Story #1: How “area recon” (a.k.a. “knowing your backyard well”) and constant neighborhood monitoring can help mitigate the effects of a small-scale SHTF

Story #1: How “re recon” (.k.. “knowing your bckyrd well”) nd constnt neighborhood monitoring cn help mitigte the effects of smll-scle SHTF

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Urbn life presents mny opportunities to , djust nd improve our prepping strtegies. Grid filures nd ner-SHTF situtions cn benefit us if used s trining for future SHTF. In this rticle, I return to my concepts, philosophies, nd prctices of urban survival training as proposed in my book.

I stress the importance of building situational awareness, being flexible, nd capable of blending in. re recon nd constnt neighborhood wtch re good exercises – nd not only in preprtion for big SHTF, s I’ll show. These strtegies re the core of my street survivl trining progrm. Despite ddressing the subject thoroughly in my books, people consistently sk for exmples of how this works in prctice.

Here I present two rel stories to illustrte nd explin how things hppen so others cn relte nd pply them to their contexts. Be forewrned tht these re not full-SHTF tles. Just exmples showing out-of-ordinry situtions cn hppen nytime, nywhere, even before it hits the fn – nd how we cn build our prepredness nd quiver of solutions.

The following story is in the closing chpter of my street survivl trining book precisely to highlight the importnce of being constntly wre (ndcting on it)nd how it cn sve us lot of trouble or minimize the consequences.

few yers go, I ws returning from trining wlk. s I cme close to my street, I noticed some “X” mrks spryed in regulr intervls on the pvement. It wsn’t there the week before, so it drew my ttention. couple of dys lter, I sw nnottions in blue pint, numbers, nd letters right next to ech “X.”

I knew then wht it ws: mrkings for underground utilities. Blue is usully code for wter, but wht mttered, in this cse, ws thtsome service would be done there in the utility systemnytimesoon. sking round the next dy, someone told me tht the wter compny hd been doing surveys in the neighborhood.

But no further informtion ws vilble from the streets. Quick online reserch reveled n overhul in the piping network scheduled for the next week. Bck in the dy, providers would distribute pmphlets to inform residents bout impending services in the systems. Nowdys, it’s just generic on their website s disclimer to sve few bucks nd dodge libilities.

ccording to the notice, the service ws minor, nd supply would not be interrupted. Being n engineer, the extension of mesurements nd mrkings didn’t seem tht smll, sprwling mny blocks. Being prepper, I filled the wter bob, the kitchen sink, nd couple of buckets the night prior, “just in cse.” Wter never gets wsted nywy, so why not.

The service wsn’t “minor,” s the workers ressured when they strted breking the sphlt the following dy. Then, compliction during execution demnded the closing of the wter mins. In the end, totl of 20 or more blocks remined without wter for n entire week, ffecting hundreds of fmilies nd some businesses in the re.

t home, we mde it through with just mild rtioning nd still hd little left when the wter returned. minor inconvenience when compred to perhps 99% of households in the re, hundreds of fmilies who hd to lter routine completely, increse spending nd find extr time to go out nd get wter for clening, hygiene, snittion, lundry, even drinking nd cooking.

It ws indeed reltively smll nd limited SHTF, but it could hve been worse.Situtions vry, but the dynmics re lmost lwys the sme.

Stuff like tht hppens, nd frequently, even in regulr times. This yer ws crzy nd unstble t ll levels due to the pndemic nd lockdowns. These things will lwys bring direct consequences to our everydy life, nd thus they’re worth being on our rdr.Not only when it comes to utilities nd public services, though these re very importnt, but lso the supply chin. Mostly in regrds to items nd mterils tht re sufferingshortagesnd cn ffect the vilbility of essentil items.

Tht hppened in other instnces nd with other services. lso, during the ner-SHTFs, we hd here in the pst decde: from the pros nd riots of 2013-2016 presidentil impechment to the2018 truckers striketht cused shortges nd disruptions, pros, rodblocks, stores, nd bnks borded up nd fights t gs sttions.

Just quick ddendum: Why wlking? Becuse wlking hits the trifect: it’s slow nd llows us to py ttention to things, think more clerly, nd notice nd store much more informtion. It is lso the “officil rhythm” of SHTF. Finlly, wlking is good for helth nd fitness. Biking is OK too, but it’s not the sme. Driving isoltes us from everything nd demnds focus in driving.

Tht leds into the following story, which is bit more serious.

Just little context before I strt: I currently live in reltively decent nd sfe region of town. But s explined in my lstarticle about crime, violence sometimes pys visit exctly becuse some res re deemed sfe. community becoming complcent cn fvor illegl behvior.

Mny streets here hve privte security. Or I should sy, privte wtchmenwho “just keep n eye on the plce” nd monitor the movement. They get pid for tht nd do minor services such s wlking the , receiving mil when people re out, nd stuff like tht. It’s trdition round here. They crry no guns, nd in the er of smrtphones, not even rdios most of the time.

Lte lst yer, one of the houses got invaded and robbed. The residents were terrified. No one round here remembers when the lst time something like this hppened. One, two decdes go? Police were , nd they still do the rounds dy nd night months fter it hppened.

Very little ws sid in the open bout the robbery. It ws big blow for the wtchers, filure.Wht hppened? How did it hppen?It ws hrd to know more. To void drwing criticism, they tried to shrug the whole thing off. But it wsn’t just them. Everyone mumbled something long the lines of “well, y’know…” nd quickly diverted the converstion.“Shit hppens, let’s put this behind us nd get going with life”ws the ttitude from ll prts, even the residents nd the victims themselves.

