The idea of being a hard target is one that is applicable now and after a disaster, but it will be more important when the police and other services are distracted or non-functioning. As you probably know quite well, people tend to go for the easiest way to score the biggest reward. This principle is especially true of those with intent to steal or loot, since the whole point is to take what someone else earned by hard labor with minimal work and time invested. Let’s see how becoming a hard target could deter looters from even trying to breach your defenses.
What is a hard target?
What is meant by “Hard target” is that your home, retreat, campsite or whatever else you’re trying to protect is more difficult to approach, attack or steal from than the majority of others nearby. In past times villages spent valuable time and resources building walls and lined pits around the central mass of homes and important shops both to increase the chance of surviving attack and to deter an attack from coming in the first place. After all, if a Viking ship saw one village surrounded by walls and with guards watching, and another down the coast with nothing in the way, which makes more sense to raid? That is essentially what you’re trying to accomplish with whatever you’re attempting to protect.
Different Ways to Harden Your Home or Retreat
Assuming that your home or retreat is a target for thieves or looters in the first place, there are several ways to strengthen the defenses in order to drive them off:
- Barriers to entry. Walls, whether stone or made from nasty brambles and thickets can be a strong deterrent, as can bars on windows and other barriers that slow entry. Slower entry leaves a potential thief exposed to other scum or to an angry owner who may react with deadly force. A thief wants a quick in, quick grab, quick out, not a long and drawn out process if at all possible.
- Signs of harmful traps or hidden defenders. These can range from signs (think those little signs that let enemies know where a minefield is located) to a few obvious signs of damage done to previous intruders. Particularly gruesome signs could include bloody holes where someone’s leg fell into a punji stake hole or even an entire corpse strung up as a warning.
- Patrols. Although these are somewhat of a mixed bag if someone decided to start sniping patrollers, ideally a few patrols should discourage an attempt to sneak inside of a protected area by increasing the chance that they will be seen.
- Cleared areas. Thieves and looters both want to have plenty of concealment and cover as they creep closer and closer towards the goods they desire to steal, so leaving a large cleared area around your retreat denies them any chance at hiding.
Being a hard target when you’re away from home
Sometimes you won’t have the luxury of a prepared encampment, but being prepared can still deter harmful actions from thieves nonetheless.
- Be aware. Thieves can often tell if you’re fatigued, distracted, or otherwise not able to see them when they close in for the kill/theft. If you make it clear that you’re alert and wary, you may scare off a looter looking for an easy target.
- Show strength. Man or woman, you can show that you’re not to be messed with by speaking and moving about with assurance and confidence. You need not be brash or loud, but a lack of timidity can certainly set you apart.
- Stick with your friends and allies. Few thieves want to be stuck with their hand in a pocket only to find themselves surrounded by an angry crowd, so work together with other members of your group to keep each other safe and don’t stray from a good supporting distance from each other.
These tips alone will help you become much more difficult prey, and will hopefully deter thieves so that you aren’t forced to engage in gun battles or other harsh measures in order to remain safe after a disaster.
Any other tips that would help someone seeking to become a hard target? Let us know in the comments below!
This article first appeared at Prepared For That: How to Get Looters to Give Up: Be a Hard Target