Tag Archives: crime

Places to hide money at home

(Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Places to hide money at home)

A.  Twenty Places To Hide Money At Home Besides Under Your Mattress
March 1, 2007, The Simple Dollar, Written by Trent

“Recently, I posted a discussion about why I keep a small amount of cash at home under the figurative mattress for major emergencies. One of the controversies with that article was the idea of actually storing cash under your mattress. So, to alleviate those fears, I sent out a call to a large number of contacts asking where they would keep money at home besides under the mattress and compiled the sensible responses into a list of twenty places where you can store your money besides under the mattress.
Why would you store it somewhere else? In the event of a burglary, under the mattress is one of the first places burglars look for cash, so by finding another place to store it, you’re drastically reducing the likelihood of having your emergency cash stash found or stolen. My recommendation is to choose one of these hiding places and place your cash there rather than actually under your mattress. I’ll even go so far as to say that I actually use one of these twenty myself.
Here goes:
1.  In an envelope taped to the bottom of a kitchen shelf
2.  In a watertight plastic bottle or jar in the tank on the back of your toilet
3.  In an envelope at the bottom of your child’s toybox
4.  In a plastic baggie in the freezer
5.  Inside of an old sock in the bottom of your sock drawer
6.  In an empty aspirin bottle in the bathroom (bundled up with a rubber band around it)
7.  In the pocket of a particular shirt in your closet
8.  In a “random” folder in your filing cabinet
9.  In an envelope taped to the bottom of your cat’s litter box
10.  In an envelope taped to the back of a wall decoration
11.  In between several pages in a random book or two on your bookshelf
12.  Buried in a jar in the back yard (my grandfather, incidentally, did this very thing)
13.  In an envelope in the glove compartment of your car
14.  Underneath a potted plant (or even buried in a small jar in the soil)
15.  In an envelope taped to the bottom of a dresser drawer (so you can reach it from the inside of the dresser below it)
16.  Inside of a big coffee cup in the back of a cupboard
17.  Inside your Christmas decoration box
18.  Inside of an empty bottle of Guinness in the back of the fridge with the cap seemingly in place (smash it to get the cash)
19.  In a plastic baggie inside of a flour or coffee container
20.  In an envelope inside of a DVD case

B.  Seven Secret Places To Hide Cash In Your Home
July 8, 2009, Frugal Dad, by Jason
It’s a good idea to keep a little cash in your home for emergencies. How much you decide to keep is up to you, but I would suggest keeping enough cash on hand to pay for a week of groceries, and maybe a night or two in a hotel. Because this money will not be earning interest, and is subject to being stolen by a burglar, I don’t suggest keeping a huge stash in your home. In addition to a small amount hidden at home, I also stash cash in our online savings account (my ING Direct review) to put a little distance between me and some of our savings. Think of cash stored in one of the best online banks as an offsite backup disaster recovery plan. When you’ve settled on an amount you should think about secret hiding places to stash the cash. We’ve all seen those spy movies where the guy removes the tile from the back splash behind his stove and pulls out a cache of bills, passports and ammo. Well, the following ideas may not be worthy of James Bond, but they will improve the chances of your money surviving a break in. Seven Secret Hiding Places for Your Cash

1.  In the freezer wrapped in aluminum foil. Save a little styrofoam from the next pack of meat you buy and cut it down to the size of a couple large steaks. Put your cash in a Ziploc bag, stick it between two pieces of the used meat tray and wrap it in aluminum foil. Take a piece of masking tape and write “Scraps – 05/22/2005.” Robbers are not likely to look through the pack, and if they pull back the foil they’ll only see the familiar styrofoam tray and stop.
2.  Sandwiched between the cardboard backing of a hard-to-reach picture frame. Most thieves pull back pictures from the wall to see if money is taped to the back, but they aren’t likely to take the time to look behind the glass, the cardboard backing and the picture itself. Use a pen knife to split the cardboard backing into two halves and sandwich the cash in between.
3.  Under a piano, entertainment center or anything weighing a couple hundred pounds or more. If you have a hand truck around the house it’s pretty easy to just lift up the corner of a piano and slide an envelope under it. However, a burglar probably won’t be able to lift something this heavy, and would spend his time digging through the drawers or inside of the furniture rather than trying to lift it.
4.  Inside a used can of soup. The next time you have soup, open the bottom of the can to empty the contents and the leave the top in tact. Rinse the can thoroughly, then use it to cover your stash of cash hidden inside your pantry. Stack a few cans of soup on top just to make it less convenient for someone to pick it up out of curiosity.
5.  Buried in the “soil” of a fake plant. If you have a fake plant, or small tree, in your home, wrap your cash in a Ziploc bag and nest it inside the “soil” of the plant.
6.  In hollowed out pages of a book on your book shelf. Using a pen knife or box cutter, carve out a few pages of your least favorite title. Hide your cash inside the book and return it to the book shelf.
7.  Inside a kid’s toy hidden in their closet. Kid’s rooms are notoriously messy, and kids are not known for having large sums of money. Take apart an old plastic toy they no longer play with and hide your stash of cash in there. Return the toy to the bottom of the pile of toys in your kids closet, or toy chest, and it should be safe. It’s important to remember that any cash saved at home could be lost in a fire or natural disaster. The ultimate hiding place is a fireproof safe bolted to the floor, and even that isn’t fool-proof. The ideal spot for storing large amounts of cash is an online savings account, far away from your house and any potential danger. But for the small amounts you stash at home, take the time to put it out of sight. Also, remember to tell a spouse or close friend about the money in case you are not able to get to it (you die, or become injured or ill and cannot communicate). Keep enough cash on hand to cover you a few days in a major emergency, but not so much that you’d be completely wiped out if it all disappeared.

C.  The Ultimate Secret Hiding Place In Your House
Bit Rebels, By Diana Adams
Pasted from <http://www.bitrebels.com/geek/the-ultimate-secret-hiding-place-in-your-house/>

I’ve always thought the idea of leaving a time capsule for future generations to find would be fun. It’s even fun to pack away a magazine or trinket in a box only to find it years later in the basement or attic. Wouldn’t it be neat to find a tiny hidden treasure somewhere in your house that someone who lived there years before left for you to find? It reminds me of the story of the teenage boy who got a bible from his grandparents for his birthday. He tossed it aside, thinking it was such a boring gift. If he had just opened it up, he would have found the $100 bill tucked away inside. We never know what little life treasures we can find all around us in any given moment.
I remember when I wrote How To: Leave A Time Capsule For Future Generations. It was an article about how to hide a note behind a light switch. However, what if you want to leave more than just a note? What if you want to leave a little thumb drive of information or pictures, or even a little token representing the era?
This is the Doortop Stash project from Make. I have never before thought about using the inside of a wooden door to hide something. However, to me, this might be just a little bit too good. It’s so clever; there would be a good chance nobody would ever find it! If you would like to make one of these nifty little secret stashes for yourself, you can get the step-by-step instructions on DIY Doortop Stash.

D.  The Construction of Secret Hiding Places
 a free downloadable pdf file ***
The pdf file can be downloaded from:

The Table of Contents for that file is as follows,

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Filed under Survival Manual, __2. Social Issues

Meet the Criminal

(Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Meet the Criminal)

  [The images seen here were taken from the Internet and orgionally came from either police ID photos of arrested muggers, or persons identified as muggers being sought by the police. Mr Larry]

No Nonsense Self-Defense, by Marc ‘Animal’ MacYoung and Dianna Gordon MacYoung
Posted from <http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/criminalmindset.html>.
[The ‘Nononsenseselfdefense’ website is full of information about dealing with criminals and predatory behavior.]

 I.  Armed and dangerous
New findings on how offenders train with, carry and deploy the weapons they use to attack police officers have emerged in a just-published, 5-year study by the FBI.
Among other things, the data reveal that most would-be cop killers:
•  show signs of being armed that officers miss;
•  have more experience using deadly force in “street combat” than their intended victims;
•  practice with firearms more often and shoot more accurately;
•  have no hesitation whatsoever about pulling the trigger. “If you hesitate,” one told the study’s researchers, “you’re dead. You have the instinct or you don’t. If you don’t, you’re in trouble on the street…”

Nearly 40% of the offenders had some type of formal firearms training, primarily from the military. More than 80% “regularly practiced with handguns, averaging 23 practice sessions a year,” the study reports, usually in informal settings like trash dumps, rural woods, back yards and “street corners in known drug-trafficking areas.”
One spoke of being motivated to improve his gun skills by his belief that officers “go to the range two, three times a week and practice arms so they can hit anything.”
The offender quoted above about his practice motivation, for example, fired 12 rounds at an officer, striking him 3 times. The officer fired 7 rounds, all misses.
More than 40% of the offenders had been involved in actual shooting confrontations before they feloniously assaulted an officer. Ten of these “street combat veterans,” all from “inner-city, drug-trafficking environments,” had taken part in 5 or more “criminal firefight experiences” in their lifetime.
One reported that he was 14 when he was first shot on the street, “about 18 before a cop shot me.” Another said getting shot was a pivotal experience “because I made up my mind no one was gonna shoot me again.”

The offenders said they most often hid guns on their person in the front waistband, with the groin area and the small of the back nearly tied for second place. Some occasionally gave their weapons to another person to carry, “most often a female companion.” None regularly used a holster, and about 40% at least sometimes carried a backup weapon.

In motor vehicles, they most often kept their firearm readily available on their person, or, less often, under the seat.
In residences, most stashed their weapon under a pillow, on a nightstand, under the mattress–somewhere within immediate reach while in bed.

Almost all carried when on the move and strong majorities did so when socializing, committing crimes or being at home.
About one-third brought weapons with them to work.

On the street, both male and female officers too often regard female subjects “as less of a threat, assuming that they not going to have a gun,” Davis said. In truth, the researchers concluded that more female offenders are armed today than 20 years ago–“not just female gang associates, but female offenders generally.”

 Shooting Style:
Twenty-six of the offenders [about 60%], including all of the street combat veterans, “claimed to be instinctive shooters, pointing and firing the weapon without consciously aligning the sights,” the study says.

“They practice getting the gun out and using it,” Davis explained. “They shoot for effect.” Or as one of the offenders put it: “We’re not working with no marksmanship… We just putting it in your direction, you know… It don’t matter… as long as it’s gonna hit you…if it’s up at your head or your chest, down at your legs, whatever… Once I squeeze and you fall, then… if I want to execute you, then I could go from there.”

The offenders were of a different mind-set entirely. In fact, Davis said the study team “did not realize how cold blooded the younger generation of offender is. They have been exposed to killing after killing, they fully expect to get killed and they don’t hesitate to shoot anybody, including a police officer. They can go from riding down the street saying what a beautiful day it is to killing in the next instant.”

“Offenders typically displayed no moral or ethical restraints in using firearms,” the report states. “In fact, the street combat veterans survived by developing a shoot-first mentality.”

II.   The criminal mind
A.     No Nonsense Self-Defense
We have in our personal library two floor-to-ceiling bookshelves filled with books on crime, violence, criminology and psychology. (And yes, we have read them all.) We tell you this because these books contain a lot of theories about the motivations of criminals.

What we would like to point out is that these theories were postulated by people who were dealing with the criminals in the relative safety of being in a position that the criminal needed something from them (e.g. the psychologists were in a position to influence whether or not the criminal would be released or imprisoned). As such, the criminal needed to stay in the good graces of the interviewer and was often trying to ‘get over’ on the person. This is normal dynamic in institutionalized settings were criminals are studied.

