Looting is often the first wave of any national crisis, and protests might also develop into mass-looting parties that target anyone nearby. So, it’s critical to be prepared for looters so that you can protect yourself and those closest to you in an emergency.
Here’s how to protect yourself from looting:
- Stay up to date with police information.
- Prepare a bug-out bag.
- Keep your vehicle gassed up.
- Have a plan.
- Get insurance that covers looting.
- Have a stockpile of cash.
- Stick together.
- Hide your valuables.
- Secure your home.
I understand you’ll want more information, especially given the severity of the potential situation. Don’t worry – in the rest of this article; I will dive into the above ways to protect yourself from looting so that you can stay prepared for anything.
1. Stay Up to Date With Police Information
Information gathering is critical to staying safe in a looting scenario. The local police are likely to be the best source of accurate safety information in the case of civil unrest.
Here are a few benefits of police information for protection from looting:
- Know what roads are open. Local police will inform you of any road blockages caused by civil unrest so you know the safest route home. Also, if the situation gets severe enough, you may need to know which roads are open to skip town and distance yourself from the problem.
- Constant and accurate communication. Local police will always provide continuous and accurate information during civil unrest. Other sources of info in an adrenaline-inducing situation are not as reliable and consistent as police communication.
- Understand how the situation is progressing. Local police will constantly deliver updates on how the civil unrest is progressing. If you’re concerned about a group of people moving closer to your home, police communication will give you that info. Additionally, police will be the first to announce when a situation is winding down.
I know what you’re thinking – “wow, those are some compelling points, but how do I access police information?” Let’s take a look.
3 Ways To Keep Up With Police Information
Keeping up with policy information is easier than ever in the internet era! Here are three ways you can stay up to date with your local police force:
- Social media. Most local police forces will have accounts on all the major social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
- Police radio. These days, you don’t have to get a police scanner to access the police radio. You can get a police scanner app like the ones on Android Authority’s 5 Best Police Scanner Apps for Android to stay up to date with police information.
- Police force websites. Another way police stay in contact with the community is through their website. Look for your local police force’s website for regular news updates.
2. Prepare a Bug-Out Bag
Bug-out bags are survival kits small enough to grab in a pinch. These survival packs include everything you need to survive for a few days.
You can purchase a pre-packed bug-out bag like the Sustain Supply Emergency Survival Bag (available on Amazon.com). I like pre-packed bug-out bags because they are super convenient and give me peace of mind that I didn’t forget to pack anything important.
Additionally, you can pack your bug-out bag. Packing a bug-out bag is fun and usually a more affordable option.
Bug Out Bag Essentials
Here are the five essentials for any well-stocked bug-out bag:
- Practical food. You should have enough food for at least three days of eating in your bug-out bag. Additionally, make sure none of your food is perishable. I recommend protein bars because they are non-perishable, small, and nutritious.
- Water filter. Water is essential for survival, but carrying bottled water is not practical. I recommend having a couple of water bottles in your bug-out bag, but bringing a water filter will allow consistent access to drinking water and keep your bag light.
- Lighter and fire starters. Fire is essential for survival, especially if you’re in harsh environments. Fire can help you purify water, cook food, keep yourself dry, and more. So, pack a lighter and fire starters to make a fire easy on yourself.
- Shelter. The shelter is another critical component to survival and a challenge for bug-out bags. Being limited on space, you probably won’t be able to pack a nice tent, so you’ll have to settle for a tarp or something similar.
- First-aid kit. I saved the best for last, a first-aid kit. Don’t let a curable injury be the end of your survival. Pack a first-aid kit if you or someone in your group sustains an injury.
You’ll need more than five items in your bug-out bag. You can read our complete bug-out bag list here.
3. Keep Your Vehicle Gassed Up
After reading about bug-out bags, you should know the importance of being able to skip town at the drop of a hat. Keeping your gas tank full in your vehicle is an essential part of being able to skip town quickly.
The last thing you want is to run out of gas in the middle of a riot. Unfortunately, you could be stranded in an inopportune place if you don’t keep a full gas tank.
If you’re trying to leave town in civil unrest, there will be detours, roadblocks, and traffic. Each of the previously mentioned obstacles will drain the gas from your tank.
Therefore, in a civil unrest situation, you need more gas than you usually use to get out of town.
4. Have a Plan
Coordinating an emergency plan with your survival team is crucial to sort out before a situation occurs. Everyone in your family or friend group should know exactly where to go when a survival situation begins.
Having a goal is the easiest way to stay calm in a survival situation. If you’re working on reaching a meeting point, you are less likely to spiral into panic. Therefore, you should have a plan before it’s too late.
