Should You Answer the Door When a Stranger Knocks?

Should You Answer the Door When a Stranger KnocksThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

During the holidays you may notice an increase in people coming up to your door:  leaving flyers, selling something or just being neighborly.  But you never know what their intentions are.

The local constables in our area have been warning people to be more vigilant due to a rising number of burglaries.  One of the more controversial questions is whether you should answer the door when a stranger knocks or pretend you’re not home.

So, should you answer the door when a stranger knocks?

Our local law enforcement does recommend that you should answer the door from behind the locked door.  The reason for this is, many thieves knock on the door to find out if someone is at home.  If someone answers, they avoid the house because they are looking for an easy target.  But if you pretend you are not home, they may try to sneak in and find you, placing you in danger.

At the same time, the person knocking may not have ill intentions at all, and there would be no reason to fear them.  Answering the door without opening it at first will at least allow you to find out what they want.

What I encountered when I went door to door for charity

I myself have accompanied my kids when going door to door selling tickets for a charity fundraiser.  Many neighbors seem to get freaked out when you ring the doorbell.   Standing outside, I can usually tell if someone is at home.   You can tell if it’s kids but lots of adults just stand there as well.  It’s just a sad fact of life while living in the big city.  Many people may live next to each other for years and never get to know each other.  I didn’t take it personally if they don’t answer the door.  But the few who did answer their doors either said they weren’t interested or gladly bought tickets.

Recently, a couple of senior home owners were robbed when a woman and a child knocked on their door.  They let their guard down talking to the woman while an accomplice either snuck in through a back door or forced their way in to rob them.

I can definitely see both sides of the issue.  Here’s what I think:

  • Check who is at the door by looking out the window.  Some doors have peepholes but many do not.
  • Answer the door and ask what they want.  On one hand, you may be worried about safety but on the other hand, the person knocking may just be a neighbor needing to talk to you about something.
  • If you get a bad or nagging feeling, don’t open the door.  Trust your gut.
  • Keep your door locked at all times.
  • Tell children and young teens never to open the door when someone knocks or rings the doorbell.  If they notice that someone is at the door, they need to let an adult know.  A couple of home invasions in the city resulted when teens opened the door without checking first.
  • In case of a break-in while your are at home, have a weapon nearby and know how to use it.
  • Or, at the very least, always have you cell phone handy in case you are in danger and have to call 9-1-1.

In answer to the original question about whether you should answer the door, yes, you should.  Find out what they want, but do it behind a locked door.  Tell us what you think in the comments below.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

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The #1 Rule to Avoid Being a Victim of Sliders

The #1Rule to Avoid Being a Victim of SlidersThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

This morning our local news reported that several women all over town have been victimized by the latest crime wave, called “sliders.”   I mentioned this a while back as a local crime, but the incidence of these crimes have become more widespread.  It is happening in cities all over the country.

What are sliders?

The crime happens in a gas station where many people leave their cars unlocked, thinking nothing will happen if they are just a few feet away from the car.  A thief parks his car next to the target, and, as she is filling up the tank, an accomplice slides across the small space in between, opens the targeted car door and steals whatever is on the front passenger seat.  A lot of women leave their purses, smart phones and tablets on the front passenger seat; some even leave the window open, making it very easy for the thief to grab.

All the victims who were interviewed were women who lost purses, electronics and cash, all while they were standing next to the car putting gas.

Why is this so common?

If you think like a thief for a moment, you will realize that although risky, the perpetrator of this crime can get away with a lot of loot for just a few seconds worth of “work.”  All they have to do is sneak up to someone’s car, grab whatever they can take and run away.  Then they sell purses, smart phones, tablets for whatever they can get, take the cash and use the credit cards for more stuff while they can.

At the same time, so many people are on autopilot, not bothering to lock up or even look up from whatever they are doing.  One of the victims in the news report didn’t even realize she had been robbed, until a bystander several cars away yelled that someone was taking off with her purse.  Unfortunately, it was too late for anyone to do anything – the thieves had already driven away.

In the same report, the police admitted it is very hard to track down the criminals because the camera footage is usually very poor quality, making it hard to identify anyone.

