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Idiot Burglar takes Selfie

About 7 a.m. on a Saturday a burglar entered a home through an unlocked side door (how anyone can sleep overnight while a door stays unlocked is a whole new article).

3BThe dumb criminal saw an iPhone and unknowingly triggered a video selfie—showing him standing in the living room during this recent L.A. crime—while three residents were fast asleep including two teen girls. (Again, why didn’t the adult of the home, a woman, lock all the doors…)

A similar scene played out in the UK when a woman tried to unlock a hot iPhone. It had an app called iGotYa. This application automatically sends a photo to the owner.

Another case has the owner of a phone receiving an e-mail of a photo of a man who tried to access the phone with a wrong PIN.

These “got ya” moments can happen to an innocent finder of a lost phone.

There’s yet another case of a man who apparently stole a phone on the beach while its lax female owner went skinny dipping. This occurred in Dubai, and the thief was not able to figure out how to switch off the auto-photo upload tool. As a result, a video ensued called “Life of a stranger who stole my iPhone.”

There are easier ways to locate a lost phone than a “got ya” type app, though this application might one day come in handy for the woman whose unlocked door let in the burglar—who is still at large and nameless.

Android

  • Google has a “Find My Phone” tool. Just type this into the Google search engine and take it from there.
  • There are many paid and free apps that provide numerous commands for remote control such as wiping data, locking the phone, setting off an alarm and resetting the passcode.

Apple

  • Apple has “Find my iPhone”.
  • The lost phone is tracked.
  • Users can remotely wipe it.
  • Just locking it (without wiping it) can still leave messages viewable to anyone who comes upon the phone.

A “kill switch” would allow the phone’s owner to remotely wipe all data and render the phone unusable. In California a new law was passed mandating that, starting this past July, all mobiles sold in the state must have a kill switch.

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

Police offer 18 Burglary Prevention Tips

To help keep your home and property safe from crime, the New Castle County Police Department provides the following guidelines:

  1. Sounds like a no-brainer, but so many people do otherwise: Keep your doors locked at all times. People will actually go to sleep with the front door unlocked.
  2. Doors should be locked with a deadbolt that has at least a one-inch throw.
  3. Keep windows locked. People have been known to leave a window open overnight in their child’s bedroom. Yes, hot weather is here, but there are ways to ventilate rooms without inviting burglars and rapists in. A bad guy could easily, and quietly, remove a screen.
  4. Check all your windows; all should have locks.
  5. All sliding doors and windows should have a block in the track.
  6. The garage door should never be open unless it’s in use. This includes when you’re outdoors doing yardwork—it’s not in use while you’re tending the garden or lawn.
  7. Check the window A/C units: They should be very difficult to remove.
  8. Close curtains and blinds at night. This means when it begins getting dusky.
  9. Your house number should be easy to read, ideally large, reflective numbers.
  10. Lighting should be installed at all entrances: front, side and back.
  11. Install a timed lighting system to make it look like someone is always home.
  12. Make sure there are no trees or brush obscuring entrances, as burglars can hide more easily.
  13. Don’t leave ladders out in the yard because you don’t have the energy after doing a project to return them to the garage. Unless you just became overcome with severe food poisoning, you can hustle that ladder back into the garage.
  14. Don’t hide keys under the welcome mat or anyplace else outside.
  15. Garage door openers should not be visible inside your car. Neither should valuables, even a pricey pair of sunglasses.
  16. Leave a TV on when you go out at night.
  17. Never post travel plans on social media.
  18. Never create a voicemail message that indicates you’re not home.

On that last point…it’s amazing that people will actually leave a message like, “We’re not home right now, so please leave your name, number and a message…”

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

Myths Facts and Burglary Prevention

Myth: Most burglaries occur at night when nobody can see the intruder.

1HFact: Most burglaries occur during the day because criminals know that’s the most likely time that people are away at work.

Myth: Most burglaries are random and spontaneous.

Fact: Most burglaries occur after the thief has “cased” a residence and pre-meditated an intrusion and getaway plan.

If a thief has not gotten into your house within four minutes of trying, chances are he’ll abandon further attempts. Using multiple layers of protection from intruders will make entry take well over four minutes.

If your neighborhood doesn’t have a “watch” program, get one started.

  • Get to know your neighbors; they’ll be more likely to call the police if they notice someone unfamiliar loitering on your property.
  • Post neighborhood watch signs throughout the area.

