Wave of Home Invasions (WSJ article -long)


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November 19, 2007, 06:09 PM
Wave of Home Invasions Puts Wealthy on Alert
By M.P. MCQUEEN, The Wall Street Journal
(www.azstarnet.com/sn/hourlyupdate/211788.php)

In the past year, billionaire investors Warren Buffett and Ernest Rady, socialite Anne Bass and professional basketball players Eddy Curry and Antoine Walker all have joined a group to which they would rather not belong: victims of home invasion. In affluent enclaves across the country, from Beverly Hills, Calif., to Scarsdale, N.Y., these high-profile cases and others — many of them unsolved — have set nerves on edge amid what law-enforcement officials and security experts say is becoming an alarming trend. One particularly gruesome case in July underscored the dangers for many, when a home invasion in Cheshire, Conn., ended in the deaths of a doctor's wife and his two daughters. Two men have been arrested and charged in the case.

In home-invasion robberies — unlike burglaries — thieves hope to confront the occupants, often intending to force victims to open a safe or divulge bank-card PIN numbers. Home invasions aren't separately tallied by the FBI or by most state and local police. According to the most recent FBI data, residential robberies, which include home invasions, rose nearly 13 percent in 2006 from 2002, even as violent crime overall decreased 0.4 percent. Last year, 64,000 residential robberies were reported. Experts believe home invasions are underreported. Security experts who serve high-profile clients say their clients often don't report attempted robberies to the police because of privacy concerns. And local law-enforcement agencies only keep track of incidents within their jurisdictions, making it difficult to establish a national picture for these crimes..."It hasn't reached epidemic levels, but certainly we are very aware of this type of criminal activity and behavior."

One reason for the rise in home invasions is demographic: The numbers of rich people with homes to plunder has risen fast in recent years. But police and security experts say robbers are hitting homes more because their traditional targets — banks, stores and offices — have been hardened with closed-circuit video surveillance, alarms and guards. By comparison, security at many private homes remains lax, they say. Indeed, in several high-profile crimes, assailants gained access through unlocked doors. In other cases, home-alarm systems apparently weren't turned on. Security and alarm experts say this is a surprisingly common mistake: Many homeowners lock their doors and set alarms only when they are away…"I have gone out to estates that are absolutely magnificent and have been shocked that they have the same level of security as for a rowhouse in Queens,"…In some areas, that is beginning to change. Around the stately homes of Greenwich, Conn., many of the low, meandering stone borders typical of New England are being replaced with thick, shoulder-high walls and densely packed treelines to block any view from the street. Local real-estate agents say they've also seen an upswing in the number of people putting in driveway entrance gates with touchpad security systems, even for relatively modest homes.

Gideon Fountain, vice president of Cleveland, Duble & Arnold, a Greenwich real-estate firm, says investor Edward Lampert's kidnapping there in 2003 was a watershed event. Mr. Lampert was held at gunpoint for two days and talked his captors into letting him go. "People think what are the odds it could happen to them? Not good, but possible," Mr. Fountain says. Inadequate security may have played a part in what happened…The robbers put a gun to Mr. Lethbridge's head and held the two captive, their eyes blindfolded and their mouths taped shut. At one point, Ms. Bass and Mr. Lethbridge were injected with a blue liquid the men claimed held a lethal virus, hoping to scare the captives into handing over millions in cash for an antidote. They left about 10 hours later, apparently convinced there wasn't a lot of cash in the house…Several security and alarm experts say crimes like these can be prevented with a perimeter motion-detection system that sounds whenever someone drives or walks onto a property. Many alarm systems wire only the doors and windows of a home; the problem with that, security experts say, is that by the time someone trips the alarm, it can be too late. Moreover, any alarm system has to be armed to work, and often, they aren't.

Home-invasion robbers also pick their victims by staking them out in public and following them home…Police and security experts say that to avoid this type of robbery, people should be alert to whether they are being followed before driving onto their property, and if they are, to call the police or drive to a police station. Houses should be well-lighted with automatic exterior lights. Additionally, security experts advise clients to avoid drawing attention to money and possessions while they're out and about. They also recommend reducing the amount of detailed personal information that can be found on the Web. While at home, it is a mistake to open the door without verifying the identity of a visitor first and to accept unscheduled deliveries. Security experts say homes should be equipped with a voice-video intercom system with cameras trained on the doors and the grounds, and deliveries should be sent to a post-office box or family office instead of to the residence.

