Posts Tagged Home Security

Please Rob Me, I just left my house…

Posted by Rob on Thursday, 18 February, 2010

I have most of the major social networking pages somewhere, not that I still use all of them. I have still, or have in the past used MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Buzz, Digg, Technorati and probably a bunch more if I felt like checking all of my internet book marks.

To tell you the truth, it takes up way too much time trying to “stay connected”. But there are even apps that tie 2 or more of these sites together, which I suppose makes keeping up with friends, followers, and stalkers much easier. That way you can tweet a message and it automatically posts to your Facebook. Or you can status your Facebook and it will tweet it too. Hopefully you don’t have it set up to FB to Twitter that tweets back to FB which goes back to Twitter in an endless loop of insignificant social babble…

One of the latest Facebook/Twitter fads is called geolocation. Which is when you can download an app to your smart phone that grabs your precise physical location and tweet or status that spot to all of your friends. I have a Facebook buddy that does this all the time. He is always letting us know what restaurant he is waiting in line at, or other event he is hobnobbing around.

A while back, when he first started doing that, I thought, “Hrrm, “Ted” isn’t at home and he just told the world… and if you wait an hour or two, he’ll probably let you know when he is heading back.” Sure enough he did. Perfect time to rob his house, if you were into that sort of thing.

Usually your Facebook account is only full of your nearest and dearest friends, not 100s of casual acquaintances, and people you hardly know but sent to a friend request, right? …RIGHT?

What about those college kids that friend everyone on campus? Probably not the best course of action. You know how those mature co-eds act.

How likely would it be for some loser college “friend” to ransack your dorm room when they just saw your tweet that you and your roommate just took off for the long weekend?

Worse yet, leave it to some techno-nerd to one up the whole geolocation snooping. There is actually a website called Please Rob Me dot com. This site will filter out all the “I’m taking a shower” and motivational quote spam on Twitter and just get down to the nitty gritty. It takes all the real-time geolocationing info and displays them in a one-stop-shop list. Here is a snippet of the results from last night:

Listing all those empty homes out there

Recent Empty Homes

@HolzJS left home and checked in about a minute ago: I’m at Celebration Town Tavern (721 Front Street, Sycamore Street, Celebration). http://4sq.com/8BCs0A

@amisij left home and checked in about a minute ago: I’m at Kirkhof Center (GVSU, Allendale) w/ 2 others. http://4sq.com/6Xvr8B

@jacobkampen left home and checked in about a minute ago: Woot! #fb (@ Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) w/ 2 others) http://4sq.com/31ZCjK

@argonman left home and checked in about a minute ago: I’m at Edwards movie theater. http://4sq.com/bHeIQr

And of course there is a search box if you have a specific target in mind, perfect for selecting a burglary target, or narrowing down your night’s stalking route.

From their home page, you can click on the WHY link and get their reasoning for creating this site, which states their goal is to raise some awareness on the potentially dangerous issue of willy nilly geolocation spamming and have people think twice about how they use those services like Foursquare, Brightkite, Google Buzz etc.

The danger is when you get in the habit of publicly telling strangers where you are, and consequently where you are not… which is at home. “So here we are; on one end we’re leaving lights on when we’re going on a holiday, and on the other we’re telling everybody on the internet we’re not home.”

They also state their “intention is not, and never has been, to have people burglarized.” But it should make you wonder. Who is keeping tabs on you, especially when you are so freely giving out boatloads of personal information, intentionally or unintentionally.

Take a piece here, take a tweet there, read a couple social profiles, and then use Google. You’d be surprised how much info you can find on someone. I hope you have some sort of home security or a dog (real or fake) keeping an eye on things at the homstead.

I’m just waiting on the following:

@geotweeter is at the new restaurant, long wait to be seated, I may be here awhile.

@geoburglar is at @geotweeter’s house. Wonder if he’ll get back in time before I clean it out…

Be Safe, Be Prepared. Keep your geo tweets to yourself.

