Friday, July 4, 2008

The House next door got burglarized: A few tips

Happened last Sunday but I didn’t get around to write about it until now.

At around 8 PM or so someone called at my door.
I was in bed with fever (flu), so I checked through the window but there was no one at the front gate.( the 7 feet high iron fence where the front garden meets the sidewalk) so I went back to bead.
A minute later someone rings again, but when I look no one is there.
This time my wife tells me she saw through the window, and it was the woman that lives alone next door. She rang and left as if on a hurry.

That caught my attention, so I got out of bed, put on my jeans, shoes and jacket, the Surefire flashlight and holster with the Glock 31 (checked to see that the chamber was loaded)

My wife stayed inside with my son.

When I got out I saw her, and another neighbor of mine looking from the sidewalk towards her place, but from a distance, as if they were scared to get too close.

She explained to me that she just drove back home and found the door opened. She was very nervous and about to cry, and insisted that she was sure she closed the door before leaving.

It was dark but from a distance using the Surefire we could see that the front door was open and the shutter curtain near by was all twisted as if someone tried to brake in through there too, but found the metal bars on the other side.

After it became obvious that someone broke in she started crying, got pretty nervous. She said she had nothing and now this, that she’s alone, (kids moved out a few years ago), and now what’s she going to do.
They already robbed here 4 times, this one being the 5th. One time they stayed inside for 3 hours, she told me they had beaten her up.
She didn’t say, but I also knew that on that incident they had abused her daughters too.

It came to my mind how many times we discuss things like these and often say “what are the odds?”. Well, for this poor woman, it’s 5 times already. Why should it be any different for any of us? Why should we be immune?

Of course, we didn’t risk going in. I told my wife to call the cops, and my neighbor went in for a cup of tea ( it’s winter here) while I kept an eye on things in front of the house and waited for the cops to show up.

After 15-20 minutes a patrol car came by.

My neighbor came out and the two cops asked if there was anyone inside.
We said we didn’t know. The cops asked if there were any family members inside. She didn’t knew how to answer to that, she was almost certain that no, no family member was inside, but how sure can you be about anything?

The cops drew their Hi Powers and went to the door, asked my neighbor to follow and turn the lights on for them.
I’ve already been through something similar at my wife’s factory, and the cops asked me to go in front to turn the lights on. My guess? They want you to go in first, and not exactly because they don’t know how to turn a damn light switch on.

I gave the cop my Surefiire, but he only got through the front door and then again insisted that she should go first to turn the lights on….
I asked the cop for my light and went with her.
To the cops credit, at least they kept their guns close to their bodies and with the barrel pointing down and didn’t cover me with the muzzle at any time.
I didn’t want to draw my gun near the cops but I kept my hand on my Glock’s butt just in case. Even if it was clear that anyone that robbed the place already left, you never know for sure so it’s better to be cautious.

No one was inside and they didn’t take much, but it was pretty sad to hear the woman cry all the time. Everything was upside down, books, cutlery, everything was out of the shelves and drawers. The house was one big mess.

She kept on saying that she had nothing, that they already stole her jewelry and anything of value the previous times.

Turns out they stole a bit o money she had and a small radio/CD player gadget.

The worst thing was her front door.
The solid wooden door was torn up, one of the locks was all bent up but still in place, the other one was destroyed lying the floor.

Cops say they used a sledge hammer, looks to me like they just put a crowbar to good use and tore up the door and locks pretty good.

“How am I going to sleep know, with this door in this condition?” She asked.

All I could think of was to get a ladder so as to block the door from the inside.

I thought about offering her a gun, but I dismissed the thought immediately, since she’s obviously not a gun person and I’m legally responsible for anything that gets done with my guns.

Her son and a friend showed up later, and it turned out, her son got her home ensured without here even knowing, so that was a bit of a good news.

I went back home once I saw she was ok, and my wife hugged me, touching my Glock under the clothes and said “I’m glad you are the way you are” which was a nice thing to hear after all those “you and your guns” naggings.:)

They went to sleep and I stayed talking on the Messenger phone with a friend.
Stayed up late and only slept like 3 or 4 hours, I didn’t feel like sleeping anyway.

One thing that surprised us was how bold the robbers were.
That Sunday we took our son to see the latest “Hulk” movie, ( pretty good by the way) and we left about 3 PM, came back 6.30 PM, give or take.

