Note: Security tips from neighbor Greg Price, who ran the installation security program at a special operations base in Afghanistan, and conducted and taught counterterrorism, force protection and VIP/HVT transport in the US, Africa and Southwest Asia. Slightly edited for publication.
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Here is what you need to know:
A robbery is a "probe". Whenever you're probed, you are at increased risk of a SECOND HIT. If you're an easy score the first time, you'll be easy the second time.
Petty criminals aren't looking for a BIG score, they're looking for an EASY score. "Hit and run" is their modus operandi.
Robbery is a crime of opportunity. Reducing your exposure to criminals reduces the opportunity.
Dogs provide a small level of protection, but not much. A family on Mountain Valley got robbed and the robbers just shot their big dog.
You don't have to be rich or famous to be robbed, you just have to be vulnerable. The older/weaker you are, the more vulnerable you are.
Increasing traffic on 344 because of the new "recreation areas" will increase our exposure to criminals.
"Access control" is the key to safety. No one needs to be on your road that doesn't live there or isn't a legitimate visitor.
There are two ways to deal with threats: "ACTIVE Denial" and "PASSIVE Denial".
"Active Denial" is tanks, planes and guns that you use to actively engage and repel an attacker.
"Passive Denial" is anything that makes a potential attacker change their mind and go somewhere else without attempting an attack.
Fortunately our threat level is pretty low and we can use simple passive denial methods to protect ourselves and our property.
A gate is an excellent method of "Passive Denial".
Park a locked vehicle blocking access to your place.
Parking a second car at your place full time would be good so it always looks like someone's home.
We can achieve a 99+% reduction in crime threat just by keeping random people from cruising our roads. A gate goes a long way toward keeping people out. I installed a gate at my house, and it has a remote control just like a garage door opener. Random people used to drive up to my house and now they don't. It's cheap security, and you only need one at the entrance to your road. Everyone on the road can pool their cash, put up the gate and get a remote for their cars so they don't have to get out and open the gate manually. A keypad can be installed for visitors. The keypad can be programmed with multiple codes. A separate code for fire/EMS/UPS/Fedex/USPS can be established and provided. (They all deal with this regularly.)
$100 will put up a simple gate that will lock with a chain and padlock. $700 will put up a solar-powered gate with an automatic opener, electric lock, backup battery and programmable keypad. Either will close off an entire street to random cruisers and scumbags scouting for an easy score. I recommend one for every street with a house on it, situated at the entrance from 344 and visible from 344. One gate can protect everyone on the street.
We don't need to turn our neighborhood into a combat outpost with blast walls and machine guns (although that would be fun!) we just want to be a harder target than petty criminals will want to deal with. In the mind of the petty criminal: "One gate" = move on to another neighbor. "Many gates" = move on to another neighborhood.