It is also why we liken the subject of criminology to studying lions in the zoo. While all kinds of important zoological information can be gathered, you still are not dealing with the beasts in their natural habitat or on the receiving end of a lion’s charge.

In short, very few academic theories about the nature of criminal mind have been developed while looking over the barrel of a gun. That meaning your either on the wrong end of the gun or the person aiming the gun at a violent criminal (in some cases, both are happening at once). And yes, when it comes to dealing with criminals, as well as having researched the subject. We also have experience with all versions of the gun barrel issue — including when those guns were being fired.

We tell you this because:
•  having looked into the eyes of ‘charging lions’ we have a slightly different opinion about a criminal’s motivations — and what it takes to stop him.
•  if you have the bad luck to encounter a violent criminal, odds are, it won’t be in the safety of an institution … it will be looking into the eyes of a charging lion in his natural habitat.
That means you’re going to need a more practical understanding. One that is less oriented on ‘curing’ or understanding the criminal, and more on stopping him. Having said all this, we tend to agree with the assessment of Stanton Samenow PhD about the nature of the criminal mind. Summed up in one sentence: It’s about selfishness … the different manifestations of criminal behavior is just a matter of style.

That is a simple, but profound statement. Because it is both the greatest strength and the greatest weakness of the criminal and the violent. Strength because it usually gives him an overwhelming degree of focus and dedication. Weakness, because it makes him both predictable and easy to out think — once you understand how he thinks and acts.

All too often the subject of criminal and dangerous behavior — especially the aftermath — is muddled up with ideology, rhetoric and even politics. Often the actions of the criminal and violent person is explained away as a result of injustice, oppression or societal failure. However, by looking at crime and violence from the perspective of extreme selfishness and lack of concern for others, you begin to see more of the ‘charging lion’ nature of the subject.

And make no mistake, that criminal coming at you is like a charging lion … intent on eating you alive.
1. It’s All About The Criminal: If criminals had a theme song it would be the chorus from “It’s all about me!” While everyone is to some degree or the other selfish, criminals, violent and angry people take it to extremes.
2. Criminals: Predators or Scavengers?: While it may seem that we’re against zoological understanding of criminals, we’re not. In fact, when put into these terms a very good layman’s understanding of the nature of criminals can had.
3. Who Is Pointing The Gun At You?: What is the personality of people who do robbery?
4. Who’s Likely to Rape: What are the character traits of someone most likely to rape?

B.  Extreme Selfishness in Criminals
Believe it or not, you already know what the criminal is and what motivates him, you see it all the time in minor forms. What to most people is a minor character flaw is to criminals a major defining element of their personalities.

We often talk about extremes, but few people recognize them for what they really are. Extremes are everyday behavior, thoughts and ideas taken and magnified out of proportion. Furthermore, the normal checks and balances that keep these elements under control are either missing, turned off or intentionally abandoned.

Each day of your life, you encounter attitudes, behavior and ways of thinking that are annoying and selfish. Usually, however, these obnoxious people have a form of checks and balances that keep them somewhat in line with normal society. We tend to automatically assume these checks and balances are in place. This is the “social contract” that allows people to function and get along together in their day-to-day activities. We don’t realize how ingrained and unconscious these rules of behavior and ways of thinking are. They temper our selfishness and prevent it from running amok. And in our daily lives, we rely on other people to have the same moderating influences.

What few people realize is that these checks and balances are missing with  the criminal or violent person. Nature abhors a vacuum. With this absence of counterbalancing influences, certain behavior flourishes and grows, taking up that empty space. What is apparent to a small degree in a normal person ends up being enormous in the criminal.

The magnitude and extremes to which a criminal is willing to go are unbelievable to most people. It is both shocking and unnerving when we encounter someone who doesn’t follow these unstated rules about controlling one’s selfishness. They simply cannot grasp it. It is like the child who was taken down to the shore to see a beached whale. Standing next to the whale, the child turns to his mother and asks, “Where’s the whale mommy?” What we want to do here is help you see the whale.

Some people cannot see the connections of  day-to-day behavior to the extremes. They simply don’t believe that the small, annoying conduct they encounter every day could grow become such extreme evil. While others, until they see the extremes, cannot recognize those same behavioral patterns in daily activities. When these people see the extreme, then they can recognize the smaller, more controlled version

III.  Who is going to rob you?
To understand why robbery is so dangerous you need to understand who is doing it. And who is doing it has a lot to do with why robbery is so strongly prosecuted. These are not the kind of people you want out on the streets able to ply their trade.

Let’s start out with a gross generalization. One that, while technically speaking is wrong, gets an important idea across. That is: There is a difference between muggers and robbers.

Both use either the threat of violence or violence to get what they want. Therefore, both are committing robbery in the legal sense of the word. This is why we say technically speaking there is no difference. To further muddy the water, in daily fact and execution, these differences are often blurred. There is enough overlap to often make it difficult to exactly determine which is which because the same person can commit both crimes.

However, there still exists enough of a difference that words exist to distinguish between the two: muggers and robbers. This distinction is made even in the criminal underworld. So knowing it isn’t exactly accurate, for the moment and for explanation purposes, we’ll deal with them as distinct groupings.

So what is the difference?

Differences in style, degree and targeting is what distinguishes muggers and robbers.
•  Muggers tend to focus their robberies on individuals — especially innocent civilians.
•  Robbers tend to focus their activities on more high risk — and by extension higher yielding — targets, such as institutions and other criminals.

Risk to Reward Ratio and Workload
To begin to understand the difference between a mugger and a robber, you first must understand this risk/rewards/workload concept. This is a group of overlapping factors that strongly influence each other — and the nature of crime an individual is willing to commit.

There are many crimes that are far more lucrative than mugging someone. A reasonably well connected drug dealer can make a hundred times more money in a day, than the mugger who steals from someone on the subway. However, dealing is  not only requires something a mugger doesn’t want to do, but isn’t in accord with the mugger’s goals.

Let’s say the mugger gets an average of forty dollars per robbery. That’s not that much. This especially in light of the fact that sometimes he gets more, other times much less. Although he gets this money in a very short time, this is a very low yield strategy. But on the plus side, it’s enough to get him a small amount of money in a short time. This is especially useful for getting cash for one’s drug fix or spending money for an evening. (A mugger isn’t paying his bills with this kind of crime.) Another advantage is by targeting non-violent civilians, his risk of injury (and capture) is very low. This puts mugging in low risk, low yield and low work.

As any officer who has stopped a street-corner-dealer will tell you, it is not uncommon for dealers to have hundreds of dollars on them. Searches of their residences often turn up thousands of dollars. And those are the petty drug dealers, the really successful ones can make millions. This criminal venture is more of a long term strategy. And yes, the drug dealer is paying not only his business overhead, but his bills. But being a successful drug dealer is something you have to constantly work at. Mugging someone only takes a few seconds.

So why aren’t the drug dealers robbed?
Well, they are, but not as often as you might think. Because they too have guns and are ready, willing and able to shoot back. And that tends to warn away all but the most ferocious of criminals.

This is the risk to rewards issue. The greater the risk, the greater the reward. Those who are willing to take greater risks to achieve greater yields are known as robbers. The truly hard-core robbers are going to go after the most money whether it be other criminals or institutions.

But in comparison to other lucrative crimes, robbery is still a low work load crime.

The thing about these more lucrative crimes is that they require work. It is a serious misconception that ALL criminals are lazy. They aren’t. The higher up, more sophisticated and more lucrative crimes require hard work and planning. What’s more is that they require cooperation and personal restraint. Literally, crime is these people’s profession. And in a twisted way, they are professionals.

It is also a serious misconception that ALL criminals are stupid. A successful criminal has to be smart, savvy and aware to survive in such an environment. He must not only watch out for the police, but he must always be on guard with other criminals – who will turn against him. (In fact, a significant reason that the Uniform Crime Report’s numbers are acknowledged as low is that crime committed by criminals on other criminals are NOT reported to the police).

Recognize that criminals do NOT live in a world where they can believe they are sacrosanct from violence. They know violence can be committed upon them for their actions. But they also realize that violence tends to be causal. Certain crimes, lifestyles, actions and associations are more likely to result in violence. Therefore the smarter ones both take measures against violence (e.g. arming themselves) and/or tend to work rackets that are less prone to violent repercussions (e.g. identity theft and fraud). In the latter case, being themselves less violent and working non-violent crimes, they aren’t as likely to be attacked as more violent criminals.

We tell you all this because now you now know who is NOT going to rob you. Older, less-violent, smarter, slicker, hard working criminals, who know that the rewards are not worth the risk, generally aren’t the ones doing muggings. Or even the robberies.

And that leaves you facing either the dregs of the criminal world or the most violent. And sometimes both.

The mugger is coming after you because robbing you is quick, easy and a whole lot safer than going after a high risk/high yield target. He’ll settle for the lower risk/lower return yield because it’s a lot less work.

All the planning it takes to mug someone is putting a weapon in his pocket, walking out his front door and heading out to where there are people with something worth mugging them for. The workload is waiting until a viable victim walks by and then mugging that person

While robbers tend to have it more together than muggers, their work load isn’t that great. Contrary to what you might think from the movies, robbers do not spend weeks planning how to knock over an establishment. While it might be a matter of days between ‘casing’ an establishment and the robbery, it might be a matter of minutes … or the strategy developed on the spot. They’ve come prepared to engage in overwhelming violence to achieve their ends … how much planning do you really need?

Which brings us back to risk/reward. Unlike mugging someone in an otherwise deserted parking lot, robbers know that the police will actively pursue them for going after a business establishment. In the case of bank robbery it will be the FBI. This makes it a much higher risk to the reward. Risky because any kind of robbery is the most severely punished crime next to murder and kidnapping (as often the three are mixed). A murder one charge is only a trigger pull away if something goes wrong. Also there is issue of armed guards or armed business owners. Unless these are immediately overwhelmed, the danger is just as great to the robber as his target. If he’s going to risk his life and prison time, the returns need to be greater than the low returns one gets from mugging.

Understanding the reward/risk/workload issue will help you better develop effective strategies to keep yourself safe from both muggings and robberies.

Now let’s turn our attention to those who commit these crimes.

Literally every negative cliché about criminals tends to come to roost with muggers. They are stupid, lazy, violent and dangerous. And yes, they are often drug addicted. Add onto this that they often come from the most violent, dysfunctional and abusive backgrounds imaginable – and far worse than you can imagine.

To say that these people lack empathy is like saying that Genghis Khan dabbled in real estate — a massive understatement. They don’t care if they hurt you. Let’s start out with the idea that this person is willing to offer you violence to get what he wants. Take a look in your wallet right now and see how much money is there. If you don’t give it to him, he is willing to kill you for that amount.

Muggers are the most pathological, sociopathic and dysfunctional morons of the criminal world and they are the most violent and unpredictable. These are the guys who are so stupid and lazy that they only pry themselves up “to work” to engage in the least well paying and most violent of crimes.

It is important to recognize that the issue of these people’s stupidity is NOT an elitist comment, but rather a statement of fact. Low IQs are very common among violent criminals – simply put, they aren’t smart enough to realize that violence is a dead end long term survival strategy. All they see is that it works for the moment.

