Home Invasion Victims Fight Back

The term self-defense in general means fighting back; by definition, it means “defending oneself.” However, I’ve always preferred the never-used term self-offense, which in my mind means attacking the attacker before he has a chance to attack you.

Anyway, two recent home invasion stories demonstrate a little self-defense and self-offense as the “victims” become victorious by taking control over the situations.

As SFGate reports in its article, “Home invasion victim holds suspect at gunpoint,” “Authorities in south Alabama say the victim of a home invasion robbery held a suspect at gunpoint until sheriff’s deputies arrived.”

Apparently this 20-year-old kicked in the front door and the homeowner’s dog went after him as the homeowner got out his shotgun! Love that! A shotgun and a dog! (It would have been even better if the owner had a home security system that blared when the door was kicked in.)

Australia’s Herald Sun reports in its piece, “Home invader stabbed as victim fights back,” that police were called to a house after reports that three men armed with knives had assaulted the victim and stolen jewelry and a mobile phone. The resident allegedly fought back, stabbing one of the home invaders in the torso.

There are proactive ways to prevent a home invasion such as these.

#1 Have a home security system installed and turned on while you are home.

#2 Install signage such as “Home Alarmed” or “Beware of Dog.”

#3 Install solid-core doors and strong locks.

#4 Install door reinforcement technology to make the door harder to kick in.

#5 Never open the door for strangers.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

High-end, High-tech Home Security

There’s really no limit to how much money can be spent on home security if you want to ensure the very best home security for your family and money isn’t a huge concern. Note that while some of these options are affordable, others are very expensive.

  • Keyless door locks: As you might expect, keyless door locks don’t need any keys to open. Some require a pin code to open, and others may work with wireless Bluetooth or can be controlled via the internet.
  • Remote-controlled home alarms: Remote-controlled alarms are almost a standard offering today. Remotely controlling an alarm system can be done online from any internet-connected device or via a keyfob within 200 feet of your home.
  • Robotic camera: Very expensive, but I WANT ONE! GroundBot™ is a robotic mobile platform that hosts cameras and sensors. GroundBot can be remote controlled by hand or programmed to navigate by GPS.
  • Remote monitoring: This involves real-time human remote monitoring of your property via sound and video 24 hours a day, all year long. (Gas stations employ systems like this.) If a robber comes in, the dispatcher would warn the robber over the speaker system that he is being filmed and law enforcement has been dispatched.
  • Bulletproof everything: If flying bullets are a concern, you can install bulletproof doors, bulletproof glass and steel plating in your walls.
  • Safe rooms: A safe room (or “panic room”) can protect you from natural disasters like a hurricane or tornado or man-made ones like bombs, and is effective against home invaders too. High-tech ones are equipped with such features as satellite phones, internet, food, water and even oxygen.
  • Sixteen- or 32-camera CCTV: An eight-camera system today can be had for under $500. Sixteen- or 32-camera digital video recorders are still a little expensive, but with a system of up to 32 cameras, there won’t be a spot outside or inside your property that won’t have an extra pair of eyes on it.

Home security is a must for everyone. Whether you drop big money or small change, the peace of mind you will receive is priceless.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Home Invader: ‘I Have Torn Apart Families and Ruined Lives’

Home invasions are the nastiest of all burglaries. They usually involve some type of force, and there is often a weapon involved. In this one particularly brutal and deadly home invasion, the perpetrator and his cohorts used a machete.

Back in 2010, the Boston Globe reported, “A woman hacked to death with a machete and knife in her home was alive for all 32 slash and stab wounds that split open her skull, sliced through bones and pierced organs, a medical examiner testified.”

Steven Spader, who created a gang called “Disciples of Destruction,” was 17 years old at the time of his murderous rampage. Spader’s gang broke into the woman’s New Hampshire home while she and her daughter slept.

Spader, who stated, “Through my impulsive actions, I have torn apart families and ruined lives,” was resentenced last month to life in prison plus 76 years. His resentencing was required due to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that mandatory life sentences for those under the age of 18 at the time they killed amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. It’s amazing to me that any law would consider any punishment of any kind for this kid as cruel and unusual.