Related Posts:
Infidelity and Facebook Cheating
Burglar Smacked Silly with a Shovel
Another burglar drops his cell phone
Home Ransacked After Fake Craigslist Ad

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Homeowner Pepper Sprays Intruder

Posted by Rob on Wednesday, 1 October, 2008

A woman woke up in the middle of the night Sunday in her Atkinson, NH condo when she heard some noise downstairs. She found an unknown man in her living room when she proceeded to check out what was going on.

During the confrontation, the intruder grabbed her by the arm and punched her in the face. The woman then asked the man if he wanted money, which of course he said yes. The man allowed the woman to retrieve her purse, to which she pulls out a can of pepper spray, and let the creep have it.

The intruder quickly fled the house, full-faced with mace, but otherwise empty-handed. He was gone by the time the police arrived and it was determined that the man entered through a garage door that was left wide open.

1 AM in the morning, homeowner asleep, and garage door left open for the night. Not the best plan. Home Security 101, close and lock your doors. Let’s not make it that easy.

The Plaistow police attempted to track the burglar with their K-9 unit, but the dog was unsuccessful in tracking the creep down in the neighborhood.

It was good the homeowner had some pepper spray in the house, but she might have avoided the punch to the face if she had it handy while investigating the disturbance. Luckily, it was only a punch to the face, not a naked, knife wielding sex offender like yesterday’s story.

Spray first, ask questions later. As soon as you realize this person does not belong in your house, in the middle of the night, there is no courtesy. Lets not make it a habit of pepper spraying a teenager sneaking back into their house after curfew. That is another discipline issue for the next morning.

I was watching that new “Worst Week” sitcom last night. The show is basically about a man with very bad luck that is planning to tell his girlfriend’s parents that he wants to marry their daughter, and that she is carrying his child. That is if anything ever ends up going right for him.

The main character Sam, caught an intuder breaking-in to his future in-laws house after hearing there was a burglar terrorizing the nieghborhood. He even helped his girlfriend’s dad install a motion light earlier that day.

So when Sam saw this strange man attempting to gain entry into the house late at night, he smacked the guy in the head with a shovel and tied him up in the yard. When he retrieved the family to show off his handywork, his girlfriend introduced him to her brother he hadn’t met yet. “I forgot my keys” said the brother, still dazed from the shovel shot to the head. The parents were less than thankful of the gesture.

If you have seen the show or previews, this wasn’t Sam’s first blunder on his huge list of things to make his future in-laws hate him. Funny show, but it his defense, Sam really wasn’t reacting poorly to the situation.

What would you do if you saw someone breaking into your house, or someone was already in your living room that didn’t appear to belong there? The police will not get there soon enough.

You owe it to yourself and family to protect your household. Be safe, be prepared.

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Home Intruder Dies During Struggle

Posted by Rob on Tuesday, 30 September, 2008

Police do not anticipate any arrests, I’m thinking the evidence speaks for itself.

Indianapolis police responded to a call just after 3 AM Sunday morning and found a 64-year-old dad choking out a 52-year-old intruder on the floor in the hallway of his house.

Now this wasn’t just any petty cat burglar looking to score some jewelry and electronics. The suspect was a convicted sex offender, wearing only latex gloves and a face mask. Besides effectively being naked, he also had rope, some condoms and was wielding a knife.

From the report, the intruder entered through a window and made his way into the bedroom of the 17-year-old daughter. Upon waking up and seeing the naked man in her room, the girl screamed and alerted her father.

A struggle ensued, where the father was able to avoid being stabbed with the knife and wrestled the man to the ground. The dad got a head lock or choke hold around the creep’s neck and didn’t let go as the police were called. The intruder was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police spokesman said the sex offender had a pre-existing heart condition which may have contributed in his death. I’m sure the pummeling and choke hold may have also contributed, but lets just call it a heart attack. Of course an autopsy is planned.

Apparently, this man had already jailed for 10 years for criminal confinement and sexual deviate conduct. He also failed to register as a sex offender which listed him as wanted in Boone County to boot.

The police not anticipating any arrests and the planned autopsy kinda bothers me. Let’s repaint the picture. Its 3 AM. Your 17-year-old daughter wakes you up screaming. You find naked man, with a knife in your house, more specifically in your daughter’s bedroom.