Another extreme is these are drug addicts who have sunk far enough into their addiction that they are no longer competent to execute more high yield robberies. Their goal is to achieve money for their next high and often what you have in your wallet is enough.

Still another issue affecting over-all intelligence is that criminals who tend to mugging people are themselves, often children, (not over, or just barely over eighteen). And that makes him MORE dangerous, not less! Because, on top of a dysfunctional, violent and pathological existence, you also have the self-centeredness, lack of foresight, lack of maturity and emotional capriciousness of a teenager. But this teenager has a gun.

If such a person perceives that something is going wrong with the mugging or carjacking, then it is the next logical step to pull the trigger — at least according to what he considers ‘logic.’ That’s if – using the same logic – he didn’t just walk up and shoot you in the first place.

Why would he do that? It makes sense to him that by just shooting you up front you
a)  are going to be in shock and therefore won’t be able to identify him later
b)  won’t be able to resist as you are laying there bleeding on the floor and
c)  seeing you writhe and scream in pain shows how powerful he is.

The bottom line is that most muggers are young, dysfunctional and violent and they may or may not be borderline retarded. And yes, drugs are often a significant factor in their mental state. While it is easy to pity their abused, drug addled lifestyle from the safety of your office, when you are looking down the barrel of his gun, you are going to discover that these animals have fangs and they are so stupid and self-absorbed, they don’t care who they bite.

It is important to realize that when you are looking down the barrel of a gun, the mugger, whose finger is on the trigger, is literally an alien species.

He doesn’t hold the same values as you do. He has no sympathy or empathy for you – whether you live or die is no matter to him. Except as it might affect, him, he has no concern about your emotions or what you think. If those do affect him, he’ll view it as interference with him getting what he wants — and you won’t like the results. While he could pull that trigger on a whim, most people are harmed by muggers because quite frankly, they pissed him off. They either tried to stall him, argue with him, resist ineffectively or scare him away.

Realize the mugger is only concerned with two things: Himself and the NOW. He has no fear of the police, nor does he have any concern that his actions may have long term repercussions for him (the threat of prison is like threatening to send him to his room). Often he considers that YOU are holding HIS money for him (so it’s not robbery it is getting back what is rightfully his) And – most importantly – he has absolutely no hesitation about pulling the trigger, because to him, you don’t matter.

What matters to him is that he gets what he wants and with little to no risk to himself. And what exactly that might be in his stunted, drug addled mind is anybody’s guess. It can change from moment to moment and even he won’t know until after he’s acted.

Do you now see why avoidance of the whole problem is the best solution?

Remember earlier we mentioned that crime is the criminal’s profession? Well, as far as it can apply to violent crime that concept really comes home to roost with robbers.

Robbers tend to be a little more self-controlled than muggers. Well that’s both good news and bad news. We say this because they pose a different kind of danger. While a mugger might shoot you on a whim, robbers commonly are more predictable. The problem with this is that, if you give them reason, they will shoot you faster than a mugger.

And this can include announcing their presence by committing extreme violence (such as shooting or stabbing the security guard). Even if robbers do not kill anyone out right they need to overwhelm and take control of the situation immediately. Due to the more high risk high reward nature of their crime robbers cannot afford to chance an effective resistance to develop or an alert to be issued (e.g. silent alarm to be pressed. Which would bring an effective response).

Remember we mentioned that muggers tend to rob individuals? As such muggers can — and often do — work solo. While a robber can work alone when he overwhelms a single clerk at a store, it is just as common that robbers work as part of a team. This is especially important when there are numerous people to control in a situations (such as a bank robbery). This requires a greater degree of coordinated effort and by extension increases the danger of trying to resist a robbery. You may be focusing on one person and his partner will shoot you. This can be complicated by a not unknown strategy of robbers. Namely that not everyone who is ‘in’ on the crime announces his (or her) presence. The ‘sleeper’ goes in first and pretending to be among the customers, serves as a back up against something going wrong (e.g. an armed customer).

Another complicating factor with robbers is their love of risk. This is like the high of a gambling addict. There is often something within the personality of robbers that enjoys the rush of power and the thrill of knocking over a high risk/ high yield target. A successful robbery is a coup. It not only gives him the rush, but it also ups his status in the criminal world. This is why there is a distinction between robbers and muggers in that world. Unfortunately, this ‘rush’ can often lead them to making lethal decisions in the heat of the moment. Although most robberies are committed with just the threat of violence, it is very easy to slip over line of yelling, screaming and threatening with a weapon to using it.

It is both their willingness to use extreme violence against innocent civilians and to target businesses that makes robbers a higher priority than muggers. Realize that businesses are an integral part of a communities well being. If businesses pull up stakes and leave the community suffers.

The — and we use this term loosely — good news is that robbers tend to be more ‘job oriented.’ They want what they want and if they get it, then they are done. In many ways this makes them safer to deal with — if you cooperate.

That is to say their motives are based on financial gain rather than  gaining the more subjective and fluid ‘props’  common among the younger, less experienced and dysfunctional criminals. As far as robbers are concerned they are offering you a choice, cooperate and give them what they want or be hurt. If you cooperate there is no reason to hurt you. In fact, if the target is the business money you may be no more involved than being ordered to the floor while the cash is collected.

This is why — unless you are ordered to a secondary location — it is advisable to cooperate with a mugger/robber who has gotten the drop on you. This gives your best chance of not being hurt.

When The Two Blend
Anyway you cut it robbers and muggers are dangerous. Although for explanation purposes we have differentiated between the two, there is often a great deal of overlap. Someone who has the character traits of a mugger will often attempt robberies of small businesses. In the same vein, a more experienced and dangerous robber will engage in muggings if the need or opportunity arises.

That makes it hard to predict what circumstances you will be facing. The simple fact is you can find yourself in the middle of either a mugging or a robbery just by going about your normal business. Walking to your car or waiting in line at the bank there is always the possibility of something happening. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict whether you are going to be confronted by a ‘professional’ or a strung out addict trying to get money for more drugs. The former will probably take the money and run, while who knows what the latter is going to decide to do.

For ease of explanation we have largely talked about muggers and robbers operating as individuals. The unpleasant fact is both often operate in groups. This further complicates the situation because you can often finding yourself facing a mixed group.

For example, it is not uncommon for older, more experienced gangbangers to commit muggings and low scale robberies by using younger, less experienced gang members. The younger gangsters are used not only as ‘muscle,’ but also cannon fodder. The older gangster hangs back, while sending the younger ones forward to commit the crime. Not only does this protect the older gang member from immediate harm if something goes wrong, but it gives him time to react (e.g. pull his gun and shoot a person who is resisting). Unfortunately, this means that if you are the victim you will be facing not only both types, but possibly everything in between. The older member gets the lion’s share of the booty, while the younger ‘gangstas’ up their street credibility for having participated in a crime with the older, more respected gang member.

Another problem with these mixed groups is that any one member can decide to take the ‘threat of’ into the commission of violence. And there is nothing that the other group members can do to stop it. Often when this happens there is a lot of screaming and yelling between the group members before the group flees. This is an extremely volatile situation that can explode into complete and utter chaos. The robbers, having broken the contract of “don’t resist or we will hurt you’ now have to face people who have no reason not to resist. Furthermore, because of the actions of one member, they are now all facing murder one charges.

The intent of this page is to show the average person the problems inherent in dealing with violent criminals. While we don’t advocate paranoia or passively submitting to violent in order to understand the dangers, one must first understand who commits these kinds of crimes. For the average person — and even the average martial artist — there is no reliable way to muster enough firepower to effectively stop these people before they harm you. While it can be done, it takes intensive training and a different mindset than most people are comfortable living with. Knowing the dangers that violent criminals pose, hopefully will help you (the average person) understand the importance of avoidance. And why it is your best chance for personal safety.

IV.  Profile of a rapist
(or a stalker, or an abuser)
In attempting to warn women against the danger, many rape crisis centers proclaim “all men are potential rapists.”
What a horrible way to live.
Who wants to go through life in fear of one half of the human race? Much less believe that about those we love and are intimate with.

The idea behind any learning should be to improve the quality of life, not degrade it. To this end, let’s leave the wild paranoia of ‘possible’ rape scenarios and move onto the more solid footing of ‘probable’ and ‘very likely.’  That you can do something about.

Someone rightly said, “Dishonest people are seldom dishonest in only one aspect of their lives.” In the same vein, the predilections that can, and do, lead to rape and violence are not isolated. They tend to permeate a person’s character and be regularly displayed in many small ways — and in other areas. These attitudes, behaviors and words are consistent among rapists and those who attack others.

IF you are willing to look, they are easy to spot.

The reason it is impossible to predict who will and won’t sexually assault someone is because how these behaviors manifest is a matter of style and preference.  One person might choose to be blatant and habitually physically attack others, while another might be more subtle and rely on drugs and alcohol to render his victim helpless. The motives are the same, but the style is utterly different. And that is why it is hard to predict who will and won’t commit sexual assault or physical violence. A person who will physically assault one person will not engage in violence with a different person. The same goes for circumstances, he will attack in one set of circumstances, but not another.
What we can accurately predict is something bad will arise out of these character traits. However exact details of the ‘When, Where and How’ are impossible to predetermine.
If you see these behaviors in a person, take care. The more you see, the more care should be taken not to be alone him. Even if he doesn’t rape, these behaviors indicate serious character flaws.

Danger signs
1)  Insensitivity for others/emphasis on self – Does this person put his wants above the needs, feelings or well being of others? Is getting his way more important to him than other people’s welfare? Often this can go beyond mere selfishness and border nearly on an “assumed divine right.” Often these people will justify a particularly vicious action with a flip comment like, “Hey, that’s how the game is played.” Such a person has no understanding that he must co-exist with others. Because he simply exists he thinks the world “owes” him whatever he wants. A common tactic of such a person it to make you feel bad for not doing what he wants.

2)  Belittling behavior or attitudes towards others – Does this person habitually make nasty, belittling or degrading comments about others – especially under the guise of joking? Does this person think he is better than others? Does he look down on others? A nouveau riche aristocrat? Is he a racist? A person who thinks that race or social position makes him superior can also assume gender does too. When you think you are superior, an assumed right to ‘take’ what you want often follows.

3)  Negating behavior or comments – Closely related to 1 and 2. Does he try to tell you what you are feeling or thinking? Or worse, tell you what you are not? Comments like “you don’t really mean that” are serious indicators of someone trying to negate you. A person who negates others is trying to take away the other person’s thoughts, feelings and needs and attempting to project his wants onto that person. The most obvious example of this is “Well even though she said ‘no’, she really meant ‘yes’”.

4)  Hostile and/or threatening language – What words does a person use? Choice of words convey subconscious assumptions about a particular topic. For example a man who generically refers to women as “bitches” does not have good assumptions about females (or much respect). It is all too easy to dismiss this behavior as just “blowing off steam.” But if it is a constant behavior, it goes far beyond that. Someone who habitually uses violent or threatening language should be carefully watched for possible escalation. It’s on his mind already. It’s a uncomfortably short step from ‘thinking about’ to ‘doing’.

5)  Bullying – This behavior is especially dangerous. Does this person use overt or subtle threats to get his way? A bully uses the threat of violence more than actual violence. Most often bullies are not willing to risk conflict with someone who can hurt them (an alpha male), and will instead chose to intimidate someone he considers weaker and safer. Someone who is bullying over other matters can easily turn to bullying you regarding sex.

