Things I Learned About Crime: Frog Gravy 87

Posted: February 8, 2012 in Frog Gravy
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Woof woof! Bow wow!
Image by TomConger under creative commons on flickr.

While I was locked up, I learned that the home of some of my close family in Seattle was burglarized, and things were stolen. Since I was in Crime Graduate School at the time, I wrote them a letter. I based the letter entirely on things that I had heard in jails and in prison. Your opinions and experiences may differ.

1. A dog is more effective at preventing burglary than a fancy alarm system. I have heard this from several sources. Cat burglars will avoid dogs. Dogs make a lot of noise, and sometimes they have a tendency to tear off the arms and legs of intruders, and then retire to the yard to gnaw on the limbs, while the intruder slips and slides around in his own blood.

2. Cat burglars sometimes actually love that people post those signs in the front lawn, stating the type and model of alarm system, because then, the burglar knows what he or she is dealing with.

3. If you have not recently tested or checked that your alarm system is working, you may want to do that.

4. Consider a gate for a recessed driveway.

5. Burglars don’t care for cameras.

6. If your out-of-date electronics and older model computers go missing, they are most likely at the recycle center and not the pawn shop. Out-of-date electronics have little or no pawn value. Currently, from what I have read, catalytic converters and, sadly, cemetery bronze vases are targets for thieves.

7. Jewelry does have pawn value, of course. Silver in particular is popular in this declining economy, and there are any number of places that buy it. If you own a lot of valuable stuff like this, get a safe.

8. Okay. Your stuff is locked in the safe. What is left to steal? Checks. Many thieves are in the business of stealing checks and cashing them, or selling them on the street. This practice is called ‘check kiting,’ and it is also called the ‘paper’ business, and it can be lucrative. Know the day that your checks will arrive from the bank, and immediately retrieve them from the mailbox or else consider a mailbox lock as an alternative.

9. Don’t end up in jail yourself by getting involved in a Nigerian check scam. To be honest, I am not even really sure how this scam works…but just don’t cash a check if you do not know where it came from. The older version of the Nigerian check scam is called the Spanish Prisoner.

10. Do not leave museum-quality copper pots and other copper items in places where these items are readily visible. The same goes for those long, thick orange extension cords, any and all tools, household wiring and household plumbing.

11. Aluminum is worth a fortune. Put the aluminum ladder away.

12. Some folks say that if you are moving to a city, cul-de-sacs, because of decreased in-and-out access, are less likely to be targeted for theft.

13. Parrots are worth money, and believe it or not, they get stolen and sold to less-than-ethical bird dealers. If this happens with parrots, it stands to reason that it can happen with other pets as well.

14. Another thought: If you have elderly parents or family members who have a physical disability, consider getting one of those push-button boxes that will alert an ambulance, in case of a physical emergency.

15. I believe that the idea that poor people use their food stamps to somehow buy street drugs is the stuff of urban legend. I have never heard of anyone doing such a thing. If you are on food stamps, you cannot even use them to get a cup of hot coffee to drink at five in the morning while you are waiting in line at Labor Ready; I don’t know how people equate food stamps with drug use.

  1. This is just going to sound absolutely insane, but I once heard of someone putting ping pong balls in the medicine cabinet so that if guests come over and use the bathroom…and open the cabinet, all the balls will fall out!

    On another note folks, please shred your personal information before putting it into a dumpster or into recycle. I am talking about tax returns, divorce papers, court papers, social security numbers, loan applications, medical information…just do not put these in the trash or recycle without shredding them first.

    You would just be amazed at what people throw away, thinking ‘out-of-sight-out-of-mind.

    There are lots of stops along the way that this stuff can be seen, not just in dumpsters, but blowing along the side of the road…yes! And on a paper recycle conveyor belt…mind boggling.

    Please shred your personal stuff. People picking up trash at the side of the road do not want to know what your kid’s test scores were, or how much money you made last year…be smart.

    Sad too, when there is a foreclosure, a lot of times the most personal details about people’s history and family…end up in the street for the passing public to see…just so sad.

    Also, do not email, or FAX your credit card information.

  2. Simone1974 says:

    Hi there. I live in South Africa and our crime stats are very high, especially violent crime. Just last week I had my washing stolen off the line (not violent but opportunistic crime), with dogs in the back yard. They were too quick for my dogs. LOL! There’s a lane between my back wall (with no protection) and the back wall of the complex behind me. So now I have to get a guy in to come close off the lane with razor wire. How good is razor wire as a deterrent for opportunistic crime do you think?

    Just a note from South Africa. Here they poison the dogs a day or two before they plan to break in. Very heart sore. They poison them with sausages laced with rat poison or a pesticide called two-step.

    Very few retailers in South Africa will accept a cheque of any kind because of the rifeness of cheque fraud. I personally haven’t used a cheque in years. At one point, no retailer would accept a R200 not because the chance that it was fake was so high. They have since redesigned it and I see here and there retailers are starting to accept them again. I thought you might find the information interesting.

    But in any case, I found your comments insightful.

    • Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing this.

      Poisoning dogs before a break in? What kind of a sick person does that shit?

      Yes, I find all of the information in the comment fascinating, thank you again!

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