A few weeks ago, I was heading down the driveway when I noticed two of my neighbors chatting by the roadside. One of them was a retired Army warrant officer and the other a local farmer. As I pulled up and rolled down the windows, both approached and asked if I had seen any unusual foot traffic in the neighborhood over the past few days. The retired warrant officer jokingly said maybe we should set up an LP/OP (Listening Post / Observation Post) and checkpoint. Based on the events transpiring these last few months culminating with a pandemic, joblessness, and now the possibility of a fractured food chain, things can get sideways very quickly. Setting up a manned or unmanned obstacle to deter malicious traffic into the neighborhood isn’t a bad idea.
As we discuss in this issue of the Insider, one of the most effective ways to control movements of anyone into your property is by channeling using natural or manmade obstacles. Fencing, gates, hedges, all can do this but at some point, the decision must be made to man the entry points based on the security situation from the surrounding area. Two good ways to accomplish this are manning a checkpoint or establishing an observation post to allow early warning of an intruder. Of the two, I am least likely to advise of a checkpoint. When a checkpoint is established, those standing guard on it will be toe to toe with an intruder of unknown intentions.
There will be little to no concealment such as a barrier and if there is one, it could easily escalate intentions of anyone entering the area. I would however recommend an LP/OP or listening post/observation post. With an OP, there is much more of a distance from the objective or barrier and if done properly, will provide safety to the occupants by giving cover and concealment. Of course, if you decide on installing an observation post, you very well may be “kicking the can down the road” in terms of an intruder.
The purpose of the OP is not to challenge an intruder but to listen and observe, reporting the situation further down the chain. In this case, a neighbor or your family within the home. If the intruder is able to negotiate the barrier, they will continue their path and you will have to decide how to respond. If you have the manpower, it is possible to man an ambush-style of checkpoint in order to challenge anyone wandering past your first line barrier.
As it seems we are traveling in a direction that will lead to a kinetic engagement, it may be a good moment to take a step back and talk about de-escalation. Someone wandering onto your property, even after negotiating an obstacle such as gate, does not necessarily mean they have ill intent.
If they break into your home or are snooping within proximity of your home, sure, that is a definite escalation, but a trespasser could just as easily be looking for help or have an innocent reason for being there. Be calm, show power, but be merciful. Engaging someone who may only be looking for help due to a vehicle break down or medical emergency will bode badly on you morally, emotionally, and legally.
Circling back to the LP/OP, there are a couple of important considerations before deciding on a location. First off, the location of the OP needs to have a full view of the desired area. I once sat 6 hours in an observation post within a pine barren during training and was chastised pretty hard by the command after learning the opposing force meandered back and forth through my observation area all night without me noticing.
The long skinny pines, all seemingly alike as well as the flat terrain made the task almost impossible it seemed. Second would be that the location of the OP needs to provide cover and concealment of the occupants and the egress routes safely away from it. The best case scenario is an elevated position with clear views of the target area. However, you choose to move forward, ensure a good communication plan, and know of anyone who may be visiting who are friendly to you or your neighbors. Remember that not all strangers are enemies, and not all enemies are strangers.