How to Avoid Being a Victim of Sliders

  1. Pay attention to your surroundings, wherever you are.  Situational awareness is the number one rule to avoid becoming a victim.
  2. Even if you are familiar with the neighborhood, never let your guard down.
  3. Don’t leave your purse, shopping bags or any valuables on the front passenger seat, where it attracts attention.
  4. Lock your car every time you step out, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
  5. If you are going inside the mini mart, hide your purse under the seat and don’t forget to lock your car.  Or, take your purse with you, and keep a tight hold on it.

This is a crime of opportunity.   If every car door was locked, the thief would not have such easy access to the goods.  And, if more people were paying attention to their surroundings, these criminals would be easily spotted.  Unfortunately, not everyone pays attention, making it easy for criminals to take advantage.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

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Some Simple Vigilance, Shred Your Trash

Some Simple Vigilance, Shred your TrashThis article first appeared on geekprepper.org

Written by John, geekprepper.org

 

Operational Security is key.

I was talking to a retired Law Enforcement professional a few weeks ago and he commented about how he could learn almost everything he needed to know about someone by going through their garbage. They can determine everything, from your favorite restaurants to how much your car payment is and who you pay it to.

Shred your trash

I’ve known about this for a while, but this reminded me that everyone doesn’t think this way. Most people think “Toss something in the garbage and it’s gone.” Poof! Wrong.

These days you can’t risk just throwing things in the trash, even envelopes with your address on it. Identity Theft is huge right now, and that’s 99% of the info someone needs to start opening credit in YOUR name. A stalker could learn, when and where you eat, the movies you like, what time you shop, where you bank. If someone steals your identity you probably won’t be physically assaulted, but a stalker, who is obsessed with you, or a family member, could really do some damage! This adds a very physical layer to your opsec.

I recommend shredding (or burning, if applicable) anything with this information:

  • Your name
  • Your name and address
  • tear off and shred shipping labels from boxes receipts
  • Bills Insurance/medical statements
  • envelopes from any investments, banks, credit cards, medical, insurance, anything that can link to you to company, financial institution or service provider!
  • your friend’s/family’s name and addresses (return address on envelopes)
  • invoices or receipts for things you’ve ordered online or purchased locally (cash purchases too). No one should know what you’ve been buying or stocking up on! Ever.
  • Random stuff, to muddy the mix, of contents.  I shred random stuff that I print out, and random junk mail just to make it harder to figure out what is what.

I have a large trash can in the garage and every time I dump in more shreddings, I stir it and mix it up really well. Make sure to use a Cross Cut Shredder to make it really hard to get your information! $50 spent on a Cross Cut Shredder is much cheaper than trying to restore your good credit, or your privacy! The shreddings can be burned for further security, thrown away, or recycled as packing materials! Shred your trash Shred your trash This list isn’t 100% complete, but look at what you throw away and decide what value it has, or what harm it can cause if it falls into the wrong hands! Be vigilant!

 

About the author:  John writes GeekPrepper.org.  John is a normal guy who, together with his family, is learning about preparedness, bushcraft, survival and self-sufficiency.

Cub Scout, Shooter, Writer, Prepper; Together, we can learn to prepare for extraordinary situations.Copyright © GeekPrepper.org Read more at: http://www.geekprepper.org/about/about-me/

 

 

