Monday, September 22, 2014

It ALWAYS happens to someone else- until it doesn't.

My neighborhood has been the target of a string of auto and home burglaries of late.  Here is a basic timeline-

-Couple of auto burglaries happen, a couple of open garages have things stolen.
-One night, one resident leaves his car unlocked with a garage door opener inside.  The burglar opens the garage and finds the connecting door into the house unlocked.  Burglar ups his game and becomes a home invader.  Resident sees his car open outside, and when he goes out is confronted by the burglar in the driveway, running from the open garage.
-Now things get serious.  Our neglected Neighborhood Watch is reformed.  Neighbors start communicating via a social media website, sharing suspicious activities, and watching out for each other.  Concerned neighbors start target hardening their houses.
-A couple more auto burglaries happen.
-A couple more open garages have bikes/ tools stolen.
-Video is captured of TWO subjects walking down the street checking for unlocked cars.  A couple more cars are broken into.
-Finally, another home invasion.  Open car, Garage door opener, unlocked connecting door.  Suspect(s) enter the master bedroom while the homeowners are asleep, and steal a handgun.

This is where we are now.  The criminals have been escalating, and are now armed.  I still have the theory that this is local kids looking for drug/ booze money.  But it could easily get real nasty, real quick.  Best case, they just quit it.  Worse case someone ends up dead.

What just astounds me is that people who were aware of our recent mini-crime wave were still leaving cars and garages open.  It always happens to someone else... until someone comes into your bedroom while you are asleep and steals your gun.

You need layered security.

Basic rules:
Be aware
Have exterior lights, motion sensor preferred
Don't have hiding places outside your home
Lock your doors
Have an alarm, and USE it.
Have a plan if someone is inside your house.

Cameras are nice, but they only help AFTER the fact.  Target-harden your home, and it will greatly lessen your chances of something bad happening.

3 comments:

  1. In addition to almost all of the above, I have this motion sensor frog yard ornament that when you step onto the porch by it makes the nice sound of a pump action shotgun getting ready to rumble.

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    1. Where would one get such a magical frog?

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  2. Given our proximities... I heard about this, but didn't realize it had gotten that far.

    *sigh*

    Yeah, it's always someone else's problem.

    To add to your list:

    - lock ALL your doors. Car doors, House doors.
    - lock your windows too. We're entering into nicer weather, open windows are great during the day, but be sure to close and lock them at night or when you won't be home.
    - don't leave things in your car -- period. Or at least if you have to, ensure there's nothing visible other than the car itself. I had a neighbor whose car was broken into and rummaged through, and the only thing taken? A pack of gum. Most of them just want something easy to score... either to consume (money, cigarettes, gum, food), or to sell (CD's, electronics, valuables). So leave the car empty, give them no reason to break into yours and every reason to keep moseying down the road.
    - I'll second your emphasis on the alarm USE IT part... I know many people with alarms, and they never use them. Why?
    - exterior lights on motion sensors are good... but around here? be mindful of other motion triggers... cats, racoons, and the worst are the deer triggering the motion sensors all the time. So, ensure solutions can work with and be forgiving of false positives.
    - and if you have exterior lights, turn them on... and ensure they have working bulbs in them. I still marvel at people that live in pitch black. Remember: cockroaches don't like light.

    Stay safe.

    - Hsoi

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