Often in a tragedy, it is so heartwarming to see strangers reach out to each other and band together to help in a time of need. It is always encouraging to see communities rallying together to get back on their feet in difficult times. Unfortunately, there can be an ugly side to communities during a disaster. Sometimes after a natural disaster, like a hurricane or earthquake, looters come out in full force. It is so sad to see news reports of looters stealing and destroying property after a devastating event. Can you imagine having your home damaged by a storm or fire or earthquake only to have thieves come in and take anything of value that might be left? There is no way to tell what drives people to destroy property and take what isn’t theirs in an already unstable situation. Maybe it is the lack of police presence due to their attention being on the immediate disaster or no fear of being caught. Oftentimes, it is up to you to protect your family and your property during an emergency. Here are some things you can do to keep looters away.
Know Your Neighbors
You and fellow neighbors can form an alliance of sorts and be the first defense to help protect each other’s homes and families from looters. Pay particular attention of homes of the elderly or of those who live alone. They may need some extra protection in a looting situation. Form a community watch and set up rotating shifts to patrol your neighborhood during times of high alert.
Keep valuable items out of plain sight. This seems like it would be a no-brainer, but many homes have expensive electronics, outdoor equipment, or other valuable items in highly visible locations. By keeping these things hidden, and behind locked doors, they are less likely to be looting targets. Anytime there is a looting situation, thieves will take whatever is easily accessible. If it has to be worked for or searched for, it probably will be safer. Invest in a large safe and lock up any items of high value.
Put Lights on a Timer
Set up automatic timers for both indoor and outdoor lights. This will give the appearance that someone is home if you have to leave. Also, the ideal setup would be to have an alarm system that would also deter intruders whether you are home or not. If a break in is attempted, a call would go out immediately to the alarm company, and then the authorities. However, if the power goes out, this could be a problem, so this is another instance where neighbors can help keep watch for anything that looks amiss.
Adopt a Watch Dog
Don’t forget man’s best friend! A dog can not only provide years of faithful companionship and love for you and your family, but they can also be one of your best assets in the event of an attempted break in or looting. Most dogs will bark – often and loudly – when they see someone unfamiliar approach, especially if they sense danger or something being out of place. A loudly barking dog can be a strong deterrent to would-be looters. You can also place signs up that say, “Beware of Dog,” or “Guard Dog on Premises” to give further warning.
Make Sure You Are Armed
Be prepared to defend with force, if needed. While you hope to avoid unnecessary acts of violence, it could come to that in order to protect your family. Consider getting a carry permit, and make sure all members of your household who are old enough, know how to defensively fire a weapon. One person firing is defense enough, but multiple shooters could definitely make an impact on a would-be thief! Knowing your rights, and being properly licensed to carry and use a firearm might mean life or death for you and your family in a volatile situation.
Leave Debris In Place
Sometimes a well-planned disguise will keep looters away. You can attempt to make your home appear less desirable especially if there is debris everywhere. Try making your property look unsafe or don’t clear debris right away. If it looks like it might be dangerous, it could scare off or dissuade potential looting.
No one ever wants to be the victim of looting. But there are ways to be proactive about protecting your family, your property, and your neighborhood. Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. So be prepared ahead of time and you can protect your home from looting.