Where exactly is there a question worth anticipating? It is pretty clear what this creep was planning. I’m thinking the dad’s self defense actions were quite justified given the situation. What would you have done?

It’s pretty obvious this repeat offender was not properly rehabilitated the last time he spent time in the slammer, pretty sure another trip wouldn’t have mattered much either. One less sexual deviant running around preying on young girls.

Sure there are some less-than-lethal self-defense options, but in the heat of the moment in the middle of the night, all bets are off. You do what you can do, without thinking about it.

Perhaps a window alarm or security system might have scared him off from this house. That just leaves him ready to pick out another house the next day, possibly a house less able to defend itself.

Some pepper spray to his face would have changed his tune real quick, and the UV identifing dye would have made it easy for the police recognize him… Because a blinded, screaming, naked guy running down the street would be hard to pin the crime on…

What if the dad wasn’t home and it was just mom and the daughter? What if the dad was stabbed, the daughter raped and possibly killed, and the same to the mother? I’m thinking this case ended up as good as could be expected. Even with this outcome, I’m sure the family is quite shaken up and will continue to be concerned with their safety.

Strategically sprinkling some self defense tools around the house is always a good idea. You never know when that can of Mace, a stun gun or other personal tool of mass destruction can save your life or the life of a loved one. Don’t wait until 3 AM in the morning when a naked sex offender is roaming your house.

Be prepared for the worst, now.

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Voice Alert Home/Driveway Alert Saves the Day

Posted by Rob on Thursday, 24 April, 2008

When Dr. Ron Caro’s wife wanted to leave their apartment after
their new mountain bikes were stolen from their balcony facing
the alley, Dr. Caro installed a security system that has caught
and prosecuted more than 14 perpetrators in the past two years.

Dr. Caro lives in an upscale neighborhood in Whittier, California,
in an apartment directly above the complex’s carports adjacent to
the alley. Two year’s ago, after his bikes were stolen, Dr. Caro
purchased four bullet cameras, a time-lapse video recorder, and a
quad
to monitor the activity in and around the carports, alley,
and patio. The week after installing the system, a neighbor had
a break-in, so Dr. Caro reviewed the tape to see what happened.
He found the incident and gave the tape to the police.

“The police took a report and told me that unless I knew where
the suspect lived or who he was there was really no way to catch
the guy,” Dr. Caro explained.

So Dr. Caro added Voice Alert, a wireless notification device, to
his system. The Voice Alert system combines wireless infrared
sensors with a speaker/receiver that allows the user to record up
to six individual messages. When a sensor is triggered by
activity, a signal is sent to the receiver/speaker and it plays
the corresponding message to alert the home or business owner
that an incident has occurred.

Dr. Caro installed three Voice Alert sensors in the carport and
positioned them so that the infrared beams intersected to detect
anything that entered the carport. Less than a week after he
installed Voice Alert, the receiver speaker sounded at 4 a.m.
playing the message “Someone’s in the carport!” and waking
Dr. Caro.

He turned on his monitor and saw the same guy who robbed his
neighbor a week earlier in his carport. The time-lapse recorder
was recording and Caro, a former Marine Corps Officer, held the
suspect until police arrived. Dr. Caro gave the time-lapse
recording to the police, providing enough evidence to prosecute
the suspect. That same scenario, with different suspects, has
occurred numerous times over the past two years. Each with the
same outcome, the suspect gets caught and prosecuted.

“One police officer even mentioned that more people should have a
system like mine,” said Dr. Caro. “As far as I’m concerned,
surveillance without sensors is not effective. You need to catch
them in the act.”

Dr. Caro looked at other notification systems and found Voice
Alert
to have the best wireless range and the best price. “It’s a
great piece of equipment,” said Dr. Caro.

It would be nice to believe that nothing will happen to you, but
the reality of it is that an ounce of protection could be worth
more than a pound of cure. What is Worth Protection to you? Your
belongings? Your family? Your personal well-being?

Yours in safety,

Rob

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