Things I Learned About Crime

Mean Dog
Image by Lucid Nightmare on flickr under creative commons.

Things I Learned About Crime

by Crane-Station for Frog Gravy

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 If your out-of-date electronics and older model computers go missing, they are most likely at the recycle center and not the pawn shop. Out-of-date electronics have little or no pawn value.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.


Off-topic thoughts:

Dr. Bao has balls of iron, and I hope he can make some headway into shining the light of day onto our broken courts.

Also, not sure who to hat tip for this, but I came across it in my WordPress reader, Sting and Stevie Wonder. Lovely.

on Sting’s 60th birthday, 10/1/2011

48 Responses to Things I Learned About Crime

  1. Xena says:

    @Crane-Station. About the security signs. Here, when a residence has a security system, the city requires them to purchase a sticker. That sticker is to be placed on the front door. It provides the name of the security company and their phone number. Without that sticker, and if it is a false alarm, the city fines up to $500 for coming out.

    The houses in the area where I live are about 7 yrs old, and one security firm installed the systems. Before all the houses sold, the security firm learned that thieves discovered how to cut the phone lines from the polls, and by doing that, the alarms would not engage. They now have the phone lines on cell towers or satellite.

    • colin black says:

      No need to even cut those type of alarms.Chemists installed them another favourate of mine to burgarise an they had a direct line alarm through the phone line to the cop shop a silent alarm to catch you in the act.

      Simply get the chemists phone number an dial it before you entered an keep the line engaged as no one there to answer it .

      Someone keeps the line busy from a call box n its out of commission as a direct alarm to the cops until its eventually hung up but by then your offski.

      • Xena says:

        @colin black. The phone system for the security systems here call into the security firm, and the police department. Funny thing is, I’ve only one cat try to come into my house — the 4 footed kind. πŸ™‚

  2. colin black says:

    What I learned in crime growing up burgalars are scum unless your talking .
    Profesinals whom target Mansions or swanky Hotels ect.

    The type that rob homes of people on similar incomes are stupid lazy an ass wipes.

    If you must burgalrise an I have go for buisnesses with insurance an a guaranteed pay day of stock booze an cigarettes are instant cash.

    My speciality was sneak theifeing refered to as the creep.

    You work in twos an maybe threes to manipulate shop staff whilst one gets in the back an latterly emptys the safe.

    Right time of day near closeing time its a piece of cake if you kinow what your doing.

    Jewlers were my favourate thirty odd years ago before cctv.

    There security was a bell above the door .

    The jewler comes out from the back an serves the customer whom leaves an he or she returns out back.

    We go in twos an I imeaditlt hit the floor flat out infront of counter jewler cant see me.

    My partner asks about price of christing mugs or some such speil.

    An then leaves jewler returns out back where up on I spring up an quietly slip across the counter an then proceed to empty there stock from the window trays an trays of rings an gold bracelets always remember to come prepared with a couple of empty pillow cases youd be supried how quickly one can steal 40 grands woth of tom.

    An then my partner whos be observeing every thing plus making sore no errany customer enters the shop whilst Im in there.

    He sees when Im ready to leave.

    He opens the door bell rings I exit an he enters an asks another inane question abouth christing mugs an then leaves.

    We are rich an the jewler doesn’t even know he has been robbed until he goes to close an clear his window.

    We drove the Polis mental for yrs with that one they couldn’t figure out how we were doing it.

    • Definitely a whole new level of sophistication there. Thank you for sharing this, as I think it helps to educate and raise awareness.

      On the subject of thieving from businesses. With the old style ATM machines. the ones that actually took the card in. Very often, people would walk away from these machines and leave the card in the machine, because the transaction was complete, and people simply forgot the card.

      Thieves posted up and watched for this, at any number of ATMs.

      The screen holding the card would say “Do you want another transaction?”

      The thief would wait for the card-holder to leave, and they simply hit “Yes” on the screen, and then hit “Credit.” Cleaned the account. Bank of America would then have to reimburse the customer, and thieves got a real kick out of this.

      I wonder how much money was lost through those old machines.
      On new machines, of course, the card is swiped, and never taken into a machine.

  3. fauxmccoy says:

    excellent advice, Ms. Station πŸ™‚

    husband and i have recovered from the financial disaster that was my disability and combined with the inheritance from my father’s estate and hubster’s GI benes, we can FINALLY start looking for a home to buy rather than rent. we have always preferred cul-de-sacs simply because they are safer with youngsters and that trend will continue — what i cannot wait for is the opportunity to get another standard poodle and a pool. wish us well, we are neophytes at this and it feels overwhelming to start.

