Friday, October 3, 2008

Home Invasions In The Area - Take Care!

We hear from our friends in the Truman Square area that there have been four or five burglaries/home invasions there in the past week, even in broad daylight. Some homes were accessed by the burglars breaking into the garages, either by prying open the garage door or by means of a faulty latch.

A reminder to our readers to be especially security-conscious right now and to check your doors and locks to make sure they're working properly.


  1. In addition to other preventative measures (locking first floor windows, secure lighting, cameras, etc.), I believe that this is a good reason to have a legally registered firearm in your home. I personally am a very cautious and calm person, but if someone enters my home it is either him or me and if I have time to get to my firearm first I will ask questions after the fact. My intention is not to turn this into a gun debate, as everyone has their own view, but I firmy beleive in this choice regarding home protection. Any cop will tell you that many violent crimes start as a burglary or break in by a criminal whose goal is to simply steal something,

  2. I've been burglarized twice at this location. Both incidents occurred many, many moons ago but shared a similarity that's worth noting---both burglars were kids, 18-19 year old, who clearly didn't expect to find me at home.

    They were terrified. They didn't want to become violent, they wanted to get the hell out. I gave them both that opportunity, trapping someone in that situation is a formula for disaster. Sure, I was scared to death and later angry, but shooting those kids wouldn't have made anything better.

    If a pro wants what you've got, they'll get it and you'll never see them. The rest are punk kids or junkies. It's rarely, if ever, a "him or me" proposition and even then, when there's a gun in the equation, there's a good chance that your gun will be used against you. Did your officer mention that factoid?

    Consider instead a Louisville slugger and a cell phone. You don't have to load a baseball bat and it sends the same message: Get the &$%# out of my house.

  3. I fall under the shooting method. When word gets out that neighbors are packing some thugs might think twice to invade your home.

    That being said, I do believe anyone wanting to protect there home with a rifle should take a firearm saftey course.

    And no you cant invite people you don't like over and then stage a break in just to shoot them. It ruins the floors.

  4. Suzanne,

    I personally know of a recent situation (in Lakeview) where a "punk," as you call them, broke into an apartment looking to steal a laptop that was visible from the street. When he discovered that the female tenant happened to be napping on the couch, he took a knife from kitchen (he did not bring a weapon with him) and put it to her throat and brutally raped her. Not that a gun could have saved her in this situation, but this more than counters your "factoid." I agree with the original poster, if someone comes into your home, regardless of their intention, they deserve whatever happens to them. Also, I am not sure what you base your opinion on that it is "rarely a him or me situation." In my experience, it is often just that situation.

    You imply that a punk kid (18 or 19 is not a kid) or a junkie breaking into your home is not a potentially deadly situation. Just FYI, the suspected shooter in the gang assasination near Lawrence a few weeks ago was a teenage punk. Do you want to sit down and reason with him in your home? Maybe poke him with your bat as you get out your phone. Or maybe just get him some cookies. Please, get a clue.

  5. Suzanne,

    Also, the scare tactic that you are more likely to have your gun used against you is a complete myth. My shotgun is legally registered, secured, and I practice several times per year at a tactical shooting range that presents close quarter indoor situations. In a "him or me" proposition, I will most certainly take such odds.

  6. Does anyone know the locations of the home invasions?

  7. Just that they're in Truman Square. The block club has been sending out alerts to be careful.

  8. Just for grits and shins a shotgun is generally a better home defense weapon than a handgun.

    Handguns are difficult to fire with accuracy for all but a very few talented folks. I was trained with them in the military and couldn't fire them very well beyond 20 feet or so. Of course being that handguns are generally banned in Chicago, except for cops, selected security personnel and alderbeasts, we know there are very very FEW handguns out there.

    Just like there are no drugs because that is illegal.

    Plus when you chamber a round into a shotgun it makes a very distinctive sound. If I were a scumbag burglar and heard that I might slip on my own pee after wetting myself.

  9. In most circumstances, burglars avoid confronting residents, even when they are find them home.

    But Chicago Citizen is also right; there is a smaller subset of burglaries called home invasion robberies and they are more likely to become violent because the intruder’s intent is to confront residents. These crimes are less frequent than burglaries.

    In burglary situations where there’s more often a choice to escalate or walk away, I’ve chosen the later. But if my experiences were different, like those of Chicago Citizen, I’m pretty sure I’d be a lot less sanguine.

  10. I keep my aluminum softball bat by my bed in lieu of a pistol. Although, I have thought about buying a pistol, the bat is simpler, safer and more difficult to use in err.

  11. Given the recent wave of home invasions and break-ins that have occurred in US neighborhoods, Jordan Frankel, founder of ShatterGARD Glass Protection., a leader in the security products industry and security expert providing onsite commercial and residential security assessments, offered homeowners the following simple and affordable tips to help keep their families safe and secure:

    Alarm Systems: During a majority of break-ins, burglars gain access to the home through unlocked doors or windows. In addition, many homeowners forget to set their security system. While making sure to lock the doors and set the alarm are the foremost priority in securing any home, homeowners do have other precautions they can take.

    n Alarm systems should be connected directly to the alarm company’s central monitoring station, which can alert law enforcement if the alarm is triggered.

    n Installing a back-up cellular dialer in case a burglar cuts the power or the standard phone lines enables the system to still contact the monitoring station.

    n Alarm systems which incorporate motion sensors and/or glass break sensors can help first responders and residents know if an intruder has actually gained access to the premise.

    n Displaying the signage provided by the alarm company serves as an initial deterrent for thieves.

    n Making sure the alarm system’s central panel is located in a locked cabinet or an indoor utility room prevents would-be invaders from tampering with the system.

