How to Stay Safe as Crime Rises in Cities

Homelessness, drug use, rising crime, shocking murder rates. Life in many cities is deteriorating. Here are some options to protect yourself.

California likes to consider itself on the cutting edge of social programs and celebrates when policies implemented there are duplicated in other parts of the country. Sometimes these programs see wide acceptance, as with legalized medical marijuana. Other times, it serves as a warning to the rest of us, a guide to what NOT to do.

California is imploding under the weight of its leftist policies. Homelessness has reached epidemic proportions despite state and local aid programs that cost taxpayers millions. Tent cities scar what were once scenic views and safe walkways. Drug use is rampant. Crime is skyrocketing. People are leaving the state in droves. Why? Progressive prosecutors, bail reform, and emptying the prisons are three big reasons. Leftist policies that make many property crimes misdemeanors instead of felonies is another.

Hopefully, other states are learning from the catastrophe in California and won’t repeat their mistakes.

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Ukraine Invasion Possible in January

Russian troop build up leads many to think they will invade Ukraine. What will this mean to the U.S., and should we prep for it?

Despite last week’s meeting between Russia and the U.S. in which we threatened “severe consequences” if Russia were to invade Ukraine, Russia continues to move troops to the border and is activating its reserves. According to intelligence reports, they plan to have 175,000 troops on the border by mid-January.

President Biden says he is drafting a plan to respond to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis. Gee, how reassuring. This issue has been building for months. Wouldn’t you think they would have a plan by now?

Keep in mind that from Putin’s perspective, Biden represents the same administration that told him to “cut it out” when Russia was messing with our elections via social media. The Obama administration also drew a line in the sand, which the Syrian ignored and faced little or no consequences. So I am doubtful that Putin is too worried about our severe consequences, which are far more likely to be financial than military.

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Bitcoin or Gold and Silver – Which is Better for Preppers?

Bitcoin has been called “the new gold,” but is it truly a store of wealth suitable for preppers? What happens to it in a grid-down scenario?

I’ve seen the question on Twitter and elsewhere: “Preppers, what’s going to happen to your Bitcoin when the electricity goes off of the Internet crashes?”

The simple answer is that you won’t be able to trade Bitcoin or any other type of cryptocurrency in a world-smashing disaster that eliminates the power grid and/or the internet.

What most people don’t understand is that your crypto does not disappear. It will be right there in your wallet forever. You just won’t be able to get to it.

You won’t be able to access it or trade crypto until some kind of network is up and running and there are multiple nodes for your particular coin, which might never happen again. If things slowly recover and a decade later someone restarts the network and a few nodes, what are the odds that you still have your wallet or the seed words necessary to recreate it? If you locked them in your safe deposit box, will the bank still exist? Will you remember to grab your Trezor or other hardware wallet when you bug out? If so, will you still have it ten years later, and will you remember your password?

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Prepper Diary: Warm Weather Means More Work on the Homestead

An unexpected warm spell presented the perfect opportunity to get some work done on the chicken coop and beehives.

We are having a few days of warm weather with days getting into the upper 50s and the nights that should stay above freezing. After several weeks of cold weather, it’s kind of surprising to go outside and have to take off layers of clothing. I’ve been taking advantage of the warm weather to do some work around the homestead.

Firewood Preps

We let both fires go out for 24 hours. This allowed us to do a full ash removal and cleanout. Yes, the house got cool that night, but it wasn’t bad.

I moved more than 80 pieces of firewood from the outside woodpile to our inside storage. We are a week or 10 away from having burned a full cord so far this season.

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Prepper News Update December 3

Oops! Media Caught in Another Lie

The idea that the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have less of a backup, which has been reported in the media, turns out to be a clever lie which appears to make the Biden administration look like it is successfully addressing the supply chain problems. Instead of bunching up the ships in the immediate area, where they can be seen from shore, many ships are now waiting between 40 and 400 miles away from the ports. Just because they can’t be seen doesn’t mean they aren’t there, but it makes it more difficult to show pictures of the backlog.

Supply Chain SNAFUs in the News

Numerous articles of late showing that the supply chain problem not only continues but shows no sign of improving. First, we have this article on how much trouble GM has building and shipping vehicles, which states, “So many unknowns dog the supply chain that any semblance of normalcy remains far off.” Then we have a story on the bicycle industry which saw an increase in sales during the COVID-19 outbreak, but now is having trouble sourcing parts, from brake pads to handlebars. According to the article, “The average selling price of a new bicycle in the U.S. in September was $346, up 28% compared with 2020 and 54% higher than the average selling price of a bicycle in 2019”

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Will Omicron Stop Inflation or Make it Worse?

