Thursday, April 28, 2011

How safe are you in your home?

The local news reported that police are looking for robbers who tied up and beat up a woman in her own home during a home invasion robbery.  The man and woman stole the woman’s car, bank card, jewelry, and electronics.  The woman was able to get free and go to a neighbor’s home for help.  The story continued with a report that neighbors said they’ve seen a suspicious couple in the area over the past few weeks. 
I have some questions about this story.  What time in the morning?  Was the woman up and about or in bed sleeping?  Was the woman home alone?  Was this a surprise attack?  Did she have the tv or radio blasting so she wouldn’t have been aware of any noise in her house?  Did the couple knock on the door, kick down the door, walk in through an open and unlocked door, break a window, or exactly how did they get in?  How long were they there?  How did she escape?   
I used to assume my home was a safe place.  I kept the doors and windows open all night for ¾ of the year.  I lost my house key and didn’t replace it for several years.  During that time my house was never locked.  I do live in a safe place, but really, no place is safe if it happens to be the place the bad guys pick.  If I heard a strange noise I’d go outside to investigate.  I would bring a cell phone with me that was dialed to 911 (all I’d have to do is press Send) just in case I’d come across someone who wasn’t supposed to be on my property. 
I still assume my home is a safe place.  I don’t keep the doors locked all the time.  If the grandkids are home that would be a pain.  If I’m holed up in the house working on the computer or something, the doors are closed, but not always locked.  On the other hand, at night I no longer keep the doors wide open.  They are closed and locked.  I also have an alarm system at the house.  It has a door chime function and I have it set to chime every time a door or window opens.  I’ve also told the grandkids that they are supposed to call out that they are home when they come in from school or from being away for any length of time.  Otherwise if the chime goes off I will call out who’s there?  I expect an answer or I will be investigating along with a handgun and the cell phone. 
I don’t keep all the windows shut and locked when I’m home.  The windows that are usually open are smaller and inconvenient to get through or they are in the room that I’m working in.  There are four that are usually open, even when unattended.  One is above the washing machine.  It’s a short and narrow window that’s about four feet off the ground.  The second window is above the kitchen sink.  It’s the same size as the one above the washing machine.  If someone climbed through this one they’d end up in the kitchen sink.  It would make a lot of commotion.  The final two windows are in my room.  The openings are about a foot square.  Not too many people could enter through those.  All of the windows have screens on them so taking them off is another step that would have to be taken to get in.  Taking off screens isn’t going to really even slow anyone down but it will make enough noise to give me a bit of warning.  I don’t have the tv or radio on for background noise.  If those are on it’s because I’m purposefully listening to them. 
When the other windows are open they are only open about two inches then get blocked by built in window locks.  They are double hung windows and I open the top, not the bottom.  This means the opening is about six feet above ground level. 
I hate to say it but one of the best security devices we’ve gotten is Army daughter’s yip-yip dogs.  While my large German Sheppard/Rottweiler/Lab mix is a great dog who won’t let people out of their vehicles when they drive up, she doesn’t always bark to tell me someone is here.  Also, if it’s during the day she’s usually sleeping by my feet as I work.  (She’s up most of the night patrolling the yard) This isn’t the case with the yip-yips.  They bark every time someone comes, even if it’s one of the grandkids or even Army daughter or her husband.      
The last part of the story was of greater concern.  The neighbors noticed an out of place couple hanging around the neighborhood for a while.  If these robbers were casing the neighborhood, shouldn’t someone have contacted authorities?  Shouldn’t someone have passed the word around to the neighbors to be on alert?  Doesn’t anyone have a description of the couple?  Were they walking or driving when they were casing the neighborhood?  Are people that oblivious to what’s going on around them?  
I live on a main road but at the very end of the road.  We get some commuter traffic in the morning and afternoon but other than that we may only get a few vehicles per hour past the property.  I’ve seen vehicles parked out on the road that I don’t recognize, not just in front of my property but anywhere along my one-mile stretch.  If I’m driving by I stop to ask if they are lost (I don’t get out of my vehicle, I just roll down the window a bit).  It gives me a good view of them.  I also take the camera and take pictures.  Perhaps they were only there because they were a little lost.  Maybe they pulled over to take a phone call.  Maybe they are casing out the neighborhood. 


  1. I recently discovered your blog and am impressed with your common sense. I have a question unrelated to this post, but I thought you would know: how and where does one go about buying silver (or gold)? I would really like to know, and if you do a google search, there is quite a bit of scam-looking sites to weed through. Thank you, and keep posting!

  2. I don't buy gold just because the cost is too high. I have bought silver in person at a store called the Fresno Coin Gallery. I saved up a bunch of money and had over one thousand dollars to spend. The guy explained that if I purchased just a bit more then I wouldn't have to pay tax on the purchase because it would have been a "silver" purchase rather than a coin purchase. That advice alone saved me about one hundred dollars. Also, if you pay cash you can be anonymous. They ask for your name to put on the receipt but they don't ask for any ID. Buying quarters is a better value than buying dimes when you buy "junk" silver because the dimes wear down and more of your coin is missing. It's not really a big deal unless you are dealing with ounces rather than just a coin at a time.