    Lighting: Sufficient lighting, both internal and external, can help deter thieves from even targeting a home. Burglars typically select a poorly lit home, as darkness affords additional cover from watchful neighbors or passers-by.

    n Motion detection lighting alone only activates once a thief’s movement is detected; installing low-wattage dusk-till-dawn light fixtures, which emit a soft glow around the perimeter of the home all night, insures that thieves cannot conceal themselves in the shadows. The addition of sensors that shut off the lights when the sun rises and energy saving fluorescent or sodium-type light bulbs makes this an affordable and effective light deterrent.

    n Using basic timers for interior lamps set to alternating times, gives the appearance of movement throughout the house while it is unattended.

    n Doors and Windows: With some very simple window and door locking systems, homeowners can drastically restrict the accessibility of their home. With recent advances in locking mechanisms, some additional alternatives are also available to today’s homeowner.

    n Installing window locks on all ground floor windows prevents the window from being opened far enough for someone to fit through.

    n The addition of a simple closet rod to the track of sliding glass doors provides reinforcement to the standard lock.

    n Biometric locks, which provide access by scanning a finger print, have become much more affordable lately and can prevent lost or stolen keys from being used by burglars.

    Windows – The glass in windows and doors can very often be a point of weakness as well. Security window films are affordable, and can provide an extra layer of defense from thieves attempting to smash a window to gain access to the home. While a burglar may be able to muster enough force to eventually smash the window, the repeated attempts require a lot of attention-grabbing blows. Assuring the home has proper doors made from solid wood or metal, rather than a hollow-core style, along with 3.5 inch long steel screws to fasten the hinges to the door frame, will stand up to most breach attempts.

    n The ability to see the outside of an exterior door is also very important. If an abutting window cannot provide a view of the doorstep before opening it, a peep hold can easily be installed.

    Landscaping: Believe it or not, appropriate landscaping can help deter intruders from accessing windows, while maintaining an aesthetic appeal.

    n Keeping trees and bushes trimmed back from the house and windows helps diminish the likelihood of an intruder using the shrubs as cover. Tree limbs should also be trimmed, to prevent an intruder from using a tree to access a second story entry point.

    n Planting low-growing sharp or thorny bushes such as holly, rose shrub, or barberry under windows, or adding gravel or landscape rock which makes for noisy footing, are also good ways to deter thieves from attempting to gain access to windows.

    n Secure the Garage: Garages are favorite targets for thieves, not only because they are often unoccupied, but because they often offer a direct and unlocked entry to the remainder of the home. A few simple countermeasures can help greatly deter an intruder’s ability to access the garage.

    n Always keep the garage door closed; an empty garage or a missing vehicle can alert thieves that the home is unattended.

    n Change the factory set codes on the door’s remote control often, so thieves cannot open the door with a store bought remote.

    n Adding motion and glass break sensors to all windows in the garage will also provide added warning of an attempted break-in.

    Have an Escape Plan
    If someone in the household can break away and call for help, the home invaders will have lost their advantages privacy and time. To some, running away from your family in crisis would be almost unbearable. However, the alternative might mean being tied-up or o violently incapacitated and left to watch in horror as your family is injured or worse. If you have a plan for escaping, make sure you include where to run and what to say. Sometimes a radical escape measure pays off, in life and death circumstances,

    Thugs will sometimes threaten harm to children to get adults to comply with their demands. But at the same time, children are often overlooked as potential rescuers and are usually not well guarded. If the opportunity presents itself, a trained child can dial 911, activate an alarm panic button, or escape to the neighbor’s house to summon the police.

    About ShatterGARD, Inc.: Founded by security professional Jordan Frankel in 1995, ShatterGARD, Inc. is one of the largest privately held glass protection and security product companies in the United States. ShatterGARD products are trusted to protect the men and women of the U.S. military, law enforcement community, facilities associated with the worldwide banking and telecommunications industries, and private residences. ShatterGARD customers include The US Military, American Stock Exchange, Verizon Wireless, and even former Presidents. For more information on how to protect your business or home against break-ins, home invasions, or hurricane winds, contact ShatterGARD, Inc. Toll free: 1-888-306-7998-14 website: www.ShatterGARD .com.


  12. When I lived in Rogers Park (before I relocated to Uptown) I adopted a decent sized dog (medium, 50-70 lbs). While a lot of apartments have restrictions on the size, even the smallest dogs can be trained to be decent "alarm" dogs - or at the very least, will let you know when someone is in the house that wasn't there before - friend or foe. It also wouldn't hurt to slap a "Beware of Dog" sign on the front and back of your home. Might be a decent deterrent without having to rig your house with an alarm.

    Agree with Irish on the shotgun, but also with Chip that you need to get to a range and practice with it.

  13. Sorry, Freddie, I'm a cat person. But I understand that there's a home security system that has a barking-dog sound that can get triggered by an invader and may even be a better "deterrent" than a conventional alarm. Saves on the food bill and you don't have to "walk" it.