Foil a Felon

Foil a Felon

This is the age of information. Everyone tries to gather as much information as possible. We have twenty-four-hour-a-day newscasts, online updates, and never-ending coverage of everything that happens in the world. We are constantly urged to be alert and to notice details. TV cop shows highlight the need for surveillance and record-keeping in the solving of crimes. Everyone in our society receives these "Keep your eyes glued," messages. Everyone even includes criminals.

Although it's a generalization, most thieves belong in one of two categories; some thieves are driven by their addictions; some are driven by a sense of superiority to everyone else. An addict is trying to feed his addictions while the other is trying to feed his desire to outwit others. He's the con man, the trickster, the smooth talker. This fellow can rob you blind, lying right to your face and stringing you along. He's not the guy that will steal your toaster.

An addict is a desperate person. He's sizing up your property to see if he can rush in, grab something quickly, and then make a clean getaway. He's looking for a way to avoid detection by nosy neighbors, passersby, and casual observers. The best way that a thief can avoid attracting unwanted attention is by finding an entrance that is not easily seen. Some homeowners make this easy by growing shrubs or dense trees right in front of their windows. All that he has to do is get quickly behind the foliage and start working on the window. If he finds a house that has been built in a way that windows or doors can't be seen by neighbors or passersby, he'll go. And out he'll come, carrying away your TV and your peace of mind.

Another easy mode of home entry is through back laneways. Many homes were built long ago, at a time when driveways were not automatically part of the planning. Many of these homes have a rear entrance with a garage added. Not only can he sneak off with the contents of your garage, but he can also examine your house at leisure to find the best back entrance. As long as no one sees him acting surreptitiously on your property, chances are he'll get away with the theft.

There are two things that even a strung-out junkie will avoid, if possible. He'd rather not deal with dogs. Whether it is a tiny yappy lapdog or a slavering Pit Bull who hasn't been fed lately, dogs cause trouble for thieves. They'll bark and run around excitedly getting their owners' attention and clearly showing the general area where the intruder is hiding. And that's if he doesn't get a hold of the thief. If he does, all of his territorial instincts will kick in and heaven help the thief. Some dog owners claim that they're not liable for any damage done to the criminal, providing they have posted a sign clearly stating "Beware of Dog." Others say that if you post such a sign you're admitting that you have a dangerous animal on the property. This admission may lead to charges that you failed to protect the thief from your big wild dog. Some people avoid the whole issue by erecting signs and organizing a soundtrack of barking. 

The second thing that thieves dislike when looking at a potentially easy home entry, is firearms, or evidence of them. Stickers on the windows, which alert the robber to your membership in the National Rifle Association, may deter him from attempting entry. However, firearms are valuable and are easily sold in the shady underworld where the habitual thief spends his time and money. If he thinks it's worth the effort, he may watch this house very carefully over the next few days. Then, when he's sure that everyone has left the residence he may be brave enough to go in for the firearms.

You may think that the common thief is a dying breed in this high-tech, information age. But because he's a desperate person with a powerful need for money, a determined thief can still get into your house unless you try to look at your house through his eyes. Then you must take steps to keep him out.

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