Omicron has caused markets to drop. Are we seeing a repeat of March 2020, or is a slowing economy what we need to address rising prices?

Oil prices have dropped 12 percent since news about a new COVID variation broke. This reportedly reflects a belief by oil traders that international airline travel will halt again and that lockdowns could curtail domestic travel.

The stock markets experienced their worst day of the year after Omicron was announced and has fallen further since then. Apparently traders are concerned we may see another slowdown. They fear a repeat of March 2020 when COVID-19 was first announced and the entire world went into lockdown. Yesterday’s discovery of the first omicron case in the U.S. caused a recovering market to plunge again, the Dow losing 461.68 points Wednesday.

Traders are ignoring the vague reassurances from the Biden Administration. The smart money apparently thinks this new variant will cause a repeat of last year in which factories shut down, businesses closed, only essential workers could report to work, the travel industry shut down and the hospitality industry saw occupancy rates plunge.

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Great Christmas Gift Ideas for Preppers

Take a few steps ahead in your prepping journey by giving gifts that boost your family’s level of preparedness. Check our our suggestions.

Prepping is a lifestyle, so incorporating the holidays into it makes sense. I’m not suggesting you serve freeze dried ham for Christmas dinner or heat to the range on Christmas Eve, but if you are in a prepper family, you can give gifts that help improve your preparedness. Holiday gift giving can be an excellent opportunity to improve your prepping position while also giving your loved one something useful.

Here are a few suggestions:

Spread a Little Light at Christmas

I love a good tactical flashlight with rechargeable 18650 batteries and I don’t think you can have too many. When the power goes out, whether it’s for a few hours or a few years, a good flashlight and a solar panel to recharge your batteries will be a boon. Lighting a dark area will make you productive after the sun goes down, help you move about safely, identify what that noise was, and comfort you and yours in the middle of the night. They are also far safer and brighter than candles and oil lanterns or other devices that rely on an open flame.

Flashlights come in a range of sizes, price points, and power, so you can pick and choose based on the recipient. If you need stocking stuffers for the kids, get them an inexpensive model from Walmart. For adults who are tactical, get a nice tactical light that is at least 800 lumens, waterproof, and impact resistant. For someone who works with their hands, a headlamp might be best. Lanterns are my least favorite lighting device, but they are great for common areas like the kitchen or living room.

The best lights are those with adjustable brightness so you can dial in the amount of light needed for any situation. Powerful lights can be useful, but they also burn through batteries at a rapid rate. Setting the light on a dimmer setting extends battery life. When it is pitch dark, a low setting like 20 lumens is enough to navigate a room.

A Sharp Gift Idea

I think a pocket knife is also a great gift. I got my first one at age 10; it was a thick Swiss Army type of knife with far too many tools to be useful, but it thrilled me at the time. After college, I purchased a Spyderco, which was my first one-hand opening knife and my first serious blade. Since then, I have carried folders by CRKT, Ken Onion, Cold Steel, Emerson, and others.

I feel you can get a pretty good knife for $40 to $65 and a darn nice one for $70 to $150. Anything above that and you are probably paying for the brand name, the knife designer, a special grade of steel, or the cost of being made in the USA. My problem with expensive knives is that I tend to lose them.

For gift giving, avoid knives with plastic parts, bright colors, or gimmicks like replaceable blades. For a youngster, an alternative to my old Swiss Army knife would be a traditional folder from the likes of Case or Buck. These look like a knife a Boy Scout might have used in the mid-1900s to whittle something.

For adults, pick a knife sized to their lifestyle. If the recipient wears dress slacks or a suit, for example, you don’t want to give them a heavy knife as it will weigh down their pocket. For someone who works outdoors, choose a knife that can be opened one-handed with a blade that is large enough to take some abuse without fear of breaking it. For women, consider whether they will want a smaller blade or a pink knife, or if that will offend them. If you know little about knives, find a store that specializes and ask their sales staff for assistance.

