A callous burglary and arson raise serious questions around home and personal security for all of us.
It seems that criminals are becoming more cruel and creative in their activities – in a recent case telling the homeowner her daughter was seriously injured in an accident and then robbing the house as she rushed to hospital. The home was then torched, destroying evidence and the cherished possessions of a lifetime.
We caution our children to be wary of people they don’t know, but we often ignore those same warnings, especially if the ‘stranger’ purports to be a community worker or a person in authority. Maybe because we think we have the experience to spot a fake.
But be honest - would you recognise genuine police credentials at a glance? Is your home always protected , even if you’ve just ducked out? If a loved one is potentially in danger would you stop to verify the information a stranger provides or would you, as in this instance, focus on the information and not the messenger?
I’ve noticed strong growth in enquiries for our security services and I urge all RAA members to review their home security arrangements, especially as many of us will be heading away for the school holidays.
Security decisions must be considered in the context of protecting our home and family, but also in the context of the wider community. You might know and trust your immediate neighbours and friends, but can you trust those outside of this circle?
In my Feb 11 blog As safe as houses? I talked about the different home security options RAA provides, but the main points to remember in the context of the wider community are:
- Make sure you verify credentials and information provided by a stranger – in this case a quick phone call to the hospital would have sufficed
- Don’t let a stranger into your home or leave your home at their instigation
- If you must leave the premises make sure it is alarmed or let a friend or neighbor know so they can keep an eye on things
- Arrange for ‘signs of occupation’ while you are away on holiday – like getting mail picked up and bins put out on the appropriate day
- Don’t leave a holiday message on your answer machine or share holiday plans with strangers – the person who delivered your garden mulch really doesn’t need to know!
- A monitored alarm provides the best protection for your home
- Personal alert alarms for elderly family or friends provide the best personal protection.
For many of us it goes against the grain to distrust a kindly stranger but times have changed and unfortunately, in some cases a stranger really can mean danger.