On Sept. 5, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett's wife, Astrid, accompanied by a security guard, answered the doorbell at the couple's Omaha, Neb., home, according to police there. They encountered a man dressed in black with camouflage paint on his face who tried to force his way in. The guard managed to wrestle a gun away from the intruder while Mrs. Buffett called 911. The intruder fled, and the gun turned out to be fake, according to Omaha police. No arrests have been made. Mr. Buffett wouldn't comment for this story. Security experts emphasize that preventive steps can be taken without resorting to extreme measures, such as obtaining firearms without proper licensing and training. Such actions can raise legal problems for people wanting to protect their homes and families, as with Harry Maxwell Rady, the son of banker Ernest Rady.

Mr. Rady, 40, pleaded guilty to illegally receiving AK-47s and other semi-automatic firearms after the robbery to defend his family from potential kidnappers, his attorney, Mr. Grimes, says. Mr. Rady was sentenced on Nov. 2 to 10 months of home confinement and three years' probation. He also was fined $75,000 for violating federal gun laws.

“That's what we're fighting for, and it's a battle worth fighting. And I know it's hard on America. And in some small corner of this vast country, out in Nevada or Idaho or these places I've never been to but always wanted to go -- (laughter) -- I know out there, there's a guy getting on with his life, perfectly happily, minding his own business, saying to you, the political leaders of this country, "Why me, and why us, and why America?" And the only answer is because destiny put you in this place in history in this moment in time, and the task is yours to do.” (Sustained applause) UK Prime Minister Tony Blair

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Jeff White
November 19, 2007, 06:33 PM
Before we get the inevitable posts about claymore mines and keeping loaded weapons in every room and never under any circumstances answering the door, everyone needs to read this article slowly and carefully.

Most home invasions fall into just a few categories:

1. People who deal in contraband ripping each other off.

2. People who have personal grudges against the resident for whatever reason, failed relationship, love triangle, lost money to them....Breaking in to harm the resident.

3. People who are known to have cash or valuables of such value that the very severe laws against home don't matter to the criminal and a home invasion is the easiest way to get them.

This article is about the third category. The risk for the normal, middle class person isn't any higher this year then last year or the year before.

If you don't live a criminal lifestyle, hang out with those who do, or allow those people to stay in your home. If you don't involve yourself in interpersonal relationships with people who tend towards violence (admittedly that can be hard to determine initially), your chances of being the victim of a home invasion are very low.

Jeff

Tokugawa
November 19, 2007, 07:07 PM
Jeff, does this mean I should stand down the CAP of A-10's over my house?:neener:

Jeff White
November 19, 2007, 07:15 PM
Jeff, does this mean I should stand down the CAP of A-10's over my house?:neener:

Brother that must be costing a fortune. Unless I had specific knowledge of an imminent threat, I'd keep them on 15 minute strip alert. Surely you can hold the badguys off that long. Have you looked into making your front and back yards TRPs for the DS artillery? You can probably have accurate supporting fires in under 2 minutes. :D

Jeff

Cosmoline
November 19, 2007, 07:24 PM
Jeff, there's also mistaken home invasions either by the gangsters or the cops trying to get the gangsters. And drunken home invasions. But that may be another thread.

Jeff White
November 19, 2007, 07:30 PM
There aren't that many mistaken home invasions by people on either side of the law. Home invasions by drunk or stoned people happen a lot, but they seldom meet the criteria for the crime to be called a home invasion. Usually there is no intent to harm the occupants or steal anything when a drunk staggers into the wrong house.

Jeff

curmudgeon and anarchist
November 19, 2007, 07:36 PM
Mandatory life sentence without the parole option. Also, burglaries committed while the owners or renters are at home ought to qualify as home invasion.

Officers'Wife
November 19, 2007, 07:42 PM
Hi Tokugawa,

I'm not sure but I believe my brother still has at least three 40 pound (muzzle load) cannon my Uncle made. Sure you can't use spherical case shot but a touch of the grape ought to give you more firepower than any civilian could withstand.