Superior Court Judge Gillian Abramson stated on the April court date, ‘‘The circumstances of these horrific crimes and the extent of the defendant’s planning and participating warrant the imposition of life without parole and maximum consecutive sentences.’’ Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin stated that Spader is a ‘‘psychopath. It’s not a phase. It’s not something he’s going to grow out of; it’s who he is.’’

The chances of something this nasty even happening to you is slim. But there is a chance, so at least install a home security system and keep it turned on while you are at home.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

6 Tips for Apartment Security

According to the National Crime Prevention Council, apartments have an 85 percent greater chance of being burglarized than a single-family homeowner or rental property.


Apartment security should be a priority for landlords to provide for tenants, but it’s really up to you, the tenant, to ensure your security. When hunting for a security-minded apartment complex, consider the following:

  1. Home security systems: Today’s systems are wireless and portable. You don’t need to own a house or have a contractor install it. Ask if you have permission to install an in-apartment home security system with motion detectors. This should not be negotiable. Wireless home security systems are non-invasive and inexpensive.
  2. Peephole: Require a peephole on your door.
  3. Door security: If the doors are glass-paned opposed to solid-core doors, then your potential landlord isn’t concerned about your security. Doors should have a knob lock and a deadbolt, and the doorjamb and hinges should be reinforced. Search door reinforcement online to see what your options are.
  4. Surveillance cameras: Having one to 16 cameras with signage lets the bad guy know he’s being watched. Most camera systems can be remotely accessed with your mobile phone or tablet.
  5. High-wattage sodium lighting: You cameras will work better with good lighting. Exterior lighting on the perimeter lets the bad guy know he can’t hide. (Bonus: Cockroaches hate light too.)
  6. Parking lot security fencing: Perimeter fencing six feet high is a great deterrent.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

8 Ways to Avoid Contractor Fraud

Need a new roof, home security system, kitchen, driveway or furnace? At some point, you will. And when you do, you’ll search out reputable contractors who offer fair pricing—via the classified section of the local paper, an online search, Craigslist, or by making some calls to friends and family who know someone. Each resource provides its own set of pros and cons, and scammers use every resource.

  1. Reduce your risk. People don’t do their homework. People are naïve and have no clue that someone may be looking to scam them, and they think they are so smart that nobody can scam them. But if you are smart enough to know that this can happen to you and do your best to prevent it, you reduce the risks associated with contractor fraud.
  2. Do your homework. Read up on what the processes are to do the job at hand. While a new roof or home alarm may not be something you want to learn how to do, there are plenty of “do-it-yourself” (or “DIY”) websites that can teach you. Spending two minutes searching and 20 minutes reading can save you money and make you sound intelligent to the contractor by asking the right questions.
  3. Hire right. Do business with someone you know, like and trust. Use well-known brands that vet contractors and have zero-tolerance policies for shoddy work. Find a friend or other trusted source who does know a contractor and hire that contractor. Use the Better Business Bureau when looking for reputable companies.
  4. Get three bids. Be cognizant of how prospective contractors handle themselves, their level of understanding of the work at hand, and whether or not they voluntarily offer up references. Don’t just automatically trust the guy with the whitest teeth and lowest price. Pay attention to your gut.
  5. Check references. If it makes sense for the job at hand, drive by a house that the contractor referenced and actually look to see the quality of the work that was done. Often, construction jobs costs thousands—and taking the time to check work is worth your time.
  6. Get everything in writing. Make sure the contract that clearly spells it all out.
  7. Buy the stock yourself. Many contractors will request money up front to do the job. Often they need that money as a “commitment” to do the job and motivate them to fill their trucks up with the tools and stock to do the job. I recommend you go with them to whatever supplier they get their stock from and pay for it directly. If they charge a markup on the stock (it’s usually 15 percent), tell them you’ll gladly give that to them.
  8. Pay in thirds. You’ve already paid for the stock, so now all you have to do is pay for labor: one third upon showing up to do the work, one third halfway through the job and one third when they are done.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Barefoot Burglar Gets His Final Sentence

You may recall the story about Colton Harris-Moore, who as a teenager was busted for committing over 100 burglaries in the Pacific Northwest. He stole cars, speedboats and airplanes and is known as the “Barefoot Burglar” because he kicked off his shoes running through the woods from the police.

