Help...armed robbery right next door...advice???

Discussion in 'General Self Defense' started by Makalakumu, Apr 12, 2007.

  1. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

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    Hi Everyone

    I slept in this morning, got up posted a little on MT, went down stairs worked out, got ready to take the dog for a walk, went outside and noticed six squads surrounding the neighbors house. The crime scene investigation unit was on the scene and their were two canine units sweeping the neighborhood.

    Here's the story...

    Lo and behold, shortly after my brother and I were coming back from my teacher's class two and a half hours away and walking into the door of our house (around 12:30), a perpetrator, armed with a crowbar, forced open the neighbors door and entered the house. My neighbors, who are an elderly couple, were home at the time. Doug came out of the room to confront the perpretrators and they hit him with the crowbar and fled the scene.

    The good news is that both of them are okay. Doug has a nasty cut above his eye and both of them are pretty scared, but the robbers left empty handed.

    The bad news is manifold.

    We live on a corner street. In the last six months, the houses across both streets have now been burglerized.

    There was a giant Meth bust in our town and this has skyrocketed demand, filling the streets with lots of desperate people.

    And I know of several methheads that live near our house (and the cops know alot more then I do).

    What can I do to make my house less of a target for these guys? I have a dog who is very alert and we are armed in my house. Our windows are new and our doors are new secure doors. Would an alarm system be money well spent?

    I'm willing to try anything right now because I know that if that would have been me, I would have come downstairs with my gun and would probably have had to shoot someone.

    And THAT scares the hell out of me...
     
  2. blackxpress

    blackxpress Green Belt

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    Sounds to me like you're pretty well prepared. I doubt if an alarm system would do you much good. Might protect your valuables when you're away from home. Might not. Hopefully, you have adequate insurance to cover those losses anyway. Your main concern is protecting life and limb if the methheads break in while you are home. Again, sounds like you've got it covered. Bad guy breaks in with crowbar. Dog barks, wakes good guy (you) up. Good guy caps bad guy. Case closed.
     
  3. Blotan Hunka

    Blotan Hunka Master Black Belt

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    Some things I can think of.

    Harden all entry points; deadbolts, nails in the doorframe to prevent kick-ins, glassblock basement windows, wooden dowels in sliding/double hung windows. Alarm systems are not a cure all but they ARE a layer of defense. Cameras, wont stop burglars but will help catch them later. Record the serial numbers on all appropriate valuables. Keep an eye open for suspicious people and cars (and record them if possible) and call the cops on all suspicious behavior in your neighborhood.
     
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  4. bluemtn

    bluemtn Senior Master

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    I have to agree with what BH said, including the fact on alarm systems. No, they're not perfect, but they work well enough as a deterrent. Update your insurance on your valuables, use a neighborhood "buddy system"- with neighbors you know and trust well. If you don't have many in there, ask friends to keep an eye on your house while you're away. Timed lighting- while not fool proof- is still somewhat good for those times away. Door jams, window jams, etc. are a really good thing to have on hand. Look at what kind of locks you have...
     
  5. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    Unfortunately many robbers gain access to a home simply by ringing the doorbell and overpowering whomever comes to the door.

    Advise your children to *never* respond to a doorbell or a knock at the door. Install a video intercom system at *all* of your doors to the outside. Do not open the door unless you clearly know who the person knocking is and why they are there.

    Also, be sure the house and lot are well lit with good exterior lighting.

    In some locales, installing prickly bushes under the first floor window can be a deterrent. Its more of a deterrent in warmer weather but you may also find that your area sees more crime when it is warmer than when it is cold.

    Hang in there and good luck
     
  6. bushidomartialarts

    bushidomartialarts Senior Master

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    Wow. I'm glad your neighbors came through it okay.

    On the home front, it looks like you're doing many of the right things. The dog is especially good -- there are a lot of people who'll walk into a gun but run from a dog. Some people will poison or otherwise hurt a dog if they're intent on a burglary, but that's relatively rare from what I understand.

    On a larger level, is there anything you can do to help with the decline of your neighborhood? I don't mean walking the streets or any of that vigilante nonsense, but you can find out which city councilmen you need to pressure. Maybe you can start a neighborhood watch or at least get some increased patrols.

    Overall it sounds like you're doing right. Good luck and stay safe.
     
  7. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

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    I researched something called Operation ID and this seems like a good idea. This program records the serial numbers of your possessions and puts them in a database. This database makes all of these possessions trackable back to you. Further, I guess the stickers they give you have proven to be a deterrent because perps know that pawnshops won't take this stuff.