Food Preservation Gifts

I will not recommend giving the lady in your life a kitchen appliance unless you know she would be enthusiastic about it. If she is, however, there are a number of hand-crank or other labor-saving manual devices that would be useful for food prep after the SHTF and for food storage before an emergency. Examples include a dehydrator, a grain mill, a Victorio food strainer, the Foodsaver vacuum sealer, or a pressure canner. For hunters, consider a meat grinder or butchering tools. Another gift idea is cast iron cookware, which can you can use now on the stove and later over a fire.

More Expensive Gifts

You can spend a ton of money on prepping. Expensive gifts for preppers include things like dual fuel generators, large solar generators like the Ecoflow Delta Max, solar power systems, a freeze drier, multiple guns, cases of ammunition, dedicated prepper vehicles and even underground bunkers.

I don’t recommend spending more than $1,000 on a prepper gift unless you have the basics covered, including at least a year’s worth of food, water, shelter, medical, and weapons. Only when you reach this stage of your prepper journey, should you be spending large chunks of change on a single item. When spending the big bucks, you may want to consult with your spouse or partner before breaking the bank.

Give an Experience or Training

Consider give an experience as a family gift such as sleeping bags for everyone and the promise of a week-long camping trip after school lets out.

When I took my kids camping or backpacking, I considered it prepper training. They just considered it fun. We had to cook food over an open fire or on a small backpack stove, sleep in a sleeping bag on a thin cushion in a tent, pee in the woods, and use flashlights after dark. We had to put up with adverse weather, live on what we could carry on our backs, and hike for miles. Good training for bugging out.

Firearms training course are also useful experiences that make splendid gifts for adults. Multi-day courses taught by national experts can be costly, but there are less expensive alternatives out there. One is Project Appleseed, which trains rifle marksmen but also offers pistol courses. My kids attended these two-day events using 22 caliber rifles when they were in their early teens.

You can also go to prepper conferences and shows or farm and homestead visits with an educational component. These can be a fun family vacation that also helps you prep.

Use your imagination and get someone a prepping gift this year.

New Violent Criminal Threats to Your Personal Safety

Violent criminals are using masses of people to overwhelm police and security. Similar techniques are carrying over to robberies of individuals as well.

While most of the news has been covering the coordinated mass robberies of high-end stores in California, this is only the tip of the crime wave. What is not being talked about is the rash of follow-home robbers and mass home invasions. These crimes target individuals instead of stores and attract less news coverge.

These new criminal techniques, often conducted by organized gangs, may herald a new and increasingly dangerous wave of crime. While high-end stores and high-net-worth individuals are targeted today, as they increase their security, criminals will turn their attention to targets that are less well protected. Increasing levels of crime by well-organized criminal organizations that seem to carry out their work despite the best efforts of police are part of the trend I’ve mentioned before: the U.S. is becoming more like a third-world society every day. Soon there will be rich people living in walled enclaves with professional security and there will be the rest of us, just like some Central American countries.

Like any threat, it is best to prepare before it strikes. Today, we’re going to cover each of these crimes and how you can prepare to face them.

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Lesson Learned from One Year of Rural Living

One year in, we would move from the city to the mountains again. If you are looking to go rural, maybe you can benefit from our experiences.

We moved into our prepper property full time about one year ago. For new readers and to recap for old ones, here are the specifics: We moved from about 2 acres in the exurbs where we had a large home to a smaller house on almost 20 forested acres on the side of a mountain. There are multiple streams on the property and the drinking water is from a gravity-fed spring. We have a septic system. A wood stove and a fireplace insert heat the house. It is located up a dirt road so steep UPS, Fedex and the USPS won’t deliver here.

My wife and I agree that it has been a good move even if it got off to a slow start because of COVID-19 restrictions. But the first yer has had some lessons. Here are a few things we learned:

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COVID Omicron: Fear Mongering Reaches New Heights

It’s Big! It’s Bad! It’s a new variation of COVID-19 and the media, the politicians, and Big Pharma want you to be scared.

There are just a few hundred known cases of the new omicron COVID virus variation, but to hear the media talk about it, you would think we are all doomed.

Fear mongers are already using this new variation to urge people to get vaccinated or get boosters. But early reports show that many (or even most) of those infected with omicron are vaccinated. If the current vaccine is not effective against this mutation, then why bother to get vaccinated?

What makes this hullabaloo even more ironic are reports COVID cases caused by the omicron variation are milder than delta and other variations and no hospitalizations have resulted from it. One South African doctor reports he has not seen it bring the lack of smell or taste commonly associated with COVID. Some mutations in omicron may benefit patients when compared to the original illness or the delta variation.

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