When leaving we didn’t see anything wrong so they must have robbed while we were out, on broad daylight, probably with a guy on the street in case cops or the house owners came back.

A few things to learn from this:

1) Have a house alarm, and a safe for your valuable stuff.
There’s no excuse for not having an alarm these days, and safes are also pretty cheap.

2) Improve your security as much as possible so that robbers choose other places.
No one managed to get into my house yet, and they did try.
Once with me inside. Pointing a gun through the window sent that guy away in an instant.
Meantime her house got robbed 5 times by now.
Front gates between the sidewalk and your front door provide an invaluable layer of protection. Add an alarm, a dog and a good security door, and robbers will sure find a much easier target to entertain themselves.

3) Cops took 15-20 minutes to get here, and that was pretty fast for local standards. Still, 15 minutes is too long if someone shot you/is choking you to death/raping you or your family just to name a few options. You are your first and last line of defense, make sure you can defend yourself.

4) In spite of every caution, no house is invulnerable. If you can keep some money and emergency gear in a second location in case you loose everything else, at least you wont be starting from zero.

5) Unless you are 5 years old or an 90 year old granny that can’t lift a finger, do everything in your power to be as proficient in defending yourself as possible. And I’m not talking only about guns.
This woman’s house, even though medium size, was designed in such a way that spaces and halls where pretty reduced and it was easy to see how a fight in there, even if you have a firearm, would end up being a hand to hand fight, and I know there are LOTS of small houses or apartments where the same holds truth.
Guns aren’t magic talismans, if quarters are reduced you better have something else to offer than good accuracy.

Every person capable of getting him/herself into fighting shape should do so, and train as much as possible.
Maybe getting into a ring every week isn’t your thing, but at least you can ( you should!) stay in shape, round not being an option.
Those that don’t like to fight can still work out and take at least a couple self defense classes a year so as to have some hand to hand moves to use in an emergency.

6) Make yourself train, work out and shoot even when you don’t feel well.
Last Sunday I was planning on going to the range but I canceled because I wasn’t feeling well. The following day I had no choice but to grab my gun and go out, even with a fever.
It’s better to get used to performing even when not 100%, so that when it happens for real at least you are a bit more used to.
Next time you feel like canceling a trip to the range or gym because you don’t feel well, consider it a training bonus instead. :)

7) Get body armor and use it when you have a chance.
I have mine but didn’t put it on because I didn’t know what was going on. I should have taken a couple extra seconds and put it under my jacket.
Just takes like 5 more seconds ( kept with only one side open) and can truly save your life if things get ugly.

8) Carry you gun always, or at least, leave it in your car if you are going out. An extra flashlight and body armor vest in the vehicle would be perfect too.
It SUCKS, I repeat SUCKS, to get back home, find your front door smashed, and all your cool tactical survival rifles and grenade launchers are nicely tucked in your safe, right next to the burglars, while you are unarmed outside…. And lets not even think about THOSE guns you left in the night table or under the bed for quick access, which are now in the hands of the criminals waiting for you to get in and blow your head off.

Happened to me once, lost my first Glock 31 that way, will never happen again.

9)Have boards and wood around to secure broken doors and windows, it will save you from sleeping completely vulnerable if for any reason your doors or windows get broken.
I had to rush to get materials when our beach house got broken into several years ago and this woman had the same problem.

I wanted to share these thoughts with you people because it’s a pretty typical situation and many can learn from it and maybe save them from learning the hard way.

Take care everyone.



Anonymous said...

As always, a very informative blog. Thank you Ferfal and keep up the good work... you make all of us think.

Anonymous said...

I apologize in advance as this might be a long comment. I just found your blog and think it is great. I'm from the U.S., but I am partial to Argentina and have many friends there after living there for almost two years while serving a Mormon mission. While in Argentina, I lived in Rosario area, Parana, Santa Fe area, and Pergamino. I was there throughout 2001 and 2002 and witnessed the mess of December 2001 while living in Parana. I saw shops being looted including my favorite supermarket, witnessed mobs fighting off police with rocks and sticks. The hardest was seeing the hardships my good friends were going through economically. It is crazy how fragile economies are and I am not ignorant of the possibility of the seeing a repeat where I live now. For the most part people leave us alone since people are used to seeing us and as LDS missionaries, we are known to carry only a little if any money and some books. But still, occasionally, missionaries were stopped and robbed in the street (mostly those who are small and short). Being quite large and tall, (6’4”) I was never messed with in the street, but my apartment was robbed twice in my two year stay.