    Anyway, more information about this particular incident...I guess the guy broke in through the window and assaulted my neighbor immediately. This is indicating to me that the bad guys around here are brazen and determined...
     
  8. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

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    The main problem we are having up here right now is meth. This drug and its users are pretty much responsible for 90% of our crimes. I'm not sure what I can do about this other then, as an educator, try and deter kids away from this crap.

    A friend of mine is head of the drug and gang task force up here and according to him, one of the "problems" in this case is that there recently was a very large "bust" in regards to meth. The conspiracy that was netted in all this took a heck of a lot of bad guys off the streets. This operation was so successful that it pretty much destroyed the distribution system in the city. The end result is that supply took a major hit.

    Unfortunately, the demand for the drug has skyrocketed. The prices have gone through the roof and the addicts are becoming increasing desperate. Our local LEOs are pretty overworked by all of this and they say that this is pretty typical following something like this. The exception in this case was the size of this particular sting.

    Anyway, I'm not sure what I can do as a civilian, I'm just hoping to ride it out.
     
  9. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

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    It sounds as if you're doing all that you can, Upnorth. Very good suggestions all round too.

    I'm embarassed to say that I have very extreme views on drug addicts and the related crimes that arise from their 'condition'.

    Prision obviously doesn't deter and rehabilitation is largely an expensive waste of time (not for those it does work for, it is true). Once an individual has repeatedly proved that they are a danger to their fellows and are not inclined to reform ...

    Anyway that's veering off at a tangent.

    The key points are to look out for your neighbours and don't become a prisioner in your own home, Upnorth.
     
  10. Blotan Hunka

    Blotan Hunka Master Black Belt

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    Ive heard from cop friends that engraving your own serial numbers on stuff (made up strings of letters and numbers) can help too.
     
  11. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Absolutely; I'm going to use this one as a starting point.

    NCIC - that National Criminal Information Center databases - is a great tool. But, we can't enter an item without a unique descriptor, like a serial number or owner applied number. (Imagine just how many "Westinghouse Blenders" there are...) Record the serial numbers of your property, or affix/scribe a distinctive number/letter combination (initials & last four of your SSN are one common suggestion - though, today, I'd suggest the first 3 or 4, which aren't unique to you, except in combination with your initials or the last 4).

    Have good locks and deadbolts, and use them. Avoid advertising nice/expensive stuff. For example, don't leave a laptop sitting in front of the window. And, before you throw the boxes away, break 'em down and even bag 'em. Nothing says "hit this house!" like the box from your brand new plasma TV and home theatre system sitting at the curb...

    Never, ever, EVER hesitate to call in suspicious people in your neighborhood. What's the absolute worst you'll do? Keep a cop from writing a ticket when he meets your new neighbors right after they move in? If there's something "more important", I guarantee that we'll be going to that, not a simple suspicious person complaint!

    An alarm system isn't a bad idea, especially if it's a remotely monitored system that operates in conjunction with a local alarm. At the very least, you'll know if someone breaks in. And the sound of the local alarm may well scare them off. Just keep it in repair...

    Regarding "secure doors." The best, most impenetrable door is only as good as the door frame and wall around it. I've seen people put impressive deadbolts in doors that are bordered by large, glass sidelights. Guess what? Unless you also replace the glass with something like bulletproof acrylic... You're deadbolt is silly. There're plenty of places that you can look up the recommended throws, etc.
     
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  12. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    First and foremost I am really happy that your neighbor is okay. That must have been an incredibly scary situation for that elderly couple.

    Now onto your house. Good locks, deadbolt, dog, alarm system, alarm system sign outside, sticker's, glass block basement windows, motion detector lights, etc. The more deterents you have the better your chances that a criminal may just move on. A neighborhood watch is also an excellent idea and can help provide feedback and empowerment to you and your neighbor's. Generally the local police would be more than happy to meet with a neighborhood watch group and also give security tips for your homes.

    It is always scary and tragic when something happens to someone you know and the best thing we can do besides comforting them is also to find as many ways to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

    Good luck my friend.
     
  13. Lisa

    Lisa Don't get Chewed!

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    UpNorth you have been given really good advice. One thing I didn't see being mentioned is whether or not there is a neighbourhood watch in your area. Getting to know your neighbours and having them watch out for you and you do the same is a damn good idea. You may not always be home, but hopefully one of your neighbours are.

    Also, teach your dog to bark when someone comes to the door. We encourage ours to do so. It lets people know on the other side of the door that there is an animal in the house. Too many people teach their animals to be quiet and scold them for barking. Barking, IMO, is their job.

    I am glad to here your neighbour is alright. Let us know if you hear anything else.
     
