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Monday, June 8, 2015

Forcible entry



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.

-Sixbears




10 comments:

  1. This reminded me about an underground bunker a man built .He lived a long ways away so he piled old cars and junk over the door to hide it .Scraper stripped the junk found the door and emptied the bunker. A great lock draws attention .

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    1. Just goes to show. If that place wasn't secure, what is?

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  2. And with Google Earth, nothing is really hidden any more. You can view places throughout the seasons. In color.

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    1. I use those big eye in the sky views all the time myself.

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  3. Back "in the day", when my parents were young, they never locked any of the cabins that were used for camping way off the beaten path. Why, so any lost hiker could enter, get something to eat and rest a spell. Map on the wall showed the way back to civilization.

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    1. That's the kind of concern for one's fellow man that's missing today.

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  4. We used to own a small ranch house on some secluded acreage in south Texas. No one lived there permanently, it was for mainly weekend use. It was regularly broken into by illegal aliens seeking water, food or anything else useful to their journey. Your Dad is right - making it stronger only increases the amount of damage to the structure.

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    1. The tide of illegals is one reason we don't camp in south TX. Too many desperate people.

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  5. I'm afraid the days of unlocked doors for neighbors and travelers that are lost are long gone. It's a shame really.

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    1. Not everywhere Hermit Jim, not everywhere.

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