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Cub Scout, Shooter, Writer, Prepper; Together, we can learn to prepare for extraordinary situations.Copyright © GeekPrepper.org Read more at: http://www.geekprepper.org/about/about-me/
Cub Scout, Shooter, Writer, Prepper; Together, we can learn to prepare for extraordinary situations.Copyright © GeekPrepper.org Read more at: http://www.geekprepper.org/about/about-me/
I’m just like you. I work 9-5 every day. I have a family and young children. I tell dumb jokes. I am not an avid outdoors-man. I’ve never served in the military. I have no specialized training. I live in the suburbs outside of Washington, DC, so bugging out or finding a survival retreat is a necessity. This blog is based on this premise. A normal guy and his family learning about preparedness, bushcraft, survival and self-sufficiency. You and I will become preparedness oriented. Together, we will learn to survive and along the way we’ll pick up the tips and tricks that work best. We will build our own arsenal of essential skills to carry us through, anything and everything, that the world can throw at us. I promise to keep the posts coming, make them innovative, to find the products that we need to know about, and the information to make us stronger. All you have to do is to promise to read and share these posts, to be interactive, email me and comment. Let me know what you want to see or what you need to know. You have already taken the first step, and found this blog. Let’s continue working together on this. We can make this happen!Copyright © GeekPrepper.org Read more at: http://www.geekprepper.org/about/about-me/
I’m just like you. I work 9-5 every day. I have a family and young children. I tell dumb jokes. I am not an avid outdoors-man. I’ve never served in the military. I have no specialized training. I live in the suburbs outside of Washington, DC, so bugging out or finding a survival retreat is a necessity. This blog is based on this premise. A normal guy and his family learning about preparedness, bushcraft, survival and self-sufficiency. You and I will become preparedness oriented. Together, we will learn to survive and along the way we’ll pick up the tips and tricks that work best. We will build our own arsenal of essential skills to carry us through, anything and everything, that the world can throw at us. I promise to keep the posts coming, make them innovative, to find the products that we need to know about, and the information to make us stronger. All you have to do is to promise to read and share these posts, to be interactive, email me and comment. Let me know what you want to see or what you need to know. You have already taken the first step, and found this blog. Let’s continue working together on this. We can make this happen!Copyright © GeekPrepper.org Read more at: http://www.geekprepper.org/about/about-me/
Operational Security is key. I was talking to a retired Law Enforcement professional a few weeks ago and he commented about how he could learn almost everything he needed to know about someone by going through their garbage. They can determine everything, from your favorite restaurants to how much your car payment is and who you pay it to. Shred your trash I’ve known about this for a while, but this reminded me that everyone doesn’t think this way. Most people think “Toss something in the garbage and it’s gone.” Poof! Wrong. These days you can’t risk just throwing things in the trash, even envelopes with your address on it. Identity Theft is huge right now, and that’s 99% of the info someone needs to start opening credit in YOUR name. A stalker could learn, when and where you eat, the movies you like, what time you shop, where you bank. If someone steals your identity you probably won’t be physically assaulted, but a stalker, who is obsessed with you, or a family member, could really do some damage! This adds a very physical layer to your opsec. I recommend shredding (or burning, if applicable) anything with this information: Your name Your name and address tear off and shred shipping labels from boxes receipts Bills Insurance/medical statements envelopes from any investments, banks, credit cards, medical, insurance, anything that can link to you to company, financial institution or service provider! your friend’s/family’s name and addresses (return address on envelopes) invoices or receipts for things you’ve ordered online or purchased locally (cash purchases too). No one should know what you’ve been buying or stocking up on! Ever. Random stuff, to muddy the mix, of contents. I shred random stuff that I print out, and random junk mail just to make it harder to figure out what is what. I have a large trash can in the garage and every time I dump in more shreddings, I stir it and mix it up really well. Make sure to use a Cross Cut Shredder to make it really hard to get your information! $50 spent on a Cross Cut Shredder is much cheaper than trying to restore your good credit, or your privacy! The shreddings can be burned for further security, thrown away, or recycled as packing materials! Shred your trash Shred your trash This list isn’t 100% complete, but look at what you throw away and decide what value it has, or what harm it can cause if it falls into the wrong hands! Be vigilant!Copyright © GeekPrepper.org Read more at: http://www.geekprepper.org/some-simple-vigilance-shred-your-trash/
Operational Security is key. I was talking to a retired Law Enforcement professional a few weeks ago and he commented about how he could learn almost everything he needed to know about someone by going through their garbage. They can determine everything, from your favorite restaurants to how much your car payment is and who you pay it to. Shred your trash I’ve known about this for a while, but this reminded me that everyone doesn’t think this way. Most people think “Toss something in the garbage and it’s gone.” Poof! Wrong. These days you can’t risk just throwing things in the trash, even envelopes with your address on it. Identity Theft is huge right now, and that’s 99% of the info someone needs to start opening credit in YOUR name. A stalker could learn, when and where you eat, the movies you like, what time you shop, where you bank. If someone steals your identity you probably won’t be physically assaulted, but a stalker, who is obsessed with you, or a family member, could really do some damage! This adds a very physical layer to your opsec. I recommend shredding (or burning, if applicable) anything with this information: Your name Your name and address tear off and shred shipping labels from boxes receipts Bills Insurance/medical statements envelopes from any investments, banks, credit cards, medical, insurance, anything that can link to you to company, financial institution or service provider! your friend’s/family’s name and addresses (return address on envelopes) invoices or receipts for things you’ve ordered online or purchased locally (cash purchases too). No one should know what you’ve been buying or stocking up on! Ever. Random stuff, to muddy the mix, of contents. I shred random stuff that I print out, and random junk mail just to make it harder to figure out what is what. I have a large trash can in the garage and every time I dump in more shreddings, I stir it and mix it up really well. Make sure to use a Cross Cut Shredder to make it really hard to get your information! $50 spent on a Cross Cut Shredder is much cheaper than trying to restore your good credit, or your privacy! The shreddings can be burned for further security, thrown away, or recycled as packing materials! Shred your trash Shred your trash This list isn’t 100% complete, but look at what you throw away and decide what value it has, or what harm it can cause if it falls into the wrong hands! Be vigilant!Copyright © GeekPrepper.org Read more at: http://www.geekprepper.org/some-simple-vigilance-shred-your-trash/
Some simple vigilance, Shred your trashCopyright © GeekPrepper.org Read more at: http://www.geekprepper.org/some-simple-vigilance-shred-your-trash/

