Stop, thief!

Seven ways to mitigate the risk of a home burglary.  And while they may seem obvious, a look at a recent Menlo Park “crime wave” indicates otherwise.

Common-sense stuff, especially #5:  “Lock your doors.”  Yet a recent posting to The Almanac, Menlo Park’s local newspaper, suggests that some of us labor under the mistaken impression that we live in Mayberry.

The fictional Mayberry, backdrop to a popular TV show, symbolized small-town America innocence.  Although “it was shot in the 1960s,” said its star, “it had a feeling of the 1930s.  It was, when we were doing it, of a time gone by.”

Does this sound like 21st century Silicon Valley?  I’m asking because when The Almanac posted a much-longer-than-usual weekly crime report recently, the response was “Where are the police?  We NEED more visible police presence in Menlo Park!”

And while some of the crimes reported were indeed unnerving–I feel for anyone who comes home to find their front door kicked in–eighteen of the twenty-eight amounted to an unofficial wealth transfer from people with stuff to people looking for stuff to turn into cash, including:

  • two thefts of unlocked bikes, including one left in front of the El Camino Safeway, probably the busiest place in town
  • nine thefts from unlocked cars
  • five thefts of items of value left in plain sight in a car
  • and the thefts of two unlocked cars, one left running, the other with the key helpfully left in an ashtray

Now, I’m not unsympathetic to anyone who loses a bike or finds their car broken into, mainly because it’s happened to me.  But that was way back in 1970.  I solved the break-in problem by never leaving anything in plain sight in my car again, not even the box the owner’s manual comes in, because to someone in a hurry it looks too much like a tablet case.  I solved the bike theft problem by not owning another bike for the next 45 years, something I don’t necessarily recommend.

I solved the problem of worrying about my house becoming a statistic in a Menlo Park “crime wave” by having an alarm system installed. with plenty of signs outside and stickers on the windows and a siren so visible it’s an eyesore.  None of this gear will keep anyone out, but it may make them think twice.  At least I like to think so.

copyright © John Fyten 2017





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