Security Considerations for Remote Homesteads

Reader Contribution by Anna Twitto
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It isn’t a secret that living remotely exposes one to a certain risk; in fact, there are thieves and burglars specializing in remote homesteads and farms. However, in Israel it is more than this. Because of the regional conflicts and tensions in our country, if you live in a remote place and hear intruders in the middle of the night, you can never know whether they are after stealing sheep or murdering innocent people, so one has to practice double vigilance.

A famous local case was that of Shai Dromi, a farmer from southern Israel who shot and killed an intruder in 2007. There was an uproar of left-wing activists who objected to shooting someone who “only” sneaked onto private land to steal some property. The problem is, when you spot an intruder, you can’t very well ask, “excuse me, are you a terrorist or only a thief? Because if it’s the first, I’ll have to shoot you, but if it’s the second I can afford to wait for the police.” It’s absurd and puts the life of innocents at risk. Dromi was eventually acquitted, and Jewish farmers and homesteaders finally got some much needed legal backup.

Nevertheless, living remotely can get scary without the proper precautions:


A good solid fence (electric or not) can greatly increase one’s feeling of personal security, but fencing can be hard to do on rambling, uneven or very rocky terrain. If it isn’t practical to fence off the entire property, I would suggest erecting a fence at least around the house itself.

Guard Dogs

When we first moved into our old house – which was located on the fringes of a tiny settlement, with no neighbors in sight – I was a little apprehensive. I grew even more apprehensive when my husband announced that we will have to keep a dog for safety purposes. I’ve never had a dog; never felt comfortable around dogs, and never thought I’d find myself taking care of one. Still, I had to admit that my husband has a point, as nothing deters intruders so effectively as a large, alert and protective dog.

Our dog was a German Shepherd/Belgian Malinois cross and, while she was a wonderful and intelligent dog, ultimately she didn’t prove to be a wise choice for us. She was way too energetic for me to handle (especially close to the end of our residence in that place, when I was pregnant with my son), and she didn’t really get along with other livestock. OK, that is a euphemism: she tore some of my favorite chickens to shreds. I still shudder when I recall the trauma. We were looking for another home for her when we sadly and unexpectedly lost her to the bite of a venomous snake. It really was quite tragic and heartbreaking – she was a great dog, just not for us.

At our current home we have no real need of a guard dog, as we are surrounded by neighbors, but if we ever keep a dog again, it will probably be one of the Livestock Guardian breeds that do well around other livestock.

Security Cameras

A visible network of security cameras surrounding a house can be very off-putting and will hopefully make intruders chicken out. These can be interspersed with some hidden cameras, which can provide valuable records to present to the police in case the criminals neutralize those cameras they can see.

We are lucky enough to have some connections in security, and my husband was able to install our cameras himself. In general, there are many options, more or less affordable, to suit pretty much any budget.

Motion Detectors

For a brief period we had motion detectors at work around our house, but we soon had to disconnect them because any rambling wild boar or stray dog would send us into alarm mode. If you don’t normally have large animals prowling around your house, motion detectors can be a good choice.


Many of our neighbors keep guns for self-protection and even sleep next to their guns, especially during times like Sukkot (feast of the Tabernacles) when Orthodox Jews sleep in makeshift buildings outside the house. I realize that the issue of guns may be controversial, but guns carried by citizens have saved lives in the face of terrorist attacks. 

This was an excerpt from Your Own Hands: Self Reliant Projects for Independent Living

 Anna Twitto’s academic background in nutrition made her care deeply about real food and seek ways to obtain it. Anna and her husband live on a plot of land in Israel. They aim to grow and raise a significant part of their food by maintaining a vegetable garden, keeping a flock of backyard chickens and foraging. Anna’s books are on her Author Page. Connect with Anna on Facebook and read more about her current projects on her blog. Read all Anna’s Mother Earth News posts here.

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