anything of value.   As you mention, you can learn a lot about survival living in a place like that.

And you are right -- when a place gets really poor, its bound to have more crime.  The other big factor is how young the population is.  Younger populations typically have more crime.  I don't see many truly third world - type neighborhoods in the U.S. (I can show you some in DC), but there may be more in the future.  But I think the "abandoned city" (see Detroit) will be the more common archetype in our near future.

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capesurvivor
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still naive

You guys have obviously never met bad guys.

Good luck.

CS

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A. M.
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Capesurvivor

+1.

Violent offenders are often brutish and lacking in complexity, but they more than make up for it in willingness to do violence. It can't be understated that their will to survive and take what is yours is probably greater than your will to defend it. 

If for no other reason, simply because they're more used to the conditions that create desperation. 

We can pour over statistics all day, but we'd be far better off investing this time into some training, planning for the worst case scenarios and discussing with your family/neighbors what you'd do in a collapsed economy to keep one another safe and alive.

Cheers,

Aaron

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Rural security issues

Citizen111 asked, 

"thc and others in this situation, I would appreciate hearing more from you on your thoughts about security in a rural environment, since you mentioned that as a tradeoff. What are things to watch out for, and how to guard against them?"

 

My experience and expertise is in the large urban setting.  I point to the experience and knowledge of others about security in rural areas, and what I've learned from them is that there are definite security disadvantages.  (See Aguirre - Surviving the Economic Collapse, starting at p. 34). 

1. Police and fire response is much slower in normal times, and will be even slower in the collapse.

2. Neighbors rarely live close enough to see or hear mischief at your place and either come to help you or call for help.

3. Economic refugees can be expected, and may be desperate and overwhelming.  (However horrific our urban problems will be, we likely won't have to deal with an INFLUX of needy people!)

4. Even if you and the neighbors get together to patrol your area (an excellent idea in any crisis in any region), there will be a large amount of land to cover and you can't be everywhere at once.

5. Rural areas in Argentina, Rhodesia and others during their crises experienced some increased crime patterns that are thankfully rare in normal times but quite chilling in their scope and brutality.  Home invasion robberies (sometimes conducted/led by men with military and/or police experience), highway checkpoints (robberies, kidnappings, murders), kidnappings for ransom as a career path (think Mexico), and a group of people simply moving into your house while you're at work or vacation and defending it as their own by force of arms (who would/could evict them in a collapse?).  If the bad guys know the police won't be coming at all (or any time soon), they're emboldened.  


These are some of the reasons rural people with some economic means in those situations live in COMPOUNDS, not homes (defensive walls surrounding the residence, bars on the windows, escape tunnels, bullet proof walls, safe rooms, electronic defenses, plenty of weapons and ammo, and the compound is never left vacant without armed family members or employees to guard it).  The worst case scenarios to me were illustrated in Rhodesia where land owners and their employees who refused to allow their land and property to be appropriated by mobs essentially fought small scale military battles (squad/platoon size engagements) trying to save themselves and what was theirs.

 

The need to fortify your home and property, take up arms and the appropriate training, and form local self-defense relationships seems to me MORE important in rural areas where you're more on your own.  Check out the books I mentioned by Aguirre and Morris, and look for my second post at a future date.

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Following

I'm following...

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thc0655
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Prepared/Protected (Poet)

Poet wrote:

thc0655 wrote:

Check out this video of the polite, nicely dressed, apparently upper middle class man robbing a convenience store at gunpoint because he's fallen on hard times.  I don't accept his rationale or behavior, but I see where he's coming from.  The robbery starts at about 5:43 into the video.

http://inflation.us/videos.html

Thc0655

Prepared
Thank you for the link. I saw this other one on the same page... About a water shortage in New England where people fought over water and emptied the shelves FAST!

Empty Store Shelves Coming To America

Just imagine if this were a nationwide problem, not just localized to one small area.

Protected
That said, I wanted to share something I read in a copy of Mother Earth News, sent in by a reader as a comment to an article about emergency survival kits:

Quote:

"...Back in 2003 when hurricane Isabel tore up central Virginia, we were without power (other than our small generator) for almost two weeks. We had to run off people, many times at gunpoint, who were attempting to steal our food and our generator. One fellow killed one of our goats inside our barn. I held a handgun on him until the police arrived, one and a half hours later. Funny thing is, if he had asked, we would have gladly shared with him."

- Kevin Newman, Richmond, Virginia
Mother Earth News, Issue No. 244, February/March 2011, page 8

Poet

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capesurvivor
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shortage

Yes, the water main break was a few hours from me. Ironically, a "green" selectman there was about to get a law passed outlawing plastic water bottles. Good intent, bad timing.

When I lived in Dallas years ago, a rare power outage knocked out electricity for a few weeks. I went to a hardware store the first day to buy lamp oil and found it mobbed with people looking for the same item. Two families had gotten there first and filled shopping carts with literally many dozens of bottles of the oil, much more than they could use in a decade in Dallas, and emptied the store. Unlike the goat owner, they refused to part with even one bottle to any pleading folks.

Unlike in the play Tea and Sympathy (forget heroine's name), "relying on the kindness of strangers" does not always work.

CS

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thc0655
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Future gun/ammo shortages

Hmmmm?  I wonder if the same kind of panic buying might empty your local gun store before people could get there and buy something they've been putting off?!  Or if your state's waiting period might leave some people unarmed when the mob/criminal showed up...

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