There are a few scenarios I can think of when I consider reasons that a person might need to establish a perimeter. One would be in bear country or in a location where dangerous animals are a real concern. In that instance, we may need to employ an electric fence or some other non-permissive barrier to those animals. The other scenario would be needing to establish a perimeter for human threats. For the sake of this article, my focus will be on human threats.
So, what is a perimeter? A perimeter is basically a continuous line that encompasses a designated person, location, or thing that we want to deny access to.
How big is a perimeter? There can be multiple levels to a perimeter, and the size of it will typically be dictated by your resources and assets.
What type of circumstance might cause us to officially establish a perimeter? It could be a multitude of reasons ranging from keeping people off of your beautiful lawn or, it could be a grid-down scenario where its purpose is for protection.
What does a secured (defended) perimeter do? It establishes a safety zone to keep potential threats outside of the specified area.
We have a few things we need to consider when we establish the perimeter. First, how big is my perimeter, and what’s within it? How many people or force multipliers (we’ll get to those in a bit) do we need to have control over the perimeter? Is this perimeter even defensible with the location topography? Do I have the resources and assets required to control the perimeter effectively?
Let me give you a quick heads up on one thing, we are not the government with unlimited budgets to secure a perimeter. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have rolls of razor wire, and seismic sensors stashed in my shed to assist me in creating a perimeter. We have to be creative and need to be able to improvise so that we do the best we can with what we have available to us. What really matters is that we understand how to identify shortcomings and problem areas in our perimeter and address those accordingly. An example would be to understand how we might completely block off some avenues of approach while using other areas of our perimeter to funnel threats to specific locations of our choosing.
For the purpose of information, we’ll cover two examples here. One for establishing a perimeter at home and one for establishing a perimeter in the bush.
Whether your home is in a neighborhood with 200 other houses or your home is in the country on 40 acres, the principles for establishing a perimeter are basically the same. Sure, certain variables will differ in manpower and resources, but that just means you adapt to the environment and employ more or less of certain resources or tactics based on where you live.
Let’s keep this really simple and break down how we go about establishing our perimeters. First, we must identify what area we want to secure. I’d love to have five square miles around me under control, but my resources and personnel probably won’t allow for that, so we have to be realistic about what we can manage. There are basically two categories of assets that will ultimately determine how large of a perimeter we can establish. The first category is “people.” How many people do we have and what are their capabilities in terms of gear, skills, mobility, health, etc. The second category is “things.” What force multipliers do we have that can be employed to assist in securing our perimeter? A force multiplier (or thing) might be a movement sensing perimeter alarm, barbed wire, or it could even be impassable terrain like a 500 ft. sheer cliff on one side of the property. An ATV for a quick reaction force could serve as a pretty valuable asset as well.
Whether we’re talking about living in a city or living in the countryside, you’ll see the considerations are similar for both. I live in a neighborhood in a suburban area, but I also have a cabin at my Survival School Base Camp. Let’s dive into how we might establish a perimeter for both locations.
Houses in my neighborhood are pretty close together, so my initial perimeter is simply the yard that surrounds my house. We can think of our perimeters in layers ranging from our yards, neighborhoods, etc. However, we need to address our immediate perimeter area. My front yard doesn’t have any fencing and has a street running right in front of it, as most houses in a town or city do. Not really ideal for establishing a “secured” perimeter, but my back yard does have a fence surrounding it so, it at least has some sort of barrier between the backside of my casa and the outside world. Granted, it’s not “secure” either, but it’s at least a barrier or speed bump to an intruder. In an ideal situation, we would want some stand-off room between our “secured area,” like your house but for many of us, our perimeter is going to be very small and very close to our home, it’s just the nature of the beast.
In my situation, I have already established a perimeter, it’s just not one with impassable barriers at this point. My options for setting up a non-permissive perimeter in a neighborhood with an HOA are pretty limited, but, there are still options for detection measures. For instance, I have lighting around my house, so there are no shadows for bad guys to hide in and no extended dark areas for bad guys to approach undetected. My house has multiple I.R. security cameras covering every possible angle of approach, so the perimeter can be monitored from inside the home.