Where to Hide Valuables in an Apartment

Recently, one of our awesome readers, Sara, brought up a great question:

I was wondering if you could advise me for a particular apartment security measure?
I live in an apartment, but I am unable to drill holes into the floor. I am wondering what kind of safe I could buy and how I could secure it? This safe would ideally house a laptop and a few files. 
Hypothetically, if a thief were to access the safe in an empty house they could pick it up and carry it away if it is found, right?
I thought this was a timely question, as I have been thinking about writing about this subject.  Thanks for the question Sara!
Know What You’re Up Against
Ideally, a sturdy, hidden safe that is bolted to the floor would be a great place to hide valuables, but is not feasible in an apartment due to lease restrictions.  Normal safes are available, but can easily be picked up.  I used to have one, and it only weighed about 20-30 pounds – easy enough to carry.
Before getting into good hiding places, first we have to consider what motivates thieves:
1.  Their goal is to steal money and valuables.  If they had time, they would turn the place upside down looking for stuff.
2.  They need to get in and out quickly.  We’ve read before that a robber takes 8-12 minutes to steal as much as possible in that short amount of time.
3.  They also know the most common hiding places:  in the master bedroom, in the back of the closet, under the mattress, the medicine cabinet (prescription drugs may be attractive as well)  or in a toilet tank.
Knowing the above, it might be a good idea to leave a small amount of money or jewelry that is easily found; they may just rush out and take that, leaving the rest alone.  The small loss would also spare you having the entire place torn apart.
Here are a few ideas for hiding spots:
Safety deposit box
Many people still keep a safety deposit box at their neighborhood bank, but the downside is, you can only access your stuff while the bank is open.  There is always a chance the bank would be closed when you need you items the most.
Furniture with a hidden compartment
Furniture with hidden areas have been around for a long time, and they are still around.  The downside is they tend to be on the expensive side.
Here are some examples:  (Note:  we are not affiliated with this company-just pointing out the product)

Hidden in plain sight

Oil can safe

Oil can safe

Also known as diversion safes, they are fairly inexpensive and come in many varieties.  They tend to be small so you can only hide a few things.

Of course you’d have to hide the diversion safe among like items in a book shelf, kitchen or tool box.

Tip:  Don’t hide the item in another attractive item even if it’s in plain sight.  I’ve seen some mantle clocks that have hidden compartments – some a very pretty and eye-catching, and extremely portable.  I’d also stay away from hiding stuff inside radios or other electronics – they may steal that too, taking your item inadvertently and discovering it later!

