Maintaining a low profile in urban/suburban areas

Posted on: March 15, 2010

In my previous segment I talked at length about why maintaining a low profile is a key tactic in a SHTF situation. This time I’m going to expand on that a bit with a focus on trying to do so in an urban or suburban locale.

In the first installment I was focused more on rural or middle of nowhere low profiles. And I want you to understand that it would be several magnitudes harder to maintain such a “low profile” in an area where your neighbors aren’t miles or even hundreds of yards from you, instead many would potentially be mere feet from your “retreat”. Prior to the SHTF event you face the issues of how to keep your neighbors from knowing that you are prepping. How do you keep them from seeing you bringing home far more grocery and related items than they would ever consider? How do you store significant amounts of food, water, fuel, etc. without tipping them off? How do you keep them from seeing you taking weapons out of your home (for range time, hunting, etc.) or returning them afterward? When your neighbors are in a position to know what you’re doing it can be very difficult to maintain anything resembling a low profile. Doing things at certain times of day might reduce your visibility, but then again acting too different from the “norm” will also increase attention and speculation about your business. Some other things that could bring unwanted attention might include visibly supporting the NRA (bumper stickers and such) or similar organizations. The last thing you want is to create a situation where the entire neighborhood will immediately think of you as TSHTF. Sadly, conformity is your best protection in such a situation.

If you’ve managed to maintain your low profile prior to a TEOTWAWKI event in an urban or suburban locale I’ll suggest that your fun begins when you try to keep it up during the event. I say that because virtually everything you do will be different from what your neighbors are doing or will attract their attention.

Some examples: if you are cooking food, and the neighbors don’t have any, I guarantee it will attract their attention. If you have power for lights, radio, etc. and they don’t I bet they notice. If you can spare food for a pet, while the neighbors are eating theirs, it won’t take long for them to get curious. Obviously, some things will have more immediate impact than others. For example, cooking curry will be smelled far more quickly (and further away) than plain oatmeal. Some will say that you can use filters to keep such smells from attracting attention; I’ll agree that if you’ve done an excellent job in sealing your home you might avoid detection for a while, if you never leave your home! Cook bacon, eat tuna, have some beans and then go out among people who haven’t had those things lately. They will smell you before they can see you. Even with a totally bland diet, starving people will be able to smell you cooking. Even the fact that you are cooking, or have heat, when they don’t is enough to blow your “low profile” out of the water.

The “bottom line”, IMHO, is that the longer a SHTF situation lasts the harder it’s going to be to maintain a “low profile” in an urban or suburban locale. People in the area will get hungrier, and more desperate, with every passing day. It will get more difficult to not draw unwelcome attention. Locals will get more organized and I’m willing to bet that systematic searches of every home will take place, whether by “officials” or gangs will make no difference to you if your home is subject to such a search.

Another concern in any SHTF situation is defense. How will you protect yourself, your family, and your stuff in order to stay alive? Most of the people I’ve communicated with who plan on staying in their home (urban or suburban) during an event will have their nuclear family onsite. To me this means they will not have enough people to effectively defend their location. To offer any kind of effective defense you need at least 2 dependable people per side you can be attacked from. In a situation where you have mom, dad, and some pre-teens (as an example) living in a single family home you have 4 sides and enough people to provide a minimum defense of one side. To effectively defend a home, even a small one, you simply must have more people who are; dependable, armed, and ready to defend the location. Anything less is suicide.

2 thoughts on “Maintaining a low profile in urban/suburban areas

  1. Very good info…there is actually and urban SERE course for civilians offered throughout the county. Check out Sigma III Survival (www.SurvivalSchool.US). Looks very good

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