Friday, July 16, 2010

White Panel Vans and Robbers

Today I read a scary article written by a lady that survived a home invasion robbery .  Here are three response letters you might want to read as well.  Also, I ran across this blog on rape prevention - another scary but related topic.

I couldn't help think about my dear daughter that recently had her home burglarized.  She has always been a tender heart, and very afraid of white, windowless panel vans - Robber Vans.  Fortunately no one was home, but the burglars took what they wanted and left.

When I read this article I kind of put myself in this ladies (home invasion) position. I thought about running back to our bedroom, and that I don't have a gun on the night stand, loaded and ready.  I would have to ask the robbers to wait while I retrieved a gun from it's hiding place and found the bullets and carefully loaded that wouldn't happen.  I could run to the kitchen and maybe find a kitchen knife...but likely many of them would be in the dishwasher.  Baseball bat in the coat closet?  Run like heck out the back door, race back to the front to the side yard and run over to the Sheriff's house?  Not too practical, but the best plan yet. So, no, I don't have a plan.  Barricade in the bathroom and call 911 on the cell....

You who know me know how much I like to shoot, and you might be thinking that I would be agreeing with Susan G. and recommend that you get your concealed carry permit and carry a loaded  weapon at all times.  While I think this might be kind of fun in a 'I'm Magnum P.I.' kind of way, I don't think that it would be appropriate at this time for most of the circumstances of the people that I know and love.  Things may change,  and that might be the best solution for some of us at some time, but I hope not.

I was telling Susan G.'s story to the guy that I ride to work with, and told him of my daughter's recent burglary, and how this Dear Daughter was something of a lightening rod for burglaries .... and started counting up the scary incidences that had happened to people that I care about.  And I came to the conclusion that it's not as safe a world out there as we think it is.  Let's count them up.  Maybe you can think of more incidents, or perhaps you are aware of some that I don't know about.  I would welcome corrections/additions/etc in Comments.

  • 197something   Sister has house broken into while at work.  Front door latch beaten in with a hammer.
  • 197something   Sister has Peeping Tom.  Doberman is completely baffled as sister tosses dog abruptly out of door to chase Peeper. Peeper escapes, dog surely questioned sister's sanity.
  • 1977 Sister-in-law seriously wounded and nearly murdered in home by ex-boyfriend.
  •  1970 or 80something Sister works at store where women are escorted to cars by male employees as a female employee was abducted and raped. (this is kind of fuzzy Dot, but I'm pretty sure you told me this story.)
  • 1990something: Sister-in-law surprises man/burglar in garage.  Screams break glass and scare off burglar...not really with the glass.  But she scared him off.
  • 2003 Daughter(1)'s car burglarized.  Leather bound scriptures and some change stolen.
  • 2004 Daughter(3)'s car burglarized. Stereo and two nice sets of tools stolen (Thanks for the comment J).
  •  2005 Daughter(1)'s car burglarized.  Stereo stolen.
  • 2006? Son-in-law(1)'s car burglarized, window broken, sunglasses stolen...stereo too?
  •  2006-9? Daughter(2)'s friend was murdered in her home when she surprised a burglar.
That is about all that I can think of at this time.  But I am surprised at how much has happened over the years, and how serious some of it is.  The Marshwiggle in me finds it hard to believe that with police budgets being cut, criminals being let out of jail early to save money (especially CA), and Arizona feeling a lot of crime from the Mexican drug cartel turf wars, that things will be better any time soon.

(Much later) I've thought a lot about this topic since I started the blog entry and I haven't really come to any sweeping conclusions other than security is a topic that is very personal, and very different for each of us, but also one that probably deserves some thought and action.  What are somethings that could help make you a less inviting target?

  • pepper spray
  • flash light on keychain - no fumbling when getting in house or car
  • motion sensing perimeter lighting
  • security system including alarm
  • good door hardware and deadbolt
  • replacing door hinge screws with 3+" screws that screw deeply into framing 2x4's
  • window, especially basement window security hardware. 
  • yappy little dog, or big scary doberman type.  Effective if not targeted by bad guy
  • I would really like to say martial arts training, and some would be better than none, but unless you are going to get really good at this, maybe it would provide a false security... a la Rachael and Phoebe.
  • concealed carry.  Not for everyone.  Or most people.  
  • tasers

The simplest thing that I can think of, the one that will give you the biggest bang (metaphorically) for the buck is probably pepper spray.  For $15 or so you can get an aerosol pepper spray with UV dye in it as well.  Like most things you carry in your pocket or purse, a pepper spray aerosol container would probably be a quiet annoyance most of the time.  But the time when you feel creeped out, when your Unagi is telling you that you are not in a good spot, well  then you will be glad you have it.  If, perish the thought, you ever would have to use such a device,  then it would sooo be worth the $15 bucks.  In the wild, the predators most often go after the animal that will give it the least fight and provide the easiest meal.  Human predators are not so different.


Julie said...

We had our car broken into in 2004... stereo and 2 sets of tools (a whole screwdriver set and a ratchet set) stolen... I need to dig out my pepper spray...

Mike said...

If you do decide to put an alarm system on your house, be sure to double check the logic of the installers. Sis1 was telling me about the system that was just installed and how she had to ask for an additional sensor as they obviously didn't think things through. I found that again and again as I did professional physical security assessments. Large gaping holes when looking at the entire perimeter.

Katie said...

this is probably one of my biggest fears. I hold my pepper spray out in the open as i ride the bus. i don't care that people may think that i'm weird, i'll spray them if they get too close...

Annie of Blue Gables said...

great post, Dear Friend. I loved Katie's comment. That made me giggle.

Red Hot Dot said...

I don't hardly remember some of that. Two things. Be aware of what is around you...and listen to what your inner self tells you. Hard to always do if you are thinking about what needs to be done for the day..

Annie of Blue Gables said...

Nephew's car broken into once or twice, once stereo stolen and all CD's taken.