Defense Against Crime

04/06/2009

HOME INVASIONS – Part 4 – Defensive Strategies – Internal Defenses

Is your home secure

Is your home secure

 

As I stated at the start of this series, most people think of their domicile as a safe haven where they feel protected from the elements of the ‘outside’ world. This includes crime. Sadly, an ever growing criminal element as confirmed by the nightly news has revealed that this is often not the case.  According to the FBI, in the United States along more than 6 million homes are broken into each year. This happens most when the home owners are away on vacation. It also happens a lot in the summer time the home owners are away at work. (See Summer Time, Summer Crime)  Sadly, most people only think about making their homes secure after a burglary has occurred. Perhaps after reading this series you’ll be proactive in this approach. If you have been following this series, you should be familiar with the probability of your becoming a victim. 

 The goal of a residential security system is to detect an intruder as early as possible, alert the home’s occupants to his presence, and scare him away before he does any harm. Progressive layers of protection accomplish this goal. Imagine four concentric circles around your house, with your family and your most valuable possessions at the center. The interior of your home is the second layer, the exterior shell of your home is the third, and the property around your home is the fourth. Over fifteen years ago, a friend of mine had her apartment broken into, the gained entry by prying open the rear window which was in an area which could not be observed by the neighbors. They went through her jewelry box, deep freezer, and clothes.  She has no alarm system or alarm stickers. While she did have her windows and doors locked, it was not enough.  In this last article, we are going to examine what steps you need to take should take to minimize your being a target,  and what to do after a thief has gain access to your home while you were out.  

  • Make sure your home looks as if someone is living in it at all times. If possible, ask a trusted friend, neighbor or family member to stay in your home while you are away. Otherwise, arrange for them to visit your house each day to pick up the mail, any newspapers, deliveries, and turn on lights.
     
  • Be sure to have your lawn taken care of every week if you are gone for a long period; a well manicured lawn gives the impression that you are home or in town.
  • Put Your Street Number, Not Your Name, and on your Mailbox: Why put more information out there than necessary, with that piece of knowledge, thieves can dial directory information with your name and street address, then call to see if anyone’s home. You may also want to turn your ringer as low as possible so that the would-be-thief can’t hear your phone ringing.  If possible, you may want to have your calls forward to another address, or your cell phone.  Many people have opted not to have home phones and only have cell phones. Never leave a message on your answering machine saying you’re away on a trip, or that you are not home. You’d be surprised at how many people do this.
  • Censor Your Trash: The box that new flat-screen TV came in announces that you have stuff worth stealing. Cut the carton up and tie the pieces together before you put them out on the curb. If you’ve even gone out on Christmas day, you can look at your neighbors trash and see what they got, and so can a thief casing neighborhoods.
  • Lighting is an important crime deterrent. Your residence should be well lit. Consider a combination of photoelectric lighting (which automatically switches itself on at dusk and off at dawn) and motion-sensitive lighting (which switches itself on the instant an intruder steps into its range) to cover strategic areas. Make sure the lights are positioned at a height that intruders cannot easily disable them. Electronic timers that turn internal lights on and off at different times are also important. If you can get a timer that has a random  feature so that of someone casing you house when the lights, television or radio don’t always come on at 8PM, they may become suspect that the house is not empty. People who leave the lights on all day “might as well put out a sign in their front yard saying they’re out of town,”
  • Use Radio and Televisions. I have programmable televisions that will can turn on and off at certain times.  I usually have them set to CNN or some other news station so it sound like someone talking. However, Televisions use lots of electricity, so the best alternative is to use a Radio that is turned on to Talk Radio, but leave set it high enough to be heard but low enough so they can’t exactly tell it’s the radio.
  • Exterior Doors.
    Examine your exterior doors. Do they appear solid and sturdy? Your exterior doors should be constructed of solid wood or metal for the most protection against break-ins. Try inserting a straight pin into the door, if it goes in without much effort, you have a hollow door that can easily be kicked in by burglars. Make sure that all doors are kept locked at all times. In addition to your door knob or key lock, you should have a high quality dead bolt lock installed on all entry way doors. Deadbolts can withstand the prying and pounding that a regular key lock can’t.  Since I’ve already covered what steps to take to prevent your door from being kicked in, I’ll just refer you back to that.If you have glass windows on your doors or next to your doors, consider installing a double cylinder deadbolt. This type of deadbolt requires a key to open it from the outside and the inside.Not all robberies occur in an unoccupied house, you may also consider a peephole so you can see who is at your door before you open it. It is not uncommon for a thief to knock on your door and wait for you to open it, and then rush in and subdue you. This is true especially; if they know you live alone. You can get them from a Hardware store and they take about 5 minutes to install. I recently did this on my front door.I was our surveying neighborhoods a few weeks ago, and noticed a few people had signs on their doors that would make you think twice before you even knocked on their door. They read something like “I have two 45’s and one bad attitude, please make my day”  I know if I was thief I would think twice.
  • Interior Doors
    When your not home close your interior doors.  This will cause would be thieves who don’t know your home layout to spend a bit more time figuring out where the good stuff is. It also helps lower your home energy bill. In my home we have the pepper spray behind each of the doors so that if someone does come in, while my wife or daughter is home alone they have something to get to. Of course, we have other protection devices as well.
  • Close Most Shades: If a thief can’t see inside your house, he or she won’t know if there’s anything worth stealing. But keep a few shades open that on the second floor to make it look as if someone is home. Please make sure no one can see into these.
  • Windows
    Windows should be closed, locked, and secured anytime that you are not in your home or anytime at night. Many burglars, and worse, have easily entered homes through unsecure windows while the home’s occupants sleep.Consider installing window locks  on all windows to help prevent them from being broken into. If you have double-hung windows, ones that slide up and down, you can utilized window pinning or track fillers to add inexpensive security. Window pinning is done by inserting a pin or nail above a window so it can’t be opened Track fillers are items such as a wooden pole that is placed into the track of the window.If you don’t have a home alarm system, also consider getting some security stickers, and an inexpensive door and window alarm kit.
  • Protecting your stuff
    • Valuables should not be kept in the main bedroom as this is usually the first place the burglars searches. Use a properly hidden safe to lock your valuables and firearm away. A child’s room is also an area rarely touched by burglars who usually presume that it contains nothing worthwhile for them.  If you have a garage you can also use hidden product safes to hide your valuables.
    • Keep Two Jewelry Boxes And Lock Up Your Valuables: It may sound obvious, but thieves know  from watching television that most people  like to hide our most important things under the bed, in a coffee tin, or behind a bookcase. So keep  your passports, Social Security cards, and the  other important documents or items like in a bank safe-deposit box or in a heavy-duty combination safe you can bolt to the floor in a closet. Real Simple also suggests tricking thieves by essentially having two jewelry boxes: Store inexpensive pieces in the nice-looking case on your dresser. Stash the good bits in a safe. A thief may be fooled by the “cheap box” and not bother looking for more. There are also some very good inexpensive Hidden product safes that you can use to hide your valuable. Would you think to look a paint can twice, or a that Ajax cleaner under the sink?
    • Make a valuables inventory and keep a photographic or videotape record of your expensive and personally significant items. Store this inventory at a safe location. It is also recommended that you mark these items with some kind of personal information. This is helpful for both police and insurance purposes. Remember to review this list yearly as things change.