The first was while living on the outskirts of Santa Fe. Everybody knew when we were home and away, but we keep good relations with the neighbors and they keep an eye out for us. One night, we returned home just after dark to find some neighbors out standing around in front of our house talking. They had heard someone breaking into our house, but were afraid to confront them. The neighbors eventually made some noise and yelled at them and they took off running with a couple bags of stuff. They had gotten in the backyard and pried open our flimsy sheet metal back door to gain access. Strangely the only things stolen were mostly food items and a couple pairs of my pants and an airsoft pistol. I had a cd player and camera and other things that were not touched. The second time was a different apartment, but quite similar things taken to the first though the second time they took my electric shaver and left the charging cord. Again, they had gained access by prying our flimsy sheet metal back door and again, the police were not helpful. I had countless learning experiences while there and loved the culture and people. It truly is a great country, and it is a shame that it has been plagued with poor leadership and corrupt politics for so long.
I am looking forward to again visiting Argentina and seeing my friends down there. Good luck with everything there and I look forward to continue reading your blog.


Anonymous said...

I'd say, "Get out of that area". Life is too short to live like that. Move to a place where crime is low and you can live life in relative peace. Arm yourself and make sure everyone in the area knows you are armed. Bet you won't get robbed four or five times.

Anonymous said...

One good and cheap way to have an alarm for your place is to get one of those ip web cameras. Once you set it up (it's not hard to do) you can set the motion sensor on it so that if anyone is moving around in your house or apartment the camera will send out an email, you can have it sends an email via your cell phone provider allowing you to get a text message on your cell phone. I got the best I could afford a panasonic BL-C131, the reason why I went with them is they provide a free service for camera web hosting, so you can check your ip camera anytime. Also it is sophisticated enough, you can adjust the motion sensor sensitivity so your pets don't trip it, I have some cats and they can move around freely, but if a large body like a person walking through, the sensor is tripped. It works great. About 250 dollars from Amazon.

Anonymous said...

I check your blog daily, and recommend it to everyone I know. As an avid reader,I have learned that weapons and ammo are expensive and hard to come by. After reading your last post about your neighbor being robbed, I was wondering why would you buy a 357 sig, if ammo is so expensive and tough to get why not go with a more common 9mm 45 acp round. Not trying to seem judgemental as its an excellent round, just questioning the reason. Thank you for your very informational blog and stay safe.

FerFAL said...

Hi guys, glad you liked the post.

David, its’ a beautiful country with lots of potential, but the current quasi-dictatorship we are going through is a serious problem, because there’s no institutional or legal security, there’s a lot of corruption too.
I don’t think this country will change for the better any time soon.
Not with these guys running things.

Hi Pete,
The Glock 31 gives me 15 rounds of probably the most effective handgun ammo available, the power of the 357 SIG plus the 15 round capacity is a combination hard to beat.

But you are right, the ammo is expensive and hard to get. But the 357 SIG can be turned into a 40S&W just by changing the barrel, and that’s just what I do for practice, I shoot 40 S&W out of my Glock 31, with the spare .40 barrel.

I do worry about having guns for more popular calibers in case ammo gets even harder to come by, so that’s why I also have two Hi Powers 9mm and a Bersa Thunder 9mm, both of which are used by the police here, and a custom Norinco 1911 and a Ballester Molina, for 45ACP.

That way I cover the more popular calibers in case I run out of ammo ( rare, I have enough ammo), and need to get by with more popular choices.


skymetalsmith said...

I linked to your blog today in my daily blog.

What you are blogging is so important. Godspeed

Howaido said...

Ferfal, just wanted to thank you for this blog. Good work.

Anonymous said...


1) What is the going rate for 30cm of gold chain, and do they pay different prices for 10k, 14k, 24k, etc?

2) What happened to the Argentinian Government Bonds? Worthless? 60 cents on the dollar?

Anonymous said...


people all over the globe are using your information on how to survive Peak Oil. But after reading a few of your posts, I get the impression you don't know about PO or the devastating impacts it will have upon your country.

You think you're paying high prices for gas now? Imagine not having any at all. From what I can tell, Argentina still has a lot of natural gas, but can you survive without diesel?