It is very common in big cities nd plces with wek sense of community for people to remin quiet. lot of people live next to ech other but in isoltion, with few or wek connections between the households, individuls, fmilies, nd workers, which lso fcilittes criminl ction (“conquer the divided”).

I wtched s n rmy of contrctors begn building, replcing, or improving security systems in lmost every house in the re. There were higher fences, new cmers, updted lrms. In other words, people were isolting themselves further.But the significnt chnge ws the rrivl of the new privte gurds hired by some residents to monitor the street. These re the rel del: off-duty policemen with tcticl uniforms, CCWs, rdios, nd direct connection with the police.

They re friendly nd educted too. But you cn tell the gurds re trined nd men business. They send messge to both criminls nd the community:now someone’s tking cre of shit.nd it works: crime is “business,” so when risk becomes more significnt thn the potentil rewrd, it moves elsewhere. s specilists sy, “crime migrtes.”

For the pst few months, my street is perhps the most well-gurded in the entire city: the wtchers, the privte gurds, nd the police doing rounds. I’m exggerting, of course (nd tht doesn’t men it’s the sfest, either). But you get my point.

It’s SHTF of sorts, reltively mild one (to developing country stndrds, tht is). But still “new norml” to del with: once something like tht gets in plce, the only wy to revert to the “old norml” is the entire sitution lso returning to “rel norml.” The level of criminlity in the whole country to drop nd public sfety improve significntly.

Tht is unlikely to hppen with this rging pndemic nd economic meltdown, with criminlity rising, government impired, nd people isolted nd divided. So if something, it’s bound to get worse. Unfortuntely.

Life goes on, nd we do wht we cn. Once the new gurds “took office,” I mde contct. Now, this is not bout forcefully engging in rndom chtter with n ulterior objective. It must be nturl nd genuine. From the perspective of prepping, though, it sure works to lern more bout our surroundings, our community, form llinces, nd specificlly in the streets, to gther intel.

The new guys estblished network connecting the streets in the surrounding blocks nd the police. (Which they re ffilited with.) Unlike the cops, though, they use stndrd hm rdios without scrmbling or encoding. Figuring I could monitor the comms, I sought to get the frequency they were using.

Not tht it’s nything clssified or big secret: the chnnels re open, nd they know it, of course. But sking would be too intrusive nd quite possibly ded givewy tht I’m t the very lest somewht tuned to these things (prepping nd survivlism re still incipient round here, though cops nd militry re in the know). The ide is to remin distnt nd let things run their course without interference.

One dy I ws wlking the nd csully sked them bout the rdios.“My niece wnts more cpble replcement for the flimsy wlkie-tlkie she uses to communicte with her friends during the lockdowns.”(This is entirely true, by the wy: she sked for the rdios for her birthdy. I only hid the fct tht I’m licensed hm opertor.)

He took me for newbie (which is usully good) nd even let me hold nd ply with the HT little. It ws enough to peek t the frequencies nd memorize them without rising red flgs, nd since then, I’m in the loop.

From occsionlly tuning in (very infrequently, ctully), I’m slightly better informed bout the overll quotidin in my re, nd tht’s enough for now. It’s incredible wht we cn pick this wy. I figure if something hppens, mybe I’ll be ble to get unfiltered informtion directly from the sources.

I’m lso lerning nd improving bit on something I lwys wnted to be more effective with: police communiction nd tctics/cting ptterns. Cops know lot bout people, situtionl wreness, nd criminl behvior. Being more knowledgeble bout these things my come in hndy if the SHTF is seriously here.

I wnt to end by highlighting the importnce of being proctive in oursmall circles, gthering informtion, forming llinces, knowing people round us even if little better, nd becoming more wre of how things run in our re.

Most people round me just come nd go every dy without even thinking bout these things. They get stunned when something out of the ordinry hppens. I concede tht even with ll tht, I cn still get cught by surprise, of course. I’m just ctively trying to close the gps however I cn.

fter while, this turns into more thn n exercise nd becomes internlized: the mindset of incresed wreness nd knowledge, built block by block, little every dy. It my bode well for the times we’re living nd the future hed.

Do you do this kind of recon on regulr bsis? How’s your observnce? Wht re some wys you cn improve your connections within your re? Let’s tlk bout it in the comments.

Fbin Ommr is 50-yer-old middle-clss worker living in São Pulo, Brzil. Fr from being the super-tcticl or highly trined militry survivor type, he is the verge joe who since his youth hs been involved with self-relince nd outdoor ctivities nd the prcticl side of blncing life between big city nd rurl/wilderness settings. Since the 2008 world economic crisis, he hs been trining nd helping others in his re to become better prepred for the “constnt, slow-burning SHTF” of living in 3rd world country.

Fbin’s ebook,Street Survivalism: A Practical Training Guide To Life In The City, is prcticl trining method for common city dwellers bsed on the of the homeless (rel-life survivors) to be more psychologiclly, mentlly, nd physiclly prepred to del with the hrsh relity of the streets during norml or difficult times.

You cn follow Fbin on Instgrm@stoicsurvivor

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Story #1: How “re recon” (.k.. “knowing your bckyrd well”) nd constnt neighborhood monitoring cn help mitigte the effects of smll-scle SHTF


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