Do it Yourself

  • Make a book safe  You can keep it among all your other books, and you can take it with you even while traveling.
  • Hide your item among frozen food in your freezer; maybe in a baggie within frozen raw meat that is large enough
  • Conceal item within a vase that has dusty fake flowers
  • Hide in a toy that is in a large toy box

The key is to remember where you hid it.  I’ve hidden a few items so well I couldn’t find them for months!

You should also tell someone you trust, to avoid them accidentally throwing the item away or selling it in a garage sale.

How to Think Like a Thief

Jogging in the park

It looks peaceful but don’t get lulled into a false sense of security.

A couple of weeks ago, there was a crime spree at a well known park not far from where I live.  News reports started coming out that joggers had been mugged, and a female jogger was sexually assaulted before being robbed at one of the park’s restrooms.  These incidents all happened during the day.

I was talking to my friend Jim (yes the same one who had a shooting in his building, but has since moved to another apartment) because he frequently runs in that same park.  He said, “They won’t get much out of me, I only carry my keys and cell phone.”

A few days later, the two robbers were caught.  And do you know why they were robbing people at the park?  Because these thieves wanted cell phones!  They said it was an easy and quick way to make some money.  Even though cell phones may seem like “not much” to us, they were exactly what the thieves were looking for.

Normal people see things a certain way, but thieves see things differently.

What attracts their attention

Even if you think your stuff is not valuable, there may be something that attracts their attention:

  • Your purse looks fat and heavy, therefore it must contain a lot of goodies
  • You have bags in the back seat of your car, therefore, you must have gone shopping.  Nevermind that you might have bags full of containers for recycling back there; having someone break in your car will be mean expensive repairs whether or not you have something valuable.
  • If you have shiny jewelry, you may attract their attention.  Yes, your jewelry might be fake, but surely you have a wedding ring or a nice watch that will have some value.

Opportunity – Don’t make it easy for them

  • I pay attention to people around me at the park, and the majority are not paying attention to their surroundings.  Many joggers have their headphones on, talking on the phone or listening to music, oblivious to everything.
  • Thieves will take any opportunity presented.

Distraction

  • Some thieves create a distraction to send your attention elsewhere.  When I was 10 years old, I had $15 Christmas money burning a hole in my pocket.  I was at a store, choosing the ice cream flavors, when someone dropped a bunch of coins.  I looked over and helped out, and when I got done, I went to buy my ice cream.  I reached into my pocket and found all my money was gone.  Tough thing to happen to a kid, but it was a lesson learned.

Trust your gut and act on it

  • The first victim at the park felt he was being followed but did not look behind him.  Before he could act the two thugs were already pointing a gun at him demanding his stuff
  • If you get that weird feeling something is not right, trust yourself and do something right away.

Thankfully the crime spree at the nice park is over, but I am sure it won’t be the last.  Try to think like a thief and see what makes you vulnerable.  Doing so may keep you from becoming a target.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

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Criminals are Targeting You

While everyone is busy trying to make a bright Christmas, criminals are targeting people, ready to pounce on the unsuspecting.

  • At a time of year when people are ordering and sending a lot of gifts, thieves are stealing delivery boxes sitting in front porches.
  • Women are being victimized as they are putting gas in their cars by “sliders.”  The thieves park in the next space, quickly open the unlocked front door, grab the purse and drive away.  
  • Even large stores are not safe:  a Walmart at a large intersection was robbed during busy daytime hours, as the pair peppersprayed a cashier and grabbed the cash out of her cash register.

Don’t let your joy be stolen by taking a few precautions:

