This post is by Bernie Carr,
I’ve been warning readers to stop leaving purses and packages in plain view inside their cars for years now. Police send out announcements in the neighborhood every time the holidays come around. People are listening for the most part, but thieves seem to have adapted their tactics.
Now they are breaking vehicle windows hoping to find weapons hidden under the seat or glove compartment.
What are thieves doing?
According to Click2Houston, they scour strip malls and find locations where people leave their cars and an hour or two, target vehicles that catch their attention and break the window hoping to steal guns that may be stashed under the seat.
A lot of businesses post signs that prohibiting guns in the premises, so gun owners tend to leave their weapon under the seat or in the glove compartment of the car.
This got me thinking about how they choose their targets as they break in to cars and homes.
As we know thieves often case the area and even follow potential victims around before they strike.
While waiting in a strip mall parking lot, I did a bit of people watching to see what information I could glean. I spotted many people that were too busy to pay attention to their surroundings:
- Moms who left their purses in the shopping cart as they placed their toddler into the car seat.
- Young adults walking while immersed in their smart phone, never looking up to check who was around.
I also looked at the cars themselves and found them to be a treasure trove of information.
What messages are you unknowingly broadcasting to the world?
Your appearance and attitude
Do you stand out of a crowd? Are you wearing a jacket that looks luxurious and expensive? You may think you are just trying to stay warm. But if you get noticed, you may get targeted. There is protection in being “the gray man.”
Do you appear distracted or wrapped up in your thoughts or your phone?
Project alertness and awareness of your surroundings so anyone who is looking for a victim will avoid you.
It’s occasionally nice to share pleasantries with strangers. You could be paying at the gas station and the cashier may comment about you taking a road trip. If you mention you are headed out of town within earshot of others and you just gave your credit card information, someone could potentially look you up. I’m not saying you should be rude. You can respond nicely, but stop short of revealing your activities.
Insignias and stickers
You may be someone who does not even use social media due to privacy concerns. But if you have stickers in your car or house, insignias sewn on your jacket, you are not only sharing your interests, you are giving a peek into your personal life and habits. Here are a few examples:
- A family stick figure sticker that show a mom, a couple of kids and a tiny dog tells there is only one adult and two young children in the household. Thieves know they can easily overcome a toy dog so they will be emboldened. All they have to do is wait until the one adult leaves, likely with the two kids and the home will be unoccupied.
- A sticker in a home showing “Protected by Smith and Wesson” may serve as a warning but also shows you likely have guns and ammo in the premises, which now makes you attractive to robbers.
- If your truck is covered with stickers showing out of state places you’ve visited, you may be announcing that you are out of town a lot, leaving your home unprotected on weekends.
- An NRA logo in your home or car window also gives away information that you likely have a weapon they can steal. In fact, this happened in our apartment complex a few months ago. The tenants that had an NRA sticker or an American flag were targeted.
- If you sit in your car removing your holster and reaching down, someone who is watching your from the sidelines can tell you just left your gun in the car, so you need to be discreet in your actions.
This may sound too paranoid to you; unfortunately, we have heard of victims being followed all the way home from the bank and waylaid as they park their car in their driveway.
So take a step back and consider what information you are inadvertantly sharing with the world. You may find you are revealing too much.
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