6)  Excessive anger – How easy does this person anger? Is he a “Short Fuse”? Does he boil over at the slightest problem? This is an indication of chronic anger. A person who explodes over a minor issue is like a full pot boiling over on the stove. It’s not that the issue is all that important, but that he has so much anger already, any more causes him to explode. Often people with chronic anger look for targets to vent their anger at. This could manifest as physical fights, abuse, or rape.

7)  Brooding/ revenge – Does this person hang onto his anger long after the situation is over? Will he still be stewing over something while everyone else has moved onto other things? Will he become anti-social and glare at the source of his anger from across the room? Will he insist on taking revenge for real or imagined slights? Both indicate a petty and obsessive personality. A brooder fixates on something and then works himself into a frenzy over it. A person who seeks revenge “has to win” and is willing to take it to extremes. Refusing such a person’s sexual advances can turn this tendency towards you.

8)  Obsession – This is a close cousin to number seven. It is a major factor with acquaintance rapes. This is the person who won’t leave you alone. He insists on ‘hitting on you’ long after you have told him no. He is always trying establish forced intimacy (see ‘bonding process’ below). Such obsessions easily turn into anger when his advances are rejected. One day he shows up in a fringe area, drunk and attacks.

9)  Extreme mood swings – Beware someone who can go from wildly happy to deeply wounded at a moment’s notice. This sort of personality can feel justified to commit an unlimited amount of violence and damage, because you “hurt his feelings.” This is a common pattern among those with chronic anger about life.

10)  Physical tantrums – How does this person get angry? Especially when denied “getting his way”. Beware of a person who regularly physically assaults his environment i.e. hitting walls, kicking things etc. It is only a short step from striking a car to attacking you.

11)  Jock or gorilla mentality – This mentality promotes both acceptance and encouragement for the use of violence. It is especially common among participants of contact sports. What is most insidious about this mentality is the “jock” receives, not only positive reinforcement, but out-and-out applause for being aggressive and violent. This can easily lead to a failure to differentiate between the playing field and real life. Mike Tyson’s comment is a prime example: “Nobody ever objected before.”

12)  A mean drunk – Nearly all rape and abuse cases involve alcohol. Watch what surfaces when someone is intoxicated. It shows what is always lurking underneath. Do not put yourself into a situation where you would deal with such a person while he is intoxicated. Most importantly, don’t allow your facilities to be diminished by alcohol or drugs in this person’s presence.

13)  Alcohol or drug abuse – To begin with drug and alcohol addiction can in be traced back to selfishness and a refusal to change one’s world view. Alcohol and drugs are not the cause of bad behavior, rather they are used as an excuse! Often the attacker intentionally became intoxicated to ignore the social restrictions and inhibitions regarding violence.

While there are others, these behaviors are serious indicators of a potential rapist. This short list should acquaint you with the basics. Not all men are rapists, but a person like this has a higher probability than others. You not only find these traits among rapists and abusers, but also professional criminals.Philosophically there is little difference between such, they are all selfish. Most often it is just a matter of degrees, style and choice of victims.

So slick he could slide up hill
One Saturday morning our college-aged daughter, who had come back for a visit, mentioned she was dating someone who had been convicted of sexual assault. Marc tried to mask his immediate reaction by taking a sip of coffee. What nearly caused a caffinated spraying of the room was her follow up comment “But it’s okay, he explained to me what happened and it wasn’t his fault.”

Of course it wasn’t his fault…and while we’re at it, let’s free everybody in prison because they are innocent – and they will tell you that too.

When we mentioned the possibility that he probably lied about, or at the very least spin-doctored, his version of events she proudly told us that “she had checked it out” — by asking his best friend. She then proceeded to tell us a long litany of behavior that was bordering on stalking. We told her to drop him faster than an annoyed scorpion.

What was most disturbing was her outrage at our reaction. Why were we getting so upset, she knew ‘what she was doing’ and ‘she could take care of herself.’ This kind of gullibility born of both willful ignorance and arrogance is what leads people into danger. And she had a double-dose of both.

Fortunately, she broke it off with him shortly after returning to school, so nothing bad ever occurred. She was able to “flitterygibbit” off to other things convinced that mom and dad were once again over-reacting and being paranoid. She is, unfortunately, our risk taker. She insists on regularly putting herself into situations like that.

We mention this story because there is an old saying: You can’t cheat an honest man. If you don’t have much experience with the underbelly of life, that comment doesn’t seem to make sense. But it is very true. That is because most swindles rely on the mark’s greed. It is the person who is aversively trying to get a ludicrously low price or an unrealistic high return who is going to get hustled. Whereas an honest person knows this isn’t right. You don’t get those kind of prices and returns in legitimate business. If someone is offering them, then something is wrong. And yet because of greed, the mark proceeds with the deal.

In the same vein, a smooth talking individual can only convince you of something if you want to believe what he is saying. And the more you want to believe the less convincing he will have to do. But without this willingness to ignore common sense on your part, even the smoothest con-artist has no power and no chance to harm you.

The reason for this side trip into the nature of con artists is to acquaint you with the fact that many rapists will attempt to mask, justify, make light of, or explain away the dangerous behaviors that we have mentioned. How they will do this is totally unpredictable at this time — as it depends on the individual and his opinion and assessment of you. Know right now however, that he will tailor his response to what he thinks will work best with you. So it is going to sound real convincing when it comes your way.

Having said that however, there are several common tactics.

The first is to make light of it. To claim that he was just joking about a verbal attack. To “blow off” a significant event with a flip or short comment as though it didn’t matter.

Another common dodge is to minimize others by focusing on him. He was justified in doing what he did because his emotions were hurt or because the other person did something to him first.

Bullying is often common. The subject is closed because it angers or upsets him. Or they will have a long and elaborate story how it really wasn’t their fault.

These stories however, while tending to have great depths in some areas are prone to be as shallow as a puddle in a parking lot when it comes to their involvement. Not about what they did or what they were feeling – those are in depth areas – but rather why they chose a course of action that they knew was wrong. That will be quickly glazed over. Unfortunately this subject has massive influence on everything else they are telling you. But if they can baffle you with BS about other details, you won’t notice that this issue is prominently lacking in their story.

It is not uncommon for them to try to turn it around onto you. Your reaction to their action is wrong: That is what they will try to convince you. You are being narrow-minded and mean spirited. Don’t you know it was just a joke? How can you be so unforgiving to hold him accountable for something that wasn’t his fault. Or a very common one, how can you be so unreasonable, look how reasonable about this he is trying to be.

No matter what tactic someone takes there is always a core fortification of “me” that is involved in his arguments. It is hard to describe, but once you have learned how to recognize it, it is always there. This fortification is never touched. It is always talked around or quickly skipped over. And that area that is never addressed is accepting personal responsibility for one’s actions.

Another issue that is never mentioned is their responsibility to interact with others on an equal basis. It is always how other people are affecting them. Or how much they have done and how hard they have tried to make things work. There is no recognition that their words or actions might have affected someone just as, if not deeper than they themselves were affected.

If you can remove your emotional involvement from the equation, you will clearly see how people attempt to hide these behaviors . But before you can remove your emotional investment you must critically review your motives. What are you getting out of the situation? What do you expect to get out of the situation? What are you afraid of losing if you were to allow yourself to see this behavior and recognize its significance?

With our daughter, it was that this man was from a well to do family and spent money on her. He would take her out, buy her entertainment, dinner, drinks and gifts. Which for a ‘broke’ college student is very appealing. Because she was benefiting from the association, she chose to ignore the danger signals and accept a shallow and biased explanation of past events. It wasn’t until his obsessive behavior became annoying to her that she decided that the profit wasn’t worth the pain.

That which is hateful
The great rabbinical scholar Hillel is supposed to have been woken up in the middle of the night by a skeptic. The skeptic demanded Hillel explain the whole of the Torah in ten words or less. He replied “What is hateful unto you, do not do unto others — the rest is commentary” and then Hillel rolled over and went back to sleep.

Rapists tend to be very selfish people. While there is a chance of a rape occurring because an otherwise “nice guy” makes a bad and selfish decision, this is an exception rather than the rule. Usually people who rape others have long shown a consistent pattern of attitude and behavior. The sexual assault is another, albeit more extreme, manifestation of this kind of mindset.

This however brings up an interesting point. Bad behavior tends to be tolerated only by people who are expecting you to tolerate theirs.

If you are engaged in selfish behavior, you will eventually find yourself surrounded only by other selfish people. This shift is gradual and oft times not noticed by the individual. Once you start down this road, it becomes a matter of degrees – who is more selfish. And when that happens it is not a question of “if” bad things will happen but rather “when?”

If you see the warning signs we have talked about here, do not choose to ignore them. Do not minimize them. Do not assume that you can control the situation. That is an assumption of omnipotence. You cannot control other human being and the assumption you can is pure arrogance.

The best thing you can do is to get these kind of individuals out of your life. If you look around and recognize this behavior in ALL of your friends, then it is time to sit down and do a critical reassessment of your own behavior.

In conclusion
These danger signals are real as are the tactics we have discussed. Care should be taken when dealing with someone who exhibits them. Do not put yourself in a situation where such a person could successfully use violence. Literally, do not go off alone with such a person – especially if alcohol or drugs are involved.

Incidentally, many of these behaviors are shared with those who turn into abusive husbands and boyfriends. These are the seeds of that kind of behavior, but it won’t be until you are involved that abuse will manifest. This is another reason to avoid becoming involved with a person who displays these early signs.

To a greater or lesser degree, you can see these danger signals in many people you know. Do not ignore, rationalize or excuse these behaviors, especially if you see a significant number of them. Don’t make the mistake, as great many young women do, that because such a person hasn’t attacked you, he won’t.

A shark is a shark whether he is peacefully swimming or attacking. Just because you haven’t been attacked, doesn’t mean he can’t or won’t. You either haven’t had anything he wants or you haven’t been in a situation with him where he could successfully act.

Pasted from <http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/criminalmindset.html>

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Filed under Survival Manual, __2. Social Issues

Safe Room & Home Security

(Survival Manual/7. Warehouse/Safe room and home security)

A.    Home invasion
Home invasion is the act of breaching an occupied dwelling for the purpose of carrying out a violent crime as a means to rob, assault, rape or murder the occupant(s).  It is not a legally defined offense (federally) in the United States.  Home invasion differs from simple burglary in its violent intent, much the same way as the violent crime of robbery is differentiated from simple larceny.

Today’s Statistics
Because home invasions are typically filed as a robbery, burglary, battery, assault, rape, or murder, keeping the public informed of the frequency of home invasions within their communities is difficult.  However, thanks to data gathered by the FBI and Statistics USA, we’re able to get a better idea
of the prevalence of this sinister crime:
•  From 1994 to 2000, an average of 3,600,000 home invasions occurred each year.
•  In the U.S. alone, 1 out of every 5 homes will be victimized by a violent home invasion or burglary.
•  Home burglaries occur approximately every 15 seconds in the U.S.
•  Most home intruders force their way into homes through the front door.

With more and more commercial targets such as stores, banks, and gas stations taking preventative measures against robbery by increasing the security of their property, the occurrence of home invasions and burglaries is on the rise. This is because criminals have found that many homes and apartments aren’t equipped with alarms, video surveillance systems, protective window films, and other anti-crime devices that commercial dwellings use to deter criminals.

