How to Defend your Home from Looters and Intruders Post SHTF

Despite all the scary scenarios, staying and defending your home during a crisis is probably the most reasonable course of action. Staying in the city may sound crazy but there are easy and effective solutions to counter most of the problems you’ll face. For instance, putting up a few warning signs and displaying your willingness to use force and defend your property will usually send all the looters and freeloaders on to the next house. The looters and hungry people will have plenty of easy victims to pick on and they’ll leave you be if they know you mean trouble.

Shooting Looters when SHTF

Signs are all good and dandy to ward of looters in the first stages of a crisis but what happens when you’re the only one left in your neighborhood with any food or water? Your neighbors will most likely gang up on you and forcibly take your supplies and possibly your life. This is a worst case scenario and unless you have a house full of shotguns, automatic rifles and people trained and willing to use them, you don’t stand a chance! There are several approaches to this problem and they all work, what you decide to do really all boils down to your values. I would suggest starting a group of like minded survivalist since a strong, well connected group has a far greater chance of survival.  You can do this by keeping your neighbors informed and helping them get prepared. Start a forum where residents can come together and discuss the possible disaster scenarios your area is vulnerable to. You can get a lot more done when you operate within a group, you’ll have much easier time when defending your area and you’ll be sharing supplies with people that are willing to help defend you. If you help supply your neighbors with food and water, they will help support you because in effect, they are supporting their own lives. The best scenario is when your neighbors and other members are prepared with their own food, water and supplies. In this way they’ll have a strong motivation for getting together with you to defend your goods.

Simple fortifications

Aside from sandbags and boarding up your windows (which are crude, simple and only used/made after the disaster has hit), there are options for those wanting to go the extra mile and make your home impenetrable. These methods aren’t cheap but they certainly worth it.

  • Replace glass windows with non-breakable Plexiglas
  • Add steel bars to windows
  • Replace all outside door locks with heavy-duty deadbolts
  • Replace all outside doors with steel doors
  • Build secret hiding places for supplies and / or people

Replace Glass Windows with Non-Breakable Plexiglas

This is the equivalent of having steel bars on your windows. There have been great advances in Plexiglas, making them extra durable and pleasing to the eye. Most robberies and break-ins occur through a window so by cutting out that option you’ll be shutting out any potential looter.

Add Steel Bars to Windows

Steel bars are ugly but effective. If you don’t mind your house looking like a prison then spend the few hundred dollars to get the bars done. Unless times are extremely desperate, most looters won’t bother with barred windows, they’ll usually just move on.

Replace all outside Door Locks with Heavy-Duty Deadbolts

Most doors are relatively easy to break down, just find a large rock and wail it at the lock. Most looters would go for a window first but assuming you have barred, Plexiglas windows, they’ll go for the door next. Doors almost always break open due to the deadbolt being bent or ripped through the frame. By using a heavy-duty deadbolt you’ll be giving the intruders a tough time.

Replace all outside Doors with Steel Doors

If the deadbolt doesn’t break, the door will. Make sure your doors don’t have glass windows in them. An intruder can easily just break the window and open the lock from the inside. Most doors are obviously made out of wood and an axe will quickly and easily make short work of it. Get a nice, thick steel door and you’ll be in good shape.

Build Secret Hiding Places for Supplies and/ or People

Hopefully your home will never be overrun and looted but in the event that it does, having a secure hiding location or “safe/panic room” will be a good asset. A hiding place for supplies can be made anywhere in the house. Most inner walls have plenty of space inside them. A simple cut in the drywall can be made behind a painting or peace of furniture to give you access to a good hiding place. As for a safe room, a modified closet or walk-in space will work perfectly. Remove the doors and place drywall over the opening to it. Make an entrance that everyone can get through and build a strong, hidden hatch or small door that will keep intruders out. This is easier said then done so be creative and do what’s best for you.

