Home Invasion Robberies Hit Too Close To Home
This past Saturday afternoon my family and I were enjoying the great weather with our friends and neighbors while doing some much needed yard work. The kids were playing, our dogs were out and about. I noticed two police vehicles driving slowly up the road towards us. When they saw us outside they asked "Everything OK?" They went on to explain that there has been a string of home invasion burglaries in our community recently. As a result, they were stepping up patrols in hopes of catching these guys.
Later that night on the local news the main story was about the recent home invasions. In less than a week 4 different home invasions took place between 2pm and 8pm only miles from my home. In all cases the criminals made their move as the victims were coming home from work. They approached the vehicle, forced the victim out at gunpoint and into the home. Once inside they tied up the homeowners took their cash, gold, diamonds and other valuables.
Needless to say this was extremely eye opening to myself and neighbors. So what can we do to protect ourselves from home invasions?
- Keep your doors and windows locked at all times.
- If you have a alarm system, keep it armed day and night. If you don't own an alarm system, consider investing in one.
- Never automatically open your front door. Make sure you know your caller's identity before letting him in.
- If the person at your door is a stranger, ask for identification to be passed under the door. Then call their business to verify who they are and what they are there for. If he is unable to provide identification do not admit him and call 911 immediately.
- It is advisable to have a wide angle viewer (peep-hole) in the door so that you can check a person's identity without unlocking your door.
- All doors in your home leading to the outside should have dead-bolt locks. A must for robbery prevention.
- When away at night, leave a light burning.
- Do not leave a key over a door or under a mat.
- The single lock on a garage door is inadequate to keep home invaders from prying up the opposite side and crawling in. Use a padlock. But never leave it unlocked. This is an invitation to have the padlock removed so that a key can be made, and the lock returned to its position. Later, the burglar returns when no one is home and enters at his leisure, using "his" key.
- Mark your valuables and keep an accurate record of all your most valuable possessions.
- When leaving on a trip: A. Stop all deliveries. B. Connect a light to a timer. C. Notify the police and have a neighbor check your home periodically. D. Have someone maintain your lawn.
- Be a concerned neighbor. If you see a suspicious person, car or situation, contact the police.
- If you live in an apartment building with an intercom system to the front door, make sure the landlord keeps it in operating order.
- Never admit anyone unless you are expecting him or know him.
- Never admit anyone to the building who is there to see another tenant or to deliver something to another apartment.
- Anyone asking admission so that he can do some work for another tenant should not be admitted, but should be referred to the building's manager.
- If you see someone in your building who looks out of place or is acting suspiciously, contact the police.
God forbid, What if it happens to you?
If you are a victim of a home invasion robbery remember the following:
- First and foremost try to stay calm.
- Cooperate, No amount of cash or property is worth getting hurt over.
- DON'T fight back unless you determine that you are in danger of being killed. Instead, concentrate on getting information so you can be an effective witness.
- LOOK carefully at the intruders, even if they are masked. Is there something unique about them such as scars, tattoos, large nose? What are they wearing? Listen to everything they say, and how they say it. Catch any distinguishing odors such as tobacco, alcohol, or aftershave.
Start planning today, start with your home and family. Branch out and try to organize a neighborhood watch or call a neighborhood meeting to discuss your safety concerns. Contact your local sheriffs office and ask if they would be willing to come and talk to the group. Most law enforcement agencies are happy to do so. It is our job to take charge of our personal security both within our homes and communities. Remember the old saying, "There is power in numbers." This is absolutely true when dealing with criminals. Believe me if they see signs of a united community or neighborhood, they are likely to go elsewhere.