Secure the exterior of your house.

  • Install lights at all entry points including the garage; it’s best if they can detect motion.
  • Don’t allow shrubs to grow above window sill height.
  • Don’t let tree branches obscure windows.
  • Plant thorny shrubs around windows so burglars can’t hide in them.
  • Lock all gates and fences.
  • Keep all potential entry points locked, including basement wells and the door to the attached garage.
  • Make the interior always look occupied by never letting the grass get overgrown or snow unshoveled; while traveling arrange for someone to do these tasks.
  • Also when traveling put a vacation stop on mail and newspaper deliveries.
  • Never leave the garage door open.

And then there is your house’s interior:

  • Install a security system that includes loud alarms. The sirens really do scare off would-be intruders, plus alert neighbors.
  • Use timed lighting systems so that while you’re away, it’ll appear that the house is occupied. Timers can also be set for TVs.
  • If you’re gone for a while and especially for travel, set your phone’s answering system so that voice mail picks up after only a few rings.
  • Consider getting a dog.
  • Keep valuables locked in a fire proof safe.
  • Doors should have a complete security system that includes top-flight deadbolts.

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

Small Town investigates String of Burglaries

Home burglaries don’t just happen in the big cities that everyone’s heard of. They can also occur in small towns—simply because the burglar lives in them or in neighboring areas. Such is the case with Kirksville, Missouri.

2BA recent report from heartlandconnection.com tells of multiple burglaries. They have elements in common: The thief enters overnight while the occupants are asleep and takes cash.

Are the homes’ occupants very hard of hearing and can’t hear the window smashing or the door being kicked down? Did they all take a few sleeping pills and were thus in a very heavy sleep and that’s why they didn’t hear the windows smashing or the door being busted through?

Or…do you suppose that a DOOR or WINDOW WAS UNLOCKED and that’s how the burglar got in?

Don’t be a victim!

  • Before going to bed at night, what do you always do without fail? Brush your teeth. Let the dog out for one last “business.” Set the clock alarm. Lay out your clothes for next day. Is something missing here? Yes! LOCK ALL DOORS AND WINDOWS.
  • Have a deadbolt installed and other protective devices for doors.
  • Keep doors and windows locked during the day, too—even when you’re home.
  • Have a motion detection light installed.
  • Put away the purse, wallet, credit cards, checkbook and loose money…just in case someone does get in. The last place burglars usually check is the kids’ bedrooms. Consider stashing your purse and wallet in a shoebox in the toy box.
  • You can also put these items in a fire-proof safe that’s bolted to the floor.
  • Never keep the spare key “hidden” outside anywhere. Leave it with a neighbor or go keyless entry.
  • Before going away on trips, arrange with someone to check your home periodically.
  • Don’t leave any light on continuously; this looks like you’re away. Used timed lighting devices.

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

The Whitehouse Break-in

What a nutcase: the man who recently broke into the White House, missing President Obama by just minutes. (Why isn’t the White House fence more unscalable?)

2HOmar J. Gonzalez, 42 and unarmed, was arrested just inside the house. The Texan was charged with unlawful entry, and it’s not clear what his motive was.

The Sept. 19 incident began when Gonzalez was spotted climbing the fence. A Secret Service agent cleared people out of the area. The intruder sprinted across the lawn after hopping down from the fence and went through the north portico doors. A witness even said, “He got a good run in,” referring to the North Lawn sprint. Parts of the White House were evacuated, and officials were yelling to the man to freeze.

Obama had been scheduled to depart, by helicopter with his daughters, at 7:05 pm, leaving from the South Lawn. Gonzalez got over the fence at 7:20 pm. However, apparently, Obama had left only a few minutes before this incident.

The video surveillance of Gonzalez shows what appears to be a man running in a race. Maybe he’d been training specifically for this event? Who knows.

Though scaling the fence isn’t new, this incident may be a first in that the trespasser succeeded in gaining entry to the White House.

Wonder what Gonzalez has claimed, if at all, is the reason he did what he did. Did “voices” tell him to do it? Was it a dare, a bet with a lot of money riding on it? Did he want 15 minutes of fame, even if it came with a prison cost? And how is it that security at the White House is so lax? What if this guy had had a grenade on him, and Obama was delayed a few more minutes and just happened to be near the entrance where Gonzalez burst into?

