There is something to be said for “know your surroundings.” It’s amazing how little in life we really pay attention to and what things capture us. I was reading about a magician who stated that the audience will always watch what is in his extended hand, while the real work is being done in the other. Unfortunately that is exactly how criminals make themselves successful. I am always fascinated with how much information people give out about themselves on social media. All a house robber needs to do is watch your site to find out when you are going out of town or to find out when you will be gone to a business gathering. House empty, target selected.
If you want to share photos, etc. just do it after you have returned. Don’t give people an opportunity. Make the bad guy’s job harder!
Last week I returned from Raleigharound midnight. As I rounded the corner to my store I saw a suspicious white van parked across the front of a neighboring restaurant. Something seemed very wrong. I pulled into the parking lot and the driver quickly pulled away, only to travel next door to my business. I followed the van there and attempted to make contact with the driver by rolling down the window but the driver pulled away. This whole thing felt wrong. I called 911 who patched me through to a SurfCitypolice officer. Within a few minutes the police were able to locate the vehicle. When the police officer returned he told me that the man was a delivery driver for the Topsail Advertiser (go figure — ha ha). At first I was embarrassed and then I was mad. The driver simply needed to stop and let me know who he was, and he failed to do so. The police officer even commented that he thought deliveries were made early morning, and not around midnight.
I am still glad that I took the initiative. How terrible it would have been if this had been a person in the act of breaking and entering and I had done nothing. We all need to pay attention and we all need to look out for each other.
When you come home from work, take a mental note of the vehicles nearby. Does anything look out of place? When you lock up at night make sure that you take a good look outside. Spotting someone who doesn’t belong may be all it takes to make them move on. Check your caller ID on your phone. Most people who specialize in breaking into homes will call several times over the course of several days to gauge your schedule. Stop talking to solicitors that you didn’t contact first. You don’t know these people.
Take care of yourself and those in your community, and everyone will be safer for it.
The only good is knowledge, and the only evil is ignorance (thanks, fortune cookie!)
Dorothy Royal is the owner of Surf City Guns and Ammo, mother of two wonderful children, ringmaster of a herd of miniature ponies and an avid member of the Surf City Writers Group and Topsail Book Club.
Email queries and comments regarding this column to Gun Gal at firstname.lastname@example.org.