This is a guest post by Frugal Prepper and entry for our non-fiction writing contest.
In talking with a friend recently, I was rather concerned about a subject. This friend commented that her family all sleeps through thunderstorms and doesn’t wake up for even the really loud storms. She vacuums regularly while her kids were sleeping – even under their beds and they are accustomed to lots of noise while they sleep. She also said that they have a noisy household and they can all sleep through almost anything.
While all of that can seem to be a good thing for some reasons, I think there is also a big concern when we accustom ourselves to lots of noise, to where we do not notice it, even while sleeping. We do need to sleep and rest fully, and being wakeful can interfere with that, so we do need a balance. I suffered with insomnia for a long time and that is an extreme that we do not want, but neither do we want to sleep so deeply all of the time that anything can happen around us without our notice.
In our home, we have awakened to hear a prowler outside, to stop someone from stealing a gas can, to stop some mailbox bashing, to stop the theft of a trailer just in time, and to other unusual things. You may be thinking that we live in a very bad area, but though we do have crime in the area, it is not a “bad” area. In talking with the police, crime is up all over and it is not that we have MORE of it, but we do HEAR more of it because we tend to be alert. Our neighbors who sleep through anything haven’t awakened for the events that were also a threat to them and they knew nothing about them until we told them. I have met other people who feel a false sense of security and think that “nothing happens in my neighborhood.” Maybe things do happen in your neighborhood and you just haven’t heard about it – crime is not getting better, it is getting stronger, so if you truly don’t have it in your neighborhood right now, you probably will at some point.
If bad things happen in our world (more than they already are!), and we find that we need to be more careful and vigilant in order to protect ourselves, it would be good if we have already developed those habits. Maybe we need to assess our awareness of our surroundings and what is normal – even for night time noises. In our neighborhood, we have had a truck or car drive slowly through the neighborhood at night many different times and that is suspicious activity and now we wake up if we hear such. We do realize that calling the police can be pointless to catch these people who are bent on doing wrong, but having the police show up helps since it becomes obvious to thieves that they WILL be observed in this neighborhood and they move on to another, at least for a while.
By the way, in case it seems paranoid to be concerned about vehicles driving slowly through the neighborhood, there was a distinct increase in thefts when that happened and people do drive through areas to see what is available and easy to steal. Also, many times, we would recognize the same vehicles driving through the area, but not belonging to the area – my boys are great with cars – makes, models, years, and even the sound of the engines of different vehicles and they are good at knowing what vehicles belong to what house – even blocks and blocks away, so a different vehicle is noticed and remembered. There can also be people who drive or walk through neighborhoods during the day looking for areas or homes that are easy targets.
We all know the basics of having our house well-lit outside at night, needing to keep things that would be interesting to thieves out of sight (like bikes, lawn mowers, tools, gps, etc. ), don’t keep loose bricks and rocks out front where they can easily be used as a weapon to break a window, keep ladders out of sight and not accessible, keep doors and windows locked, keep shades shut at night, don’t leave old newspapers out which can signal that no one is home, and more. Also, you don’t want to have a big tv, computer, or other expensive or attractive items inside your home easily visible to the outside of your home. The police even suggest that sheer curtains can be a help as it makes it harder for people to see into your home during the day. All of these things can help to deter crime and are beneficial.
After having a truck broken into and a gps, stereo, and garage door remote stolen, we changed how we did things. This happened, by the way, after we had sold a cell phone to someone at our home through craigslist. The two rough looking men seemed interested in the truck (no, it was not for sale, but just sitting in our driveway) as they walked by it, but didn’t comment on it to us and just bought the cell phone and left…..several hours later the truck side window was broken out and the thieves stole things quickly and we awakened when they opened the garage door with the opener they had stolen. That was very scary and was also a good lesson to us. Those 2 men from craigslist may not have been the thieves, but we have made it a policy not to sell electronics from our home anymore and we meet people at a nearby store parking lot if we are selling small things. We also do not leave the gps in the window anymore, have installed more lighting, etc.
