Thursday, January 26, 2023

2000 calories: Perimeter Security 24x7

A reader request. Let me preface this by stating that I am NOT an expert in this subject so you will probably read recommendations you have already seen in other places.

But, a request by a loyal reader is a request, so here we go...

Perimeter security

Defense-in-depth refers to the idea that multiple layers of defense require depth-of-field to be effective. Various layers will stop different threats or each layer will filter out or stop a certain percentage of attackers. 

The moat around a castle prevents various engines-of-war from being wheeled up to the walls and breaching them. It also discourages attackers from tunneling beneath the wall. In this case, the order of defenses (moat then wall) is important.

The rings-of-defense can be tweaked to improve their offensive weapon potential like the crenellations at the top of the castle wall.

Distance is time and time means effective response

Most houses are too close to the road to provide an effective time-lag between sensing of perimeter attack and mounting an effective response.

Multiple responses spring to mind. Working from the outermost defense to the closer ones:

Neighborhood, mutual-aid alliances: Better to end a threat when it attacks a home closer to a main road than when they attack your home.

Warning signs: "Only one person must approach the house at a time. More than one person will be seen as an attack and dealt with."

Barriers: Fences, thorny hedges, perhaps with strategically placed gaps where multiple fields of fire can be brought to bear. Right-eye-dominant shooters shoot more effectively at targets that are on the left-side of their field-of-fire while left-eye-dominant shooters shoot more effectively at targets on the right side of their field-of-fire. Shooting directly to the front exposes more of the defender to the attacker than shooting obliquely.

If I had the ability, I would put yellow-jacket nests or Africanized bees in the gaps the attackers are being funneled to. I do love biologicals that work for free.

Must not obstruct fields of fire. People are more honest when they know they can be seen. It is my casual observation that only about 10% of the population is capable of hitting a man-sized target at a range of 70 yards. Unfortunately, very few of us are more than 70 yards from the road or live on properties large enough to clear a seventy-to-one-hundred yard field-of-fire around hour home.

Grove of pecan trees

If every square-foot of ground is needed for food/fuel production then, theoretically, much of the ground in the field-of-fire could be planted to standard trees like pecans, walnuts or mast-producing oak or chestnuts. The first two are preferred because they have more transparent canopies (important when they are young) and because they lose their leaves in the winter while juvenile oak and chestnuts almost always hold on to theirs.

Every adult knows how to use firearms and every child over age six is trained using a BB or pellet gun.

Firearms are staged over doorways with bolts-open and magazines are close at-hand. It used to be common practice for Granny to have a 20-gauge single-shot or a .22 LR rifle behind the kitchen door. She know that a single woodchuck could destroy an entire row of green-bean seedlings in a single go or a dog could run all of a small flock of sheep to death in an afternoon.

Adults who are outside are "carrying" and have enough ammo to deal with threats or distract attackers long enough to activate "the plan", whatever that is.

Dogs. Several of them. In Rhodesia during the most troubled times it was common for farmers to have a half-dozen "barkers" and a couple of larger attack-dogs that had their vocal cords removed. The barkers alerted and distracted while the attack dogs attacked from the flank.

Fancy electronics: Tend to be expensive BUT phonograph needles run about $2 apiece and have the potential to be MacGyvered into seismic sensors. Pair them so one is optimized for transverse (up-down) waves and the other is optimized for longitudinal waves, run through an amplifier and play the resulting signals on speakers. Train the dogs to light-up when they hear the speakers. You may want to put the system on a timer so it does not keep going off during the daytime.

Internal security

Mr Sutton, can you tell us why you rob banks? Willie Sutton answered, "Because that is where the money is."


It is my belief that about half of the burglaries are perpetrated by people who have some kind of relationship with the target. It may be an ex-girlfriend, a shiftless cousin, a kid who was booted out of the house to help them grow up.

They see theft as the path of least resistance to get what they want. The see theft of items on your property as the easiest, fastest path to getting their next fix or to get the price of a large pizza.

Humans are funny animals. We have the ability to rewrite narratives to make ourselves heroes and RIGHTEOUS. Some small slight can be nurtured into a vast injustice and stealing from "those rich bastards" suddenly seems like a virtue. 

The two simplest defenses against attacks from these sources is to go beyond "don't flaunt your wealth" to actively broadcasting "we are as poor as country church mice". And the best way to do that is to have several, anonymous looking doors or lockers that are only unlocked when the resource they are protecting is needed.

In the scenario we are playing with, there is also the temptation of one family to sneak into the pantry and gobble the peanut butter and to "lift" a jar of jam for their own, personal enjoyment.

The habit of keeping the goodies locked up puts a stop to that in a hurry. Casual visitors will not know the extent of your valuables, nor will they know where to look for the quick grab-and-go. Even if they know, locks reduce opportunity. So keeping your wealth on the down-low addresses two of the bubbles on the Venn Diagram shown above.

We already discussed NOT letting perpetual malcontents into the life-boat.


  1. The Amateur Scientist column in the OLD Scientific American built several seismometers over the years.

    1. I am making $100 an hour working from home. Last month I got a check of nearly 14,000 US dollars, this online work is simple and straightforward, I don't have to go to the OFFICE. At that point this work opportunity is for you. Everybody must try this job now by just
      using this site..

  2. Once saw a system where the owner had 55 gallon barrels of dirt mounted on pallets. Two of them per pallet strapped down.
    He had 20 pallets.
    All staged out back,standing by.
    I finally had to ask.
    He said with the forks on his tractor he could set up a home defense perimeter in 20 minutes.

    1. My last paycheck was $9500 for working 12 hours a week online. s12 My sisters friend has been averaging 21k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can't believe how easy it was once I tried it out. The potential with this is endless.
      This is what I do >

  3. A thought about security. It may make sense to have lock rekeying/key cutting kits on hand. That will allow you to key door locks to a common key AND re-key them if you think a key has been copied and shared with a 'special friend' outside the core group.

    Securing the store rooms could be done with code locks so you could easily change the codes if theft becomes a problem.

    1. I've been working backoffice for a locksmith company for the last few years, so that's where this information comes from:
      Repinning locks: not real hard, kits are available. Availability of key blanks can be spotty, less common keyways especially (Sargent, Corbin, Russwin vs. Schlage, Qwikset). Key cutting machines can be expensive, older ones can be worn out, which affects accuracy of the copies you make. Kwikset makes the Smartkey system that you can rekey with just their special tool. Our locksmiths think they're junk, but it's all Kwikset sells anymore at the residential level. And you still need to copy keys.
      Keypads: You get what you pay for. The $50 chinese vs. the $200 Schlage, I'll take the Schlage. Most come with an override key and are easily programmable. Smart locks use more batteries at a higher discharge rate and require internet access for all features to operate. Many operate in a "local" mode with Bluetooth.
      There are mechanical keypads available, I'm not as familiar with those but you can re-program them also. Might need special tool for that.

    2. There are key duplicators like at the local hardware store (which can be spotty) or key cutters that use the pin depth numbers to cut the keys directly. That is what the locksmith used when he rekeyed our new house a few years ago.

      He also warned me to keep my keys covered or out of sight, he could duplicate a key from a photograph!

  4. We've got mutual aid... And other stuff...

  5. There's a saying about locks..."Locks keep honest people honest."

    1. And keep guests from being able to scope out your assets when they are visiting. They will be "honest" as long as there are residents around.

      If you are scouting out places to rob, do you go to the sure thing or do you rob the place that may, or may-not have valuables? Unknowns that are behind locks which do add time and complexity to robbing the place.

  6. ERJ

    Excellent framework. External threats and insider threats merit different countermeasures. Insider threats were the predominant dangers we faced in a far away land. Brought those lessons home and implemented them.

    Insider threats also include the people you invite into your home: utility service people, appliance & HVAC repair, etc. Those folks might not be direct threats but they may have associates who are. Best to keep a log of folks who visit and are not part of the usual kith and kin.

    I think about security using the concentric ring model taught by the Army.

    Early warning from reconnaissance and observation: know the normal baseline for your area and pay attention. Knowing your neighbors is obvious. A public service scanner is helpful in baseline and real time assessment as well. Also quite entertaining in cold winter evenings.

    Counter-reconnaissance zone. Keep eyes off your place and minimize the value of what observers see. Externally, well planned orchards and gardens help a great deal. Also barns to store equipment away from prying eyes and sticky fingers. Internally, a place for everything and everything in its place is a useful principle. As you note, locks for storage locations are quite useful. We installed them to keep young kids out of trouble and now use them out of habit.

    Main defensive belt. This is the core problem. Deterrence helps. Cameras that you want people to see, and the concealed cameras that add value. They’re cheap these days. Secure exterior doors deter. Solid core interior doors with locks help delay and protect.

    We don’t live in a subdivision. Homestead critters are good early warning of unusual events. As you noted, small arms are kept safe and handy to dispatch varmints and vermin. Everyone is trained in the proper use and storage.

    I think the main security threats are insiders. That’s much more likely to do harm than the marauding hordes so popular in dystopian fiction. As Greg Elifritz is so fond of saying, put your tools away and lock your doors. Also know your service providers.

    Unrelated, I’m an unabashed fan if your site. Thoughtful, useful, inspiring, and occasionally entertaining.

    1. Thank-you for the kind words. If I write anything of value it is because the Holy Spirit chose me...due to no intrinsic merit I can be a window to wisdom.

      One version of The Lord's Prayer states "...lead us not into temptation...". Detouring around discussions about God never leading his select astray, I believe that I have a duty as a Christian to not expose others to the moral-hazard of temptation. That is, to make others "suffer temptation".

      Far, far better to not expose by-passers to temptation and to premature trip to the Pearly-Gates.

  7. I often stand on my side porch {which is the main entrance] and shoot at a gong 110 yards away and leave the empty cartridges there. Sometimes i go to the gun club and pick some others that I throw down there. All for a subtle hint to anyone that drives up and walks up on the porch to case the place.---ken

  8. Good post. One note: The needles you linked are intended to transfer the undulations in a record groove to a cartridge, which converts the mechanical energy to electrical signals to send to an amplifier. You are just part way to having s sensor.

  9. For a local seismograph, the Raspberry Shake is a good place to start. They use the geophones used for petrolium prospecting and have a signal processing board that plugs into a Raspberry Pi computer. Basic kit (geophone and signal board) is under $200 - you provide the Rasp. Pi, power, keyboard, monitor, etc...

  10. I don't know about burglaries, but I've seen data that over 80% of home invasions are connected to an existing relationship, and a large chunk of that is existing disagreements.
    As mentioned above, be careful who you associate with and who you tell what.
    Plan for a variety of problems, not just attackers but also fire, flood, and earthquakes (depending on local severity), but also possible action by local and regional governments, gangs, etc.
    In particular, don't give local LEO or government a reason to look around - plan to settle any "domestics" internally and to external appearances follow local edicts - For example, I can see limits on driving, mowing lawns, and other apparent or real consumption.

  11. As a Working Lord, you should think how the overwatch guard is protected and the working crew can get to shelter if trouble shows up.

    Hostages make great door openers. I know of a two story garden building built with metal studs, double walled and in-between those walls is gravel some 6 inches thick.

    That plus a decoy dummy with a double barreled "shotgun" to draw fire might be useful. Extra points if it's electrically fired to warn working crew of trouble and draw even more enemy attention.