After two years of running, Harris-Moore was busted in a chase that involved police, boats and bullets. Most of these stories usually end up with the perpetrator being dead. But this now-20-year-old will live to tell another tale—from prison. Last summer, he signed a movie deal to make $1.3 million with 20th Century Fox. However, he won’t earn any money from this, as all the funds will go to restitution.

Fox News reports, “The young man known as the ‘Barefoot Bandit’ pleaded guilty to burglary Wednesday in a Washington County court, perhaps closing the lengthy saga involving a run from the law in stolen cars, boats and airplanes. Judge Rickert acknowledged Harris-Moore’s difficult childhood and lack of parental support that led him to start breaking into cabins and stores as a teenager and that ended with dozens of felony convictions.

“’This is the high cost of low living,’ the judge said. ‘If you can fly an airplane by a manual,’ the judge said, ‘I guess you can pass a GED in three weeks.’ Browne said it wouldn’t be the last chapter in the Harris-Moore story, ‘because you’re going to hear a lot more from Colton, but in positive ways.’”

There is only one Barefoot Burglar, but there are thousands of others breaking into the business every day.

  • Lock your doors and windows.
  • Install a monitored alarm system.
  • Give your home that lived-in look.
  • Leave the TV on LOUD while you are gone.
  • Install timers on your lights—both indoor and outdoor.
  • Close the shades to prevent peeping inside.
  • Use defensive signage.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Fight or Flight: What Would You Do?

First, I’m a big believer in running away from a predator. If some whack job breaks into your home and wants to hurt you, RUN out the nearest door. But if you are backed into a corner or a loved one needs protecting, then you may have to fight.

Mom and Dad teach us not to hurt others. As children, we are taught kindness and manners. This is called civilized conditioning. Civilized conditioning is what allows us to inhabit a civilized society without having to worry every second about violence. .

But, as you know, violence is an everyday occurrence somewhere. The fact is, there are plenty of people out there who are uncivilized and capable of doing awful things to others.

Civilized conditioning is a double-edged sword. The good part is, it prevents us from being violent toward others for no reason. The bad part is, it prevents us from being physical with another person in the event we do need to protect ourselves. Civilized conditioning is known to contribute to making a person freeze up, stop breathing and panic when someone attacks.

What would you do if confronted by a bad guy? How would you respond? Freeze up? Run? Fight?

As a parent, if someone were to walk up to your child and put his hands on her, without hesitation you would respond with a vengeance—because the parental instinct to defend one’s child never goes away. So you do have it in you; your job is to access those instincts when it comes to saving your own life.

Tools to overcome civilized conditioning when necessary:

  • Realize that no one has a right to hurt or harm you at any time or for any reason.
  • Know that fighting back and offering resistance is the most effective way to remove yourself from a dangerous situation.
  • Ask “What if” questions like, “What if, as I rounded this corner, there was someone there to attack me?” to prepare your mind and body to respond in the event of danger.
  • Use visualization to see potential scenarios in your mind and act out in your head how you would respond.
  • Take as many self-defense classes as you can afford. Self-defense is a life-enhancing experience that gives you an enormous amount of perspective.
  • Develop an acute awareness of your environment (also known as situational awareness), no matter where you are or what you are doing. If something feels wrong, something IS wrong.
  • When attacked, always run to safety, such as to inside a store, someone’s home or any populated place. The worst thing you can do is nothing.
  • Incorporate technology like home alarm systems to give yourself an edge over predators.

Robert Siciliano, personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com, discussing burglar-proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

10 Cheap Ways to Secure Your Home

  1. Consulting: Call a locksmith or a police officer for some basic tips on home security. Community programs in which law enforcement inspects a property is a cost-effective way to secure your home.
  2. Signage: Use “Beware of Dog” signs—one for the front door and one for the back door. And “This House is Alarmed” signs are excellent deterrents.
  3. Dogs: Dogs are a great form of home security…but they also can be expensive. Just buy the biggest dog food bowl possible—one bowl for the front porch and one for the back. Writing Killer on the bowl will give a burglar the impression that you have a big and vicious dog. You can even buy a barking dog alarm.
  4. Neighborhood watch: Have your neighbors keep a keen eye on your property when you are away, and do the same for them. Start a neighborhood watch program and set it up so everyone has a responsibility to watch one another’s properties.
  5. Lived-in look: Make your home seem occupied all day, every day. When you are away, put the stereo or TV on loud enough to hear from the immediate exterior. Buy inexpensive timers and plug all your lamps in.
  6. Outdoor motion sensors: Only 10-20 bucks. When someone is creeping and an exterior light goes on, they make a burglar think he’s being watched.
  7. Decent locks: Locks can be as cheap as 30 bucks. Beef up the strike plate by installing three-inch screws deep into the frame.
  8. Security bar: For short money, you can make a “security bar” with wood or pipe that wedges up under your doorknob.
  9. Screw your windows: Install small-angle brackets that prevent the windows from opening any more than five inches.

