Sunday, December 13, 2009

Home Invasion Robbery

(The following advice assumes you are not a drug dealer, pimp or bank robber. In other words a raid on your home would most likely be the result of someone misreading the address.)

"This is the Police!"
"What the heck?"
"Who IS that?"
"Geeze it sounds like they're knocking the door down!"
You look out it's a guy with a baseball cap that says "POLICE" on it.
You've done nothing wrong; this is all a big mistake you'll need to straighten out before they damage your door.
You open the door and some guys rush in and throw you to the floor, but only the one guy has a police hat.

Congratulations! You've just opened the door of your home to home invaders. Prepare to be tied up, robbed, maybe raped and perhaps murdered all in the comfort of your own home. Oh, and your family too.

They won't get much because you've got the good stuff hidden. Right?
Not to worry, they'll torture you and your family until you give it all up.

But, you've got the really good stuff in the safe. Right?
No sweat, they'll torture the combination out of you too.

Do you REALLY think you'll be able to hold out when they torture your family in front of you?

In fact, since they don't know what all you have they'll probably keep torturing you all long after you're being truthful when you cry "We don't have any more!"

Then comes the dangerous part, they have to decide if they want to leave witnesses.

The key to resisting / preventing a home invasion robbery is at the door. Your reaction in the first few moments will decide the outcome.

If you are suspicious don't open the door!

If they have a warrant (and in certain other rare circumstances) the police have a right to force their way into your home, but there are some limitations. Laws vary from state to state but generally warrant service goes something like this:

If the real police are at your door with a No Knock warrant you won't be having any conversations at the door. It'll be just be a KA BLOOM! as the door is smashed in and then you'd be greeting (fill in town name here)'s finest.

The police may under some circumstances be required to announce themselves and wait a specified period of time (measured in seconds) before smashing down the door. Again you won't have a chance to engage them in logical debate about whether or not they are at the correct address.

Those methods of entry are required to prevent suspects from flushing or destroying evidence. But you're not worried about flushing evidence, your concern is protecting your family from home invaders.

Better a busted down door than a busted up family. The door can be replaced (at government expense if you're innocent) but your family can't.

Let's take a look at home invasion modus operandi (Methods of Operation)


This one’s simple the crook simply walks or crawls in through an unsecured door or window.

The defense is just as simple: Keep all doors and windows closed and locked. Bars over windows and/or spiny plants under them (cactus or rosebushes etc.) will discourage entry at those points but doors and windows should be kept locked anyway. Doors should have metal gates or, at a minimum, a peephole.

1.) A (usually female) gang member feigns a minor emergency (distressed motorist needing to make a phone call, etc.) to gain entry. Once the door is opened the rest of the gang, which as been hiding just out of sight, rushes in.

The defense: Call for them, with the door or gate still closed and locked and the person still outside, "Debbie says to tell you her car broke down…" If the person at the number called doesn’t know a "Debbie" it’s an indicator that this is not what it seems to be. Go on alert as you dial 911 and tell "Debbie" you’re calling the cops for help for her. If she’s for real she’ll appreciate your help. If she’s part of a home invasion she’ll suddenly find an excuse to leave in a hurry. Stay on the line with 911 so the cops will have a better chance to catch the gang before they hurt someone.

2.) One or more men more or less dressed like cops pounds on your door demanding immediate entry to serve a (fake) warrant or claiming it’s a raid. These guys seldom have full police uniforms and are more likely to flash fake badges and claim to be detectives.

The defense: Look out your windows before opening the door. Are there uniformed police with marked police cars out there? (If so it’s probably legit.) Or do you see parts of police uniforms and no marked car? Time to get suspicious.

Real police are issued a badge and a commission (small piece of paper that authorizes them to perform police duties. Detectives usually carry their commission in a wallet which they flash with their badge. Uniformed cops keep their commissions in their wallet and seldom show them depending on their badge and uniform to identify them.

Badges are not very good for proving police status.

When I ran a surplus store we sold replica MP (Military Police)* & CID (Criminal Investigation Division) badges that even real MP's and CID agents couldn't tell from the real ones. My policy was that a customer had to prove that s/he was a real MP or CID agent before I’d sell them a badge. (One law enforcement wantabe tried to prove his police status with a star shaped badge that looked like it came from a box of Cracker Jacks. The Cracker Jack logo in the center had been covered with one of those round blue stickers from Chiquita banana! (Chiquita’s logo had been blocked out with a blue felt tip pen.) I was not impressed.) However not all badge retailers asked questions before selling badges and there are a lot of fakes out there.

Realistic police and sheriff badges are sold on the Internet and through the mail from magazine ads. I had wholesale catalogs which offered badges to "prove" I was anything from a Jedi knight to a deputy with the Podunk PD or a fire chief.

*Incredibly after nine eleven the government sold a batch of real MP badges! I bought some of them and applied my regular stringent policy to their sale. I have no idea what policies were applied by the other retailers who bought the rest of the batch.

If you have any doubt about the authenticity of the "cops" at your door call 911 before opening the door and be sure your 'callers' hear you talking to the 911 operator. Real cops will be unfazed crooks will suddenly decide to serve their "warrant" elsewhere.

Forceful Entry:
With this method of home invasion the crook(s) just breaks through a door or window. There may be simultaneous break-ins at several doors and/or windows similar to a real police no-knock raid.

Fortunately for your wallet the defense for this one is the same one that works to defend you and your family and your home from so many other crimes. Iron bars on all windows and metal gates on all doors tell crooks to go away because getting into your house will take time and make noise both of which they don't want. Always remember, crooks don't want witnesses so making them attract attention to themselves at the very beginning of the crime discourages them.

Our last method of Home Invasion comes pretty close to the Follow Home Robbery. The crooks lay in wait near the entrance to your home; either the bushes by the door or near the driveway/ garage. As you exit your vehicle with your hands full of stuff and your mind on what you're planning to do they jump you. Once under control you will be marched into your home.

The defense in this case is particularly important because if you've got metal gated doors and bars on the windows kidnapping a family member with a key is their least obtrusive way in.

First, just as in your defense against Follow Home Robberies you want to check your rearview mirror as you turn into the street where you live. Being followed? DON'T GO HOME! Instead head for one of these places.

Secondly, be alert when pulling into your driveway. Bushes should be cut back leaving crooks no hiding place to lie in wait.

Thirdly, be alert as you pull into your driveway. If you see shadowy figures put the vehicle in reverse and hightail it out of there. Your family will be safe behind locked gates and barred windows while you call the police.

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