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  14. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    UpNKy, what Lisa's talking about is probably the most important part of your defense strategy.

    I've heard that the lowest crime neighborhoods are those in which people know each other really well and look out for each other. Old ethnic neighborhoods, where people's grandparents knew their neighbor's grandparents, are almost crime-free. The reason is that any anomaly, any bit of strangeness that might signal some bad intention, is observed by a thousand eyes and spotlighted instantly. Obviously, you can't can't recreate that situation in a neighborhood where it doesn't exist. But you can create a network of observers who will be aggressively obvious around the clock, if enough people are willing to get involved. Punk-addicts are very unlikely to want to take on an aroused, organized neighborhood which in the end can turn out to be better armed than they are. Better than locks or alarms, the visible presence of members of the community out on the street, night and day, is probably the best deterrent to crime there is.

    What is it that McGruff says? `Don't get scared—get organized'.
     
  15. Blotan Hunka

    Blotan Hunka Master Black Belt

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  16. tellner

    tellner Senior Master

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    Good advice so far. I'd like to add a couple things:

    1. Exterior lights and landscaping that illuminate the approaches and don't allow for hiding places.
    2. Get a second dog, preferably something with good watchdog instincts. I'm partial to German Shepherd. They're better at alerting you than any mechanical burglar alarm
    3. Bars on windows or at least locking sashes
    4. Better doors, solid core if possible
    5. Get a good gun safe for important stuff that you can't put in a safe deposit box. This includes documents. Meth and identity theft are going hand in hand these days. It won't stop the bad guys, but it will slow them down a lot and require them to bring along a cutting torch, air hammer or similar.
    6. Along those lines, cross-shred evey piece of paper that has personal or financial information before you throw it out.
    7. Prepare a safe room with cell phone, really solid door and a bolt on the inside. Keep some specialized self defense tools there.
    8. Never answer the door without something appropriate at or in hand. It's been a great comfort to me a couple times. And I've found that even when people don't understand "Get the **** off my porch!" the sound of a racking 1911 speaks burglar perfectly and without an accent.
    9. Practice the mantra "I was afraid he was going to kill me officer. I didn't have any other choice."
     
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  17. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

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    Okay, so I was assuming that this attack took place at night, but when all was said and done and all of the investigation teams had left, I went over to talk to my neighbors and found out that he was attacked IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY!

    Wow! I'm a little naive...

    Thanks for the advice. The glass blocks in the basement isn't something I thought of, however, those windows have always bothered me. That is a great solution for that problem.
     
  18. Blotan Hunka

    Blotan Hunka Master Black Belt

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    Always remember, weapons are only useful if you can access them. An unloaded gun locked in a safe in the back of your closet wont do you any good. Contrary to all gun safety rules but true nonetheless.
     
  19. kidswarrior

    kidswarrior Senior Master

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    No way I can add anything new to the security measures already suggested. A great response, and good to see the MT community rally around in this very unsettling time for you. Also glad you and the neighbors are OK (physically, anyway).

    At the risk of sounding OT and silly, I would like to offer one additional option on a very small point you made early on. Believe you mentioned using a firearm in your home as a frightening prospect, and having been around/owned guns my whole life, and seen/handled the havoc they can do to the human body, think I really get this. So wanted to suggest thinking about a 'weapon' that can be either lethal or nonlethal, in that it offers you a range of responses/damage to an assailant. I personally like the hardened combat cane for this purpose, but also sometimes carry a shillelagh. You may even already have done some work with these in your study of the Korean MA. At any rate, a few simple moves can be very effective while not being necessarily lethal--although in a life and death struggle, you can make it lethal. Would offer a middle ground solution between a firearm and mere empty hands in the case of something like a crowbar attack.

    Anyway, I know some may disagree and say always go with the guns. And it's certainly your life and your decision. But if you're looking for something that gives you options in how violently you respond, you may like the cane as I do. And you'd still have the firearms for situations that you knew required them.
     
  20. Kacey

    Kacey Sr. Grandmaster

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    I really like the glass block windows idea for the basement too - and I'll be replacing the ones I have in a few years (**file idea in back of mind**) - it's not like I've ever opened one of them, and they'd be more water resistant, to boot.

    The thing I've heard about alarms is not that the alarms themselves stop burglars - someone who really wants to rob you specifically will find a way past the alarm - it's the "casual" burglar, who wants money and saleable goods who will avoid alarms, because there's always a house down the street that doesn't have alarms - that's the same reason why loud, protective dogs can be a deterrent - but they have to be trained to bark before a stranger comes in; after the burglar(s) is in the house, many dogs have been shot or poisoned, even if they then become loud and protective.
     

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