In fact, it’s the home without security devices that criminals seek out when deciding on their next target.  These criminals also know that although a home may have a security alarm in place, homeowners typically don’t activate the alarm until they go to bed—the perfect setting for a home invasion.

Home Invasion Profile
Home invaders are usually bold-faced criminals armed with weapons.  With just one forceful kick to the front door, a family is often at the mercy of the intruder, carrying out demands to hand over cash and other valuables, open safes, provide keys to vehicles, and even submit to brutal assault, rape and murder.

1. Entry:
_a.  Statistics show us that the most common point of entry is through the front door.  If the door is locked, many home intruders will simply kick or slam the door open.
_b.  Some home intruders will knock or ring the door bell and then force their way in when the resident opens the door to see who’s there.
_c.  Home intruders are also known to pose as delivery men, maintenance workers, and even authority figures, such as a police officer, to gain the trust of their victims so they will open the door.  Others will
claim their car broke down and request to use the phone.  Some will even allege to have hit the resident’s parked car.  As soon as the resident opens the front door, the criminal uses brute force and vicious threats to take control of the situation and instill tremendous fear within the victim.
2.  Once an intruder gains access to the home, various demands are typically made to gain possession of cash, jewelry, and other valuables.
3.  Some criminals will tie their victims up while they ransack the home.
4. Others will force one or more of the victims to leave with them, driving them to an ATM machine to withdraw cash, or even worse—to another location to be raped or murdered.

Home Security Precautions Can Reduce Your Risk
Make no doubt about it; home invasion is a terrifying and potentially life-threatening crime.
Being aware of the risks and dangers of home invasions and taking simple safety and security precautions can make all the difference when it comes to protecting your home and family.  Remember:  Criminals look for homes that allow for easy access.  So don’t make the naïve mistake of depending on locked doors and windows as protection.  Instead, make sure to add varying levels of security such as alarm systems, premium dead bolts, window protection films, and door braces to make it exceedingly difficult for thieves and possibly violent criminals to enter your home.

By being cautious and putting in place multiple layers of security, you can make your home less attractive to criminals and drastically reduce your chance of becoming a victim of a home invasion.

B.  The Safe Room
A panic room is used in case of: a home invasion, for property protection during a burglary and as a bio-chemical refuge.

It wasn’t so long ago that panic rooms were thought of as little more than a plot line for a Jodie Foster film or an expensive eccentricity of the paranoid. No more. Nowadays, increasing numbers of homeowners are spending big bucks to have panic rooms, safe cores and other sorts of high-tech security systems installed in their home to ensure their family and possessions are kept safe from intrepid intruders and other calamitous events.

Safe rooms are the single most important means for reliably separating the home owner from intruders while providing a safe place to await the arrival of police or on-site security.

Interior steel doors
[Image right: interior steel doors]
For an apartment dweller, mobile home owner, or where ever construction of a armored safe room is not an option:
Replace your bedroom doors non locking interior door handle with a interior locking door handle. If the master bedroom has its own bathroom, replace the door handle with an ‘exterior door handle/lock. If a home invasion were to occur you would lock the bedroom door, grab your cell phone and run to the bathroom, lock the door and call the police.
While waiting for the law to arrive, you have two locked doors for protection, plus whatever other defenses that are maintained in the bathroom, ie.,
1)  ‘bear grade’ pepper spray, [These are the about half the size of a can of women’s hair spray, not the small thumb sized pocket canisters sold every where; and they don’t just ‘spray’, but lay out a soaking steam of maximum strength Capsaicin. See ‘Guard Alaska’, ‘Frontiersman Bear Attack Deterrent’, and others at Amazon.com.  $35 for  about 20 foot range of stop ’em and drop ’em home defense. Mr Larry]
2)  or have a pistol.
Meanwhile, you have water, sanitary facilities, a place to sit, and probably a flashlight, if the power was out.

[If you store valuables in other rooms of the house, i.e. an office, spare bedroom or closet, replace the door handles with keyed, lockable exterior door handle/locks. When your away for the evening, weekend or away on vacation, lock these core doors. They’re inexpensive from Walmart. Mr Larry]

Typically, you think of a safe room as the sort of thing that you really only need if you’re a high profile target, if you work as an ambassador or if you’re in a line of work where you make a lot of enemies. In fact, you don’t need a high profile career to make use of a safe room, just a high profile home or affluent lifestyle. If you live in a gated community or a very large house, your home is a prime target for crooks. A home invasion is almost always done on impulse by dangerous criminals just looking for some fast cash.”

Your goal is to deter or defeat the casual burglar, not a skilled and determined thief.
Skilled and determined thieves are few and far between, and you have home owners insurance. The overwhelmingly vast number of burglaries are committed by unskilled and unmotivated burglars (often teenagers), and anyone truly skilled and dedicated will probably be hunting in nicer areas than most typical town and city neighborhoods.

Make the Safe Room door secure against the most likely form of local burglary- namely, the casual felon who is just rolling around in a pickup truck looking for houses where the homeowner is at work and looking to kick in the door and ransack the place to feed his Oxy or meth habit. As such, it would need to resist the usual smash and pry tactics, but don’t anticipate skilled safecrackers, or someone motivated enough to saw through the floor of the room above to gain access. It would be nice to have it double as a safe room for the wife and kids while you’re at work. With a reinforced substructure, the Safe Room could be used as a storm shelter as well.

Remember that whatever you do, the best primary defense is a multiple layer “defense in depth” strategy.  Relying on a single product or technique is less than optimal.  You work from the most likely threat outwards towards less likely threats, as determined by time and your budget.

C.  How to Prepare a ‘Safe Room’ at Home
In order to be fully prepared for an emergency situation, you should designate a ‘safe room’ or shelter in your home. This is the room that you can ‘seal’ yourself and your family into in the event of an emergency.  The safe room will be useful in the event of a sustained crisis, but should also be prepared
for any kind of attack (short or long). The room you select for this purpose should meet these criteria as closely as possible:
•  It should contain few doors and windows to the outside.
•  The room should be easy to seal off in the event of a chemical attack.
•  If you live in a two-story home, the room should ideally be upstairs (as gases are heavier than air and will remain closer to the  ground).
•  The room should be big enough for you, your family and your pets to be able to live together in relative comfort.
•  You should keep your safe room in a constant state of semi-preparedness by keeping essential emergency items stored there. At the very least, you should keep an emergency survival kit (see next section) there at all times.
•  Here are some of the items that you’ll need to store in your safe room or bring with you when you enter it:
__Gas masks and protective clothing if you have them.
__Strong duct tape to seal off doors and windows once you’re inside.
__A first-aid kit and first-aid instructions. Ideally you, or someone in your family, should take first-aid lessons.
__Emergency lighting (consider keeping an emergency lighting system plugged in this room at all times, so that it will come on automatically in the event of a power cut). Spare batteries.
__A radio capable of receiving AM/FM and ideally short-wave. A TV might be useful and would certainly help pass the time, but is not essential; fresh batteries.
__Comfortable seating for everyone as well as mattresses, blankets and pillows.
__Bottled water, juice, sports drinks or other beverages.
__Food that can be stored for a long time yet requires little or no preparation, such as peanut butter and crackers, peanuts or mixed nuts, energy bars, candy bars, pretzels, pudding packs individual servings of applesauce, etc. Even in the event of a short stay, hunger and thirst are likely to set in, so be prepared. You can find out more about preparing food and water stocks for a sustained emergency in other sections of this manual.
__Chemical toilets and other sanitation needs. Even if your safe room has bathroom facilities, there is always the risk that water supplies be interrupted or even contaminated.
__A telephone, if possible, for emergency use. Be sure to include a list of important telephone numbers (police, fire department, hospital, emergency coordinator etc.)
__Personal medicines and basic toiletries.
__Cleaning tools (broom, garbage bags, etc.)
__A portable fan in the event of hot weather. In case of a chemical, biological or radiological event, you must shut off the air conditioning to prevent it from bring outside air into the safe room. See the three posts in Survival Manual/1. Disaster/War-Chemical, Biological, and Radiological.
__A fire extinguisher.
__Toys, books, games and so on.

.You may also want to consider buying a room filter that has a HEPA and charcoal filter. These can be bought in most major department stores and are effective in preventing the buildup in most chemical or biological agents.

It is very important that everyone in your family is fully aware of the safe room and its function in an emergency.
Everyone should be given pre-designated duties to perform in the event of an emergency (one person is responsible for food, one for seating, etc.). Write out a detailed list of everything you need, so that in the event of an emergency, nothing will be forgotten.
You should start preparing the items for your safe room sooner rather than later and you should conduct emergency drills with your family every three to six months.

D.  Safe room concepts
No Nonsense Self Defence
 “There is an old cliché, “A man’s home is his castle.” Nothing makes that truer than a safe room, and it doesn’t matter what gender you are either. In essence, a safe room is any room you select that has been modified to withstand an all-out assault by a home invader or invaders. Although bedrooms are the usual choice, any room with one door that can be locked can be used. If you live in a multi-level house you can go so far as to have one on each floor, but that would only be if you are being actively stalked or rich enough to be kidnapped. (Although, if you are working in an unstable country where kidnapping of executives is common, that might not be a bad idea).

1)  Why would you need a safe room?
The idea of a safe room is that in case of home invasion (for whatever reason) you have a fortified sanctuary that you can retreat to and summon help. It’s not to bunker down and have a shoot out, it is where a smaller, weaker (or unarmed) person can be safe while waiting for reinforcements to arrive. In one sense, it’s so you don’t have to have a shoot out between you and an intruder. In another, if the intruder does break through the room’s defenses, it is pretty cut and dried that it was self-defense — even in states with a duty to retreat statute.

The creation of a safe room is critical for women who are being stalked. It can be important for families with children of any age. First off, although a woman protecting her child can be the most ferocious guardian, realistically it is far more common for a woman to sacrifice herself in an attempt to protect the child — usually by curling around and shielding the child. This way she, not the child is damaged. The problem is you cannot effectively defend yourself, while protecting a child this way. A safe room makes this whole issue moot.

Second, no child can successfully fight off an adult attacker. The adult’s superior mass will overwhelm the child. However, a child can run to safety. Third, putting it bluntly teenagers do stupid things now and then. And if they do stupid things with not nice people, them having a safe room is a very good idea. (If nothing else it also gives squabbling siblings a means to end the fight).

While home invasion robberies are becoming more common, realistically, with a safe room, just closing your bedroom door at night is the best defense against waking up with a burglar in your room or a break-in rapist on top of you. This is especially true in bad neighborhoods and college towns where such break-ins are common.

2)  An outside door, inside
There is a difference between inside doors and outside doors. In older, wooden doors the difference is between hollow core and solid core.

Primarily for insulation purposes, a solid core door is one solid piece. This also serves as a security measure, as it is difficult to break through three inches of solid wood. Hollow core doors are for use inside. Hollow core doors are far lighter than solid core and they are less effective for both insulation and security. The reason they are lighter is because they are designed like corrugated cardboard (like you see with larger cardboard boxes). In between the two flat surfaces there are thin struts holding them apart.