Or if you softhearted and have a warped sense of humor you could always load it with water softener salt.

Selena

308win
November 19, 2007, 08:03 PM
Jeff, Your catagories may have fit the profile historically; I don't know whether they hold true today or not. It seems like a lot of the home invasions that get publicized in the Columbus area are perpetrated by individuals who had no discernable relationship with the victims prior to the crime - at least not that the victims, perpetrators, police, or the media are willing to discuss. Time will tell.

TexasRifleman
November 19, 2007, 08:06 PM
Every time one of these stories airs on the news I say to my wife "I wonder what they did to bring that on" and she just can't believe I am so heartless.
She thinks I am blaming the "victim" and I guess most of the time I do.

Needless to say, 90 percent of the time, the news reports in a day or 2 that something was "fishy" about the crime.

If you tell your brother in law, who just got out of rehab, all about your collector coins don't be surprised if someone he knows decides to come and take them. (that was just last week in the ft worth area)

I can't remember a home invasion in this area that wasn't one of the situations Jeff White describes or cops serving a warrant on the wrong house. Unfortunately the latter has happened several times in the last couple of years.

There aren't that many mistaken home invasions by people on either side of the law.

Well, home invasions in general are pretty rare around here anyway so those kind REALLY stick out.

Car Knocker
November 19, 2007, 08:46 PM
Duplicate thread. http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=316773&highlight=Rady

Neo-Luddite
November 19, 2007, 10:26 PM
Geez--this article might well have ended with--just call Wakenhut for a quote on a security detail----it has no bearing on anyone but a bizarre demographic----the very wealthy yet RKBA prohibited (criminal, mentally Ill, etc.) group. The 'Rady' story was never well explained and makes the story read as though it is somehow very difficult to lawfully own any sort of firearm whatsoever. It's all well and good to caution people to abide by the law and, once more, seek training--but that is a silly example. They might have well have mentioned the DuPont family and the trouble they had with one of their scions a few years back.

mjrodney
November 20, 2007, 07:25 AM
There have been a few home invasions reported in my home state of Florida, where folks returning from a shooting range were followed by the bad guys and who later became uninvited guests in the home.

I would think that everyone of us on the High Road has a somewhat elevated risk for home invasion by the very nature of our collections.

TexasRifleman
November 20, 2007, 09:05 AM
I would think that everyone of us on the High Road has a somewhat elevated risk for home invasion by the very nature of our collections.

Who exactly are you telling? Maybe you shouldn't.

Troutman
November 20, 2007, 09:20 AM
Dallas Homeowner Shoots Home Invasion Suspect

http://www.myfoxdfw.com/myfox/pages/Home/Detail?contentId=4985902&version=2&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=TSTY&pageId=1.1.1


A man was shot early Tuesday morning after he attempted to break into a Dallas home.

Police said a 76-year-old homeowner heard his dogs barking at around 3 a.m. at his home in the 3700 block of Fordham. He opened the front door and found a suspect prowling around the front yard.

When the door opened, the 28-year-old suspect ran inside. The two began fighting, and the homeowner managed to get a shotgun from under the bed.

He fired one shot, and the suspect was struck in the hand, shoulder and face.

Police arrived, and he was transported to Baylor Hospital. He was listed in serious but stable condition.

The homeowner suffered several blows to the face, but did not need medical attention.

grampster
November 20, 2007, 09:41 AM
"...just call Wakenhut for a quote on a security detail..."

I don't know if I'd do that. 6 Wakenhut security people pled guilty or were convicted of rape, torture and murder of a young motel clerk in a cold case from the 70's in Holland, Mi. that concluded last month.

One's security depends greatly on one's self, having some common sense and listening to Jeff White's advice.

Timthinker
November 20, 2007, 04:18 PM
No one has said this yet, but fear gets people's attention. Fear also tends to distort reality, as I will attempt to demonstrate. If a psychopath breaks into a residence and murders an individual for no apparent motive, then this story will receive headline news. But how common is such a crime? I dare say that it constitutes a rarity among violent offenses, although I am not a crime statistican. Yet, such a rare event will spark a rise in gun and security alarm sales due to public alarm. This result will occur even if the murderer is apprehended promptly by the police. My point is that home invasions are not the most likely threat the vast majority of us need worry about.


