Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Phases of a Crime 3/3

We're in the home stretch! Our final piece on Phases of a crime outline the final 4 phases.

Step 4. Planning and Surveillance. For many criminals, this is where the real legwork begins. It's also what separates the good one from the ones already behind bars. During this phase, dependent upon their level of sophistication, criminals employ several planning and surveillance techniques. These range from using Google Maps & Street View (yes, we're not the only ones who use technology to our advantage) to walking and knocking on doors to see if anyone is home at specific times. They may even pose as someone to try and gain access to get a look around (a new neighbor introducing themselves, a delivery driver, stranded motorist, or something even more creative). They will often look carefully at specific items inside and outside of your home. Items such as: Types of valuables, your level of caution when answering the door, family photos (they could be looking for how many people live at your home, types of locks on your doors, do you have a weapon visible, does it look like you're home a lot during the day, and even if you have open windows or open access (do you leave your windows open during the day in the summer?). These items are all based on their experience, intentions, and/or level of risk they're willing to assume. See Steps to Preventing a Crime to identify ways you can minimize your risk of being a victim.  This phase often takes a while and when they think/feel they're able to successfully execute the crime they'll move to the next step.

Step 5. Execution (breaching). This phase is when the threat to you and your loved ones is imminent. The criminals have decided your home is one they're targeting. They're now looking to make entry. More than likely, they've already decided how they plan to get in. They may have identified that your basement window is always unlocked, your front door doesn't have a deadbolt and can be easily passed with a credit card, and a ladder is leaning against your neighbor's garage (They can now use this ladder to get in through your bathroom window). Either way, this phase is when they are attempting to make entry to perpetrate the crime. It's critical at this phase that all defense mechanisms are both operational and in place. Having a deadbolt doesn't do any good if it's not in place when the crime is under way. This phase is all about time. The longer it takes a criminal to make entry, the more likely they are to move to their next (or another) target. You want it to be as difficult as possible to make entry so they decide your home isn't worth the time and risk. At this point, if you know there's someone attempting to make entry, you need to immediately call 911, move to a safe and secure location as far away from the threat as possible and do what you can to protect yourself and your family. These are tough decisions to make and even tougher conversations to have with your loved ones, but they're vital. You won't have time when the situation presents itself to have conversations and conduct planning. The plan needs to be formulated and ready should this type of an event occur. If you have questions or need some ideas on where to start feel free to reach out. You can email us anytime. 

Step 6. Execution (act or commission of the crime). This phase is when the individual or individuals are inside your home. At this point, if you are home, the safety of you and your family is of first and foremost importance. It's crucial you conceal yourself as-best-as possible and contact law enforcement. Unless otherwise told to do so by a law enforcement officials, we do not, under any circumstances, advise trying to interdict. In many cases, the criminal has accepted that they are committing a crime and are willing to pay the price. The risks to the safety of yourself and your family far outweighs the benefits of any possible altercation. The best, and safest, course of action is to shelter in place and take up a defensive posture and await law enforcement's arrival. As we discussed in Step 5, it's best to find a safe location as far away from the assailant(s) as possible, ensure you're in touch with Law Enforcement, and follow their instructions. If you're unable to make contact with Law Enforcement remember that it's best to be in a location where you're going to be able to see the assailant before they can see you, in a location less likely to be searched by the assailants (a childs bedroom closet isn't likely to have jewelry or any high value items robbers are looking to steal). Again, it's best to work with Law Enforcement and plan ahead. It's also important to note that, if you have camera's inside your home, these can make great tools to identify where, within your home, the assailants are located to ensure you avoid those areas. None of us ever plan on our home being invaded, but if we plan ahead we can be prepared should that horrific day ever occur.

Step 7. Escape and Evasion. The final phase of any incident is the assailant's escape and evasion. It's highly likely assailants will have planned their escape prior to executing their incursion. Few like to be seen leaving a home with any big objects. They may stage a vehicle in the driveway of a neighbors home, in a parking lot behind the home if the home is next to a public location, or they could have a van ready to pull in right before they leave. Again, home surveillance is the best tool you can provide to law enforcement in identifying and capturing the assailants. See How to Set Up a Surveillance System for Your Home to identify best ways to ensure you’re ready to assist law enforcement after a crime has occurred.

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The information contained herein is intended as informational and the opinion of Omega Six Security. We take great measure to ensure we're providing the best available information possible. But, it is just that, information. Readers must acknowledge that you are the first and last defense in any situation that could arise. Proper education, research, training, and maintaining good situational awareness will always help. We, at Omega Six Security, want to do all we can to assist in educating our members and readers alike. However, we always, recommend you reach out to local law enforcement, legal representatives and other subject matter experts to better understand your rights and responsibilities based on your individual circumstances. The information herein is for informational purposes only and does not constitute any form of counsel, legal or otherwise. Readers acknowledge and hold harmless Omega Six Security, LLC and the author and accept sole responsibility for any actions taken based on implementation of any information herein.