MASTERING SECURITY: LOOK THE LOOK

It may be counter intuitive but criminals usually do not target expensive well kept homes. If they are driving around looking for a house to break into (and all criminal attacks have some degree of pre-attack surveillance) they act like predator animals looking for the weak, alone and unaware/uncaring prey.

A friend of mine asked me once what to do about his grandfathers home in suburban Dallas that was always being broken into. He explained that the neighborhood was relatively low crime area and that none other homes nearby had been hit. His elderly and semi-disabled grandfather was living on a fixed income and didn’t own much but still his old TV set had been stolen, a clock radio, some antique furniture, an old shotgun and his deceased wife’s jewelry of limited value. I asked him send me a picture of his grandfathers home and the ones around it.

The home in question turned out to be a small 1950s vintage single story ranch style home with a few carports added on. The yard was overgrown, a few old cars were sitting in the weeds on the lot of several acres, the paint was peeling on the house and the old fence was falling down. The homes surrounding it looked like plantation mansions from “Gone With The Wind” and sat on property with acres of well kept lawns, flowers, and carefully manicured plants and hedges. BMWs and Porches were in every driveway.

Over the years the area had changed from small rural ranches to a wealthy suburb of Dallas. Except for granddad’s house, the homes looked like they would be filled with jewelry, the latest iPads, probably some cash lying around, all the things criminals are looking for. Still the older poorly kept home was repeatedly the target.

Once again, a well-kept home gives the impression someone cares about the property. In the predator’s mind that translates to occupants who are strong, own an alert animal, even a herd of them. Likely there is an alarm system, neighbors who care about the people that live in that home, caretakers/family members coming and going…Basically, it a harder target than the less grand alternative.

My friend thought his grandfather needed a guard patrol service, security lighting, an alarm system together with a CCTV camera that would send instant images to his (grandson’s) iPhone whenever someone entered the property etc. All good ideas, but my advice underlined all the points I have made above: I told him to hire a painter and a gardener.

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