 So let’s say NOTHING worked, you had a thief that worked out that they could get into you home, despite your security system and get your brand new plasma TV, or other valuable and be gone before the police arrives.  When you enter your home and notice the mess and know you’ve been robbed. This is what you should do. 

  • If you see you door kick in, DO NOT ENTER. A well armed thief  could still be in your home
  • Go to another phone or use your cell phone, if you have one and call police at once.
  • Don’t touch anything in your home. Leave everything exactly as you find it, so that evidence won’t be destroyed.
  • Don’t attempt a personal investigation, let the police handle it.
  • Give police any information you have, such as description of person(s) involved (if neighbors saw anything, or you had a hidden camera that recorded the crime), items missing, etc. If strange cars have been in neighborhood, give description or license number.
  • Contact the insurance company as soon as possible,

 art-burglary 

  No method is 100 percent effective against burglaries, but with the steps described in this series, will help decrease your chances of being the next burglary victim. If you need additional information about home security, contact your local Neighborhood Watch Program, Sheriff’s Office or a local security service. 

By Victor Swindell, owner of PepperEyes.com, a division of Swindell Enterprises. PepperEyes.com is dedicated to assist those people who are unwilling to become a victim and are taking responsibility to protect themselves, their cars, or their possessions with our pepper spray, stun guns, and other personal protection products.

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3 Comments

  1. […] or their possessions with our pepper spray, stun guns, and other personal protection products. Comments (0) Comments […]

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    Pingback by A woman attacked in Chicago said pepper spray saved her life. « Personal Protection and Security — 05/06/2009 @ 12:58 PM

  2. […] Comments (0) […]

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    Pingback by Just the Facts.. « Personal Protection and Security — 05/06/2009 @ 1:01 PM

  3. […] I informed you in a previous article on Home Invasions, 1 of every 5 homes will experience a break-in or home invasion this year, according to the FBI […]

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    Pingback by Keep is Secret, Keep it Safe « Personal Protection and Security — 27/06/2009 @ 7:43 PM


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