    • colin black says:

      Youl be right.

      • colin black says:

        And you couldn’t be buying property at any better time since the fiftys

        Its a buyers market cash or morgatge holders are kings.

        As banks are looking for any oppertunity not to loan at the moment.

        Property bubble has bust for inveters looking to make a quick profffit.

        So its excellent for those simply looking for a home to live in an cherish

        As there own an not an ivestment in anything but happinesss an love.

        • fauxmccoy says:

          ah, my dear colin. you are one precious soul. i’m honored to have met you, even if it only be electronically. thank you. will upload pics when i am successful πŸ™‚

    • cielo62 says:

      Faux McCoy- good luck! We lost our home in the economic downturns, but we are hopeful to buy another home towards retirement out in Maryland. We currently rent in a culture-de-sac with a multicultural neighborhood. Its nice. Do your research, which you do so well. I’m sure you’ll find a sweet place!

      Sent from my iPad

    • Oh! Such exciting times. We wish you all the very best of health and joy in your search for a home. The poodles are so smart, and sweet, and their ‘hair’ is like butter. And a pool? Awesome!

  4. Okay, this is humor and not horror, hope this works!

    • racerrodig says:

      At least he didn’t have a gun in his glove compartment.

      “I was just goin’ the store……she was gonna stab me in the face”

      I live “…about 2 miles, back that way…..” “I been drinkin’ all day”

      “You about to get sprayed..” “I know my rights…I know my rights”

      The best line “My wife’s gonna kick yer ass !!!!”

      My side hurts for laughing so hard and I blame (thank) you !!

      Where do they come from………and why are they breathing our air??”

  5. racerrodig says:

    Even fake security cameras work. I had a real issue with a customer who turned out to be a scammer from the word go. I had a security camera system but only 1 camera and these are no longer made. I bought some fake cameras and used the working one facing my shop from the house and the fakes facing the opposite way.

    Said scammer who had threatened me, in front of the police no less, came back one day and when he saw one of the fakes, he turned tail. Haven’t seen him since but I was able to get a Restraining Order from that.

    Here’s that little shit on a typical day for him….

    Imagine dealing with a critter like this while trying to build a race car for him. I love his super tough “I know my rights…..I’ll fuck you up” to the whimpering coward guys like this really are.

    Maybe Fogen will go this route……in fact I think it’s not if, but when.
    He’s a real tough guy with kids and women and especially with his “bodyguard” around. Look at the weasel he is with the cops….all meek & mild.

    #9. They use fake Money Orders now. Several years ago I got an e-mail from a guy claiming to be an art dealer who did the decorating for huge corporations lobbies and needed a clearance person who would get paid, keep 10% and forward the balance. I told him no and buzz off. The next day I got a FedEx delivered with a Money Order for over 10K$. I took it to the bank to check on the authenticity and they said it was real. I deposited it as they would not cash it.

    It was a fake. Whoever did this went to a lot of trouble to fabricate Money Orders that real. So I googled the return address and mapquested it. It was an empty lot but I kept digging and found out who did send it. It was from PA and I reported it to the police and they actually arrested the guys doing this.

    You’re pretty much dead on with all of it. I had a girlfriend back around ’88 who had several exotic birds stolen. Nothing else, just the birds.

    • Thank you for the update to my outdated #9. Money orders, I am not surprised. The ‘paper’ people put an awful lot of work into making the fake things look real. I do know that much. But, I was out of date, as not many people use checks anymore.

      Stands to reason that fake cameras work. A thief has to assume that a camera is working, anyplace in the world other that George Zimmerman’s neighborhood, where one can rest assured that the safety officer has tampered with the cameras.

      On the “I know my rights” nope, I can’t imagine dealing with somebody like that. There are some egregious human beings out and about. Scammers. GMAFB. (BTW, I love liveleaks, thanks for the link).

      • Wrong video, let me get Fred to remove it. I did not mean to post another horror link.

      • racerrodig says:

        No Problem. This clown also sued the cops, but he had told me and several people he kept running a stop sign so he’d get stopped and forced an altercation. He actually kicked the one cop so hard his sneaker flew off. Then after the cops were found not guilty he sued them for 5 million. They settled out of court for 200K but the “special civil rights lawyer” his local lawyer had a deal with charged him 300K in fees.

