Defensive gardening

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Defensive gardening

So I'm no expert gardener myself, but I most definitely came to know a few garden plants and bushes through the years that brought me to tears, with a stab or two that is. Although we do not tend to give a lot of attention to the fauna and flora around us, we all know a plant that you would not dare violate! Nature herself has developed some of the best defenses that stood the test of time. So why not use that to our advantage?

Unfortunately, the advantage of these amazing plants and trees can also go to the other side, if you do not give attention to where you plant them or maintain them throughout the year. Think of hiding spots and concealment.

To tree, or not to tree?

So cut down those bushes and shrubs where they can be used to hide in at pinch points such as at the front gate or the porch etc., also trim all your trees on the bottom so you can clearly see underneath them. And trim any branches of trees close to any outside walls or close enough to utilize to climb onto your roof.

If you do like trees, planting something with dense leaves and thin branches will do the trick. Especially if you plant on the outside of barriers.

Shrub it off

On that note, It's a good idea to start from the outside in. Planting some thorny shrubs next to your initial barriers can help keep intruders at bay. Or some thorny roses on top of walls, guided by some trellis or wires makes for a good deterrent - Think barbed wire hidden under some thorns. (evil smile)....

Ideally, you want to keep the shrubs low enough to see over them and be able to watch suspicious movement outside. Too high and dense may help someone hide and wait to pounce on you leaving through the gate.

It pays to plan

Next, we move to the inner side of the walls. Garden design plays a big role here, vulnerable spots such as corners or spots with easy access from the neighbors' house, can be upgraded with a nice thorny plant, or even a fish pond can be quite the inconvenience for intruders if they had to jump straight into it. Or perhaps some wooden spikes is more your thing, I don't judge.

Gravel is your friend

Next on the list is the driveway, pathways and access points such as windows. Gravel works great for this, it's quite tricky to make no noise walking over gravel. Be creative with this one, think of spaces where someone would likely have to walk to get to your home.

Now go ahead and plant some thorny plants underneath windows or on top of window-sills. Just to stab em some more! And it's a great way to add some color and impress your wife (wink).

Light it up!

The next thing on the list is lighting. This is a very largely debated point, but in my personal experience, you do not want any bright outside lights that are constantly on, not if you are not going to be awake the whole night to monitor who moves in and around the light. So any spotlights connected to a motion sensor work great if you are awake to see it of course. As a kid, we used to have motion sensor lights that simultaneously activate an alarm inside the home, and this was a great concept. You are awakened by the alarm and would know exactly where the movement is, and also whoever was passing the light would also hear the alarm and know that someone probably woke up by it.

Another great way of utilizing softer light, such as the small solar garden lights, is to position them in somewhat of a line. In this way, you can peek through a window (with the lights off inside) and if anything passes the lights you can determine movement and direction at the same time. So if used with a silent alarm, it can come in handy.

Also, please do remember to not turn any outside lighting towards your home, if you need to look outside with a light shining in your eyes, your kind of like a deer in headlights, and, whoever is behind the light will comfortably be concealed and have no problems seeing you.

What about the tools?

Lastly, never leave garden tools, ladders, rocks or any objects that can be used to help someone break in lying around in the yard. If possible, remove them and lock up the tools in a garage or out-house. Face it, it pays to be neat.

Conclusion

So there you have it. Plants can be your best friend when intruders attempt to breach your security. Another great thing about thorny plants is the evidence that could possibly be left behind. Sometimes some drops of blood, some shreds of clothing or even some items dropped when they realized it gets painful. Remember, there is no guarantee any or all of these tips and tricks will work. But it sure beats doing nothing at all!

I will admit, it might take some time and effort to assemble your garden defenses. From researching different plants, choosing the right one in the right amount and physically planting and continuously caring for them. But it is definitely a rewarding project! At the least, you would have some interesting plants to show off to your visitors, wanted and unwanted that is.

Till next time. Stay safe! And happy gardening!

Risks VS Threats

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Risk, Threat, and Vulnerability

Before any security detail can be put in place, you first need to determine the risks and threats that are present in your area of responsibility and the vulnerabilities they are open to. So, to start, it is very important to know the difference between risk, a threat, and vulnerability. I do however have to start by saying, this is just my explanation of how I see and measure Risk, Threat, and Vulnerability. You will indefinitely meet more people with more elaborate definitions or even some who sound quite the opposite of what I am going to attempt to explain in this post. So keep an open mind and try to KISS it. (Keep It Simple Stupid).

Here goes:

Risk: Risk is the potential for an unwanted result. For example a financial loss, loss of life, emotional trauma or disruption of activities.

Threat: A threat is that occurrence or event that leads to, or causes the unwanted result (Risk). For example damage to infrastructure or property, murder, traumatic event or sabotage. These events can happen by nature, the lack of maintenance, wear and tear or it can, of course, be inflicted/implemented by a person.

Vulnerability: A vulnerability is a specific flaw or weakness in a system or a design in general. Such as someone with an allergy, it is not necessarily a risk on its own, as long as it is avoided. It can, however, be exploited by a potential attacker and used as a method of attack.

A quick example:

You have a nut allergy (Vulnerability). A long-standing business partner wants to eliminate you by exploiting your allergy (Threat). If he is successful in his covert operation, you will most likely lose your life (Risk). So, for you to survive, you will have to devise a plan to test your food and drinks, or even anything that may enter your bloodstream. A habit of chewing your pen (Vulnerability) may even be used, by applying some peanut oil on the pen.

