Saturday, December 19, 2009


Sometimes, once in a great while, I remember to lock the front door of my house. I must admit, security isn't super high up on my list of priorities. It should be, perhaps, but lax security is a tough habit to break.

I good friend of mine had a nice piece of property in Danbury Connecticut. He was at the end of a dead end road. His house and his daughter's sat on a pretty 5 acre piece of land. The property abutted preserved state land that wouldn't get built on. It looked remote, but wasn't. Over the years, the city grew up around his property. His doors were always locked, even if he just went outside to his back garden to pick a tomato. That precaution, while it seemed a bit odd to me, was prudent for the time and place.

My vehicles are rarely locked. When we travel, it's something I must force myself to remember to do. It's not like I never had anything stolen out of them either. In the last 20 years of leaving vehicles unlocked at home, I've had stuff stolen just once, a cheap portable CD and a cell phone with an expired contract. It upset me at the time, not because of the value of what was stolen. The stuff probably wasn't worth $20. No, it's the violation of my space that troubled me. Of course, it didn't trouble me long enough to keep locking my doors.

There's been a series of attempted break-ins in my town lately. There are lots of seasonal and second homes around here. A crook doesn't have to be very clever to break into a place that probably won't have visitors for weeks or months. Time is on his side.

Now that people are wise to the fact that someone's breaking into houses, it's become a much riskier profession. Everyone around here is armed. In most homes, guns and ammo are close to hand. I'm that way myself. It's normal and natural. You never know when you might have to dispatch a groundhog that's invading your garden. I've done it myself.

There has got to be an awful lot of people packing heat in my town. Every week, during regular town business, concealed gun permit applications are processed. When I picked mine up, there was a good stack of them. Assuming they go though a similar stack every week, and having some idea about the number of adults in the town -everyone's packing. It's just safe to assume that everyone is armed. That doesn't count the number of people without permits, but who keep a loaded shotgun by the door.

We are a polite society around here, so maybe Heinlein was right.

People have a fair idea about who belongs. When there aren't that many people, you get to know most of them. Trade in your car for a new one, and you'll get strange looks until neighbors get used to seeing you in it. People wave to each other. We stop and chat. The gentle art of small talk is not lost. You don't even have to particularly like your neighbors to be civil to them. We are all in this together.

So if the criminals are lucky, the cops will catch them. It'd be a shame if they picked on the wrong house.



  1. Buy an old car and put it in the driveway it creates doubt in their mind. We have this problem every winter out here many empty cabins. I was broken into a couple of years ago. Guns are the first things they will steal by the way so hid them when you are gone.

    Also trail cameras and a few signs but don't turn your place into a bunker you will be miserable.

  2. Good ideas. There's almost always one vehicle in the driveway, so that must help.