It’s not much, but it’s as much as I can possibly do with the circumstances of being in an HOA. Remember, though, I mentioned layered perimeters, right? For me, that means that the exterior of my home is my “non-permissive” perimeter. What are some steps we could take to better secure the inside of a house/perimeter? We could install better door locks with longer screws going into the door jamb so the doors can’t be kicked in as easily. We could install a cellular-based security system with motion detectors and glass break sensors. How about adding an inside dog? My Belgian Malinois is an inside dog, and she patrols inside my house while I sleep. I pity the intruder that tangles with her. You don’t have to own a Maligator, though! A small lap dog will serve as an alert and will probably not only act as a deterrent but also delay an intruder and give you more time to react. These are very simple things that can be done to establish and secure your perimeter as much as you possibly can during normal times.
Now, let’s shift scenarios to where the grid has gone down, and my town is becoming lawless! I would probably have bailed out by this point but, since that may not be an option for some people, let’s play out how a person might establish a perimeter for security. My intent would be for my entire neighborhood to be within my perimeter. I like this idea because it increases my home’s buffer zone to outside threats. The first step to securing the area would be to make contact with all of my neighbors, establish a plan with the ones capable of perimeter security, and ensure that all the other neighbors understood the plan. Next would be to establish control points and use cars as roadblocks to limit vehicle access into the neighborhood. We’d need to identify potential problem areas where access may be harder to prevent and reinforce those areas with emplaced positions.
Next, I’d identify houses in strategic locations within the neighborhood and establish rooftop observation posts. With fixed positions established, my next consideration would be for implementing small team patrols outside the perimeter and a quick reaction force to react to threats where an increased security presence is needed. Beyond that, I would want to continue to increase my perimeter by linking up with other neighborhoods close by to establish a communication network for threat warnings farther out from my neighborhood. The planning stages would continue as time went on, but I think you get the idea. That’s a nutshell of what my perimeter establishment plan would be. It’s not perfect; it requires neighbors to be involved and for them to be dedicated, but at least they’d have a vested interest in keeping their property and families safe, which means they’d likely be willing to contribute to the perimeter security.
When we move the scenario out to the cabin in the woods, not much really changes in terms of our considerations. We’ll obviously have the space for a larger perimeter but probably fewer people to man it. Say what you will about living in a city neighborhood, at least the advantage of safety in numbers is built in.
Let’s assume you have four people in your group, and only two of them are capable of doing security. The size of the perimeter you can actually secure is going to be smaller than the city scenario. As before, identify problem areas, etc. etc.
If the cabin has a long driveway, place a gate or a barrier at the entrance to control vehicle traffic. If there’s a terrain feature coming up from behind the house like a draw that doesn’t allow you to see if someone is sneaking up, take steps to either block that route off or place noise-makers, force multipliers, etc. that will alert you to someone using that avenue of approach. We’ll cover area denial, force multipliers, etc. in one of the other articles this month, but this should set you on the right path for starting to think about establishing a perimeter for your home.
Next, let’s quickly discuss setting up a perimeter in the bush. Since we are in the bush, we may not have the creature comforts of a house, but we have an advantage by choosing the location based on advantageous terrain features. That will give us an edge and make establishing a secured perimeter easier. We also have the benefit of having less of a footprint on the landscape and a lower visible signature when we’re in the bush. As with the cabin, limited personnel means force multipliers, and early warning systems are a must. An effective tool for this is to place tripwires with noise-makers to alert us to potential intruders. If you have enough wire or cordage, multiple layers of noise-makers are not a bad idea. Noise-makers don’t have to be electronic or advanced by the way. A simple tin can with a few rocks in it to jingle around when the tripwire gets disturbed is very effective.
When you consider all of the elements of establishing a perimeter, just remember, as my business partner Joel Graves would say… be able to flex that MacGyver muscle and be creative in your problem solving. Understand that with a small group, the most realistic way to think of your perimeter is as a speed bump that allows you time to react to the threat.
As long as you approach the idea of a perimeter and its security with a realistic understanding, you’ll be way ahead of the curve.