So you can also see that some vulnerabilities can be used in conjunction with another, to achieve a less suspicious attack. One can get quite creative once you learn to exploit vulnerabilities and determine the risk it carries.

A proper risk assessment can tell a very definitive story. Once you make the connections, you will know where to focus your attention and do what is necessary to avoid the risk. Some risks will require more attention than others, depending on your mission results.

Perhaps you are not a security operative or into Risk-Management, and you wonder how this methodology can help you in normal life?

Picture yourself driving down the street on your way home. Looking around, you notice a bunch of everyday things, like people walking on the sidewalk, some garbage bags alongside a bin or two, a few potholes in the road and here and there a tree leaning over to the side.

What can this simple picture tell you? What if someone slips and falls off the sidewalk right in front of your car? What if he is drunk and deliberately walks in front of the car to draw your attention? Did you compensate for that? What if one of the garbage bags is half-way on the road, forcing you to swerve into oncoming traffic? Same with the pothole, or it can also cause a tire to blow and force your vehicle to collide into oncoming traffic? And what if that tree starts to fall right as you attempt to drive past it?

Conclusion:

It's a simple equation, anything that can cause a negative outcome (Threat) when coupled with asking "what if", can lead to a Risk. Some more severe than others. So it's evident that a risk is something that could happen, and a threat is a likelihood with which that same thing can happen.

If you would like to read more advanced terminology and explanations, I suggest you visit: https://protectioncircle.org/2017/01/27/threats-and-risks/

Security when driving

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Security when driving

One would think that a simple act like daily driving will be an easy task. Yet that's not true, so many lives are lost on the roads, mostly due to negligence or bad behavior. I surely don't need to hit you with any statistics now, but if you want, just google road accidents in your area. You might be surprised, or you could be living in one of those far-away places where cars are somewhat prohibited and not have this problem at all.

Basic driving methods

If you follow any sports, you would know each team has an offensive and defensive play. Meaning, they can defend their goal lines and also attack other teams' goal lines. During the game though, they have to utilize both methods if they want to win. Driving does not place as much effort on offense as a sports team would, but defensive driving is the basis you work from. I don't know about you, but I would rather be driving peacefully than trying to push for every gap I can find or have to force my way through each stop sign because everyone else on the road is driving offensively. So defensive driving can be seen as recognizing and reacting to any situations you might face when driving. And, with offensive driving, you would be trying to force others to react to your actions, which would more likely lead to accidents.

I would say you need to use both methods, as required. Sometimes gunning it to pass an idiot who seems to be intoxicated or a danger to others on the road is a better bet than having to try and react to his every move. I've seen some pretty weird things people get up to under the influence and driving, such as taking a nap in the middle of a busy intersection for example or being overly aggressive for no apparent reason and trying to pull attention to themselves, without considering other drivers safety. It's your job to figure out when its necessary to be more aggressive and keep a vehicle from passing or staying in front of you.

A few tips to follow when driving

  • Always have a plan - Know where it is you are going and exactly what route you will take, and let someone else know you are driving and have arrived.
  • Always check your vehicle - Need I say maintenance is important? you want your vehicle in the best condition it can be.
  • Have the right emergency tools and equipment available in your vehicle.
  • ALWAYS have a medical kit in the vehicle.
  • On long trips, pack snacks and water, you never know when you will be left on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, with hours before assistance arrives.
  • Carry your cellphone on your belt/inside your pocket - when you get into an accident, you need to be able to access it with ease!
  • Set speed dials on your phone, The last thing you need to try and remember after an accident is a 10 digit or longer number!
  • Be vigilant! Check your surroundings and utilize the OODA Loop!
  • Leave efficient space between your vehicle and everything else, including other vehicles, buildings, and paving.
  • Place an old phone and empty wallet somewhere on the dash, just in case an armed robber demands your phone and wallet at a traffic stop. (The real one should be on your person).
  • Keep your vehicle clean and have nothing loose lying around! It will make things worse in an accident.
  • Wear your damned seat-belt! One exception, if you're pulling up to a shop/gas station or pulling from your drive-way, you don't want the belt in the way if you need to get out quickly to face a threat. Especially true in multi-level parking.
  • If you EDC, Have it on your person! You do not want to be pulled from your vehicle and when you have the opportunity to draw, not have it on you!
  • Probably pointless to repeat to most people, but keep to the road rules! These rules were created to prevent as many accidents as possible anyway!
  • Know who to call when you have a breakdown
  • Know where the nearest police station and hospitals are along your route.
  • Utilize technology - Google maps, for instance, provides great real-time traffic feedback and possible problems on the road.
  • When getting out to open a gate in the dark, switch off your headlights, this enables your eyes to scan behind the vehicle and down the road.
  • Do not pull into your driveway before the gate opens, the last thing you want is to be parked in. Wait for the gate to open, then only start pulling in.

That's it for now

I can go on and on. But it's better to be tackling one subject at a time and in relevance. Driving is the most dangerous activity for any security detail as it presents many more threats and inconsistencies than other activities. It should be taken much more serious than just the normal act of driving, whether you are part of a security detail or not. It is also a very draining activity, even though you are seated for the whole trip. So plan accordingly and make sure you stretch those legs and keep the energy levels high.

Anything you would like to question or add to the list? Drop a comment below or email me @ alphadefense1@gmail.com

Also: Download this pre-use inspection list for your next trip.

Look out for future posts on driving.