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Preventing break in

31 January 2004
So my mom has been getting burglarized for a few months now. She's a trusting person that grew up never locking the door. So this thief took advantage of her and stole little things, money etc, without making a mess. When she figured it out she started locking, finally, but he didn't let that stop him; he just decide to make his "big score" and trashed the place and took everything. Now she has a home alarm system and a camera system installed. Despite him already taking every pawnable thing in (and out of) sight, this still didn't stop him. Police have been called numerous times. Last night wearing a mask/hat and socks on his hands he turned one camera, waved at another before cutting its wires, and broke in. Alarm went off but he took his time looking through the house, grabbing a hammer to defend(?) himself in the process. All on the interior camera. Alarm co shows up about an hour later. Great.

Long story short, how in the world can we make him stop? How do we prevent it from escalating? My mom is a widow, and she's scared, and I don't live in the same state. Not that I could be there 24/7 anyway. I'm out of ideas, so I'm wondering if anyone has some thoughts. Thanks!
The alarm company showed up an hour later:confused: Can she sue them for not doing their job?

She needs to start learning how to use the firearms.
Time for you to have a sleep over

I'd seriously take a week vaca, go to her house unseen, let her continue her regular routine/patterns & shoot to kill the next time he breaks in. What if he breaks in while she's there? Think of what he might do to her.
If the area has gone bad in the recent past the ultimate solution may have to be moving out of the neughborhood. Maybe to somewhere close to you or other relatives.
As a victim of multiple burglaries (see my other threads) I feel myself indirectly (and unfortunately) somewhat experienced to speak on this topic.

Rule #1: You must create layers of protection. No one method will prevent a burglary. In fact if a person really wants to break in, they will always find a way. The most you can do is make it as difficult as you can to make them want to find a much easier target instead. (aka, don't be the slowest sheep in the herd)

Rule #2: The first layer starts with PREVENTION. Alarms, cameras etc. they are all REACTIVE means of burglary control. Notice I said control and not "prevention" because alarms and cameras only are useful once the burglar is already inside your house. So the first step is to keep them from even getting in your house.

Rule #3: Keep the burglar from even getting in your house. Luckily (in a way) you have some previous experience to build upon to find what the weaknesses of your house is. If the burglar kicked in the front door, make sure you get a reinforced door, deadbolt AND MOST IMPORTANTLY door frame. Prevent door break in by reinforcing the entire door/frame. Check out websites like http://www.armorconcepts.com/ for door frame reinforcements. My entire door and frame is completely reinforced and I put a security bar behind the door because I never enter through the front door. I would also consider a metal security screen that opens outwards so it cannot be kicked in. Get a lock pick and LOCK BUMP PROOF lock. Keys are antiquated methods of door entry and should be replaced. Biometric, security lock etc.

Rule #3 con't: Secure all windows. Put security bars on each window. Or do like I did. My HOA would not allow security bars so instead I got put window locks in and put security film on each window. Essentially you can take a baseball bat to my windows and it will only shatter but never break (similar to bullet proof glass) and being double paned, they get cut with glass debris before they get in. Then I put glass-break sensors on each door so the alarm would go off well before they could even get in the house. Next I made sure to disconnect the pull release on my garage door and wired it shut. For more on this:

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/CMz1tXBVT1s" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Basically, short of a military grade battling ram, there isn't any way someone is getting into my house. Oh and this is on top of the gate around my house they'd have to get past first.

Rule #4: Surveillance on the interior is good, but surveillance on the exterior is even better. Motion sensing lights and cameras. Always store surveillance footage in a secure spot or online in a off-site location.

Rule #5: NOT ALL ALARM COMPANIES ARE CREATED EQUAL. Make sure you get an alarm company with ARMED GUARD RESPONSE. Basically a guy packing heat will show up; not some glorified mall guard with a walkie-talkie. Generally I find local alarm companies, not national chains, are much better and responsive. National chains go to random nationwide call centers and all they do is call your "call list". USELESS! Find one with local response. It might cost you more but it's worth it. Also, test your alarm company once every 6 months. I would "accidentally" trigger my alarm to see what their response time was. I had mine in best case scenario of 10 minutes and worst case of 30. Use judiciously as too many false alarms will put you on a list. Finally, run all wires in conduit! Bare wires can be cut in minutes. Wires in conduit take hours.

Rule #6: Know thy neighbors. I've gotten to know my neighbors really well and they look out for me as I look out for them. We have each other emails and phone numbers and talk to each other immediately on any suspicious activity.

Rule #7: Hide your valuables. None of my valuables are in places you would expect them. DO NOT put things in the bedroom, office etc. Always put valuables in places people would not expect. How many burglars are going to look in laundry room? Or how about under the trash liner in the trash can next to the toilet. How about the pantry behind some canned foods? Before you throw away a box of cereal, why not line it with some paper towels and put some valuables in there. Is a burglar really going to fish through a box of Capt'n Crunch to look for some jewelry? Even better yet, if it's really important, put it in a safety deposit box at the bank. If someone actually broke into my house (which they won't based on the above) the most value they could actually steal is about $8K worth of stuff, which is easily covered by insurance.