Timthinker

princewally
November 20, 2007, 04:59 PM
1. People who deal in contraband ripping each other off.

2. People who have personal grudges against the resident for whatever reason, failed relationship, love triangle, lost money to them....Breaking in to harm the resident.

3. People who are known to have cash or valuables of such value that the very severe laws against home don't matter to the criminal and a home invasion is the easiest way to get them.

I know of 16 home invasions in Minnesota this year. Possibly 2 fit category number 1. 1 fell under #2.

As far as #3...duh? Bad guys pick the houses with decent odds of having money or valuables. Home invasions are rarely 'random'.

ArfinGreebly
November 20, 2007, 05:08 PM
Police said a 76-year-old homeowner heard his dogs barking at around 3 a.m. at his home in the 3700 block of Fordham. He opened the front door and found a suspect prowling around the front yard.

When the door opened, the 28-year-old suspect ran inside. The two began fighting, and the homeowner managed to get a shotgun from under the bed.
Wrong sequence.

"The homeowner went to the door, armed with a shotgun he had retrieved from under the bed . . ."

Kudos to the old dude for being fit enough to overcome a younger, probably stronger, adult male and still get to his shotgun.

I wonder if he'll leave the shotgun under the bed next time?

Walkalong
November 20, 2007, 05:26 PM
water softener saltWe buy that 30 bags or so at a time. Never thought about using it in a cannon. Like rock salt for a 12 Gauge. I like it.

I do not worry to much about home invasions. Like Jeff pointed out, my risk is low. I don't hang with crooks etc. I don't look like I have any money. I drive an old Blazer, and like it that way. I live in a nice, but not rich, neighberhood. I pay attention to what is going on around me. I have dogs that will give me a little warning.

In a home invasion you almost have to be sitting there weapon in hand. They barge in like Swat and try to overpower with force and suprise. Very scary stuff, actually.

anygunanywhere
November 20, 2007, 06:21 PM
I do not fit any of the three categories mentioned that would place me and my wife at more risk to home invasions.

We do not keep lots of cash in the house. The wife has some jewelry, but not what one would consider extravagant.

We do worry about certain family that hangs out with persons of questionable character and are known to use non-prescription chemicals in significant quantities.

These family members have been to our home. You can't pick your family. My wife and I are very successful in our careers and have had our success thrown in our face. They have come knocking on our door asking for bail money, only to be turned away after hearing "If you don't want to do the time, don't do the crime".

We are both Texas CHL, are very wary even in our home. I have insisted my wife be very careful about maintaining the doors locked and the alarm on when she is inside the house. We arm the alarm every evening before we retire. There is ample firepower at the ready in strategic places.

Another dog or two is in our immediate future. We lost ours a few years back and are just now ready for new ones. Alarms and dogs are prime deterrents. Weimaraners!

The family members know what they will face if they try anything. There is alot more to home invasions than people realize.

Anygun

LaEscopeta
November 20, 2007, 09:44 PM
Before we get the inevitable posts about claymore mines...I can has claymore?

jrfoxx
November 21, 2007, 04:14 AM
I can has claymore?
DO WANT!!!! :D

Warren
November 21, 2007, 04:32 AM
I had claymore but U triggered it.

Housekeeping cat is not amused.

willbrink
November 21, 2007, 02:41 PM
Warren Buffett does not have full time security? At that level of wealth, I know I would. I have known a few very wealthy people who who were no where near as wealthy as Buffet who had a high level of security. One friend had an ex secret service guy who worked as a private contractor. The guy worked as head of security at his company during the day, and picked him up and dropped him off at work and house. His home security was good and he knew how to use a gun. There was no way anyone was going to pay him a random visit for a home invasion that's for sure.

TallPine
November 21, 2007, 03:26 PM
your chances of being the victim of a home invasion are very low.


My chances of being the victim of any crime are pretty low. It's the consequences that I worry about. :uhoh:

Just this past week while I was in Washington state, a nice young Seattle couple was murdered in their home by a neighbor who had gotten out of prison just a few months ago for a murder committed about 20 years back. So maybe we should add category #4: "living in a neighborhood that a released felon moves into" :rolleyes:

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