Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Becoming a statistic

I arrived home from work on friday to find my front gate next to the opening it is meant to close; not good! Walking into the house I found my mother and father-in-law sitting in the lounge, a bit shell shocked that some miscreants have invaded our privacy and made off with our possessions.

Piecing together the modus-operandi it was obvious that a crow bar is a very useful implement if you are a thief. A crow bar can be used to break open pretty much anything short of a bank grade safe and this is what they used to break the rack on the front gate enabling them to open the gate. Any physical security measure that is actually workable vs a crow bar; something has to break and it isn't going to be the crow bar. The crow bar also made short work of the sliding door and they must have been in the house no more than five minutes but in that five minutes they made off with both Caron's and my PC as well as my brand new LCD TV. Very inconvenient because the took my entire photo collection, including the backups on CD leaving me with only one remaining copy which I desperately hope is ok.

Roland law of escalating security: Accept that you are going to get ripped off every now and then, insure accordingly and without making it easy for the opportunist miscreants, don't make it difficult for the real criminals. You are entering an arms race where the opposition isn't bound by the same morals that you are so don't enter the race.
By way of examples;
Car hijacking used to be unknown but then everyone put alarms and immobilisers into their cars making it all but impossible to steal an unoccupied car. The bandits escalated to stealing the car while you are inside; personally, I would rather not be inside the car.
Once upon a time, criminals would steal or copy a credit card so VISA and Mastercard put PIN's on the card to prevent this. What do criminals do? well they kidnap (worst case scenario but it has happened) you and your card and force you at gunpoint to divulge the PIN. Personally, I would rather they just took the card and left me alone.

The moral of the story is that if you make it difficult enough for criminals, they aren't going to stop stealing because it is difficult, they're just going to change modus operandi and because their reluctance to the use of physical violence is less than most peoples, it is most of the people that lose more than just their possessions.

Don't get me wrong, I don't condone in any way criminal behaviour but in the bigger scheme of things, possesions are just money and if you value them more than you value your and your families well being you really should start examining your priorities as a human being.

One of the things we purposefully did was to make one of the entrances to the house easy to break into so thieves can get in and out with whatever they are taking as quickly as possible. While making physical entry easy, we do have an alarm so that they know that they have only 5 minutes before big guys with big guns arrive to take them on. This is a conscious effort not to prevent theft but to limit it in a similar manner to a credit card. Yes, it can get copied and used fraudulently but at the end of the day, there is only so much the criminals can get away with.

Surprising, even now after a few days, I am unable to actually get cross about the missing possessions. Sure it is annoying and it is going to cost a bit to replace everything but nobody was harmed and it isn't anything worse than an expensive inconvenience.

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