Monday, June 8, 2015
I was sent to school to learn how to break into houses. That's a pretty normal course for firefighters.
Your local firefighters have a few advantages over your average burglar. The obvious one is that it's a legal part of the job while saving lives and protecting property. Two additional differences are the tools a firefighter can openly carry and the fact he doesn't have to worry about making noise.
A random guy carrying a 3 foot long haligan bar down the street might cause some concern. As soon as he starts bashing it against a door someone will call the police. (Unless you are like a friend of mine who'll grab a .45 and politely ask what's going on)
Nothing beats good well armed and inquisitive neighbors.
As a rule I find people place way too much faith in the average door lock. With the right tool I could open doors faster than they could be opened using a key. Even without tools there are quite a few front doors that I can easily open. Some doors are installed with no blocking behind the frame. It's a pretty common problem in houses that were built in a hurry during boom times. Often there's enough flex in the door frame that it can be bent to the point where the lock slips right out. That's just one of my tricks.
Even really good locks and doors are of little use if windows are unsecured. There are many ways besides doors to enter a house. Generally, the best one can hope for is to have significantly better security than your neighbors. Burglars, like everyone else, take the path of least resistance. You don't have to outrun the bear, you just have to outrun the slowest camper.
Here's where it gets ugly. Who hasn't entertained the idea of a remote cabin in the middle of nowhere: My dad used to have a hunting cabin 9 miles up a dirt road. Nothing of any real value was ever kept there. Even so, it was broken into a couple of times. When I was kid I asked my dad why he didn't put better locks on the door. His reasoning was that they'd do a lot more damage breaking in.
The problem with remote cabins is that almost none of them are so remote and hidden that someone hasn't discovered it. Because they are remote there are no neighbors to notice intruders and making a little noise is not a problem.
I knew of a cabin in an isolated part of northern NH. The guy had a really secure door with a hefty lock. Some yahoos took a pickup truck with a heavy duty bumper and knocked the wall down. One of the things they made off with was a big diesel generator that weighed over 1000 pounds.
Like the saying goes, locks are only there to keep honest people honest.