Thursday, October 30, 2014

Stay Safe

DSC_0036 - Version 2

I was reading a list of safety tips sent out over a local listserve. I don't quite agree with all of the tips and I thought I'd draft my own version. Feel free to critique my tips and add your own in the comments.

Home Tips

1. Know your neighbors and keep a friendly relationship with them. Exchange contact info. Ask your neighbors to look out for your place, and do the same for them.

2. Make sure you have well functioning locks on all doors (make sure to actually lock them).

3.Turn on lights on the rear and front porch/yard (motion detectors work fine).

#I'll add a quick note that I've actually seen a situation in which a landlord basically installed a streetlight on his back porch. This probably will prevent break-ins, but it also won't make you any friends because it means your neighbors can't enjoy their own backyards without being blinded.

4. Be smart and don't put the intact packaging out for that new flatscreen tv/Playstation/ect. that you just got. Cut it up and place the pieces in the recycling bit by bit if you can't fit them all in that first week. Don't be that jerk who puts it into your neighbor's trash.

5. If you get packages delivered at home, try to either be home, or have a easy place that the delivery person can stash the package where it can't easily been seen from the street. If you have a neighbor who is home during the day, you might also see if he/she would be willing to accept the package.

6. Have functioning locks on all windows. Make sure they are locked. Don't leave windows open when you aren't home. Be careful about leaving windows open when you are sleeping because someone might break in assuming nobody is home.
#This happened years ago to someone I knew whose roommate was home sick (the guy left the sleeping girl alone, but found another roommate's pot, smoked it, ate some chips, and pooped on the bed). Bad things can happen if someone breaks in while you are home.

7. Be careful about establishing visible patterns about when and how you leave home each day. Someone could be watching.

8. Consider trimming back bushes/trees that might make it easy for someone to break in (i.e., obscure the view of the house from the street).

9. Pause newspaper and mail deliveries when you leave town, but have a neighbor check anyway because sometimes the stuff still gets delivered.

10. Use timers for lights when you leave town.

Personal Tips

1. That street you are walking down, does it have one side that is more brightly lit than the other? If so, take the better lit side (same goes if you can choose between a well lit street and a dim sidestreet). It is generally safer to walk down streets with traffic and business.

2. Watch out for alleys and other places someone might easily pull you into.

3. Don't walk with headphones (especially at night).

4. Be careful about walking with your hood up (especially at night).

5. Take care when using your cell phone for talking or texting (especially at night).

#I once had a roommate (a young black guy from a not so great neighborhood on the southside of Chicago) who got mugged a lot during his short time in DC. He got mugged twice around here, and four times (I believe, might have been three) in Columbia Heights. One of the ones around here was a failed mugging involved teens who threatened to throw a brick at him on I Street, the other was a young guy on a bike under a bridge in NoMa (the Florida Ave entrance) who pointed a gun at him and told him to "Run it." Upon further questioning it became clear that he had been walking with his hood up and headphones in while texting. So, even if you choose to do one of the above, please don't do all three at the same time.

Car Tips

1. Lock your doors.

2. Don't leave stuff of value visible. This might range from cell phones, to chargers, to laptops, to backpacks, six packs, and beyond. I've seen kids break into a car (including breaking every lock on the car with a screwdriver) over a dollar bill rolled up in the dashboard. If it could look good to a crackhead/kid, remove it from your car or put it in the trunk.


w said...

hopefully one day the h street corridor won't be overrun with shitheads, and we will no longer have to live so cautiously.

inked said...

Most of these are just good general tips. I felt like the list I read via email was way too extreme, but under-inclusive at the same time.

Anonymous said...

for the at home stuff, Fake TV costs like 15 dollars online and gives the illusion someone is in there watching TV. great for out of town trips

Anonymous said...

LOL, dude pooped on her bed???

Good tips. @w ... this stuff happens all throughout the city, H St or not. You just have to be street smart if you live in a city.

Anonymous said...

You might as well say 'just live in a neighborhood where blacks don't'. you sound real scary and elitist. Stop looking scared when you walk, make eye contact, say hello...they don't bite, they're just black.

pat said...

many amateur burglars will defecate in someone's home. Part of it is "Marking Territory", just like
dogs and bears do, part of it is "Leaving something of
value" behind in exchange.

Given the burglar stole pot, smoked it on sight, ate food, crapped, it was an amateur markign territory.

I'd look hard at some local teens.

Anonymous said...

On leaving things in cars, I go so far as to leave *nothing* visible in them, not even a magazine or a sweatshirt. I've heard of windows smashed just to see what was under something, so I always advise guests to put everything in the trunk or out of sight, even if it is worthless.

Also, for those who carry bags or purses, wear one with straps that go around your body, like a backpack or a shoulder bag, are much better than clutches or handbags that can be easily grabbed. Always keep your possessions in your line of sight and/or not easily accessible to others. (Hang purses under bar counters, not off the back of chairs. Don't leave a smartphone on your table to get more soda. Yep, I've seen people do that.)

And I can't stress enough how much safer it feels to have good relations with the neighbors. Most blocks have one or two people that are always around keeping and eye on things, and they let you know if they see anything odd, if they know you.