Hollow core doors are designed to provide privacy, sound buffering and climate control inside your home — not security. The problem with hollow core doors is that they can be kicked or punched through. Worse yet, they are easily shot through and quickly fold to either body checks or blows from a heavy object. As such they are not appropriate for a safe room door. If you are in a home with older style doors, the safe room should have a solid core door.

Most modern houses however come with decorative and molded doors. But again there is still a difference between an inside and outside door. The nice thing about this modern selection is that the same type of door comes in different thickness. To have consistency in the look of the house, the same type of door can come in both indoor and outdoor models. To start your safe room, you simply take an outside door and put it inside. That doesn’t mess up your decor either.

3)  Reinforced doorframe
Any lock is only as good as what is around it. Most door locks can be simply by-passed by applying enough force until the frame breaks. Therefore, for your safe room you are not only going to put in a heavier door, but also reinforce the doorframe.
Doing this in older homes is described on the home security page in the door section. It takes some work, but if you do while re-painting the bedroom, you’ll never notice the embedded security measures.

With more modern homes, the doorframe is usually sold along with the door. So when you upgrade to an outside door, you are also upgrading the door frame. Although you might want to consult with the salesman about also upgrading the frame to something bigger and stronger.

Without going into metal security doors, the general standard you are shooting for is something that can withstand the full force of a 180 pound man repeatedly slamming himself into the door. That’s a lot of force and the salesman should be able to tell you how much force the doorframe is rated for.

We’re going to change tracks here. When it comes to personal safety, Hollywood is our greatest enemy. Not only do they promote the concept of unstoppable bad guys, but they credit them with super-genius. The evil stalker knows how to cut the phone lines and isolate the terrified woman. How in the blue blazes do you cut the “lines” of a cell phone? Cut the power so the alarm system doesn’t work? How does he know to do it exactly when you are in the shower so you don’t know your alarm system is down? Much less the fact that you might just notice the lights going out … even if you are in the shower. As such, you have warning that something is wrong. And yet, these fools were working themselves up into a frenzy because all these things “could” happen. And that is why you need to carry a gun in the shower.

When we mention safe rooms, most people’s minds flash to all the movies where a damsel in distress desperately tries to close the door against an evil attacker who is body checking it from the other side. Not to put too fine of a point on it, but that’s called “Drama.” That scenario is far more dramatic and vivid than heading towards the safe room while the attacker is trying to get in. You don’t wait until he is in the front room, you run when he is crawling through the window. That is what early warning systems are for! So you can get the door closed and locked before you end up in a shoving match over closing the door.

4)  Multiple locks
First off you are going to be replacing indoor door knobs with heavier outdoor locking knobs. A one-sided deadbolt is also not unreasonable. After the doorknob lock is engaged you throw the deadbolt. Multiple locks distribute the impact over a greater area thereby reducing the chance of frame failure. They also share the load between locks thereby lessening the chance of lock failure.

Speaking of lock failure, we are not big fans of “different distance” locks. By this we mean secondary measures like chains or the flip style of locks that you find in hotel rooms. These supposedly allow you to open the door and peer out in safety. Unfortunately these locks consistently prove themselves ineffective against full body assaults; they tear out of the doorframe too easily.

The same physics make them unreliable for secondary lines of security. Any number of people will put these on after locking the door thinking they are added security. They aren’t. The truth is, if your primary locks fail, these will not stop the door from being opened. All it is going to take is another body check.

Therefore, any additional locks that you put on the door must further secure the door into the doorframe. Deadbolts are good, so two are floor bars and foot locks. What you want with safe room locks is once they are thrown, if you don’t have keys that door isn’t going to budge. Anyone on the outside trying to get in is going to have to take the doorframe out of the wall.

If you have kids in the house (or are currently being stalked) you might want to consider putting in a keypad lock. While they are not particularly attractive, they can be set so they automatically lock when the door is closed. If, on the rare chance, you find yourself in a race to the safe room all you have to do is slam the door. This is especially important for kids who might not remember to close and then lock the door. The keypad makes it a second’s work for you to get in without a key.
(This is also why we recommend them for the front door too…especially if your kids are always forgetting, a) to lock the door and, b) their keys). From the inside the door opens as easily as a regular knob so there is no hindrance getting out in case of fire or other nighttime crisis. A keypad lock is also useful for avoiding embarrassing explanations to your kids why the door was locked when you and your SIG want privacy. It was locked because the door was closed…next question?

If you are really determined that nobody is going to batter their way into your safe room there is the old style Fox Police Locks. In essence these are a steel bar  contraption that you barricade the door with. One end goes into the floor and the other end into the door. The bar sits at an angle and serves as a brace. The nice thing about this kind of system is that when not in use, the bar sits unobtrusively behind the door.
The only thing you see is the groove in the floor and the slot on the door. Or there is the ugly side-to-side version that literally bars the door. In either case, nothing short of a police battering ram is going to come through that door.

5) Shatterproof glass
Going back to the movie Panic Room, Jodie Foster had an entirely enclosed, video monitored, high tech control room for her safe room. Well, unless you are a rich paranoid or you just won the lottery, it really isn’t necessary to go that far. However, since — for a variety of reasons — the bedroom is the most common choice for a safe room, you’re going to have to address the issue of windows in your safe room.

Instead of upgrading and reinforcing existing windows, you can buy complete security windows. These come with shatterproof glass and are a bear to break in through. While it would be ideal to replace all the windows in your home with such a system, realistically the only windows you really have to replace are in your safe room.

While it might not seem easier to replace an entire window, the fact is that what you will get by doing so is more complete protection than if you try to piecemeal a solution onto your current windows. If you do not want to go the expense of replacing the windows, then the window security information on the home security page should be followed. However, whatever else you do or don’t do, at the very least, we strongly suggest that you put shatterproof laminate on the windows. While security glass is better, this transparent sheeting prevents the window from being easily shattered. As such, he cannot reach through and open the locks.

6) Heavy curtains
It is important to keep an attacker from being able to see into your safe room. After his attempts to get through the door has failed, odds are he is going to go after the window. While for some unexplained reason there is a tendency not to shoot through doors and walls, the same doesn’t apply to windows — especially if he can see you. That is why heavy curtains or blinds are necessary. They not only cut his view off of you, but you of him.

Let’s take this to the worst case scenario. The odds are against him hitting you while firing blindly through the window — especially if you are either hunkered down or laying in a corner of the wall that the window is in.  It may sound strange to position yourself against the wall closest to the shooter, but
figure that the bullets are going to be traveling down ever- widening angle lines from the shooter’s position. It is easy for him standing in one spot outside the window to spray bullets into the far wall from one corner to the other. That’s why you don’t want to be against it or hiding in a closet opposite the window.

However, in order to hit you when you are against the window wall he would have to run the entire length of the room firing blindly through the walls or stand back with an assault rifle and hose your home with banana clips worth of bullets — neither are particularly likely.

The heavy curtains blind him so he doesn’t know where you are in the room. Nor does he know if you are now armed and capable of firing back. While he may not know where you are in the room, you know where he is…just outside the window. And unlike you, he’s backlit. In another case, if he does manage to break through the window, while he’s trying to get past the curtains to look around and find you, you’re swinging a baseball bat…if he’s lucky. If not, what you’re swinging is much worse.

Those are the worst case scenarios. More realistically — especially when dealing with stalkers — they’ve juiced themselves up on liquid courage. Climbing through rose bushes or up to the second story windows or standing on a roof pitch/in a rose bush while trying to swing hard enough to get through shatterproof glass while drunk often becomes a self-solving problems. Alcohol and gravity are a bad combo, so are thorn bushes and booze. But in either case he won’t see you call the cops…or the ambulance.

There is a final factor as to why heavy drapes or blinds are important. It is a terrifying experience to be assaulted…especially in your own home. By cutting off direct visual contact with him, it is easier for you to remain calm and function. Yes you will hear screaming, yelling, pounding and crashes as he beats on the doors and windows, but you won’t be looking him in the eye, this significantly increases your ability to function. The safe room has bought you time to call the police, activate security systems and — if that is your choice — arm yourself. When and if he gets in, then you will be prepared.

7) Phone
The most important piece of equipment for your safe room is the phone. It is what allows you to communicate with the outside world. It’s what allows you to not only call the cavalry, but to communicate with them and direct them when they arrive.

Again Hollywood has filled people’s minds with lurid images of juggernaut murderers who cut the phone lines before chasing scantily clad women down the hallways of their own homes. The truth is most of these clowns wouldn’t know where to begin to look in order to cut the phone line. If they even had the brains to remember to do so. And quite frankly in these days of cell phones, roam phones, DSL lines, dish networks, etc, cutting a phone line doesn’t do all that much. You just pick up the cell or internet phone.

Basically, most home invasions rely on their speed and ferocity to overwhelm you before you can make
a call. Their problem with you in a safe room is that they can’t keep you from calling out.

When you get 911 stay on the line!
Not only will you be reassured by talking to the operator, but you will be able to tell the police where he is. It also creates a recording of the incident and what is happening. This will be used in court. Staying on line is especially true if you have some kind of home defense weapon. Inform the operator that you are in your safe room and armed.
Police HATE coming onto a property with an armed owner and an intruder, not only because of their chances of getting shot, but shooting you. The constant two way communication of where you each are through the 911 operator is going to go miles to keep lethal mistakes from happening. If they know you’re safely locked in the bedroom than the guy who is popping up with a gun isn’t friendly

8) Safe/Gun safe
We recommend that you have a safe — for a variety of reasons.
•  First, if you have children the gun needs to go into either the home safe or a specially designed gun safe. Really, let’s be truthful, how often do your children listen when you tell them to do their chores? Do you really think they aren’t going to play with the gun even if you tell them not to touch it? Putting it in a safe, keeps that from happening when you are not home.
As the better modern safes have keypads, so too do the better gun safes. Gun safes come in all sizes, but the ones we recommend for home defense hold a single pistol, attach to the wall, have either glow in the dark buttons or are electronically lit (with battery backup) and can be quickly opened. A loaded pistol is in your hands in seconds, but not in your children’s. Even better, you can get these safes with a “three strikes you’re out” system. After three wrong codes are punched in, the system shuts down. This keeps kids from spending hours randomly punching in codes.
•  Second, remember we’re talking safe room here. By definition you’ve bought time. So the need for instant access to blazin’ guns is non-existent. If because of kids and the potential need to come out of the safe room, then that wall mounted unit is the best way to keep your kids safe and give you quick access. Other than that, keeping it in the safe in the closet is nice way to soothe any concerns about having a loaded gun in the house.
•  Third, it’s a good idea to have a safe bolted to your closet floor anyway. In the old days, burglars just grabbed jewelry, TVs and VCRS, now your biggest concern isn’t the burglary, it’s identity theft. If a criminal gets a hold of your important papers you’re in deep trouble. The problem is you don’t know where it will stop. The burglar who steals your papers probably won’t use them, but he will sell them to someone who will. A passport sells on the street for upwards to a $1000. Old driver licenses and credit card statements give an ID thief everything he needs. Boxes of blank checks? There’s an invite to not only having your account cleaned out, but lots of bad checks passed with your name on the checks. There’s even been cases of houses trying to be sold when the deed has been stolen. Keep your important paper work and your gun in a safe in the safe room.

The safe room and the safe give you an additional option for security, and that’s when you are on vacation or at work. Now you have layers upon layers that a criminal must get through before he can ruin your life — especially if you have a keypad on your safe room/bedroom door and you get in the habit of closing it when you leave.

