Free Home Safety Plan
The Texas crook, who robbed an armored car, picked a bad location to do it. It was next to a tour bus filled with tourists who snapped away with their cameras as he was attacking the armored car guards. The tourists not only provided the police with the crook’s photograph but also his getaway car's license plate.
Another crook in West Virginia got a little flustered when a police car pulled him over for driving without his headlights on. When he was asked for his driver’s license, he inadvertently handed the policeman a stick-up note that said “I have a gun, put all the money in an envelope, and don’t hit the alarm.” It was the same note he used in a bank robbery the day before.
A Michigan man robbed a clothing store. He was identified from the security tape and arrested weeks later. When he went to court, he was wearing one of the suits he robbed, which led to his conviction.
Not all crooks are dumb, most are dangerous. We have to be prepared when we meet the dangerous ones.
Mentally, we all walk around in a “Condition White” state of mind. That is, we go about our daily routine unaware of our surroundings at any given moment. That is when we are most vulnerable to become a victim.
“Condition Yellow” is where we should be most of the time. It makes us aware of our immediate surroundings at any particular time. No, this is not paranoia. It’s being aware of who else is in your space and who might be entering it. “Condition Yellow” is awareness!
“Condition Orange” is when you suspect or know something is wrong. Your adrenaline kicks in and fear sets in. Now you have to take action to avoid an unsafe situation.
Ex: You are walking down an unfamiliar street and suddenly realize someone is following you. You should now be looking for a safe area such as an open store or a group of people. Cross the street, change your direction, etc. You must control your fear. Don’t panic. Think your way out. At different times during your normal day, play “what if” with yourself. Imagine scenarios and imagine what you would do in those scenarios. You will be way ahead of people who are in “Condition White”.
“Condition Red” is something you want to avoid at any cost. Red is when you are attacked or about to be attacked and you must defend. Now, the question is how do you defend? There are many ways. Products are sold in stores or through the Internet that can help the average person fend off an attack. If the attack is a mugging, you are best advised to comply with the criminal’s demands. Money and jewelry can be replaced but a life can’t.
Some families decide to obtain handgun permits and take lessons on how to protect them and their families. Having a handgun without training is not a good idea. Would you drive a car without having driving lessons?
Ex: A man with a knife is 20 to 25 feet away from you and says he’s going to kill you. You have a loaded gun in your hand and you believe him. What do you do? (Think about this before you read on.)
Answer: Shoot him as many times as you can until you stop his forward motion towards you. Do this while backing away if you can. The reason is that once he starts to move, he can reach you in 2 to 2.5 seconds. Even if your first shot bursts his heart, his brain won’t know he is a dead man on the run for 4 to 5 seconds after being shot and then he will collapse after stabbing you 3 times before he drops dead.
Handling a life-threatening situation involving a violent criminal attack requires an understanding of real conditions present during confrontations between armed “trained” citizens and violent criminals. The use of firearms is not the only or final means of self-protection but if a gun must be used, the armed citizen should understand the ramifications of using a firearm before, during, and after a confrontation.
The criterion for self-defense and the use of deadly force is to employ that amount of force necessary to meet and overcome the force being used against you. Your goal is to stop and control a life-threatening situation.
What constitutes as a “weapon” in a criminal attack situation? A gun, knife, large rock, board, pipe, or anything that can be used to inflict grievous bodily harm or death against another person can be classified as a “weapon.”
Products for self-defense or carrying a legal concealed weapon are the only options to save your life when attacked. You might not always get a chance to use them but at least you have the “option”.
The keys to defense are training and practice. Everything else you do in life requires training and practice like sports, your job, music, cooking, etc.
A U.S. Department of Justice study (Jan. 1985) reveals that a substantial proportion of violent crimes occur in the home during burglaries. If you are at home when a criminal enters your home, you have one chance in three of becoming a victim of violence. When confronted, most criminals resort to violence by inflicting physical harm on family members.
Unlawful and forcible entry can be discouraged. Investing time to make your home more difficult to enter is important because criminals look for easy access to homes. Don’t make it easy.
A good home security plan starts with locked doors and windows. Make sure you have up-to-date locks that are hard to pick or break. Some of these locks should be a deadbolt type. Doors should be solid and should have metal frames. Security chains are not effective and can be broken with moderate force. Doors with glass should have metal grillwork covering the glass. All windows should have locks or jam bars.
Around Your House or Apartment Building
Lights discourage criminals. Make sure that if in an apartment building, all hallway bulbs are working properly. Removing and breaking bulbs are common tactics by criminals.
Never go into darkened areas alone. Shrubbery around entrances and walks should be trimmed enough to prevent a criminal from hiding behind them.
At night in your home, keep your window shades and blinds closed to prevent peeping toms and other criminals from seeing in.