        It’s a real long story, but this is what losers do. Fogen – Rao, same shit head mentality.

    • lurker says:

      Speaking of the Zimmermans. I finally had time to listen to the whole Simms presser. George disconnected the AC when he knew that Shellie was coming to get her things. Just for laughs, apparently. But, he had disconnected the interior security cams and tried to prevent police from viewing the exterior film.

      Don’t know for sure what to make of Simms. He thought that there was no need for Shellie to have LE accompany her to get her stuff out–as it had the full knowledge and agreement of both parties AND their attorneys. Clearly an error. So–I don’t know if his decision to try to keep things quiet by not pressing charges and not getting a restraining order is wise or foolish. As he pointed out, George is pretty smart, and obviously knows how to throw a rock and hide his hand. And he has shown that any agreements with regard to staying away are meaningless to him. And his deliberate destruction of the video record of his threatening and harassing actions is not only an act of intimidation, it displays the lengths to which he is willing to go to avoid any incriminating evidence of his actions.

      I sincerely hope he knows what he is doing, and that Shellie is protected.

  6. J4TMinATL says:

    Good tips. One of my biggest fears is my house being robbed.

    • Yes, and I thought it would be interesting to share what actual thieves have to say! I think the dog thing is likely the most common tip. (Our parrot is meaner than a damn dog! He growled at a really nice orange cat the other day, and I have never heard such a thing in my life. It sounded reptilian, un-evolved, and apocalyptic. The kind of thing you’d hear, just before the horsemen arrive on the horizon.)

      • looneydoone says:

        With several dogs, a pair of peacocks and a family of geese we don’t have any tresspassers on the property…ever. Hell, we don’t even bother locking the door when we leave home πŸ˜‰

        • Oh, I love that! Some folks who live about a mile from us have dogs, peacocks, bunny rabbits, ptarmigans (we think) and also, several roosters, and a couple of wild turkey pairs that forage there. I love to jog by their place, I’ll bet they never have to lock their doors either. One of the dogs is about half the size of a horse! Ain’t nobody gonna break in there.

          I can tell you right now, I have had my ass kicked by a goose. They really mean business. Add those dogs and peacocks=no intruders.

          • looneydoone says:

            Geese are vicious !
            Peacocks are noisy, and MiSombra, the feral cat keeps her distance…Pigeons are her preferred prey.

      • fauxmccoy says:

        teach that parrot to bark!! (no one will know through a closed door) πŸ™‚

        • Funny you’d say that. He does bark. It’s a quiet bark, but it freaked our neighbor who visited one day. Now, his coyote howl is really loud. He really belts it out.

          • cielo62 says:

            Care- I’m surprised my parrot has never learned to meow. She does say ” go on, go on!” But never a meow.

            Sent from my iPad

          • She might surprise you, out of the blue one day. That’s how Nikko generally does it. He takes his time to learn, and then, it’s eery, how accurate the sound really is. He does Curley from The Three Stooges, even better than Curley, because it is more clear than the YouTube clips.

          • cielo62 says:

            Crane- she says “oh, my god!” Just like my spouse! Hysterical! I had a cherry headed conure for @ 20 years who mimicked my cough and laugh perfectly. I miss him even though he passed away 5 years ago.

            Sent from my iPad

          • Oh I am so sorry he passed, I imagine you do miss him. I looked for a video, and found one. Lovely bird.

            Your parrot now sounds sweet as well. I became hooked on birds in circa 1994, when I found and rescued a parakeet from a hot sidewalk in Woodland Hills. I named him, ironically, “Freddie.” (before I met Fred) Then, I got Freddie a partner, and named him Anatolie. Both names are from the theatrical production, Chess, which I saw twice in LA. I have been in love with the bird world ever since.

            Susan Boyle and Elaine Paige do a beautiful duet, from that play. My favorite song.

          • She probably regards meowing as beneath her dignity.

          • fauxmccoy says:

            excellent crane πŸ™‚ years ago, when i was a returning college student, dealing with hodgkins and living with my mother, we got our first standard poodle (easiest dog in the world to train, heck, they train themselves!). her bark was definitely worse than her bite as she was as sweet as could be, but the bark was serious because of her size. we did have a couple of occasions where someone tried to break in through the sliding glass doors. Tess went ballistic and would be burglar left part of his pants on the fence in his haste to get away from what he probably assumed was a rotty wanting a piece of him. πŸ™‚ i cannot wait to get another.