You’d think a Whitehouse home security system equipped with armed guards, dogs and fences would keep a crazy out. Or maybe they don’t even have an actual system. If I’m ever elected president, I’d get one.

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

Burglar Leaves Porn in Kid’s Bedroom

Maybe you’ve heard of burglars stealing porn…but leaving it at the victim’s house? A man in Salem, Oregon, broke into a woman’s apartment, leaving behind a porn video in a seven-year-old girl’s bedroom. Police think the man broke in earlier and hid in the girl’s closet, then made his move soon after midnight, replacing the cartoon film in the DVD with a porn film. Three miles away another break-in occurred, but the man fled after the female resident screamed. Sounds like this could have been the same perpetrator.

2BIf you think putting porn in a little girl’s DVD player is low, you can’t sink lower than the roach who stole Pepper, a little poodle mix, during a robbery in New Jersey. Why didn’t this low life (or two?) leave the dog be and just steal the typical things? The thief got in, apparently, through an unlocked back door. Nevertheless, Pepper was soon after returned to the homeowner, Barbara August, and her husband.

Prevent Home Burglaries

  • Have an alarm system, and one that sounds an alert when doors and windows are opened, including when you’re home.
  • To avoid an empty look about your house, keep its exterior well-lit. When you’re gone, have indoor lights come on and off with timers.
  • Your security system should include surveillance cameras. The price has come down on them, and today’s cameras are easier than ever to install.
  • No matter how solid your security system, always keep your doors and windows locked, even if your family is always going out and in. Inspect all the windows and doors to make sure nothing is broken. Most burglars simply come into a house via unlocked entries.
  • Consider having wooden dowels installed on top of windows for extra protection. Special films can be put over the glass to prevent penetration. Install glass-break sensors.
  • Install heavy deadbolts on your doors, ones with 3-4 inch screws.
  • Waste no time putting in your security system or checking to make sure all the locks work, etc. Don’t delay!

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

4 Different types of burglary and burglars

Burglars are opportunists. They seek out opportunity often to support a drug habit or other uncivil reasons for turning your stuff into cash. Burglaries and burglars come in different flavors, here’s a taste.5H

  • Simple burglary: The act of entering any type of structure without permission (regardless if the entry is unlocked) with the intention of stealing something inside. A conviction will net prison time up to 12 years.
  • Aggravated burglary: The structure that the criminal gains unauthorized entry into contains a person, or, the intruder has a dangerous weapon, or, the burglar commits harm to that individual. The punishment is up to 30 years in the slammer.
  • Home invasion. Unlike aggravated burglary, in which the burglar doesn’t know that the structure is inhabited at the time of the crime, the home invader knows in advance that at least one person is inside, and premeditates using violence or force against that person. Or, the intent is to damage or deface the interior. Punishment goes up to 20 years and includes hard labor.
  • The looter takes advantage of an establishment, dwelling or vehicle that’s unprotected due to a hurricane or other disaster, or due to mass rioting. Prison time goes up to 15 years. If the crime occurs during a declared state of emergency, the convict will get hard labor that may exceed 15 years.

Type of Burglars

The common & simple. This thief seeks out easy fast targets, such as open windows and unlocked doors. Since the ease of the crime is the driving force rather than advanced knowledge of valuables, this burglar often ends up with “stuff” that can be exchanged for cash.

The hunter. The burglary is based on premeditation, scouting around neighborhoods for valuables. They’ll take advantage of unlocked doors and windows, but are willing to be careless and will smash through windows or bash down doors, then grab anything that they can stuff into pockets or a rucksack.

The prowler. This smarter type operates with more finesse, targeting structures where they know the valuable can be swiftly sold on the black market. Often, the prowler is a former hunter who developed savviness and efficiency along the way.

The specialist. This is the top fight burglar, concentrating on wealthy estates, selecting targets very carefully, usually working within a crime ring. Only high-value items will suffice, and thus specialist burglars may also target businesses and warehouses.

Now you know. So get a home security system.

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

Burglars steal Computers, Jewelry and Puppy!

If ever there were a heartless robber, it’s the one (or two/three?) who stole a little dog named Pepper, a schnauzer-poodle mix, as part of their burglary in New Jersey.

Barbara August, the homeowner, said, “I’m devastated—I keep thinking I’m seeing her.” She wonders why the burglars didn’t just put Pepper in her crate and then do the ransacking. August also explained that the burglars got in through a back door that was not locked due to a defect.