If you were able to talk with the police who patrol your neighborhood and if they felt like being open about it, I have a feeling that you would be shocked that there is much more criminal or suspicious activity in your neighborhood than you have any idea of……and it is getting worse all of the time. I am so thankful for the police who patrol and keep watch, but we cannot leave it all to them. They stop some criminal activity in progress, but more often than not, they are called in after the fact.
With all of that said, when you go to bed, do you leave the tv on for background noise and just sleep to that? What about using a “white noise machine”? (yes, you can buy them and people use them to shut out other disturbing noises so that they can sleep to the sound of waves crashing or wind, rain, waterfalls, etc.), what about playing music so that you can sleep? Do you need sleeping pills to help you sleep? All of these things can help some people sleep and if you need these things, maybe it is time to evaluate how they should work – like maybe only one person in the family can use them at a time, and then switch nights, so that someone is always able to be more alert. I don’t know what the answer is for you, but you may want to ask yourself, would you hear someone walking on the leaves outside your window or if a prowler were trying to open a window would you wake up or would you sleep right through it?
No, I do not think that we should be afraid to sleep and I do not think it is to be expected that we could hear EVERYthing, but we do need to realize that someone may decide to take from us or come into our home or try to hurt us and what would we do? Maybe extra perimeter defense devices or other security would help and allow you to rest easier. When I was single and living in a “garden/terrace apartment”, (a fancy way of saying the apartment was halfway in the basement and halfway above ground!), I felt quite vulnerable, so set up my own version of a burglar alarm. I saved empty soda cans and set them in the deep window sills so that if someone tried to enter, the cans would fall together and make enough noise to wake me up – it was a simple thing and yet, those cans DO make a LOT of noise, so it was a layer of defense for me. Even such simple things can be helpful.
The things that we have experienced with crime in our area have been in the last few years, and we all expect that when things get worse economically and politically and in other ways, that crime will also get worse. In many places, the police are saying that they are unable to answer all of the calls they get and sometimes tell citizens not to expect them to. We are left rather vulnerable. I know that we would rather hear suspicious noises and behavior BEFORE a crime is committed, BEFORE a burglar enters our home, BEFORE something is stolen, BEFORE it becomes a matter of defending ourselves with stronger means. If we hear noises and can scare off the criminals before they feel comfortable being in our area, that will help us. That could be by turning on outside lights, by setting off the panic horn button on the car remote or some other plan you may come up with. Yes, we can use our 2nd amendment rights to defend ourselves, but sometimes, the wiser course is to take care of a problem in the early stages before it gets to that point.
Maybe instead of all of the sleep aids, we would do well to exercise more, and more vigorously, walk more, and breathe deeply and get our blood pumping, and make sure we are having good nutrition and/or vitamins, and do things to increase our good health so that we can sleep more soundly and yet also be alert. Like I said, I do not know all of the answers on this, but I do think the subject deserves some consideration and planning.
Prizes for this round in our non fiction writing contest include…
- First place winner will receive – A $150 gift certificate for Hornady Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner, a Wonder Junior Deluxe grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Neads, a one year subscription to the Personal VPN service courtesy of unspyable and 1 Case of Survival Cave Food Chicken with 12 14.5 oz. Cans courtesy of LPC Survival.
- Second place winner will receive – $100 off of your next order of Fish Antibiotics courtesy of Campingsurvival.com, a Survival Puck courtesy of SurvivalPuck.com and a SurvivalistBlog.net Coffee Mug courtesy of Horton Design.
- Third place winner will receive – a copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of TheSurvivalistBlog.net and a copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy ofwww.doomandbloom.net.
Be sure to read the rules before entering… This contest will end on March 17 2014
- The Prepper's Guide to Surviving the End of the World, as We Know It: Gear, Skills, and Related Know-How
- The Prepared Prepper's Cookbook: Over 170 Pages of Food Storage Tips, and Recipes From Preppers All Over America!
- Dirt-Cheap Survival Retreat: One Man's Solution
- 31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness