After I retired from the police force, I started a private investigation and physical security counseling at my home in Portland, Oregon. Security advice in my business is diverse and typically includes security vulnerability assessment, security assessment or development, specific security improvements, and security training.
Most of my clients are from small and medium-sized businesses, but sometimes I am hired by private individuals. Many of these people live in semi-rural areas on the outskirts of cities. They often retire or go to the city during the working week, and in the evenings and on weekends they hold their “interest farms”. Usually they own some kind of barn, outbuildings, agricultural equipment, and often there are several horses, chickens and perhaps a few goats.
The security of these semi-rural areas is a growing concern. According to the FBI, overall urban crime is steadily declining across the country, but rural crime, especially property crimes, is on the rise. Unauthorized infiltration, theft and burglary are a serious problem for homeowners and rural residents, as fraudsters sometimes view these remote rural areas as easy markers. These semi-rural areas also sometimes attract drug addicts looking for remote places to use drugs and other scammers.
The fact is that because of their relative isolation and the fact that many rural people have traditionally not paid much attention to security, many of these rural areas are easy to spot scammers. Fortunately, there are simple and relatively inexpensive measures that residents and homeowners in rural areas can take to get to them and improve their security.
Practical security measures
After a comprehensive safety risk assessment, I often recommend that rural homeowners take steps to limit the number of roads and footpaths leading to ownership. Outdoor lighting around sensitive areas is also a good idea because blue light is often more efficient than normal white lighting.
With the development of security technologies, efficient alarm systems and GPS are becoming more cost-effective. I often recommend a perimeter alarm that can detect intruders earlier. GPS devices hidden in valuables such as tractors, trailers and SUVs are also a good idea. While this will not prevent theft, it will greatly facilitate the return of stolen property and may even help arrest criminals.
Animals for safety
In ancient times, animals of almost all stripes were used to protect people and property. Big cats, elephants, alligators and even venomous snakes have been used to protect and preserve property!
We all know watchdogs. All over the world, dogs are often used for safety reasons. But have you heard of the guardian monkeys? Few in the United States breed monkeys, but in India authorities used langur monkeys to protect the 2010 Commonwealth Games. These monkeys are aggressive, but have excellent vision and are good at training. And recently, the U.S. military has reportedly even used rats to hunt down bombs!
Effective security can sometimes be very simple
Sometimes I get very simple. Once, as part of a general safety strategy, I recommended that owners buy a flock of geese. Yes, you read it right! They already had chickens, so adding a few geese won’t be too difficult in terms of feeding or keeping. A small group of geese serves as a very effective “early warning system.”
It may seem a little strange for a security consultant in today’s high-tech world to recommend geese as an early warning system, but in a rural or semi-rural environment it makes simple sense and practicality. Geese, like swans, are very territorial and have been used as ‘watchmen’ since the ancient Romans. They have a keen sense of smell and eyes that seem to see almost everything.