Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Protecting Yourself AND Your Property

Last Saturday morning we were driving down the road. About ¼ mi away in front of an upscale home owned by a doctor and his family there were three squad cars. Immediately I turned and said to her, “looks like there was a break-in”. I was correct.

The doctor and his family went to Florida for Christmas week and while they were gone some cowardly and evil burglars broke in. They tore up the house real good by breaking objects and vandalizing. Missing were all the electronics such as TV’s, stereos, video games, DVD players, computers, Christmas gifts and all her jewelry (the high price of gold makes fencing jewelry quite attractive to thieves). They also took some cash hidden in a drawer and left no drawer unturned. They owned no guns. Another neighbor told me this story while she was walking her dog on Monday.

She told me the Dr.’s wife could not contain herself when telling the story through sobs and tears. The experience of losing so much was more than she could handle after being violated in such a way. Also heard that they did not have an updated security system or burglar alarm.

Yesterday I noticed a security company van in front of their place. Think I know what it was doing there. I plan on speaking with the Dr. or his wife to get the details but waiting a while until they calm down a bit.

To me, this crime could have only occurred if a vehicle were able to park in the garage with the door closed to load up the vast amount of bulky items and be hidden from passers-by or neighbors while plundering the home. It must have happened in the middle of the night, possibly Christmas night when other neighbors are diverted by family activities or sleeping. Someone knew that the family was away obviously, since this is a rare occurrence in these parts.

While I like to think of my local community as crime free there will be times when evil creeps in and no one is immune to evil. We are as prepared as possible. Some simple tips:

-Have an updated security system with infrared cameras attached to a recording device. A good security system will have a police and fire alert option. Not for personal protection, it helps shorten the time that an intruder will be in the home when you are not.

-Keep the outdoor perimeter well lit.

-Use timers to illuminate indoor lights when not at home.

-Buy a good quality fire-proof safe to store firearms, valuable documents, jewelry, photographs and mementos.

-Install deadbolt key-only locks on all exterior doors.

-On garage doors use the side rail bolt after leaving for a period of time and then exit through another door. Opening a remote control automatic garage door is incredibly easy and the preferred method of thieves to break in, drive in, close the door, then load and haul out quantities of large, expensive possessions without being detected. Here’s one way to deter this method.

While not confirmed, I believe this method is how the Dr.’s home was raided and plundered.

-Buy a small battery powered radio and turn it on with the volume up and leave it in the center of the main floor when not at home.

-Own a dog that barks at external noises. It may be annoying but a necessary annoyance.

While nothing is a guaranteed deterrent at least these tips will help keep the amateur thieves away. Any other suggestions are welcome.

On a similar note. Last Saturday the bro was at our farm with a nephew to get in a little trigger time. When they arrived at the range where we hold Gunstock each year they noticed a huge mess and it was fresh. Beer cans, spent cartridges, shells, plastic packaging from ammo boxes were littered all over the place and our target boards were blown to bits by shotguns. He phoned immediately to tell me about it. We are considering options there as well. We are assessing everything from installing a gate to lock and seal off the dirt road to installing hidden infrared trail cams to capture license plate numbers along with posting warning signs. We are also retracting all permission to hunt we have granted to relatives and friends unless one of us are there and present with them. We don’t suspect our friends or relatives but unfortunately this is what we need to do. How sad is it that we have to spend all this money to protect our properties. But it’s much less expensive considering the alternative.

It’s no longer safe anymore to be anywhere or anytime. Owning, possessing and carrying a weapon is simply not enough. If I am home and an intruder enters he is in for the very last surprise of his life. I have no problem scraping brain matter from the walls, spackling 00 buck holes and repainting. My close neighbors are all armed to the teeth as well. After this latest occurrence we have discussed it and are all much more aware of our neighborhood security by watching each other’s backs more than ever.

On the subject of firearm ownership, there is good news. Seems that 2011 was a record year for the sale of legal firearms.

“With a week left in December, the FBI said the monthly record has already been broken, and that was only set last month when 1,534,414 background checks were requested from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).”

In addition, overall crime is down. Any coincidence?

Protect yourself and your property. It’s cheaper than the alternative.


Dan from Madison said...

Great and timely post.

Neighbors watching each others backs is a very big and good deal. That is the way the bad guys get caught.

Outside of the wife's jewelry (and she only has a few pieces of sentimental value, I have very little in my house that I would miss besides my bikes and guns - and in my new place, those will also be locked up even better than they are now.

Alarms aren't going to stop anything, but will slow them down and make their time at your place much lower. I can't believe the doctor never had one. Too late now. Those thieves definitely got the drop on the doctor, and knew he and the wife were out.

I like the radio idea!

While building our new place we have strategically hidden a safebox in the construction that pretty much nobody will be able to find but myself, my wife, and the builders.

Also, this is old fashioned, but we still keep a very large safe deposit box at the bank. We keep ALL of our important papers there. It is fireproof and virtually impregnable, much safer than any household safe setup.

Dan from Madison said...

By the way that sucks about the abuse of your farm property. I would set the trap for them with a trail cam or two and even maybe bait it a little with some new target boards. Assholes.

Gerry from Valpo said...

The Doc had an alarm but was told it was outdated and old, probably not even turned on. Will get full details soon.

We believe the farm vandalism was most likely an act of neighboring farm youth. I plan on paying a visit to the owner of that farm to get 'acquainted'. To me, the best solution is a gate to shut off auto access but we need to put up some trail cams that don't require a flash. If it was the locals they probably walked in.

Cartridges found were .223, .38 and .45ACP. Shotshells were cheap low brass. Beer cans were cornwater. We plan on letting the sheriff deal with it, way to dangerous to fuck with them ourselves.

Dan from Madison said...

Those infrared trail cams have come down in price a lot and the quality keeps improving. I really enjoy them at our farm, it is neat to see what comes out at night. We have seen fox, skunk, deer, coyote and everything in between. They will help you for hunting season too, nice added benefit.

Carl from Chicago said...

Sorry about someone trashing your farm a bit. That sucks. Very good idea not to mess with drunks shooting guns, though. Call in the SWAT team :)

Terry from Crown Point said...

FYI. I was made aware of a load I didn't know of prior. It's known as coyote "T". Larger than turkey loads. Big BBs, high brass. High velocity. Good stuff.