“Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and I,” said F. Scott Fitzgerald; to which Ernest Hemingway allegedly replied, “Yes. They have more money.”

Whether enormous wealth is a blessing or a curse is a question we’ll leave to others to debate, but one thing is certain— more money equals more danger. It’s like Al Capone said when he was asked why he robbed banks: “Because that’s where the money is.”

Wealthy people are high-risk targets for kidnapping, robbery, extortion, burglary, hijacking, even assassination. Exotic lifestyles of the rich and famous invariably include a lavish budget for private security. What precautions do the very rich take and what can we learn from the jet set that might help us in our personal protection planning?

Hard To Reach

If there’s one over-riding principle of security that applies to billionaires and everyday folks alike it’s this: make yourself hard to reach. The estates of rich people are invariably fenced and protected by private security cameras and other surveillance technologies, like motion detectors and infrared scanners. Meanwhile, you can install exterior lighting that is triggered by motion for less $100 at Radio Shack.

You can also install security cameras that record digitally to your PC. Granted, you won’t have a 24/7 security guard to monitor the cameras, but you can at least document any strange or suspicious activities around your home. Burglars usually “case” a potential target before breaking in. Even if it’s just some teenage juvenile delinquents, would-be burglars are going to see your security cameras and go down the block to find an easier target.If a security fence is possible, you should install one that’s hard to climb over. I’m not sure if razor wire is necessary because it might not make your neighbors feel too cozy, but any sort of fence is a barrier and a barrier is often all it takes to keep intruders at bay.

Man’s Best Friend

Rich people rely on man’s best friend to protect them as well, except that they’ll shell out somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000 for a fully-trained attack dog. The Navy SEALs use classified Belgian Malinois dogs that have $25,000 worth of surgery performed to make them even more formidable, in addition to their multi-thousand dollar training. The SEAL dogs have their incisors surgically removed and repaled with titanium choppers that won’t break even when ripping and gnawing a bad guy’s leg off. Additionally, their stomachs are surgically sewn to their abdominal wall to prevent “gut twisting” while the dogs are fast-roped or parachuted into combat.

Guard dogs are a fundamental component of a well-secured domicile. Maybe you can’t afford an attack-trained German Shepard but any dog that barks loudly and deeply can scare away a potential threat. If nothing else, a dog’s increased alertness can warn you of a threat and give you time to reach a firearm.


Wealthy people can hire muscle to shield them from bodily harm. Beyond just mere mountains of meat, well-trained bodyguards plan travel routes, conduct counter-surveillance, pre-scout destinations and execute defensive driving techniques that can thwart an ambush attempt. Bodyguards know how to physically protect their principal as well as plan overall security precautions to prevent long-range threats from striking.

I have a good friend who works PPD (personal protection detail) for a very well known Hollywood actor’s children. He and his team accompany the kids to school every day and make sure nothing untoward happens to them. He spends most of his time waiting for school to let out in an up-armored Chevy Suburban, but that’s what bodyguards often do— sit and watch.

You can act as your own bodyguard just by remaining alert and keeping a wary eye on possible threats. Probably the biggest thing is to vary your routine to make yourself unpredictable, which is a big part of what bodyguards to for their clients.

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