Urban Recon Pre Event

Urban OP

There is no doubt that we are in a pre-conflict stage in the US at this point. No one wants a conflict (except apparently the far left extremists and maybe some extreme far-right ones). But, what can we in the center do to prepare ourselves for civil unrest, intentional damage to the power grid, or a complete collapse?

We can plan. We can prepare. We can scout out our local area for ways in which we can either escape, hide, or gather food and water to survive.

Before I get into the details of an urban recon I did the other day, let me share an Ultimate Tactical Handbook story. In 1 Samuel 19, David, a leader in the Military, wasn’t trusted by the King (Man, does that sound familiar, or what), so the king sent agents to put David’s house under surveillance, with the goal of branding David as an extremist and killing him, much like we are seeing right now. But David and his wife had planned. She let him out a window by rope and hid a dummy in his bed.

By the time the agents (think FBI/DHS) raided their house, David was long gone.

There is a lesson in that story. Have an escape plan.

I recently also told the modern story of the Jewish woman from Lod, who got along great with her Muslim neighbors, right up until the night there was a riot, and her “friends” immediately pointed out her house to the rioters as where “the Jews live”, and she barely escaped with her life.

Keep your preparations secret and have a plan.

To that end, I conducted a recon this week to find a way to traverse a suburban business district that I would need to get past to get home. The area is very built up and highly populated, but in a crisis, the main road or near the front of the businesses is not where I would want to be.

I began by walking the alley way and parking lots one block behind the main road. What I found was a series of small lots with a waist high masonry decorative border. While it’s nice to look at now, it’s cover from incoming fire in a crisis, and if needed, I could high crawl or just lay down behind it. As an added bonus, every so often, it had an open spot, which would allow me to observe or fire from below the top of the wall. My second book, Fieldcraft, which is due out in just a few days, talks about exactly this.

Trail System

Behind another block, I found a foot trail system. That would be a much safer way to traverse the business district than walking straight down the road. I do recommend not walking directly on the path, but just off it.

Beside the trail was a river, and along it there were wild grapes and blackberries growing. Fruits growing also mean rabbits and other game animals. This one trail system could sustain me if needed.

Move Below Ground

In it, I also found a manhole cover with all of the bolts removed. Also in the new book, I discuss that the miles and miles of storm systems are an effective way of moving without being detected in an urban environment. Just don’t be in the storm sewer in the rain. You just need tools to open things like this outlet:


A good item for traversing trail systems in an urban area is a tactical walking stick. It is sturdy metal and could be used to lift the manhole cover. Mine has attachments for a knife blade, a spear point, a screwdriver, and saw blade. It also has a compass, a whistle, and fire steel. It doubles as a striking weapon nicely.

I have this exact one – HIGHLY Recommend

Many of these trail systems have been long forgotten and are overgrown, but to me thats a feature, not a bug. This particular one had several sets of stairs leading back up to the business district. For me, these would be great places to slip up and observe local activity & conditions, if I felt the need, before dropping back down onto the trail.

This is invisible from the top.

The lesson to be learned is get out NOW, while it’s relatively safe and wander a bit, finding alternate foot routes through congested areas, in case you eventually need them. The time to start scouting is not once an incident happens.

For me, this was scouting for a ‘Get Home Route’. It’s a significant distance from where I live, but this is the most congested local area I’d have to traverse if I had to walk home in an emergency. It only made sense to scout out it during a relatively safe period, before I had to do it for real.

I hope this gives you a few ideas.

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Published by JD

I am the author of the Tactical Wisdom Series. I am a personal protection specialist and a veteran of the US Marine Corps. I conduct preparedness and self-defense training.

2 thoughts on “Urban Recon Pre Event

  1. JD,

    Thanks for another great article.

    I wanted to let you know: Your amazon product links never work.

    It looks like they are being embedded by WordPress as “Kindle Books Preview”, rather than a regular product. There is no way to click on the link and get to the Amazon product. It just says “Kindle Preview Not Available”.


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