My cousins there in the open country of Venezuela tell me that nights are dark. The government cut the power, and hungry people use this to go to the farms and see what they can steal.
Don’t rely on your elaborate systems too much.
I must tell you that those who rely on power and water off-the-grid, are wrong. Use it while you have it, but plan for when you stop having it. You will not be able to get supplies for your systems.
Oversize your systems; use industrial and heavy duty equipment. If you can afford buying some additional meters of extra pipe and have storage space, do it. It won´t rot and can be very useful. Design with time. Learn to get pleasure from customizing your designs, and discuss it with your family and like-minded friends over a couple of beers. I used to do this with my dad and we both enjoyed it a lot. I miss him.
The quality of the tap water is... similar to what you could get in a third-world nation. Not surprising. Therefore, I would not recommend you tie yourself to replaceable filters. Use the kind of filter that could be cleaned properly with a hard brush if needed. I would invest in UV lamps for the sterilizer and direct the money to a good quality battery pack.
A crossbow is a fine investment
I mention this because, on my wish list back in the homeland, there was a good, simple, and robust crossbow with a sight and a night vision scope. Maybe even three or four would be better, just in case. Use a tall tree for a camouflaged surveillance post, and leave the crossbow there with enough arrows to make a real mess in a roving band.
Don’t get rid of that smartphone just yet, even if you have no service. Just invest in a good waterproof case and an IR heat tracing device that you may fix to it, perhaps a new battery, and you will have a wonderful device for night-watching that should last for a few years if cared for properly.
If you are skilled enough, I would suggest you try to make your own crossbow and arrows. I am not especially gifted for handcrafting, but if I have to repair my crossbow and my life and my beloved ones’ lives depend on that… you get it.
A simple sheet of 3-4mm or thinner steel will give you plenty of tips. You can store them also, and they are cheap, too. Oil them and they won’t rust. So making your own even if you are a couch potato (like me, sometimes, at least LOL) will provide you with an additional edge. No thief that is trespassing on your property at night is aware that an arrow will cross the night silently to get stuck in a tree one or 2 meters away from their chest. It should work as a deterrent, and a very good one. Worst case scenario, this will make them much more aggressive the next time they decide to trespass, and you should be prepared to respond accordingly.
Eventually, people will come for what you have.
This is no joke.
There could be a lot of people, even people you know. They will have watched what you have, or what they think you have, and sure as heck they have had time to plan, and decide. Among them, it is very likely that you could have met them in a nearby town, and even had some light chat. I know that some farms have been attacked after some intel has been collected.
This is not uncommon. It happens in places like Colombia all the time, where rich coffee farmers suffer kidnappings and stuff. It’s only a matter of time until Crime Inc. (Castro’s maybe?) decided to “export” their modus operandi to Venezuela.
Chances are that after the first successful trespassing, next time they decide to get a little more. The only possible defense against this… is numbers and silent, dangerous long distance weapons that don’t use powder and are untraceable.
I have been informed of people in numbers of 12, 15, or even 20 persons storming a place.
The invaders don´t need other weapons for this if their gang is big enough: stones and sticks are enough. Young, hungry, but still strong, they will come at night, take what they can. Oh, and remember, this is the Caribbean tropics, so they have very sharp machetes. And being country laborers and workers, they know how to swing them pretty well. Something to consider.
If you have numbers enough, and a silent alarm system is in place, drills have been done… a small compound can make a mess of a decent amount of night attackers. The most dangerous approach someone can do, is going at someone’s door in the middle of the night. Even in regular times, it is something very stupid to do, because good people don’t come at night.
The real problem comes afterwards.
It’s not like the movies. You repel the attack, the guys run leaving behind trails of blood and stuff. You still have to live THERE. Perhaps with women, elders, children, perhaps someone ill, injured or disabled – and now there are a good number of “neighbors” (the bad kind) all p***ed off and humiliated.
Because that is how the criminal thinks: if someone stops them, they FEEL humiliation. This makes them angry. This makes them even more dangerous. They have plenty of time to plan another attack, though.
What you can do to avoid it, is something that everyone has to resolve on their own. I would leave some stuff in their path, something enough for them to consider a success. Next time, they would find something less…with a note. Perhaps some crossed long bones that mimic human ones or something creative.
Let’s say 20 persons, 5 of them with edged weapons, and your defense line is just 7 persons, including perhaps some teenagers that can’t re-cock the crossbow. Using 3 crossbows for each person, the attack can be avoided. It is going to be a mess, but you will survive to tell the story. If just 3 of the 7 men (or women, or grandpa/grandma) of the defense team can re-cock a couple of crossbows for the younger, it is a very good tactical advantage. Go with a very simple cocking mechanism, and make sure the cords used are abundant, and perhaps even able to be hand made with ancient techniques.
Why do I write about this now?
Because these are the types of things some of my extended family still there are facing. Their protein intake has become much lower because the roving bands are desperately looking for meat and poultry. If things go so bad that one is able to get into the property of someone they know face to face, in the middle of the night, and with a sharpened machete… it should not be so difficult to shoot an arrow, if your kids are in the panic room shaking in fear, don’t you think? Use some light armor, provided some of your members are young, and agile (not like me), and get closer than what you need.
This is why I identified those IR devices as being very useful for this kind of night operation. They could even record some footage if needed for further investigation if some kind of law enforcement team is operating.
I designed all of this after contacting them and asking them how things are around their place: a farmer’s town where everyone used to know each other.
Less than 2000 population. Peaceful and quiet. Until now.
People will do anything to survive.
We have to be ready for that, not just in our equipment selection. In our minds.
A bad choice is something that we will have to face for the rest of our lives. I know.
Thanks for your support fellows, and your encouraging comments.
Be safe, and may the good Lord bless you all.
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Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has a small 4 members family, plus two cats and a dog. An old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Thanks to your help Jose has gotten his family out of Venezuela. They are currently setting up a new life in another country. paypal.me/JoseM151