Home Invasion Task Force on high Alert

Florida’s Collier County residents have a new fear on the block: masked home invaders. But really, they’re more like home walker-inners, because in the five reported cases, they got in via an unlocked door.

1BA task force was assembled on April 7 to figure out anything about these home invasions that began mid-February in which residents are held at gunpoint and bound. It’s not clear if these crimes are related.

But apparently, the intruders prefer occupied homes, figuring they can get a lot more this way (e.g., being directed to the safe and given the combination). And they’re quite adept at evading authorities; no details on the masked intruders are out, even though investigators are really hammering away at figuring this out, meeting every morning.

Residents are being urged to contact the sheriff’s office about suspicious activity, such as an idling car in a street, and just to trust their gut instincts about something seeming out of place.

As long as people continue leaving their doors unlocked, these invaders will continue having a field day with their crimes. Police are adamant that residents keep their doors locked, and keeping their alarms on (if they have one) even when they’re home.

Residents should consider putting valuables in a safe-deposit box located at their bank, and put up security cameras, a proven deterrent to home invasions and burglaries.

Thus far, compliant occupants of the invaded homes have not been harmed, but one who tried to escape was injured enough to require hospitalization. The task force won’t give up until the perpetrators are stopped.

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

Home Invasion ends in Death

A man died at the hands of two intruders who invaded his home in Sacramento County recently. The 30-year-old victim had been shot. According to witnesses, two intruders barged into the apartment, then shot the man, but not before stealing some of his belongings.

1BCan something like this be prevented? Most likely, even though we don’t have the details. How were the intruders able to force their way into the apartment in the first place? Did the man open the door, and that’s how they got in? Was the door unlocked, and the intruders simply walked in?

Tips to help prevent a home invasion:

  • Instruct your kids or any children visiting that they are never to answer a knock at the door or the doorbell ringing, even if pizza or some other delivery is expected. Your kids must know that they are forbidden from responding to the door even if you’re momentarily indisposed ( in the shower, on a ladder painting the ceiling, etc.).
  • Have an alarm system installed, and always keep it on, and yes, that means making it a habit to turn it off before you step outside to let the dog out, water the garden, retrieve the mail, take out the trash, etc. Kids, too, must learn this habit, since they are often in and out of a house many times in one day.
  • To make it easier to embrace the idea of keeping the alarm on at all times, realize that often, a burglar or rapist won’t even ring your doorbell or knock. They’ll just make their way in and creep up on you.
  • Install a 24-hour video surveillance system. If a burglar or rapist spots that camera, or even the system’s company’s warning decals, this will be a great deterrent. All doors and entry points should have a camera.
  • If a stranger is at your door, speak to that person with the main door closed, never through just the screen door.

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

Home Invasion prompts Neighbors to invest in Security

The Lincoln-Highlands Association is a resident organization devoted to fighting crime in Oakland, California’s Dimond District.

2BA hundred residents are needed for the program, which would require $30 a month to fund a security guard to patrol the area five days per week.

Other neighborhoods have had success with private patrols, and the push for the Association’s private guard was spurred by an armed intruder who shot and wounded an elderly woman in her house.

However, not all residents are gung-ho on paying for the patrol. One resident says that keeping ahead of crime is the city’s responsibility, and one security guard isn’t omnipotent. On the other hand, how else can crime be deterred, wonder the supporters. The supporters say they’ve gotten a very warm response to the plan and will continue seeking out more supporters.

Home Alarm Systems: Can Do Everything but Handcuff the Intruder

Security systems these days can do just about everything save for apprehending your home’s brazen intruder. Modern-day systems come with all sorts of features that will either deter break-ins or make break-ins more difficult, plus also keep the homeowner aware of everything that’s going on with their property: inside and out.

Features include wireless cameras that have full web access to them, remote controlled and timed lighting, iPhone and Android apps to control and monitor video surveillance from anywhere, remote controlled thermostats, among others. A web dashboard allows the user to control all aspects of each feature, which includes programming in a reaction to a specified incident.

Despite all these features, it’s easy to program such alarm systems, which yield to the user significant awareness of their home’s internal and external environment.

Guard or no guard, don’t keep putting off getting a modern home security system. No intruder wants to wait for you.

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

Home invader stuffs victim into gun closet…and…

And he comes out shooting! Three invaders in Houston kicked in a homeowner’s door then proceeded to beat him up and stuff him into a closet that just happened to contain all the homeowner’s firearms. How ironic.

What would you do?


I suppose most people would come out shooting. There are other options here: If I were by myself, maybe I’d wait it out until the home invaders left—or, if they did come back to get me in the closet, be ready to shoot them. However, there are significant risks associated with pulling a gun on someone. It may not fire. The other guy may have his own gun or guns. You may miss. He may not. And if you had family to protect, laying low may not even be a consideration.

