This is a guest post written by Mark from Sentinel Intel Group. Head over to his website for the latest intel to keep you informed about the goings-ons of this crazy world we live in.
At Sentinel Intel Group, we are on a mission to get the preparedness crowd to start implementing OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) into their preparedness plan(s). It is one of the most overlooked, and most important aspects of your plan! In this article we will talk about a few things you can do to improve your intelligence gathering.
The more information that you have to work with, means that you are able to make more informed decisions in a critical time frame. Most folks will spend a great deal of time planning a vacation, or looking for a new car, but they don’t dedicate any time at all to knowing who is in their neighborhood, or what is really happening in their community.
A good example
Someone has determined that bugging in their home during a major emergency disaster event is the best plan for them. They stocked up on everything to survive for months, and when the big event happened they felt like they were ready. Only a few days in they find out the hard way that some of their neighbors, even though they seemed very normal, had some family that were gang members. Those gang members moved into the neighborhood, and not long after they figured out who had all the supplies. A simple Facebook search on the neighbor would have turned up many OSINT leads that would have shown that this indeed may be an issue. Too late now though.
So, what can we do?
1. Get to know your neighbors to a certain extent. At least figure out their names so a basic search can be done. A social media search can show us a great deal about who they are, what they like, who they associate with, etc. Be careful, because they can do the same for you! While this may seem like spying, it is not. People put their lives on the internet and social media all day long, and they control who can see it and who cannot. This falls under OSINT all day long. Its not wrong…it’s smart to know who your neighbors are, what their values are, etc. There is plenty of public information available out there including criminal history.
2. Run a personal audit on yourself. Be very aware of what you are posing on social media.
3. Learn about crime statistics in your area. Many Law Enforcement (LE) agencies report to third party companies, who then post it on their website. If your LE agency does not, then go an ask them to provide you with crime statistics for your area, as well as the whole city. This will come in very handy to show you where hotspots of crimes activity are. One site that can be used is called Lexis Nexus and can be found here: https://communitycrimemap.com/. Another way to get a good grasp of crime in your area is to join a local community patrol. LE often works hand in hand with these folks and provides them with intel sometimes.
*Note from Rogue Preparedness: Personally, I use the website Spot Crime where they send me daily emails about any new crime happening in my area. It’s very useful!
4. Learn the ins and outs of your neighborhood. Are there shortcuts to get places quickly? Make sure you know the streets, and how to navigate your way out safely in case you are in a hurry. While you are at it, get a key map of your city if it I available. This will show you the streets in a very detailed view and is very easy to follow.
5. Use the internet to your advantage. Research what is happening in your city that may cause issues. For instance, when the demonstrations happened in Charlottesville, if you look at the videos you will see that there wee many people in the area that were merely shopping, or eating, just going about their day. They ended up getting caught in the middle of a riot with police action and people being killed. How many of those people knew an alternate route back to their car? How many knew the streets well enough to navigate away from the danger? We no longer live in a world where you can be complacent. You have to be prepared for anything when you leave your home.
6. Know where safe zones might be located. Police stations, fire stations, EMS stations, Hospitals, etc. Speaking of Hospitals, how many of you know what trauma center level your local hospital is? What can they treat? What is their bypass protocol when they get too busy, or where do people get routed to? Level one trauma enters can do anything with any injury, while a level five can only stabilize and move you on. With the advent of many stand-alone ER’s now, this is worth investigating and having the information handy, since it could mean the difference between life and death.
These are just a few things that you can gather intel on very easily in your area. Just start thinking outside the box. What matters most to you? What are critical things that you want to know about? We hope that these will get you started on the path to intelligence gathering, and help you formulate a better plan based on the information that you can gather!
Get informed today by visiting Sentinel Intel Group!
Conquer tomorrow, by preparing today!