Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What a Burglar Doesn't Want You to Know ... and Other Stuff

Today is the birthday of Robert Zimmerman, probably better known to you as Bob Dylan. He's 70 today, and can't sing any better than he could at 30. Lucky for him his lyrics are good.

On this day in 1626, Peter Minuit bought the island of Manhattan from the Lenape Indians. He paid them in trade goods like cloth, kettles, axe heads, and drilling awls (not trinkets and baubles, as the legend would have you believe) worth about 60 silver Dutch guilders.

Depending on how you calculate the value of those guilders in today's money, Mr Minuit paid approximately $1000 for the property ... an amount that might amount to a down payment on a square foot of Manhattan real estate today, and which represents - at today's prices - about a 17 billion percent return on his investment. Take that, Donald Trump.

My daughter sent me an interesting article yesterday titled Things Your Burglar Won't Tell You. Good stuff, much of it pure common sense, but all valuable and all obtained from convicted burglars. Here you go:

1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.

2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier.

3. Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste, and taste means there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.

4. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it.

5. If it snows while you're out of town, get a neighbor to create car and foot tracks into the house. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway.

6. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don't let your alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it's set. That makes it too easy.

7. A good security company alarms the window over the sink, and the windows on the second floor, which often access the master bedroom - and your jewelry. It's not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there too.

8. It's raining, you're fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to lock your door - understandable. But understand this: I don't take a day off because of bad weather.

9. I always knock first. If you answer, I'll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters. Don't take me up on it.

10. Do you really think I won't look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet.

11. Here's a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids' rooms.

12. You're right: I won't have enough time to break into that safe where you keep your valuables. But if it's not bolted down, I'll take it with me.

13. A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system. If you're reluctant to leave your TV on while you're out of town, you can buy a $35 device that works on a timer and simulates the flickering glow of a real television.

14. Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.

15. The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors.

16. I'll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If your neighbor hears one loud sound, he'll stop what he's doing and wait to hear it again. If he doesn't hear it again, he'll just go back to what he was doing. It's human nature.

17. I'm not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for a fancy alarm system and leave your house without setting it?

18. I love looking in your windows. I'm looking for signs that you're home, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems I'd like. I'll drive or walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds, just to pick my targets.

19. Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It's easier than you think to look up your address.

20. To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way to let in a little fresh air. To me, it's an invitation.

21. If you don't answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in.

And one last hint - if you don't like guns, keep a can of wasp spray handy, instead of pepper spray - it can deliver a seriously painful and blinding blast at an attacker from up to 30 feet away.

Just a public service from yours truly who, as ever, has your best interests at heart.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

good tips!
but the comment "common sense"
If sense were really common wouldn't more people have it?

KathyA said...

1. Husband and I were saying the SAME EXACT THING about Bob Dylan just a day or so ago. Great minds and all that...

2. Great tips!!

chrissy said...

Hmm...these are good tips indeed. Especially since homes in my neighborhood are always being broken into. Yikes

Mike said...

'can't sing any better'

HAHAHAHAHA, that's an understatement.

Anonymous said...

I wish you wouldn't give away these valuable secrets. How am I to embark upon my planned life of crime, robbery, rapine and general despoilation?

And I don't mean my life as a Congressman either!