Useful Items for Defending Your Home

Defending your home is a critical component of any urban survival plan. Your home will have to become a fortress (either hidden or visible). You’ll need to make an emergency plan that covers such activities as hiding, defending and evacuating. Some useful items for home defense include:

  • Firearms
  • A guard dog
  • Crowbars, hammers, tools, lumber, plywood and other construction supplies.
  • Shovels and a good supply of sandbags
  • Pepper spray / bear mace
  • Spray paint


Firearms are recommended for obvious reasons. They can be used for defense and they can also be used to scare people. If you decide to get a real firearm, any gun will do. Ask a gun nut survivalists which gun you should get and they’ll all tell you something different. Even though the gun nuts may disagree on specifics, they all tend to agree that a shotgun is a must for urban survival. Shotguns are durable and they’re flexible in terms of the different types of ammo it can use.

Shooting someone is not an easy task and it’s a lot harder and a lot more disturbing then most people think. We’ve been raised our whole lives ingrained with the belief that hurting someone is bad, and ultimately it is, but if your life is on the line… who’s it going to be, you or the looter? Be assertive and don’t over think. As horrible as it sounds, just pull the trigger and move on. If its self defense, you’re actions are justified. During an urban crisis it may be necessary shoot someone in order to protect your family. If you’re not willing to pull the trigger under these circumstances, I suggest bugging out.

Guard Dog

A well trained guard dog is an excellent addition to any family trying to defend their home. You’ll require extra food and water but the investment is worth it. Their hearing and smell is second to none and they can be extremely vicious. They aren’t necessarily deadly but they’re good for keeping people back… a growling large dog with its teeth showing is pretty good at inserting fear in people. If you’ve had the dog long enough, it will become a part of your family. They are extremely loyal and will gladly jump into the face of danger in order to protect you. Dogs are also light sleepers, so expect to be woken up on a regular basis to the sound of barking, consider it a warning!

Crowbars, Hammers, Tools and Construction Supplies

Whether you’re facing extreme weather or looters, you’ll want to reinforce the windows and doors. Even though a 2×4 nailed across a window frame is easy to take down it will serve a psychological function and most people will just skip your house and move on to the next. Instead of using nails, use screws and try to reinforce in such a way that makes it difficult for an intruder to get past it. If you decide to use plywood to completely cover the windows be sure to either drill a hole or make a slit to see through it.

Shovels and a Good Supply of Sandbags

There is a reason why the military is such a big fan of sandbags. They’re cheap, light, easy to transport and are excellent at absorbing gunfire. The burlap bags can double as regular carry bags or they can be cut and used to make simple clothing or blankets. Burlap and sand are so inexpensive that even large structures can be cheaply made. The dimensions and weight of sandbags were made specifically so that the bags can be interlocked like brickwork and they were designed to weigh just the right amount to be moved around easily. Aside from building fortifications, you can also pile up the bags behind the doors to stop intruders from breaking in.

Pepper Spray

Pepper spray is a great non-lethal weapon to keep people at bay and is must in every ones arsenal. It’s relatively cheap and can easily be bought. It will incapacitate looters and give them a painful experience to remember (the pain is excruciating!). On the downside (potentially), it might just remind them that next time they come back for your food, they better kill you first. Don’t buy the small ones, go for the large powerful bear mace variety that can spray up to 50 feet +.

Spray Paint

You’ll want spray paint to make signs and give looters a clue as to what you’ll do to them. If you’ve collected the lumber and plywood previously mentioned you can stake them outside with signs reading “looters will be shot” or “armed with an ice pick and chainsaw… make my day”. Make it descriptive and frightening. Many survivors from New Orleans used this method to protect themselves. People won’t put themselves in danger unless it’s absolutely necessary. Most looters will just skip past your house.

If you decide to take the defensive route, a few signs saying “looters will be shot, survivors will be shot again” is sufficient to make most people fuck off. The signs will work against small groups but not against well organized armed man. Make sure you have enough “perceived” firepower and experienced shooters to fight off such a threat.