But this story has a happy ending: A few days later August and her husband were reunited with their “schnoodle.”

2BHere’s how to prevent home thefts:

  1. Keep your home’s exterior well-lit, and use timers on indoor lights so nobody thinks the house is vacant.
  1. Have an alarm system and one that sets off a sound (when you’re home) and shrieking alarm (when you’re not) whenever a door or window is opened.
  1. Lock your doors and windows! If something’s broken, waste no time getting it fixed. Hollywood likes to perpetuate the idea that burglars typically use elaborate tricks to get into a home or simply whack a window with a sledgehammer to get in. But the reality is that many just traipse right through an unlocked door or crawl through an open or unlocked window.
  1. As for burglars who get past a locked door, a solid core door will be very difficult to bust through. Use heavy deadbolts—ones that go deep into the jamb that have 3-4 inch screws. A sliding glass door can be guarded with a wooden dowel that prevents it from being opened from outside.
  1. Wooden dowels should be installed on top of windows as well. Windows should have films over the glass that prevent breaking. Top everything off with a glass-break sensor anyways.
  1. Get an alarm system AND security cameras. Today’s surveillance cameras are more affordable and easier to install than ever.
  1. Get to work now on your security system; don’t wait till you’re victimized.

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

Sandra Bullock stalked and burglarized

Gee, even the rich and famous can be burglarized. Recently a man apparently broke into the West Los Angeles home of Sandra Bullock; he’d also been stalking her. He pleaded not guilty to the charges which include weapons possession—one of the weapons was a machine gun—all found in his home.

1SDAll in all, bail was set for $2 million, and it has yet to be determined if there’s enough evidence for him to go to trial.

HE got onto Bullock’s property in the wee hours of the morning by climbing a fence. Bullock locked herself in a room once she became aware that someone was on the premises. A call to 9-1-1 was made from inside the house, and he was arrested at the scene.

Whether you’re a wealthy movie star or an average Joe or Jane with an average income, there are security measures you should take. After all, you don’t have to be famous to be the target of an intruder.

  • A surveillance system should be set up inside your house, complete with an ear-piercing alarm.
  • A home security system will also contact the police should you not be there or be rendered incapacitated by the intruder.
  • A would-be intruder will think twice before trying to penetrate your home upon sighting the security company’s decals and signs on your property.
  • Have a surveillance system protect the entire perimeter of your property.
  • Imagine you’re away from home and your smartphone alerts you that there’s an intruder on your property. This technology exists. Security cameras, upon detecting motion, can send an alert to your mobile device. The cameras can also set off a siren or lighting that would send an intruder running.
  • Not only can your smartphone receive an alert, but there are apps that allow you to view your home through your mobile.
  • If you have the money, or are resourceful, build a “panic room” aka “safe room”. Google it.

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

Kiddie Burglary Ring busted with 10-year-olds

Kids can be so cruel—at least when they kick in the doors of homes and rob people. At least three thieves were arrested for suspected involvement in a series of Southeast Austin burglaries.

3BOne is 18-year-old Erik Rene Marciel. Another of the juveniles is linked to up to 11 burglaries. The third robber is 10 years old, possibly related to an older suspect (a very logical deduction).

On Easter Sunday, Linda Narro’s door was kicked down by the home invaders who absconded with thousands of dollars’ worth of belongings.

More thieves in this string of crimes are believed to be out there, as police continue hunting them down. A child burglar gets probation as punishment. Hmmph. A convicted adult can get up to 10 years in prison.

It’s too easy to blame lack of supervision on 10-year-old robbers. Lack of supervision usually amounts to playing kickball in the street at midnight, not invading peoples’ homes and stealing.

Robbery Prevention

  • Hide valuables such as jewelry, preferably in a safe.
  • Inform the police of your travel plans.
  • Announce your vacation on social media—after you get back.
  • Lock all entries to your home even if you’re away for only a few minutes.
  • While you’re away on travel, arrange to have a trusted person park their car in your driveway.
  • Leaving an outside light on constantly, tells burglars you may not be home. Use an automatic timer instead.
  • If you’re away for lengthy periods, arrange for someone to mow your lawn.
  • Nobody should see you packing your car for a trip. Do so inside your garage with the door closed, or late at night in the dark.
  • Put a vacation hold on newspapers and mail.
  • Make sure your voicemail box has enough room so that it doesn’t become “full” when you’re away.

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