5. Get Insurance That Covers Looting
Safety always comes first, but ensuring your belongings is still a good idea. Using insurance to protect your belongings is especially important if you own a business in a looting-prone area, like downtown in a large city.
Make sure the insurance provider covers looting and theft when shopping for insurance. For more information on looting insurance, I recommend the California Department of Insurance’s Fact Sheet: Insurance Coverage During Civil Unrest.
6. Have a Stockpile of Cash
Cash is useless in many survival situations, like being stranded in the woods, but amid civil unrest, money is vital. As long as society hasn’t collapsed, people will still accept cash in return for survival necessities, like food and water.
However, if the situation is serious, ATMs and banks may not be operating. Therefore, you should stay safe and keep a cash stockpile before a looting situation arises.
7. Stick Together
The saying “strength in numbers” is especially relevant for protecting yourself from looting. If you’re in a group, don’t split up from the group alone, and don’t let anyone else leave your group alone.
I recommend implementing a buddy system. There may be times when the group has to split up, in which case every one should have at least one other person with them.
8. Hide Your Valuables
Hiding your valuables during looting is essential for obvious reasons – people are actively stealing valuables, so hiding your valuables is necessary.
How To Secure Your Valuables at Home
If your home is near the point of civil unrest, it’s a good idea to lock up and hide away your valuables. Here are a few methods to secure your items from your home:
- Give your valuables to a friend. The best way to ensure your valuables don’t go missing is to get them out of your home. If you have friends or family in a more secure neighborhood, I recommend giving them your valuables for safekeeping.
- Use a safe. A big metal safe like SentrySafe SFW123CU Fireproof Waterproof Safe (available on Amazon.com) will secure your valuable items. I like SentrySafe’s SFW123CU safe because it’s big enough to store my things and small enough to stow away in a small closet or cabinet.
- Hide your goods in plain sight. The most fun way to secure valuables is to hide them in plain sight. Check out Family Handyman’s article on creative ways to hide your valuables at home.
How To Secure Your Valuables on the Street
Here are my top tips to keep your valuables secure while you are away from home:
- Remove your jewelry. If you have any exposed jewelry like a watch, earrings, or a bracelet, I recommend removing it immediately. You want to keep a low profile for safety, and having expensive jewelry only attracts attention.
- Use a money belt. Pick up a money belt like the Lewis N. Clark RFID Wallet (available on Amazon.com) to keep your valuables out of sight. I like this money belt because it isn’t a belt. Instead, you wear it around your neck, which is much more convenient for easy access.
- Split up your belongings. If something happens, splitting up where you keep your belongings decreases the chance of losing everything. I recommend keeping some valuables in your money belt and splitting up other valuables in your pockets, shoes, or wherever you can fit them!
9. Secure Your Home
The next way to protect yourself from looting is to secure your home. Your home is the best place to be in a looting situation, as long as you’ve adequately kitted your home for a long-term survival situation.
Don’t know how to set up your home for a survival situation? Don’t worry! I have plenty of tips to ensure your home is not a victim of looting.
Don’t Attract Attention.
My most important tip for securing your home is not to attract attention.
Say there’s a house with a $260,000 Lamborghini parked in the driveway. The next-door neighbor also has an expensive car but parks it in their garage. Who do you think looters are more likely to target?
I bet you said the house with the Lambo parked out front, and you’re right! Don’t make yourself a target by outwardly displaying wealth.
The next step past not attracting break-ins is to discourage break-ins. Here are three easy ways to deter break-ins:
- Install motion sensor lights. You can set up motion sensor lights around your house, so the bright lights will come on when a potential looter comes too close to your home. Usually, being hit by a motion sensor light is enough deterrent to ward off a looter.
- Keep some guard dogs. If you don’t already own a dog, this might be too heavy of an investment, but I still want to note how effective dogs are at warding off looters. Dogs have the same effect as a motion-sensing light – if someone comes too close to your home, your dog will bark and usually scare off a looter.
- Alarm system. My final deterrent is an alarm system triggered when someone forcibly enters your home. Preferably, you should have an alarm system that automatically calls the police. If a looter breaks in and is alerted, the authorities are on their way. Usually, if the alarm goes off, the looters will want to distance themselves from your home as fast as possible.
Looting can be a stress-inducing event, bringing us to my final advice. Keep calm. If you’re looting, panicking will only make you more vulnerable, so try your best to keep a straight head and work your way through the situation.
Thankfully, the best way to stay calm in high-stress environments is to be prepared. By reading this article, you’re already better prepared to protect yourself from looting, making it easier to stay calm.