          • Yes, My nephew has had them. Big dogs, really really smart and super sweet.

  7. lurker says:

    Food stamps for drugs. Yeah, it’s possible and it happens. The trick is to convert to cash. Buy food and sell it, or in lower level scams, there are unscrupulous food stamp merchants who accept stamps as payment for beer, wine and cigs. I wouldn’t say it is by any means rampant, or most of users. But, it can and does happen. And, I wouldn’t assume that all stamps for cash deals end up purchasing drugs–although addiction does push people into illegal behavior pretty reliably. Sometimes folks have other cash needs–like keeping the heat and lights on or paying the deposit on an apartment.

    • No doubt, people can get creative. I have seen the cigarette thing, but not street drugs- certainly does not mean it doesn’t happen.

      Maybe I am imagining it, but I have the impression that some folks equate food stamps with living like kings, and this is not true. It may be the mainstream media a while back, that foisted that impression.

  8. Trained Observer says:

    Great insights, especially on aluminum and parrots — both hot commodities stolen in my neighborhood.

    • lurker says:

      TO–I had all the copper plumbing stolen out of my house when thieves likely assumed it to have been vacated (first floor apartment was available). Just as a bonus they checked the upper floors and took my computer–although they left behind all out of date computer equipment.

      I was without water and gas for multiple weeks before all was put back to rights. And just to top it all off, I was in the middle of an online statistics course for my doctoral program. Grrrrr!

      • I am not surprised. Plumbing, good plumbing used to be all copper. Common target for thieves. I think though, that the most sad and disgusting thing that we witnessed, back when we were collecting discarded scrap metal, was this: One day, somebody brought a bronze urn, with ashes in it, to the junkyard for money. I believe the scrapyard did work with police to re-unite the stolen urn with family, but still. It was creepy.

    • Yes, aluminum is a ‘money’ scrap metal. No words for the parrot issue; there are some very unscrupulous dealers though. Our parrot is currently our most valuable commodity. He’s mean, and a thief would be risking life and limb to be dumb enough to try to steal him, but he is worth money.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting, TO, much appreciated.

    • cielo62 says:

      >^..^< Cats are not such hot commodities. You can't even give 'em away! 😦

      • Oh no! And, I am so glad you stopped by. Yes, I still have art supplies. I have not forgotten. I did get sidetracked there, and I am sorry. They will get there, sometime, but I am terribly sorry I did not get them out in August.

        On the cats. Someone apparently abandoned a really sweet orange cat, and so, the neighbors are taking turns feeding and caring for him. Fred says I am a perfect mark for an orange cat. The cat cries on our windowsill, until I pick him up. Then, he purrs.

        Unfortunately, our parrot wants to rid the earth of this sweet cat. When we let the cat in, Nikko growled at him. We had to leave the cat outside, because the parrot is capable of really harming, or even killing him. (It’s not a very big cat; he appears skinny, but otherwise healthy)

        • cielo62 says:

          Crane~ I’m OK with the art materials getting here whenever they get here. I am going through some of my own financial shit and can’t spare the mailing costs just now (but will in 2 weeks). I will send an extra $50 IF you swear on Leatherman’s blog that you will get that sweet cat spayed or neutered! πŸ™‚Β  It’s called “The Initiation” at my house and everybody goes through it.

          • Wow, I am not a cat expert. I am embarrassed to say, he is an orange tabby, so I assume it’s a ‘he,’ but I am not sure if he is fixed, or not! I mean, I think I am looking at a pair, but let me ask someone first. He may be fixed, he is very tame.

            It’s amazing isn’t it, how each month, if it’s not one thing, it’s another. Please hold onto that 50, and let me me find out first. I do agree, that he should be fixed, but let me find out first!

          • fauxmccoy says:

            @crane — orange tabbies are generally male as the color gene that leads to that color is gender related, just as calicos are almost guaranteed to be female. there are some female orange tabbies of course, but it is statistically uncommon.

          • cielo62 says:

            Faux McCoy- the crazy kitten I saved I rush hour traffic is orange with white boots. He’s male. Not tame, alas, but I’m working on it.

            Sent from my iPad

          • @fauxmccoy, yes, we assume he is male, because of the color.

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