by CYNTHIA KMETT
There’s one thing we know about criminals, observed Ian Kinder, president of Live Safe Academy; they are lazy. Otherwise they’d have jobs like the rest of us, he pointed out to the Troy Kiwanis Club last Tuesday during their weekly luncheon at Maggiano’s Little Italy.
This being the holiday season, Kinder noted that two favorite targets this time of year are you and you home, where they hope you’ve stashed jewelry, guns and money.
Kinder, who has two black belts, has been training police officers in how to stay alive since 1990, and Live Safe Academy was formed in 1999 to offer advice to the rest of us. They offer classes across the metro areas on a host of subjects from CPR and First Aid Training to a Concealed Weapons Permit Workshop. They even have a program on Babysitter Safety and one-on-one SelfDefense for Seniors. All their instructors are certified in their fields.
But this is December and you want to make your home and yourself a difficult target to minimize your risk of being a victim, Kinder said. The more difficult you make it to be a target, the less likely you will come to harm. For your home, you need a strong door and a strong doorframe. Those don’t necessarily come standard on a home. Most doors will give way pretty easily. But with a few enhancements, like a deadbolt that goes at least an inch into solid wood, you can be safer. Besides, if it’s going to take several attempts to break in the door, not only will a thief consider moving on, but you will have time to prepare, like by calling 9-1-1, or getting out a gun, or going out the back door. And, yes, a thief can break through a window, but that’s noisy and could attract a lot of attention.
It’s also worth investing in an alarm system. Kinder said they statistically reduce your chances of a break-in. But you do have to advertise with that sign the company provided. There are dozens of camera systems available today.
Some of those new doorbells have an app that lets you see who’s at your door, and talk to them, even if you’re in Europe, or at work. Speaking of work, most home invaders prefer that you not be home, it’s safer for them and gives them more time to look for valuables.
Here’s a great alarm: a dog. Nothing like a barking dog to make an intruder think twice. Even if the dog is a nice dog, the barking could bring attention the thief does not want. “Even a little dog can attract a lot of attention,” Kinder said with a smile.
Do you have lights around your house? They are wonderful way to keep away criminals who don’t want to be in the spotlight. Best? Get the ones with sensors that click on when some crosses their path because they attract your attention and the neighbors.
Cameras are good tool to consider adding to your home protection. “Cameras help get evidence, and, again, you can talk to people without going to the door,” Kinder noted.
The idea during the holidays is to not put yourself in harm’s way, he continued. “Criminals want to catch you off guard. Pay attention and they’ll go after the person on their cell phone.”
Look before you go into that environment, like a parking lot at the mall. At home, check that camera you installed, or look out the window for unusual activity.
Shopping during the holidays is best done on the buddy system. “Shopping late is not a good idea,” Kinder warned. The same is true for buying gas. Try to go to busy places with lots of people during the day, not at 10 o’clock at night in a bad neighborhood. You know when you need gas and carjacking isn’t a fun activity.
“So, you still need to protect yourself; everybody needs to be able to defend themselves,” he advised. Kinder’s advice: Start with a pen, with a nice sharp point. It’s an unrestricted item and you can take it anywhere. Walk with it in your hand when you’re walking to you car. If heaven forbid you’re attacked, stab the culprit with the pen. The best place is in the eye, or the throat or the jugular. Experts know women don’t like to go for the eyes, but do it anyway, you definitely don’t want to be forced into your car, which can lead to very serious crimes down the road – literally. Don’t just go for an arm or leg. Criminals high on drugs may not even realize they’ve been stabbed. You want them to be more concerned about their own well being than yours.
If a car follows you when you leave a parking lot, drive to the police station. Never go home.
There are a host of classes to help you stay safe on the Live Safe Academy website, at www.livesafeacademy.com.