10. Install a bare-minimum home security system that includes daily alarm monitoring for short money. I use a home alarm too, and it is the best protection when you are sleeping or at work.

Robert Siciliano, personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com, discussing burglar-proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Be Strong, Oklahoma. Be Strong.

At this point, everyone knows the Oklahoma City area was slammed by a massive tornado—maybe one of, if not the worst, in history. News reports say dozens of people were killed and hundreds of others injured. The catastrophic event demolished buildings to their foundations.

CNN reports, “Insurance claims will likely top $1 billion, Kelly Collins of the Oklahoma Insurance Commission told CNN. The cost would be higher than that from the May 3, 1999, tornado that hit the same area.”

Weather.com calls the twister an EF5, which means its winds topped over 200 MPH in spots. The Weather Channel’s survey shows the tornado’s path length to have been 17 miles long and up to 1.3 miles wide. Winds were estimated in some spots to be 200–210 MPH in the area with EF5 damage.

Acts of Mother Nature sometimes eclipse the devastation brought on by man. Some may say that man caused this disaster by initiating global warming. Nobody knows for sure, but one thing is certain: Those affected will bounce back.

Tragedy and adversity have a way of bringing out the best in people. I saw firsthand how people came together after 9/11 and then, more recently, in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. What has been most significant to me is the outpouring of love and support through direct communications via Facebook, Twitter and in the donations to Boston’s OneFund and the American Red Cross for Oklahoma.

Be strong, Oklahoma. Or thoughts and donations are coming your way.

Robert Siciliano, personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com, discussing burglar-proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Craigslist Robbery By Appointment

It’s springtime. You put an ad on Craigslist to get rid of some things, clean out your garage and make a few bucks while you are at it. Maybe you have an old diamond ring to sell. Or that truck you are driving isn’t what it used to be, so you decide it’s time to sell. 
The ad goes out, people call and you make the appointments. But, unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned, do they?

The Spec reports, The odds of being physically harmed from using an online classified service are not high, but a blend of cybercrime and physical crime is common enough in the U.S. that one police force there has offered consumers the opportunity to conduct online transactions in person at their police station.

“People believe that because it’s there online, and that someone is reaching out, that it must be legitimate … There’s a reason your mom always told you not to talk to strangers.”

Use Craigslist with caution. Don’t think for one second you can’t be robbed, burglarized, scammed or killed. Some people’s homes have been invaded, and it can happen to you too. Be very careful who you contact; you never know who the person is or what his motivation may be.

Get identification details pre-meeting. Make sure to get the full contact details of the other person and call back to verify. A little white lie like, “My brother is a cop and will be here” will make the person you’re dealing think twice about harming you.

Meet at a public location. Coffee shops, malls, police stations—anywhere but your home that involves lots of other people. The more eyeballs, the better.

Trust your instincts. Don’t discount any weird feelings you might have about meeting with this person. If something seems wrong, then it IS wrong. Cancel if you don’t feel right about it.

Enlist a buddy. Strength in numbers makes predators think twice. Predators thrive on isolation. By pairing up, you reduce the chances of being attacked.

Be street smart. Expensive jewelry and provocative clothing can invite an attack. Scarves around your neck give attackers something to grab and choke you with. Wear sneakers that you can run and fight in.

Be on guard. Just like Mom said, there is risk in meeting strangers. Being on guard can keep you from getting into a compromised position.

Stay in communication. Let your spouse, friends, family or coworkers know where you are going, who you will be meeting and when you will be back. Stay in contact on your mobile while you are meeting.

Use your panic alarm. If you are crazy enough to meet the other party at your home, have someone stand guard at your home security alarm’s panic button to summon the police if things go wrong.

Robert Siciliano, personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com, discussing burglar-proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.