  • Many apartment buildings have leasing offices that will accept deliveries; let them know you are expecting a package and pick up your items as soon as you get home.  If that is not possible, use “Signature delivery” for orders or gifts that are being sent for delivery.
  • Always lock all your packages in the trunk.  Thieves walk around parking lots looking for cars with packages that are left on the seats in plain view.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and don’t be walking around texting or with a cell phone stuck to your ear.
  • Don’t wear flashy jewelry or carry a large expensive purse when you are out and about – this will just attract unwanted attention.
  • If you are paying cash, be discreet about it and keep your cash in your front pocket.
  • Don’t announce to social media such as Facebook or Twitter that you are planning big purchases, going out shopping or leaving for the holidays.
  • When you park your car anywhere look around to see who is hanging around the area
  • Pay attention to the ATM machine that you are using.  There have been several cases of ATMs being altered to capture passwords and account numbers.  In all the cases, the ATM machine is described as slightly off or different from others.
  • When arriving home, shut your garage door quickly before unloading any packages.  You are still vulnerable in your driveway, as you start to let your guard down.
  • Lock your car at all times, even if you are just running in to pay for gas, or even if you are standing next to your car filling up the tank.
  • Tear up all boxes especially big ticket items such as TVs and computers.  Don’t just leave these boxes in the curb during trash pickup; this is advertising to thieves that you just unpacked some fresh loot.

Some people may say this is paranoia but I say it’s not being paranoid you if you really are being targeted.  Christmas is a time of goodwill to all, but it is not the time to drop your guard.  Pay attention to safety and security at all times.

 © Apartment Prepper 2013

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Security and Home Alarms for Your Apartment

Guest Post by Michael Williams

Home security isn’t just for people who own homes. Although you live in an apartment, you can also enjoy the security and peace of mind a home alarm provides. And when you move you can easily take your alarm system with you.

Keeping your belongings safe and your peace of mind intact isn’t out of reach for the apartment dweller. In fact, there are a variety of options to choose from when it comes to maintaining the safety of your home. Your choices vary from very effective and user friendly wireless alarms to simple timers to deter intruders while you are away.

Wireless Alarm Systems

You don’t need uniformed professionals to install a home alarm system. Many inexpensive models are do-it-yourself friendly and can be installed in a relatively short period of time. However, if you prefer, many alarm companies can also install wireless systems for you in an apartment. For an extra monthly fee, these companies can even provide a monitoring agency to monitor your system around the clock.

Many alarm systems that you can install yourself rival those of a professional alarm company.  These systems come with multiple sensors which include small devices for monitoring your doors and windows. Some even include motion detectors, which are great for placing in a hallway, unless you have pets. To install a wireless system usually requires nothing more than a roll of strong double sided tape.

All of the components of this type of alarm are wireless and rely on Wi-Fi or other wireless technology.  Some systems even come with wireless cameras.  Prices for a complete security system range anywhere from around $100 for a basic system up to over $500 for an elaborate system. Good systems can be found for around $200.

Additional Security Measures

If your landlord is opposed to even the simplest security system, you still have a number of solutions to help protect your apartment from intruders.

Safety entry alarms.   For a few dollars, you can place an alarm on your door. This battery operated device sounds an ear piercing alarm if the door is opened.

Video surveillance. You don’t need a complete security system to monitor your apartment with a camera. Web cam manufacturers are getting into the home security business with cameras that will keep an eye on you apartment.

For a very basic video surveillance system, look into downloading free software that will turn the Web cam on your computer into a remote monitoring device. Some will automatically send email messages when the software picks up unusual activity.

Electronic watchdog alarms. Keep an angry dog in a little box. All you have to feed it is electricity. These alarms detect a person’s presence through doors, glass, and walls. When the alarm is triggered, the sound of a ferocious dog bark makes the intruder reconsider his plans.

Fake TV deterrent. This small device simulates the flickering light and colors of a television.  It comes with a light sensor and timer and looks like someone is watching television while you are out of the apartment.

Light timers. These inexpensive units plug into the wall. A light is then plugged into the unit and the timer is set to come on and off.

The author of this article, Michael Williams, is an enthusiastic purveyor of home security supplies. He has been writing about home safety, security and theft prevention, while also supplying home alarms to those who need them.

 

Three Ways Thieves are Targeting You

This past week we had three news items that grabbed my attention:  potential ways that you could be robbed while going about your day:

1.  Thieves called “Sliders” can steal your purse or emergency backpack right out of your car while you’re filling up your tank

I’ve talked about things I’ve witnessed in the gas station before; another thing I noticed was many people do not bother to lock their cars when they get out to pay and pump gas.   They feel like they are right next to the car so why should they bother.  I may be called paranoid about locking the car even when I am just standing outside but this report has given me more reason to do so.  Several gas stations have footage of thieves actually parking next to cars that are being filled then having an accomplice crouch down, open the car door to grab purses or other items while the driver is filling up the tank.  The news reports are calling them “sliders”  

All they do is sneak in and grab whatever is in the front or back seat that is within easy reach, all without anyone noticing until it is too late.