Rule #7: Speaking of which, only keep things you are willing to lose and can be covered by insurance. If you have sentimental things on your computer, back it up in an off-site/online storage. Heirlooms, put in a safety deposit box or fireproof safe bolted into concrete. Family pictures? Seriously, who's going to steal those? Worst case she can leave them with you. Everything else can be replaced.

Rule #8: Remember layers. Think of other deterrents. DOGS, lights on timers, security safes, fake cameras (in addition to real ones, stalls them), locks and more locks.

Rule#9: If all else fails.... MOVE. The best deterrent to crime is to go where no crime exists. Believe it or not but there are areas in the world where crime like this doesn't happen. My parents lived in the same house for over 30 years and never had a single thing stolen from them.

Again, I re-terate, you cannot prevent burglaries. All you can do is make it so difficult for them, that they decide it's not worth it and instead go for the house down the street.
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Have you notice if this is a pattern? Is she home/is she gone? Are they all near the same times? It kinda sounds like a neighbor that has access to watching her routine. To be honest, many thieves wind up being a family aqaintance or a friend of one.
Uhhhh, I would move. If the police are so inept that after multiple break-ins they can't manage to respond or provide some better patrol coverage I would seriously try to find a better place to live.

As for VegasNSX.....are you kidding me? If you have to live like that, with that level of security, move. Your home sounds like it has Pentagon level protection. Not for me.
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Rule #7: Hide your valuables.
Good post (neat bit about the garage door!), but I disagree with this part a bit. Hiding is a false sense of security, I would recommend a good safe that you can bolt down to the floor. A pro is going to take it, but as you mentioned stopping a real pro is next to impossible. The key is to make your house proof against the casual guys.

With safes, there are a couple key points:
1. put them in convenient places so they are actually used. If you are going up and down from the basement to take stuff in and out, you won't use it. Buy one for separate areas if you need to.
2. BOLT IT DOWN. Don't rely on the weight, secure it to the floor. Makes it 10x harder to get out.
3. Don't go cheap unless its just for cheap stuff - I personally like Gardall, but most of the dedicated safe companies (not Sentry safe!) are good.

To the OP, I hope things work out for you, that sounds very frightening :(
Rule #8: Remember layers. Think of other deterrents. DOGS, lights on timers, security safes, fake cameras (in addition to real ones, stalls them), locks and more locks.

Seems like a good suggestion. Get a trained dog. He'll be a great companion to a widower and good protection. :smile:
Uhhhh, I would move. If the police are so inept that after multiple break-ins they can't manage to respond or provide some better patrol coverage I would seriously try to find a better place to live.

As for VegasNSX.....are you kidding me? If you have to live like that, with that level of security, move. Your home sounds like it has Pentagon level protection. Not for me.

Is Las Vegas that un-safe? WOWZERS if I had to live like that I would totally move, at first I thought you lived in Oakland or something...haha

Thank god where we live we don't have to worry about these things.

To the OP: I think there is something about your mom's place that is attracting him, dunno what that is but I think she needs to re-evaluate why he is targeting only her....:confused:
Your mothers situation is proof that locks only keep honest people out.
The best alarm is a dog. We had a dog for 15 years and never had a concern.
Today the dog has been gone for a couple of years and it is amazing what has disappeared from our yard. People have a lot of balls. They will take anything! I now put items I do not want anymore beside my garage, and magically, it is taken away!
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Hugh ain't that far off, any professional house thief will tell you the one thing that scares them is the cycling of a pump shotgun, they know the person does not have to be an accurate shot and it will go thru doors. I often thought of an alarm system that when triggered would play this recording . what do you think Hugh?
Thanks guys, she actually is in Vegas as well. The mayhem/dog thing is totally true! She has two dogs that are very good warning systems but not very aggressive. She would be devastated if he killed a dog, fortunately he hasnt elevated to that level yet. We think it's the neighbor, but don't know for sure. I think he is just getting his jollies terrorizing a widow. The cameras are inside and outside. My concern is what will he do if he can't get in easy--Glass doesn't seem like enough of a barrier for an angry pos. She is looking to move too, but that just sucks!
If I were the LEO that responded to her complaint, I would just do sting operations outside her house for a couple of weeks... I did this for many residents on Ft. Lewis. Even assigned some of my patrols to alternate with me. We had a ZERO break-in/vandalism period in our area for 3 months (it was my last 3 months on patrol; I don't know what happened after that). In fact, even the DV in our area went down while we were working.

Anyway, a couple of important factors to help prevent burglary:

Keep your curtains closed when not at home and at night (and even occasionally when you are home).

It can be helpful to leave a radio or TV on when you are away. Leave some lights on, too.

Make a habit of parking in the garage, rather than in the driveway or on the street. It's harder to tell if you're home or not.

Ask a friend to stay at your house when you leave sometimes.