Gawker reports, “Waiting until the coast was clear, the victim armed himself and exited the closet. He proceeded downstairs, where he encountered one of the three perps, and gunfire was exchanged. The burglar was struck in the shoulder and leg; the victim was unharmed. The two other intruders quickly fled the scene in a Chevy Tahoe. Their injured accomplice chased after them for a short while before collapsing on the street.”

Well, there you go. Happy ending. Bad guy is bloodied in the streets. Let’s celebrate!

I’m all for justice. But sometimes these things don’t turn out so well. When asked what the most effective deterrent to a burglary or home invasion is, many people will answer, “A gun.” And while the United States has more guns per capita than any other country on the planet (Yemen is second, and you see how well that’s working out for them), a gun is a purely reactive form of security—and it only works if you are home, and you have to be lucky enough not to be killed first or be stuffed into your gun closet.

Just get a home alarm. A home security system is paramount to protecting your family, home and stuff. If you want guns too, lovely—but at least get a home alarm too.

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

13 Year Old Hides Under Bed During A Boston Burglary

The Boston Globe reports: The girl sent a text message to her father, said Police, and then called the police as she hid under her bed while the unidentified man stole three laptops, a large amount of change estimated at about $500, an iPod, and possibly some jewelry.

“The little girl did a fantastic job staying calm and calling us, letting us know what was going on, we had direct communication with her.’’

She must have watched this video of me on Montel saying that exact thing!

“The man had gained entry by kicking the side door of the two-story home off its hinges, and by the time they responded, the suspect had fled,” police said. “The intruder never knew the girl, who was not injured, was under the bed,” police believe.

First, never leave a 13 year old home alone. Maybe a 13 year old is perfectly capable, but still, that doesn’t work for me. If it’s legal in your state to have a 13 year old home alone, then at least discuss home security tips, which in this case maybe someone did. She did well by hiding and making the call with her mobile.

At least install a home security system with home security cameras as another layer of protection with signage outside. Do you think a sign outside that denoted the house was alarmed would have helped? If it did, I bet the guy would not have broken in.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to Home Security Source discussing Home Invasions on Montel Williams.

Is It A Home Invasion Or A Burglary?

There has been lots of media attention on home invasions due to their frequency and the brutality that accompanies them.

A home invasion is much like a bank robbery when the robbers use force to get what they want. Robbery as defined in Wikipedia is the crime of seizing property through violence or intimidation. At common law, robbery is defined as taking the property of another, with the intent to permanently deprive the person of that property, by means of force or fear. Robbery differs from simple theft, a break-in or burglary on its use of violence and intimidation.

Burglary on the other hand generally involves criminals who prefer the home is without occupants. They may impulsively enter a neighborhood and seek out homes that are dark, no car in the driveway, mail piled up and the doors and windows are left unsecured.

Often they will case a certain home and determine the specifics of when the resident is gone. Often they will make an effort to get a phone number of the home by getting the family name from a placard on the side of the house or from information in the mailbox.

In both situations proper security can reduce risk. In my home the home security system is always on. This means whether home or not, any unlawful intrusion is met with a piecing alarm and an automatic call to the police.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to Home Security Source discussing  home invasions on the Gordon Elliot Show.

10 Tips to Post Holiday Home Security

For Christmas, one of my neighbors got a 60 inch LCD screen TV. I saw the same TV at Costco for $2000.00. Another neighbor got a Mac Book Pro. I saw this online for $2000.00. Another neighbor got a Nikon Digital SLR camera, and I saw this at Amazon for almost $900.00. These are neighbors I’ve never spoken to, ever. I know this because the boxes were prominently displayed in their trash like trophies one would put on a mantel in their living room.

Trash day is coming and burglars may case your neighborhood looking for boxes where electronics such as computers, flat panel TVs, game consoles and other re-saleable items are. Then, while you are at work, they just break into your home and take it.

It’s pretty obvious whose home and who is not when the lights are off or there is no car in the driveway. All a burglar has to do is ring a door bell to see of you are actually home. If no one answers they jiggle the door knob to see if it’s locked or not.  If it’s locked they will head to the back door and jiggle that.

Many times they will walk right in because people are often irresponsible and leave the doors unlocked because they believe “it can’t happen to me”. If the doors are locked they may try a few street level or basement windows. Brazen burglars will not waste any time and may break glass or use a crowbar and forcibly enter the residence.

For post holiday security, use these home security suggestions:

  1. Lock your doors and windows
  2. Install a monitored alarm system. Consider ADT Pulse.
  3. Give your home that lived in look
  4. Leave the TV on LOUD while you are gone
  5. Install timers on your lights both indoor and outdoor
  6. Close the shades to prevent peeping inside
  7. Use defensive signage
  8. Store item boxes for at least 90 days because if you have a defective product you will need the box for a return
  9. After 90 days tear up the box so it’s undistinguishable then recycle or put it in a black trash bag
  10. Update your home inventory. This is a good time to catalog/document/video tape what you own. Contact your insurer to discuss what they need to properly insure your new gifts.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to Home Security Source discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston.