Anonymous said...

"You might as well say 'just live in a neighborhood where blacks don't'. you sound real scary and elitist. Stop looking scared when you walk, make eye contact, say hello...they don't bite, they're just black"

i love how this advice (making eye contact and saying hello) is only dispensed in neighborhoods like ours. We are admonished (this blog and elsewhere) to do these things, as if the onus is on us and if we do, well we are just rude and/or elitist and deserve what we get. For me it doesnt matter either way; and I'm a massive mean looking dude so when I do look one of these POS's in the eye and say hello they're the ones who "get shook" to use the parlance of the hood, but the idea that a 20 or 30-something year old woman walking home from the bus stop is somehow obligated to say hello to these yahoos or risk the consequences is ass backwards.

Anonymous said...

I am curious if Galludet students get robbed more than others?

Anonymous said...

I didn't say hello to white jerks when I lived in Arlington, and I'm under no obligation to say hello to black jerks on H street. I ain't even scared, homie.

Anonymous said...

For the "don't leave windows open" tip...don't assume that a window is inaccessible, no matter how hard *you* might find it to get in. A neighbor left her second-story back window open a few months ago, and her yard is surrounded by a locked, 6' fence. Crackhead used her trash cans to hop the fence (normally in the yard, but out for trash day), and, as far as we can tell (based on things he moved), then climbed up onto the patio railing and somehow boosted himself into the window. That guy should be in cirque du soleil, but he's robbing homes in DC instead, so be careful...

inked said...

I absolutely know of cases where someone has gotten in through a second floor window.

tubbs said...

I go in through back doors all the time!

Anonymous said...

On the issue of locks, most locks sold in the states can be picked in about 30 seconds from watching you tube videos, including dead bolts (super easy). High security locks are pricey, 200 bucks per, but can not be picked with a "bump" key. There is even a meetup group in DC that practices picking locks. Get Abloy locks if you want to make sure your locks can't be picked. is it overboard? Sure. Will it guarantee someone can't pick your locks in 30 seconds? Yep. I do not work for or have financial interest in Abloy, just offering friendly advice.

Anonymous said...

4:46 here again...I realize now that my comment could make people be all paranoid that they have to shut their house up tight even when they're home and the weather's nice to avoid ambitious burglars. One solution is to, when you replace your windows, get the kind with built-in stops, so that you can open them a few inches but they can't be opened further without breaking the window to push the stops in. You can also buy all kinds of clamp- or screw-on jammers, just be cognizant of whether they provide enough blockage of force (some will slide up if someone pushes the window up hard enough) and that they don't prevent *you* from opening the window further in an emergency. Another is, if you have a security system installed, to ask for "open and closed" sensors, which allow you to open the window the same few inches and still turn the alarm system on, and it will go off if the window is moved. A third is to put "baby bars" in vulnerable windows and lock the bars shut.

You should still close the windows when you leave, but using any of those options, you can open your windows and enjoy fresh air when you're home. We shouldn't have to be so paranoid that we can never open our windows even while we're home.

Anonymous said...

A few more:

1. Keep something that looks valuable (a pile of a few bucks) accessible in your pocket to throw on the ground if someone tries to rob you with a weapon. I did that when 4 kids pulled a gun on me and each one of them looked down at the ground giving me an opportunity to get away.

Anonymous said...

2. Don't let people you don't know and trust in your house. Sounds obvious but I have heard of far too many people burned by including the wrong person in a party invite only to find the guest took the time to case the place.

3. When you pack up your car to leave town do it when not a bunch of people can see or pack it up incrementally.

4. For women. A school- marmy pleasant but firm "good morning" or "good evening" with a solid look in the eye while passing someone on the street.
4. Be decent to the kids on your block who you know have a hard life. If they are hungry feed them a hot dog now and then. Ask them about their day at school. Remember to say happy birthday on their birthday. If buys you good will as they grow up if they run with a tough crowd.

Anonymous said...

This is all amazing, thank you. what kind of home enema kits do you recommend for mild constipation? Preferably self-administered. My mom has carpal-tunnel ever since that Summer's Eve recall.

Anonymous said...

Another tip I just learned from an officer: if you're going out of town for awhile, you can email your local police Lieutenant and ask to have officers keep an eye on the property. They're happy to take an occasional look. And if there is a problem, they know you're out of the area and probably don't know about it.

D'Pez Poopsie said...

I think the key to a secure home is having a gigantic dog that snarls and barks and sometimes bites.

Anonymous said...

"Remember to say happy birthday on their birthday."

another ridiculous piece of advice.

Anonymous said...

So I'm confused. Do people not just say good morning or hello to be polite? Or because we live in a community? My mistake, I thought it was just a polite gesture; I didn't realize it was meant only to ward off attacks. Yes, I think the list is very helpful generally and there are things here that I wouldn't have considered a problem (like leaving a second floor window open). But, it is so difficult to finally have blinders off in our neighborhoods. I moved here excited about the diversity of the area only to discover that in fact others moving in with me really only say hello out of a sense of obligation.