VegasNSX is also correct about layers. If your mom likes and/or can handle a large breed of dog (dobies or German shepherd dogs are great for this), she should definitely get one. Providing them a way to have free access to inside and outside at will is a big help, as they can patrol the outside, and can respond indoors/outdoors as necessary.

As for having a shotgun... well, that's one of those things that I would personally do, but shooting another human being isn't for everyone... and if you're not willing to pull the trigger, then don't even bother buying it (a gun is not meant to intimidate; it is specifically designed to destroy life). Once you point a gun at someone, there is no turning back. If they call your bluff and you don't shoot, then you've just put yourself in even more danger.
If someone is in my home and is trying to hurt me or anyone else, I will kill him, have no problem with that. It would be messy and the reality is that it will change your life, but I have no problem with killing a person who intends to harm me or my loved ones.

For whoever posted that a shotgun requires less aim, you are in the dark. In close quarters, it's not a blunderbus or a scatter gun. It's just a whole lot of lead and makes a bigger hole. Lots and lots of torque!

Don't worry, you won't remember it anyway.
a very difficult situation compounded by you and your mother being in different states.

my suggestions are:

1) speak with Vega$ NSX and mom to arrange a paid-for lunch date for the two of them @ mom's house ... whatever Vega$ NSX wants, he gets (hookers are considered dessert and served @ the hotel of his choice. hey, it's nevada and things are different in nevada ;)

2) ask Vega$ NSX to have a sleepover @ your mom's house asap.

3) give Vega$ NSX a key to mom's house so mom can call him when she is planning on leaving so he can make random stop-by's.

you didn't tell us how old your mother is and her health condition, but sometimes these two factors allow you to get additional support / response.

if she falls within a qualifying profile, you can try to locate local agencies / support / elder advocate who can provide additional traffic / visits. my personal experience in these situations is to get the assigned officer / staff member on the phone, outline the situation and ask how they would handle it if it were **their** mother? my experience is making it more personal is an excellent way to gain their supportive involvement.

you also didn't tell us (or did i miss it) if she lives in a home, duplex, townhouse, condo or apt ... there's a lot to be said for gaining the support of those nearby for making the crimes known and in looking out for one another.

there's also something to be said for identifying the residents by addresses / phone info on the internet to see if any have a public record for these kinds of activities / crimes. should you find such a person close by - and have gained the support of an appropriate person in an agency - they **might** check to see if there are any outstanding papers / warrants on that person and, if so, pay them a visit to service the papers.

difficult situation, best of luck in resolving it soon.
As for VegasNSX.....are you kidding me? If you have to live like that, with that level of security, move. Your home sounds like it has Pentagon level protection. Not for me.

I was thinking the same thing. The cost to upgrade those security layers would cost a fortune. Not only that, it makes me feel like living in the prison.

Sell the house and move to gated community.
Just buy a shotgun, spend a week or two with mom. When the asshole breaks in put a hole in his chest. End of problem.

That's my recommendation to. Here in Virginia, if someone breaks into your home, you have every right to defend yourself and can shoot to kill. If someone comes into my house, I can guarantee you that they will be leaving in a body bag.
1. First off, I already live in a very nice community. In fact, it is arguably one of the nicest neighborhoods in Las Vegas. But that's the problem; affluent areas like mine are targeted specifically because we have very nice things. Secondly, Vegas was hit harder than any other city during this downturn short of Detroit. This has resulted in very petty crimes like burglary and theft. The area I live in is very safe; violent crime is nearly non-existent. It is have-nots, trying to take from the haves. The problem with Vegas is that geographically it is very small so the distance between very nice and very bad areas is tiny. Plus as a whole, I would say Vegas has a higher crime rate than the national average.

2. I feel very safe, especially since I'm armed to the neck. However, as I mentioned before, these are petty crimes and are more of an annoyance. I can't be at home ALL the time. I work. My break in occured at 10 AM on a Tuesday when everyone else in my neighborhood was at work too.

3. I do tend to go overboard so my defense may be a bit overkill. However, when I go, I go big. This is coming from a guy who had over 600 whp in his NSX and still felt like it was too little.

4. However, it's not really overkill. If you really break it down, it's not really that expensive what I did, but more of just common sense. For example, reinforcing my doors only cost me around $200. The alarm install with motion detectors, cel dial out, glass break sensors, etc was only about $1,000 and about $50/month. Cameras and lights was only about $1,000 that I installed myself. The gate was already there when I bought my house. Fixing the garage door was free. My safes and hiding my valuables was only about $500. The only expensive thing was the security film on my windows which did cost about $2,000. But it was also tinted and in the crazy Vegas heat saved me quite a bit on my A/C bill. Most of the deterrents I did as a DIY and so overall, it didn't cost me that much.

1) speak with Vega$ NSX and mom to arrange a paid-for lunch date for the two of them @ mom's house ... whatever Vega$ NSX wants, he gets (hookers are considered dessert and served @ the hotel of his choice. hey, it's nevada and things are different in nevada ;)

LOL! Queenlives knows me all too well. He knows I take all payments in the form of hookers n' blow. :smile: However....

6. Finally, I don't live in Vegas anymore.