2010 Saw Dramatic Rise In Home Invasions

Maybe it’s the economy or maybe people are just getting nuttier, but my news alerts have been pouring in describing horrific home-invasions with many resulting in growing levels of violence.

In some places, there is a correlation between home invasions and organized crime, drugs, prostitution and gambling.

In Calgary, our neighbor to the north, the Calgary Herald reports “The violent home confrontations typically see victims assaulted, threatened and bound with duct tape, plastic zip ties or rope while thieves ransack their homes for cash and valuables.”

It seems that home invasion has become a crime that knows no boundaries.

The pseudo good news is in 2/3rd of the home invasion cases the parties involved (invaded and invaders) were heavily into lowlife activities. So if you are not dealing drugs or involved in gang activity then you’re less susceptible.

However in almost 1/3rd of the cases the victims were people who kept large sums of money in their homes. So if you are a person who stuffs your mattress with cash you are more vulnerable.

If you fit into the category of mattress stuffer:

#1 Put your money in the bank! It makes no sense to have wads of cash around. Even if it’s in a safe, a home invader will force you to open it.

#2 If you insist on having wads of cash around then tell no-one! Home invaders are often deprived people in a position of trust who turn on their victim.

#3 Take some of that money and invest it into a home security system. For about a dollar a day your home can be fully monitored and alarmed.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to Home Security Source discussing Home Invasions on Montel Williams.

New Jersey Home Robbery: One Unlocked Window Brings a Life of Pain

Robbery as defined in Wikipedia is the crime of seizing property through violence or intimidation. At common law, robbery is defined as taking the property of another, with the intent to permanently deprive the person of that property, by means of force or fear. Robbery differs from simple theft, a break-in or burglary on its use of violence and intimidation.

Many of us are told that when you are attacked to let it happen so it doesn’t get any worse. In some cases that may be your only option. Studies have also shown that fighting back might be a better option. Showing resistance and making it difficult for your attacker to do their job often helps you get to safety.

In New Jersey near Atlantic City “a woman, identified only as “L. L.” in documents, was asleep in her bed and a 28 year old man crawled in an open window at about 1:30 a.m. L.L. heard something fall, got up to investigate the noise and met the home invader  inside her home.

The predator is accused of beating and raping her, then filling a trash bag with personal items in order to derail an investigation before fleeing her home. Armed with a knife, police said, he threatened to kill L.L. if she talked with authorities.”

The best course of action is always to put systems in place to avoid having to confront a predator in the first place.

There are some things that can be done to reduce the chances that your home is targeted for robbery:
1. Install outdoor lighting that may keep the bad guy away

2. Lock all doors and windows always
3. Install security cameras
4. Install a home alarm system. Have a panic button for your home alarm that calls for help and sends a screaming alarm
5. Always run to safety when attacked. The worst thing you can do is nothing.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing home invasions on the Gordon Elliot Show.

15 Break-ins at Boston Area Churches – Nothing is Sacred

Last year around the holidays I wrote about burglars preying on churches.

This year is no different. The Boston Globe reports You know things are bad when they start knocking off churches. And judging by the number of churches knocked off recently, things are very bad indeed.”

“I’m seeing levels of desperation out there I haven’t seen for a long while,’’ said the churches Priest. “Like most priests and ministers, he sees a lot of people who live on the margins. They come to the three churches he oversees for food and laundry money and help with the rent. They come because they don’t belong anywhere else.

And sometimes they come to steal. There have been 15 break-ins at Boston area churches in the last few months. And that’s just the Catholic ones.”

It doesn’t matter where, when or who, a burglar will go where there is easy access and easy money, or goods to be resold.

Often, it is those on the inside that have knowledge of how things work and where they are. So, it is important to beef up security to protect from the inside-out and from the outside-in.

In some cases burglars enter through unlocked doors; in others, broken windows and they will even bust doors off of their frames.

Theft happens. Protect against it.

  1. Lock up. Even if it’s an “open access” environment
  2. Have someone always watching the door
  3. Install visible motion sensitive security cameras everywhere recorded by a DVR
  4. Install hidden motion sensitive security cameras everywhere recorded by a DVR
  5. Install “Monitored by Video Surveillance” signs everywhere
  6. Lock doors and windows always
  7. Install glass break prevention film
  8. Install a monitored alarm system

9.     Be proactive with the help of wireless home security systems and new interactive smart home solutions that go beyond traditional security to a new level of control, accessibility and connection with the property.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing  Home Security and Identity Theft on TBS Movie and a Makeover.