9) Monitors/alarm system/cameras
As we mentioned on the stalkers solutions page advances in security technology have driven prices down to a rock bottom. We have seen a four camera, split screen video surveillance and recording system for as low as $150 dollars… at a SAMS Club. Such a unit can easily be patched into the TV in your bedroom to give you an exact idea where the intruder is and what he is doing. And if you are watching him on the TV, you can bet that you are not only recording it, but you are talking to the 911 operator about his exact location. And that’s being passed onto the officers. How cool is that? You’re both watching and involved in dispatching a real life cop show…from your safe/bedroom.
All you need now is popcorn.
Besides the cops really appreciate the information that you can pass onto them, like what he’s wearing, what he looks like, if he has friends and if he is armed. This last one is important because home invasion types tend to be armed. Which is why having a safe room should be making more and more sense.

In addition, most alarm companies make their bread and butter selling you not the system (which is cheap) but their service (which is not). If you have a safe room and a phone you don’t need them to dial the police for you. As such an alarm system can be rigged for internal warning (Remember early warning?). Where alarm systems that contact outsiders pay for themselves, however, is if you travel often and/or have a lot of valuable items that you could be burglarized for while at work.

On the other hand, it can be argued — whether you have an alarm service or not — that rooms with lots of expensive equipment should be turning into safe rooms as well. If you have  more than $10,000 dollars worth of equipment, collections or financial investments, spend an extra $500 to $1000 to protect it.”  Pasted from <http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/saferoom.htm>

E.  Size of a combination storm shelter- safe room
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) suggests there should be six square feet for every seated individual in the safe room. This recommendation is for US homes. It may differ in other countries. Note also that this measurement is the minimum required. Having a bigger safe room is always a good idea.

Requirements for ‘Hardened’ Safe Rooms
The room should be sufficient to house all the inhabitants of the house. The safe room must be able to withstand 75 mph to 400 mph winds. The safe room must also be strong enough to protect the people from the wind, rain and any objects hurled by the wind.

[Image right: Commercial steel safe room, AKA Panic rooms or storm shelters. Located inside the house its designed to protect the inhabitants from storms or tornadoes, also to be used to protect people from a break-in.]

No matter what the size of a safe room is, the room should be anchored properly so it won’t turn over even if your home is damaged. Both the ceiling and walls need to withstand the wind and pressure from debris being hurled.

The connectors on the angles have to be wind resistant. Any interior wall supports for the room have to be separate from the structure. In other words, any damage inflicted by the storm / tornado must not affect the room.

Construction and Design
The safe room can be located anywhere in the house. For many people the basement is the best option as it offers protection against hurricanes and tornadoes.

The design and size of a safe room varies. It can be simple or complex. A basic but effective safe room consists of four concrete walls and ceiling made of reinforced concrete. Other features necessary are good ventilation, heavy door and secondary exit.

The room can be fitted with all the necessary supplies. These will include food, water, medical kits, flashlights, radio and batteries, cell phones and other communications equipment.

Important Facts about Safe Rooms
The cost of adding a safe room to an existing home depends on how large it is. It also depends on the foundation where it will be constructed. The typical cost is between $2,500 and $6,000.

For existing homes, the safe room is usually added as a separate structure. But it can be installed in the basement or the garage. When deciding on the location of the safe room, consideration for any handicapped inhabitants in the house must be accounted for.

Anyone who wants to build their own safe room must be skilled. You can buy some pre-fabricated safe rooms. These will be easier to set up. But if you are buying one, make sure that it meets the standards of FEMA. Avoid buying any structure that doesn’t meet the standards set by FEMA or similar agencies in your country.

The size of a safe room needs to be considered thoroughly. There is no telling when natural calamities or other threats can take place, so it’s important you have one in the house.

[Images above: These are very strong F-5 rated multipurpose steel safe rooms at an affordable price. Tested and certified to meet FEMA 320 standards by the Texas Tech Wind Science and Engineering Research Center. These safe rooms can be installed in any home, garage or building constructed on a concrete slab as long as there is a ceiling height of 8 feet or more. Equipped with dual locks, they can also be used as secure storage as well as a panic/intruder room. Each room is constructed of 3/16” steel “C” channels on 1/4” steel frames. Each plate is mounted to the 1/4” steel roof and floor frames using grade 5 bolts. The floor frame is anchored to your foundation using the Red Head Anchoring System with anchors set every 16” for maximum stability. Each safe room comes standard with a 4 hinge, 32” wide, wheelchair accessible, low threshold door that opens to the inside. The door is equipped with 2 keyed deadbolts and can also be used for safe storage for your personal items. The door is also secured from the inside by 3 tubular steel cross members that are set in place easily once you are safely inside the room. Each cross member sets on steel mounts on either side of the door interior. We can place the door of your safe room in any wall as long as it is at least 8” from a corner. Available in many sizes: 4’x 4’, 4’x 5’, 4’x 6’, 4’x 8’, 5’x 5’ , 6’x 8’, 8’x 8’ . Lowry Construction, 1-866-95LOWRY,
(1-866-955-6979), http://www.lowryconst.com/saferoom.htm ]

F.  Home security tips
No Nonsense Self-Defense ( an excellent website filled with information that can help you defeat the potential of criminal action)
“There is no such thing as a burglar-proof home. What there is, however — using a burglar’s double criteria of speedy entry and not attracting attention– are homes that are too difficult to break in to.
The enemies of the burglar are time and attention. The longer it takes to enter and the more noise
he makes increase his chances of being seen and caught. Homes not easily and quickly broken into are most often bypassed for easier targets.
Although the main focus of this is to deter burglars, what is talked about on this page is an example of “walk-aways” mentioned on the Pyramid of Personal Safety page. The same issues that will deter a burglar will also serve to stop a break-in rapist or stalker.

Tip #1  Make your home security system like an onion, not an egg.
Layers upon layers are not only the best deterrent, but the best defense against break ins.
Reason:  It is easy for a criminal to bypass a single line of defense. Multiple layers not only slow him, but serve as a means to alert you or your neighbors that someone is trying to break in. Doing these “layered walk-aways” makes it more difficult for a criminal to meet his criteria of quick and unobserved
entry. If, like the tip of an iceberg, enough of these deterrents are visible, most of the time the would-be intruder will simply choose not to even try. If he does try, then the layers he did not see will impede him. A good example of a layered defense is rosebushes outside the window, double-locked, barred and
safety coated side windows and something difficult to climb over inside under the window.

Tip #2  Pretend to be a burglar
Walk around your property and ask yourself: How would I break in? Examine your house from the street, where are the blind spots?  What are the most vulnerable areas and, therefore, likely to be attacked? Stand outside the windows and look in, make sure no valuables, like expensive electronics or artwork, are visible. If you can see your belongings doing this, so can criminals.
Reason: We on’t tend to think of our homes in these terms. So spend just a few minutes doing this. Find where “blind spots” are (areas where a criminal can work without being seen or would be screened from view of a neighbor looking to see what that loud noise they just heard). Also look for “weaknesses”(easy access points) are (for example, sliding glass doors, doggy doors or louvered windows). These are the areas that will be “attacked” by the criminal. That is also where you must focus your defenses.

Tip #3  Consider the area that the lock sits in
A lock is not enough, you must also address the area around it. You need to extend your thinking about security measures to 18 and twenty four inches around the lock itself. That is the area you must protect.
Reason: A burglar doesn’t care how much damage he causes getting in. The best locks in the world will do no good if he smashes the door in. A pinewood door frame will splinter and give way after a few savage kicks. The backdoor deadbolt can often be bypassed by just breaking a window and reaching through to unlock it. Windows can be broken and locks undone. Many locked gates can be opened by simply reaching around and over. A hasp-and-lock will swiftly yield to blows from a even a small sledgehammer.

Tip #4  As well as locking something, you must also  protect the lock and its components.
A common combination of cheap locks and small construction flaws, that we tend not to notice, often give criminals the “cracks” in security they need to break in.
Reason: Many home door locks can be quickly bypassed with a knife or screwdriver slid in the gap between door and frame. After that the criminal can easily work the tongue of most cheap locks out of the door frame. A thin kitchen knife slid between sash windows can “tap” a normal window lock open. Hasps and locks can be hammered or twisted off in a few blows, or simply cut off with bolt cutters. Many sliding windows and doors can simply be lifted out of place.

•  Door: Look at the gap between your door and your door frame from the inside – can you see the lock’s tongue? All it takes is a flip of the criminal’s wrist while holding a screwdriver while on the outside to break away the thin doorjamb molding and expose that same gap. From there, it is another simple wrist gesture to jimmy the tongue out of the faceplate. Total elapsed time for break-in, about 10
seconds — with minimal noise.
On ALL outside exit doors, buy locks that have locking tongues. Test this by holding the door open and locking the knob. Then attempt to depress the tongue into the door with your finger. Better locks will have a secondary tongue that doesn’t move. The best locks will have entire tongues that don’t move.

•  Window: Put “window stops” on the first floor and basement window frames. These often functionally amount to secondary and tertiary locks. The best kind are those that go through a moveable frame and lock it into place. Something as simple as drilling a hole through both frames when the window is closed and placing a nail in the hole will lock the windows in place.

•  Other: Use hasps with  protective shrouds. These make it harder for the criminal to hammer away the lock. If for some reason you have an outward swinging door, not only get the best lock possible, but place a safety plate (a small formed sheet of metal) over the tongue so it cannot be seen or easily manipulated. These slow down the criminal and make him work hard to get in. This entails him making more noise  for longer periods of time, thereby increasing his chances of being detected.

Tip #5  Brace doorframes and put multiple locks on all  outside doors What he doesn’t know  *will* hurt him. With a little extra work, the bracing can be hidden behind the
doorframe’s internal molding and will not be noticeable from either inside or outside. For the burglar, this is like unexpectedly hitting an invisible wall.
Reason: The most common means of breaking into homes is simply by kicking in the door. Most doorframes are made of 1 inch pine which saves the contractor money. This makes them vulnerable to this basic assault. Multiple locks and bracing under the molding make this kind of entrance unlikely and will not destroy the beauty of your home.

•  Bracing: Take between a 2 and 3 foot piece of flat steel stripping (1/8 x 2 inches is good) and drill a staggered series of holes down its length. When you take the interior molding off the door — in most houses — you will see the 1×6″ (or 1×5″) pine plank of the doorframe. That is nailed to the 2×4″ studs of the wall. (You may or may not be able to see the studs because of drywall, but they are there). That thin 1 inch piece of cheap wood (it is usually pine) is all that was between your possessions and a burglar. A few savage kicks, and it usually breaks off in a 2- to -3 foot sliver and the door swings open.

•  Fast and more secure version: On the inside wall, where the molding was, position the steel strip so that all the lock strike plates are behind it and its edge is along the edge of the 1×6. Screw it into place with long screws — leaving a few holes open. The staggered drill pattern should result in the screws seating into both the 1×6 and the 2×4 studs. Take the molding and shave or chisel out the thickness of the metal strip in the proper place. Replace the molding, using the remaining holes to tack it down over the strip.

•  Putty and repaint: Slower, better looking, but slightly less secure: This version looks slightly better, but requires some precision Dremel or chisel work. Instead of abutting the strip to the exact edge of the 1×6, seat it between 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch away from the edge. When carving your groove in the molding, leave the same sized tongue running down the door side edge. This seats over and covers
the steel, making it invisible. Repaint.

