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How the Grinch Stole Christmas (and got away with it)

Christmas thieves are at it again. The news reports are coming in almost daily about Christmas presents being stolen from front porches, often from “nice” neighborhoods.  Famous bank robber Willy Sutton, in an interview was asked, “Why do you rob banks? He allegedly replied, “because that’s where the money is.” Folks, the “Sutton Principal” applies here too. Robbers will go to nice neighborhoods because that’s where the good stuff is. The best presents, the best cars, TV’s, stereos, jewelry, and so on.

And stealing from the front porch is the easiest. It literally only takes seconds to jump out of a car, grab the stuff, and be gone. And it doesn’t set off any alarms.

The good news is that there are some relatively inexpensive ways to foil these “porch pirates”. In upcoming articles, I will help you to make your home harder to target. The pros call this “target hardening”. But for now, let’s look at this specific scenario. 

The easiest way to guard against this is to not have your stuff delivered to your front door if you’re not at home.  You can:

  • Have your packages delivered to your work location
  • Pay a little extra to UPS or FedEx for concierge service, where you can direct when and where you want your packages delivered.
  • Ask Amazon about their secure lockers – you can pick up your packages there.

If these are not an option, there are other steps you can take. I often work from my home office. I have a little terrier with a big mouth, and my daughter drops off her large golden retriever mix. (He’s a big teddy bear, but he has a fearsome bark). No one can approach my house without my knowing it. And that, combined with either a door peephole or a surveillance camera allows me to see who it is without opening the door and exposing myself to danger.

Also, the  surveillance camera(in my case, wireless) will at least get a video of the robber. Yes, this is reactive, since the crime is already committed, but it can help in two ways:

  1. It can help the police possibly identify the perpetrator. If they are caught, even in a subsequent crime, your video can help confirm their identity, and may lead to additional counts charged against them.
  2. It can serve as proof that your goods were stolen. In one case in suburban Houston, the homeowner was able to get her merchandise refunded or replaced. *

Surveillance cameras can be either wired or wireless. Wireless is a little more expensive, but easier to install, and each camera location can be tested without having to pull the wiring and re-install to move its location.  It is preferable to get cameras with night vision capability. Either way, it is a prudent investment.

I will be covering this more in a subsequent product review. Till then, I welcome your comments and questions. If you have topics you’d like me to cover, please leave me a message below.

Till next time, stay safe!

Frank

  • Thanks to KHOU-TV

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