Avoid being victimized:

  • Lock your car doors even if are next to it while filling up the tank.
  • Lock your “go-bag” in the trunk.
  • If you have items in the seats, cover them up or hide them underneath the seats.

2.  Crooks are breaking into storage units

Many preppers who don’t have a lot of space in their home or apartments may rent storage units to keep their supplies.  Storage facilities can be useful, but you have to be choosy about where you decide to rent your unit.

Tips:

  • Choose a unit that has 24 hour surveillance, with a manager on-site.
  • Use locks that are not easy to break.
  • Find one that requires pass-codes for every entry way into the premises

3.  People being followed and robbed after visiting the bank

This is not a new trend, but I’ve been hearing an increasing number of reports of victims being robbed after going to the bank.  If you operate on a “cash only” system as many of us do, you need to be careful.  There was a local retiree who withdrew her life savings and left the cash in a bag in her car as she stopped at a Whataburger.  When she returned, thieves smashed her car windows and took all her cash.  They must have been following her from the time she left the bank.

  • Keep a watchful eye on who is around you when you park your car to visit the bank, visit the ATM machine or even as you are returning to your car.
  • After you pull out of the bank parking lot, check who is behind you and may be following you.
  • This sounds like common sense, but it bears repeating:  Do not leave your belongings in plain sight when you leave your car, AND if you are carrying a lot of cash, do not leave your money in the car while you do your errands.

Whenever I post about safety, invariably, someone points out that “crime statistics are going down, don’t be an alarmist”  Well, I’d have to say, they may be going down in some areas, but robberies and burglaries are also on the rise in others, and it doesn’t really help is someone gets victimized no matter how low the statistics might be.

 

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Apartment Hardening

I saw an interesting segment on Apocalypse 101, a new survival show featuring the team at Forge Survival Supply.   I’ve only caught parts of the show, but this one caught my attention, because it was about an apartment dweller in Manhattan who lived in the second floor.  She wanted to bug in and barricade herself in the apartment, in the event of TEOTWAWKI.  The team showed her how to harden her apartment so she could survive as well as possible in a society collapse.

The team asked the lady to show them all possible entrances and exits to her apartment.

They then went to the hardware store where they picked up lots of nails, tools such as hammers, wire cutters, heavy duty staple gun, chicken wire, wood, etc.  I actually thought it would be a good idea to have tools handy in the apartment, before anything happens.  In a collapse, these tools would disappear from shelves very quickly.

Windows

First, the team reinforced the windows on the outside by stapling chicken wire all around.  The chicken wire would protect the windows from shattering in case bottles, rocks or even a Molotov cocktail was thrown at them.

They then covered the inside of the windows with black trash bags so no one outside could see in.  In a grid down situation, light will attract attention, which should be avoided.

Doors

In front of the doors that would most likely get broken into, the team hammered a bunch of large nails on a piece of wood, thereby making a doormat of nails.  If an undesirable someone were to step inside, they would “accidentally” step on the nails.

Fire Escape

In a dangerous, grid down scenario, the fire escape could be used to get into her apartment so they showed her how to make the ladder slippery by slathering on grease, and wrapping barbed wire around the area.  Of course, in “normal” times, rigging the fire escape and interfering with access would be against fire codes and therefore must not be attempted.  Again they were showing her tips to protect herself in case of TEOTWAWKI.  Another reason for the barbed wire was to deter attackers by giving them the perception that this unit would be a hard nut to crack and hopefully they would move on to something else.

I’m not sure how long these deterrents would hold up during an extended disaster; however, having these protections certainly would be better than nothing.  I would also make sure there is an escape route planned ahead of time, if all else fails.

Of course the most important factor to survive is the right mindset, and the lady featured seemed to have what it takes.

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