•  Strike plate: Just assume that they did it wrong — and odds are you will be right. Using the same length of screws that you are using for the steel strip, remove the shorter screws that are in the door frame strike plate and replace them with the bigger screws. It is not uncommon for short screws of less than a half inch to be used (or come with the lock assembly), such short screws are easily
ripped out after a few kicks. On the other hand an 1 1/2 or 2 inch set of screws that reach into the house’s very framing is not going anywhere quickly — no matter how hard you kick it.

Multiple locks: Deadbolts, rim locks and floor locks are your friends. All outside doors should have at least two separate locks. Doors that are on the blind side of the house or homes in high-risk areas should have more. The deeper the tongue goes, the better.

Tip #6  Find alternatives to normal deadbolts in doors  that have windows (or windowed frames).
Talk with a locksmith about what is available.
Reason: Most burglaries occur during the day when you are away at work. Unfortunately, many back doors are decorative and windowed. It is easy for a burglar to punch out a small window, reach in and unlock the door. Since they are off the street and out of view this is why most break-ins occur through the back and side doors.

A single-key deadbolt has a key on one side and a handle on the other. After punching out a window a burglar can reach in and, with ease, open the deadbolt then the doorknob – elapsed time five
seconds. Placing a secondary lock (i.e., a floor lock) outside of the reach of  the windows is recommended. If that is too much, a double-key deadbolt is recommended for non-primary access doors. This secures the door while you are not at home. If fire safety concerns you (and it should) at night put your keys in the deadbolt. This not only allows you immediate exit should a fire occur,
but you will also always know where your keys are.

Tip #7  Treat inside garage doors the same as an outside  door: multiple locks and bracing.
Even though it is inside your home, it must be able to withstand a full out assault. Often, the doors that access the house from the garage are hollow-core and have cheap locks (if they are locked at all) which is why break ins through garages are so common.
Reason: Criminals often cruise neighborhoods looking for open garage doors. Once an open garage door is found, they pull in, close the door, park their car and then start piling your possessions into it. Although they might still do it occasionally, criminals no longer need to cruise the neighborhood with a stolen garage door opener and pushing the button to see whose door will open, and incredible number of people just leave the door wide open for them when “just running down to the store.”
For criminals on foot, the side door of a garage is a prime target, as it is often easier and offering better ease of access/escape than a back door. This is why you must treat the door into your home from the garage like an outside door.
If the inner door is locked it is usually hollow core and with minimal locks. Realize that with the garage door closed the criminals can unleash a sustained full out assault against that inside door. Usually the door will give way. By bracing it and replacing hollow core doors with solid core ones, you significantly lessen the chances of that happening.

It should also be noted that many home invasion robberies come through open garage doors and these inner doors. More so than the front door.

Tip #8  Plant rosebushes or cactus in front of all  vulnerable windows.
Thorny landscaping not only adds beauty to your home, but makes even getting close to such windows an unappealing prospect
Reason: The second most common way of breaking into homes is through rear or side windows.
A thief can work on such windows with little chance of detection. Standing in the middle of a thorn bush to do it, however, is not a pleasant experience.

Tip #9  Look into safety-coating the most vulnerable windowsw
Safety coat is an adhesive plastic sheeting that makes breaking out windows difficult.
Reason: It’s not going to be fun for him, standing in a rosebush only to discover that the window isn’t easy to break either. Instead of a quick pop, he now has to stand there and repeatedly pound before he can even reach the lock. Wait until he discovers that the window has window stops as well.
If you can afford it, there are many quality windows that are not only good to keep inclement weather out, but provide serious burglar protection, as well.

Tip #10  Put a secondary lock that prevents the panel from  being moved on all windows.
This is repeating what was mentioned earlier, but it is important enough to warrant such emphasis.
Reason: Put stops on the frame on all sash windows. This allows them to be opened, but only so far. On sliding windows and doors, the best type of lock is a pin that goes through both frame and sliding part. This prevents the window from being lifted out.

Tip #11  Get and close  heavy drapes — especially on rooms where there is expensive equipment. Thin, sheer drapes –although attractive — also allow burglars to look inside.
Reason: It is often amazing how often a home intruder will walk up and look through the windows of a home to see if there is anything worth stealing. Sheer curtains allow him to do this. He knows what he wants to steal before he even breaks in.
Getting into the habit of closing heavy drapes not only keep your home warmer in winter, but lessen the chances of your home being targeted by a burglar. Without this ability to see into the home, there are less guaranteed results for him, which helps to serve as a deterrent.

Tip #12  In really bad neighborhoods, get safety bars on  the windows.
In so-so neighborhoods, you might want to consider putting them on side windows — especially ones that are perfect break-in spots.
Reason: When it comes down to it, windows are always breakable. A set of regular bars on high risk, non-bedroom windows are not likely to destroy the looks or value of your home. And the added security is well worth it. On bedroom windows, it is advisable to spend the extra money and get the releasable bars that can be jettisoned in case of fire.

Tip #13  Make sure sliding glass doors and windows are   installed correctly.
Not everyone in the construction industry is a rocket scientist. And their incompetence and laziness can cost you plenty.
Reason: An estimated one quarter of all sliding glass doors and windows are installed backwards (so the sliding part is on the outside track). This allows the criminal to simply lift out the panel and enter

Tip #14  If you use a pole in the track to secure sliding  doors and windows make sure it is the right length.
It should be within an inch of the track’s length.
Reason: If the pole is not long enough to keep the criminal from slipping his fingers in, it is of no use. Staple or tape a piece of string to the pole to make it easy to pull out when it is in the track.
Better yet get a “track stop” or “track lock”  that you can put in the tracks. They are far better than the “poor man’s version” of a dowel. Better yet get sliding window/door bar (jamb bar).

Tip #15  Install motion detectors in areas where no one should be.
This way, you know something isn’t right when they go off.
Reason: Most people put safety lights where they do the least good. While they illuminate your approach as you pull into your driveway, such lights are often hard to see if you are indoors. Put them along the side of the house or back, so that someone lurking there sets them off.
Position them so you can see when they go on. The lights are adjustable, so even if you have a blind
wall you can turn the lights so they will both illuminate an area and attract your attention. Put them high enough so that they cannot be knocked out of service by someone jumping.
Look into low voltage and/or solar powered outdoor lighting. This kind of lighting illuminates your property at very little cost.

Tip #16  Get a dog.
A barking dog, whether inside the house or in the yard is proven as the best deterrent to burglars.
Reason: It doesn’t have to be a 250 – pound Rottweiler named Spike, even a smaller yappy dog serves as an early warning system. Not only does the intruder risk a bite, but the barking attracts attention. And there is no such thing as a stranger intimidating a dog into silence.
We don’t recommend dog doors. It is not uncommon for thieves to bring small children and send them through these and have the child open the main door. Also, since many burglars are, in fact, teenagers, it is also common for them to bring a younger child with them to do this. If you do have a dog door already, either a) put the dog out and lock the door during the day or b) make sure the access gates to your yard are locked. That way the criminals cannot simply walk by, open your gate to let the dog out and then return when the dog has wandered away.
The truth is a dog, even a small dog, inside a house is not something a burglar wants to deal with.
Getting bit is not fun.

Tip #17  Create a neighborhood watch on your block.
Even just the signs often send would-be burglars elsewhere.
Reason: An alert and involved community is the criminal’s nemesis. It is often reason enough for him to try business elsewhere.
Even if you can’t create an organized program, get to know your neighbors, especially retired folks who are home all day. Let them know who belongs there and who doesn’t. Have them watch your property and pick up your newspaper when you are on vacation. It is also a good idea to hire a trustworthy preteen/young teen neighbor to do such mundane jobs as mowing your lawn or taking out the trash. Such kids then have vested interests in your property and they are home to watch your property when adults aren’t. The kids like it because they get spending money and you get to watch TV on the weekend instead of doing lawn work.

Tip #18  Make sure the gates are locked if you have a  fence.
This is especially important with accesses to the alley.
Reason: Each layer serves as a deterrent. The more layers and hard work the criminal has to do, the more likely he is to pass by your home. A locked fence is something he must climb over while carrying objects. If the gate is left unlocked, however, he can just walk right through it.

Tip #19  Leave  the stereo/TV on
An empty house “feels” empty. There is no vibration or noise inside that indicates someone’s presence. Put the “vibes” in.
Reason: Although this is not a guaranteed deterrent, it can serve as a “bluff” to young, inexperienced prowlers. Even though they have “checked” to see if anyone is home (e.g. knock on the door), the unexpected noise, especially from the back or upstairs (any place they can’t look into), indicates that they made a mistake on their primary recon. Maybe someone is home and just didn’t hear the doorbell.
You might especially want to consider this strategy for vacations. Close the drapes, turn the stereo/TV on in the room where the criminal is most likely to try to break in.

Tip #20  Etch your name on all electronic equipment and then video tape it
Etching, in and of itself serves as a deterrent in case of a break in, failing that it greatly assists the police in the recovery of your property
Reason: Items with your name and address cannot be easily sold. The reason for this is that anyone buying them is buying something that can easily be proven to be stolen property and they know it. What protects most buyers of stolen goods is the fact that it is difficult to prove something is stolen property. However, a name and address on an item combined with a police report is a fast way to end up in the county jail for possession of stolen property — even if the person who has it bought it off the burglar. As such, why steal something that you, a) can’t sell, b) if you are caught with you’re definitely going to jail for___s?

Although it is better to record serial numbers, a faster way to assist the police in recovery is to video tape every room  and all the items in them. As you tape say what it is (for example Sanyo TV,  Hitachi DVD player, etc.,)  Title the tape something like “Family Reunion” or something you will remember and put it in your video collection. This way, if items are stolen you can give the tape to the police, video and the etching will identify your property when the police encounter it. Which quite often they do, being called to homes where stolen property is present, but without a means to identify it as such, they cannot prove it. Also send a duplicate copy to a relative.

Tip #21 Get a safe!
It’s not just cash and jewels that need to go in there, but your important paperwork.
Reason: Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the US. Although many people think burglars are going to go for jewelry, silverware or electronics, what most people don’t realize is that the greatest damage to you will be if the criminal gets access to your personal identification and financial records!!! A criminal can clone your identity and steal everything you have, up to an including selling your property. Passports can sell for as much as a thousand dollars. And a passport and your checkbook…kiss all that money good-bye.
Make sure the safe is bolted through the floor and cannot be carried out. If you are in a situation where you cannot use such measures (such as an apartment) then invest in a large, heavy duty filing cabinet with locks. Do NOT leave the keys nearby.

Tip #22 On top of everything else, get an alarm system.
This is another layer of the onion. You can go anywhere from a basic system to incredibly high tech.
Reason: Now that you’ve made it slow and difficult for him to get inside, an alarm is far more effective since it gives the cavalry a chance to arrive in time. In addition, burglar, carbon monoxide and fire alarms do wonders to keep your home owner’s insurance down.
Know however, that the bread and butter of most security companies is the service they sell you in support of the alarm system (calling the police, paging you if there is a problem or even sending their own guards). While shopping around is important, do your homework on security systems, providers and services first. And remember, you are investing for the long term. That is how you must think when
investing in an alarm system.”

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