Physical Security for an Intentional Community

The following are ways to promote the physical safety of an intentional community. Physical security is especially important for those that house overnight a vulnerable population or that are located in a less safe locations.

akitas provide physical security

photo by Maria Steenberg Nielsen

Security Guards

Few intentional communities are likely to have funds to hire a security guard. An alternative could be offering reduced rent or free housing to a qualified guard, if the need is great. If you have sufficient numbers of qualified members, taking turns as a night guard could work. It is less disruptive to sleep if one person is willing to keep the night shift on a regular basis, but they will be less available to participate in other community activities. A more common alternative is fenced property and/or guard dogs.


While it can be expensive, fences can deter criminal activity. If you are in city limits, check local regulations on fencing heights to find out what height is permissible in your area.

Safety in Numbers

It’s not always possible to establish your community in the safest locations, as those tend to be high-priced properties. Intentional community is one way to increase safety while living in less secure environments. Outsiders intending harm will be more intimidated by the potential of facing a group defense than they will be about facing a typical household of one or two adults.

Emergency Preparedness

Your group might designate a conscientious member to be responsible for the following:

  • first aid kits
  • one or more members trained as a first responder
  • smoke alarms
  • carbon monoxide alarms if natural gas or propane is used as a heat source or for cooking
  • fire extinguishers checked yearly for pressure
  • yearly fire drills

For a more extensive discussion of emergency preparedness, such as for natural disasters, see the page Disaster Prep Shared Cabin.