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A Secure Perimeter, Secure Homesteads

Security, from the Latin “cautela” meaning caution, precaution, security.

To borrow the phrase “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” we have already solved 99% of the problems by screening both passively through infrastructure and lifestyle, and actively through testing and interviews. Therefore, by making sure that only the right people exist within the walls of the community, or by at least trying, we’ve solved a great number of the challenges.

However, yet more remain.

The property is a vast tract of land, long and narrow, that stretches from a rural highway to the edge of one of the largest dairy farms east of Montreal. If skittish predators intend on traveling from one side of the wilderness to the other, they are going to have to saunter through our back woods. There are coyotes, feral dogs and cats, weasels, and more, all would love to cause us problems if we did not make our grounds secure from such predators. Remember, though, that we don’t have animals to have to worry about, but we will surely have house-pets and small children to protect; besides, I don’t want to be stalked by a coyote while I’m pulling weeds and my children are playing in the bushes.

Erecting a wall around the whole property is sort of ridiculous, since it’s over five kilometers when four sides are combined. It would be simpler to fence off individual sections, and add a 3-sided box as we expand in a linear fashion as wide as the property happens to be (363′ in width). That way we can build in pieces, and not have the whole fence to observe, only as we make the square sections habitable.

Then there’s observation. There are no hordes of roaming barbarians, or vigilantes who would tip our cows. There are no armed gunmen seeking to sac our tender homes, but there are children who would delight in raiding apple trees and stealing the crops that we so painstakingly prepare. I’ve seen it happen, I grew up in the area.

I would not propose a closed circuit television system (CCTV) or armed guards, and have even joked about the merits of a low-yield laser perimeter system to scare the ground critters, but it’s a lot of land to worry about here. I don’t want to subject our villagers to a community watch where they would be walking around the community with beacon lanterns and hungry dogs, any more than I want to have armed security guards keeping the packs of playful children from messing up our forest gardens.

This is the really challenging thing that all large companies have to face. There is a bell-curve that must be faced in the graph of property value and enforced security. If you PUT guards in place, people will investigate from honest curiosity, and if they hear there are goodies to be looted. The trick is to find the sweet-spot where respect for privacy will allow us to handle the overflow, and where we can just be left alone.

You see, I’m not prepared to have a gated community whereby no one is allowed in or out “for our own protection”, that’s certainly not what we’re after… but we also want to know that we can leave equipment in plain sight and it BE there when we come back in the morning. I also want to welcome visitors into the grounds to take day-lessons or extended stay stops to discover what we’re doing; just don’t mind the soldiers in body armour carrying AK-47’s, they’re here for our protection.

As sarcastic as I want to be, this is a real concern. Perhaps a simple wooden fence would be appropriate. Perhaps solar-powered lanterns would be wise, maybe a infrared door-beeper attached to solar flood-lamps would be enough to startle children into leaving our crops to grow.

By Robin Gosse posted August 18th 2011

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