As a former Sergeant of Marines, terrorism awareness was second nature. It was not until I transitioned to civilian life that I realized the average guy doesn’t have a clue what a “Hard Target” is. A Hard Target is a target that presents the lowest probability of being destroyed or overtaken. I am breaking it down to three basic sections: 1. You’re self, 2. you’re vehicle and 3. you’re Home. To start you need to rethink your wardrobe. You should purchase clothing that helps you blend in. This means no wild colors or clothes that sport expensive name brands or oversized logos. If you were going to steal a purse and two women walked by one with a $600 Coach brand and the other with a $25 one from Wal-Mart what would you choose. The same applies to how you dress. The second thing to consider is the colors and material. Earth tones are best. They blend in with nature and don’t stand out on the street. If you choose to carry a handgun you should consider concealment when picking out clothing. Thinner shirts and lighter colors more easily display the outline of a firearm as well as tighter and smaller articles. You have to dress to conceal. This may mean going up a size in trousers and blouse. If you are wearing shorts, flip flops and a tank top where are you going to hide your firearm? Also everyone else that sees you knows that you most likely are not armed.
Predators prey on the weak and sick. Lions attack the slowest and oldest Zebras in the herd not the strong and fast ones. The same is true for the two legged variety or predator.
Next thing to think about is your vehicle. It should always be topped off with gas. I fill my truck up at a half tank so I always have at least that much gas. The type of vehicle should be taken into consideration as well. Driving a $50,000 foreign luxury car is not a good posture. It only shows off to the criminal that you have money and at the very least a nice car to steal. A good American 4 door or Truck a few years old and well maintained will do just fine. They are common cars and blend well. Lightly tinted windows are good to keep gear out of sight as long as they are not so dark as to imply that there is something inside that you don’t want anyone to see. The interior should be clean with nothing in sight regardless of value. All GPS receivers, cell phones, chargers and electronics should be taken down and stowed out of sight every time you leave the vehicle. No bags of any kind should be visible. You want to give the impression of nothing being in the vehicle. All BOBs should be stowed in the trunk. Tool boxes that lock and are secured to the bed work well for Pickups. Even small change in a cup holder should be removed as I have heard from friends vehicles that their vehicles were burglarized over such trifling items.
Once you have your vehicle squared away you can move on to routine. You want to be as random as possible in your daily routine. This means not leaving at the same time every morning, taking different routes to and from work, not stopping at the same place for coffee, gas etc. The more variables you create the harder you will be to track and the more difficult it will be to figure out your work/ school schedule. This will make it hard for anyone to determine when you will be out of the house or where and when you work. While on the road, watch for any suspicious vehicles that may be following you. When in doubt pull over and let them pass or make a U-turn. This will make it next to impossible for anything aside from a revolving tail to continue to follow. (A revolving tail is a police surveillance technique where multiple vehicles take turns following a vehicle while maintain radio contact to make the tail harder to spot.) Always be aware of your surroundings. If something feels shady or suspect it probably is. A good tool is a pen and paper within reach in your car. Take down the make, model and plates or any suspicious vehicles you encounter. This will help you to determine if the vehicle is the same you saw the other day that was suspicious and help the police in an investigation should anything happen. Take note of any vehicles parked in your neighborhood that seem out of place and write down the plated, make color and description of the vehicle. This is to include contractor vehicles that may be doing repairs on your neighbors homes. Many contractors have drug habits and use their work to find easy targets to make easy money. They usually work while you are away at work and can very easily determining your routine. If they watch you leave every day at 0630 and return at 1700 they know the window they have to break into your property.
While at home there are several things you can do to become a hard target. First your house should never look as if no one is home. A simple light on a timer can do the trick. You should shred anything that goes in the trash with your name on it. This includes receipts and bills and even mail addressed to you. You would be surprised the information someone can gather from you just by going through your trash. All Doors in the house should have a locking mechanism that is only accessible from the inside and any door with a window or any glass should have a dead bolt with a key that can be removed and locked from the inside. A “Beware or Dog” is also a good deterrent even if you don’t have a dog. Remember the idea behind becoming a hard target is to make yourself and your property as undesirable to the criminal as possible. This will in turn lessen, not eliminate the risk of becoming a victim.
Sliding doors can be rendered next to impossible to open with a simple wooden dowel or 2×4. The same is true for regular doors that have a wall behind them. Placing a 2×4 between the door and wall will render the door inoperable even while unlocked. This is good for doors that are rarely used like back or porch doors. I place NRA stickers on key doors and windows around the house. Small enough that they are only visible from close up. Some may argue that this presents a risk as firearms are next to jewelry on the list for items commonly stolen during burglaries. I disagree with that assessment because I keep all my firearms locked in a 1,000 pound fire proof gun safe that is bolted to the floor and would require a torch or cutting tools to open with out the key or code. All jewelry in my home is stored in a safe.
Finally I want to touch on security while in the home. Don’t assume that just because you are home you are not at risk for theft. Recent years have seen rise in home invasions. I keep my carry gun on me even when doing chores around the house or mowing the lawn or walking the property. Get to know your neighbors and their routines. Talk to them about neighborhood security and inform them when you will be out of town. Offer to look after their property when they are away and help them become hard targets as well. Over all be alert, be proactive and be safe. Remember complacency kills. God Bless and Semper Fidelis.