When working in your yard, garage, attic, laundry room, etc., make sure your doors are locked so criminals can’t enter your home while you are focused on other tasks.
When they are not in use, put away your lawnmower, tools, bicycles, and other valuable items you don’t want to lose. Remember, an open garage is an invitation for a criminal to enter your home.
Single women should use their first and middle initials along with their last name, on mailboxes and in the phone book.
Never tell a stranger you are home alone or what hours you are away from home. All family members should be instructed to give no information to strangers on the telephone. Co-workers should be instructed to not tell strangers when you are away on vacation or on a business trip.
Strangers at Your Door
Never open your door to strangers. Wide-angle door viewers are an inexpensive way to see who is at your door. Employees of utility companies carry ID which you should always ask to see. Go one step further and phone the company while he is at your door and verify if he is with the company. If UPS or FedEx comes to your door with a package, ask them to leave it by the door. Phone that company to verify his identity.
Anyone can buy a uniform and wear it to commit a crime. Never let a stranger enter your home or car.
Every Family Should Have a Home Safety Plan
Set up a password that is unusual and never really used in your daily lives. Everyone should promise to never use it except in an emergency. (The boy who cried wolf scenario.)
Let’s say an intruder entered your home and one of you knows it. How do you inform the rest of the family of the danger without tipping off the intruder you are on to him? Use the “secret” word in a harmless sentence.
Now the rest of the family immediately goes to a predetermined “safe room,” perhaps a child’s bedroom where you have previously set up the following: a cellphone and charger, a deadbolt lock on the door-mounted up high so a child can’t lock themselves in, and a front door key connected to a flashlight.
Ex. An intruder enters your home in the middle of the night. You awaken from a deep sleep and you have a gun within your reach, what do you do?
Do you take the gun and go looking for the intruder who might also be armed? No! He knows where you are while you are looking for him but you don’t know where he is. No one can react fast or make great decisions after waking up from a deep sleep.
Here’s what you do: You and your spouse go immediately to the “safe room,”
unless your bedroom is the safe room. Lock the door, pick up the cellphone, dial 911, and say your address first. In case you are disconnected, at least their recording got your address and will know something is wrong.
Continue by telling the police there is a possibly armed intruder in your house and you are locked in the rear right side bedroom. Then, tell them you are throwing from that bedroom window, a lighted flashlight with a front door key attached to it. That way, the police can let themselves in and catch the intruder if he is stupid enough to still be there.
Last Resort: Using Force
Hopefully, you will never face a life-threatening situation where you are forced to make the “ultimate” decision. If an attacker ignores your warnings that the police are on the way or that you are armed, and he enters your safe room, you might very well have to make that “ultimate” decision.
By using the above information, you could prevent a deadly confrontation. Just because you have a weapon doesn’t mean you should go looking for a problem. A weapon is an option only when you have no choice and can’t retreat further.
There are many everyday scenarios you can play out in your mind. They are learning exercises.
Ex. You are in everyday traffic and stopped at a light. How much space do you leave between your car and the car in front of you? Is it enough to turn your wheels and get out of that lane in case someone comes up to your car window to rob or carjack you?
Ex. You pull into your driveway and a car pulls in right behind you. What would you do? One thing is to lock your car doors and blast your horn so your neighbors will know something is wrong.
Ex. When you enter a store or a bank, pause before entering and have a look inside. You wouldn’t want to walk in on a robbery in progress, would you? Also when using your ATM, make sure there is no one behind you and only use those that are in full view of the public so it discourages a mugging when you are leaving with your cash.
On the Street:
- Avoid walking alone at night especially in poorly lit areas.
- Walk confidently and briskly.
- Park in well-lit areas.
- Have your keys ready in your hand when approaching your car.
- If a car pulls up to you while you are on the street walking, and you are uncomfortable with the situation, turnaround and walk the other way.
- While driving, keep your valuables. Briefcase, pocketbook, etc. out of sight, like on the floor or trunk.
- If your car breaks down in a remote area, raise the hood and tie a white cloth on the antenna or open hood, then get back in your car and lock your doors while waiting for help.
During a high-stress situation, you might notice your heart and pulse levels are elevated. This is normal and you should stay focused on the situation at hand in spite of your body changes.
Mental Conditioning and Thought Process
Every person goes through a sequence of thought processes before, during, and after a confrontation. An understanding of various stages in this sequence will help the individual anticipate his/her own reactions and thus better control the situation.
It always happens to the other person. This is perhaps the hardest stage to overcome in dealing with criminal activity. If you are complacent in your thinking, you most likely will become a victim. The armed citizen cannot react fast enough if he/she is complacent.
People willing to commit to arming themselves must choose the proper weapon and take training with it. It is perhaps the only viable option to protect yourself and your family. Remember to educate your entire family as to the home defense plan discussed previously. You must take control.
