Ok, I know. This is basic stuff right? Well, you’d be surprised how often I need to say it. So I’ll say it now:
Lock Your Doors!!
In Your Home: In recent months I’ve talked about the importance of having a strong door to your home, and the tactics of criminals to distract a homeowner to the front door while a partner attempts the back door. Unfortunately, you’d be surprised how many times a criminal simply WALKS RIGHT IN! Many homeowners feel that a criminal would not come into their home while they are there. Although it is true that in the U.S. most criminals avoid a “hot burglary;” that is a burglary while people are home. Some criminals simply don’t care and are perfectly happy committing a violent home invasion. That is to say they KNOW you may be home, and they may have a plan to deal with you as well as your valuables.
The simplest thing you can do is lock the doors to your home, EVEN WHEN you are home. That is the only way to ensure that your strong front door actually serves as a barrier to entry to your home. Yes, criminals can break your door down (although it should be a lot tougher if you did what we talked about in August!) But the time it takes to break down your door is also time you have to prepare and enact a defensive plan.
In Your Car: When I was a new police officer I was responding to a stolen car call. As we were driving to the call my Field Training Officer (FTO) wanted to bet me $5 that the owner had left the car unlocked. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to take that bet. He then offered to bet me $5 that the owner had left the keys in the car. I took the bet with rookie confidence thinking nobody would be so silly as to leave their keys in their car!
I lost $5 that day.
Since that day as a police officer I’ve never had a stolen car that wasn’t unlocked. Additionally, I’ve had a lot of cars that had items stolen out of them simply because they were unlocked. In some neighborhoods, criminals will simply walk or ride down a street trying one car door after another to find an unlocked one; it’s referred to as “shopping.”
Lastly, your car can serve as a great barrier to attack. So in any setting, as soon as you get in your car, lock your doors. It can be a tremendous asset to your personal and/or family protection.