Early Warning Sign of Danger
This is the most sensitive period for the armed citizen to gain control of a life-threatening situation. If you have a handgun, it does not mean you have to fire it. The mere presence of a handgun in a confident armed citizen's hand can diffuse a potentially deadly situation.
Imminent Use of a Handgun
Life-threatening situations will only escalate by the choice of a violent criminal. The armed citizen should do everything to possibly control the situation, as discussed earlier in this booklet. When you are trained, you will be prepared to “react” to the violence being perpetrated against you.
The armed citizen has no choice but to use deadly physical force to meet and overcome the force being used against him/her. At this point, the armed citizen employs all his knowledge and training to “stop” and/or to “neutralize” the offender to save his/her life and those he/she is responsible for.
If You Must Use Force
After using deadly force to save your life, after having no other means of retreating safely, you will be scrutinized by the investigating police authorities to see if the force was justified. This is a normal investigation which even seasoned police officers go through when using their guns on duty. The armed citizen should request an attorney before giving any statements to the police. Consult an attorney as soon as possible.
The Law Regarding Deadly Force
In general, the law is favorably disposed toward the use of deadly force in defense of a predatory attack than in spontaneous disputes or fights where the armed or unarmed citizen could have retreated and avoided the situation.
Use this checklist to put your child on the right path to safety. Encourage your child to ask questions along the way. Then, have your child read and sign the checklist and sign it yourself as well. Keep this checklist posted at home, perhaps on the refrigerator.
Be sure your child knows his/her full name, address, and phone number, including the city and state where you live. Teach your child how to make a collect call home from a payphone. Most importantly, teach them 911.
Make up a special “code” word and teach your child to never go with anyone who does not use that “code” word. The “code” word from another person is a signal to the child that this person can be trusted to pick them up in case you can’t and couldn’t reach them ahead of time to let them know.
Teach your child to go to a checkout counter or security person in case you get separated in a store or mall. A child should never go to the parking lot by themselves to look for you.
Your child should ask permission to go anywhere with anyone, even a friend, and make sure they let you know where as well.
Teach your child what to say when answering a phone if you are not home or in the shower or outside. Say “Mom and dad are busy right now and can’t come to the phone.” Never have them say they are alone.
Teach your child it is ok to say “NO” loudly if someone is asking them to go with them or tries to touch them.
Your child should never go over to anyone’s car to answer a question or to give directions. Even on the street, he/she should not talk to strangers.
Teach your child to “yell and tell” if anyone, even a friend or family member, touches them in an inappropriate way. Teach them what inappropriate means.
If anyone asks your child to keep a “special” secret, tell you or their teacher.
Encourage your child to use a “buddy” system and never go anywhere alone.
Child Rules for Safety
- Before I go anywhere, I will always check first with my parents or the person who is in charge. I’ll tell them where I am going, when I will be back, how I will get there and back, and who will be with me.
- I will check first with my parents and get permission before getting into a car or leaving with someone even if I know them. I will also check with my parents before changing plans or accepting money, gifts, or drugs from anyone.
- It is safer for me to be with other people when playing outside or going somewhere. I will use the buddy system.
- I will say no if someone tries to touch me in a way that makes me afraid or uncomfortable. I don’t have to keep secrets from my parents or a teacher about being touched by someone
- I will trust my feelings and talk to my parents or teachers about problems that are too big for me or do not understand. I realize that other children feel this way too. Most kids have problems, but I will discuss mine.
- I will not be embarrassed to ask for help. I will keep asking until I get the help I need.
- If I find a gun, I will not touch it. I will call an adult and tell them.
- If a stranger in a playground or in a car or the street tries to talk to you, try to memorize his license plate and color of the car before walking away in the opposite direction. Remember what the person looked like and what he was wearing.
- Never go into a restroom without a “buddy” or a parent or teacher.
- If you see something you think is wrong, like a stranger in a playground by himself without a child or someone who is approaching other children that aren’t trained like you, call a policeman or playground attendant or other parents to report what you saw.
Detecting Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children
Parents Should Always be Alert to These Indicators
- Changes in behavior, extreme mood swings, withdrawal, fearfulness, and excessive crying
- Changes in bedwetting, nightmares, fear of going to bed, or other sleep disturbances.
- Acting out inappropriate sexual behavior, or showing an unusual interest in sexual matters
- A sudden acting out of feelings or aggressive rebellious behavior
- Regression to infantile behavior, clinging
- Behavior problems in school
- Changes in toilet habits
- Fear of certain places, people, or activities
- Fear of going to the daycare center or playground
- Bruises, rashes, cut, limping, or poorly explained injuries
- Pain, itching, bleeding, or rawness in the private areas
The immediate safety of yourself and your family is up to you. Do you want to depend on begging a deranged drug addict to go away or do you want to take control of the situation and save your family? The choice is yours!
Written and published by Bill Kay.