Do a Wikipedia search for Peak Oil and the Export Land Model.

I'd be buying more guns if I were you. Actually, I'd leave the country. Come to a place like Australia where handguns are banned and you don't have to worry about such extremes in violence.


Staying Alive said...


Live long! Stay alive! I like your style. If you come to America I can get you a meal, no problem. Do you have an email address? That would be nice.


Anonymous said...

Are you OK? I am worried.

FerFAL said...

1) What is the going rate for 30cm of gold chain, and do they pay different prices for 10k, 14k, 24k, etc?

It’s the same international price, give or take a bit depending on if you are buying or selling, and that margin gets even bigger when you buy or sell to jewelry stores.
Right now the price per oz. 1 is $995 sell , $1050 buy. Each $ is worth 3,02 USD
Most of the stuff bought and sold in jewelry stores here is 18 k.

2) What happened to the Argentinian Government Bonds? Worthless? 60 cents on the dollar?

No idea. Maybe some fool somewhere is buying them, but it is an extremyl dangerous investment, since our ogv. has similar policies like Venezuela. They fuck people over. So t’s really your fault if you buy anything form these dictatorial gang bangers. They just took over Aerolineas Argentinas which had been sold. Took the Spain owned company for themselves. Ops! Now it’s your, now it’s ours, sorry :)
Yes, with that kind of legal security people will be investing in this country like crazy.
Nothing beats investing millions of dollars in a country only to get it stolen by the gov.


”people all over the globe are using your information on how to survive Peak Oil. But after reading a few of your posts, I get the impression you don't know about PO or the devastating impacts it will have upon your country.”

Peak oil is not something that worries me much here.
Why? Because we have oil in this country, and our gov. will not hesitate in taking it away from the private owners.
They are pretty much like Chavez in Venezuela.
They take away companies as they see fit.
Today in Venezuela, oil is cheaper than water, for real. It’s almost free.

Lots of things to worry about here, PO is not one of them. At least not regarding local fuel prices.

“Come to a place like Australia where handguns are banned and you don't have to worry about such extremes in violence.”

JAJA , yes. Gun control works very well in Brazil. :p

Thanks Michel! I have the one I use always but don’t want to post it here, already have enough spam. I’ll see about opening a new account and posting that one, ok?

“Are you OK? I am worried.”

Don’t worry, I’m still here. ;-)


Anonymous said...


You're getting great praise on The Oil Drum:


Carolus Obscurus

Anonymous said...

Good story Ferfal.

No one trains to fight CQB with a firearm. There are firearm fighting ,not marksmanship, systems out there that is geared toward close and tight confrontations. Most gunbattles happen less than 5 yards and are misses. One system that is exteremely effective in this matter is C.A.R. or Centaer Axis Relock developed by Paul Castle. Check it out at Sabretactical.com.

Keep up the blog. Your experience is gold.

Anonymous said...


How safe would you rate a cross-country motorcycle as a means of transportation in your country? It has great fuel economy and if you know how to drive it you can escape from just about any car chasing you. You can go to and get out of any place pretty quick, even places where a car would be stuck, but you're out in the open and even a small bump can throw you off balance and hurt you really bad.

Would you consider a motorcycle as regular transportation for people like you (not high profile but still rich enough to be robbed / attacked) in your country or one where security is as bad as in yours? Do regular people still drive motorcycles in Argentina?

Thanks for all the real life experience you provide us with.

FerFAL said...

The problem with motorcycles was so great, it actually changed our culture in some ways.
It used to be that over here when a teenager first got his driver’s license, the first thing he wanted was a bike.
Motorcycles are cool, and young people love them. But it soon became painfully obvious how vulnerable you were to robberies whenever you stopped.

Two guys would follow in a bike and when you stopped a bit the gun comes out and you are forced aside, the bike leaves with one of the guys driving it.

This happened to many people I knew or heard of, that bought their first bikes so the fashion changed into buying cars instead.

You still see motorcycles, but they are not nearly as popular as they used to be.
The first reason is the one I described; you are truly a sitting duck, and chances are much greater that you’ll be a crime victim, compared to traveling in a car.
Second, traffic here is pretty rough, lots of people get killed in traffic accidents and of course, bikes are particularly vulnerable.

For my situation, or people living in places where crime is a big problem, certainly not, a motorcycle is not a good idea, a car offers much more protection. Even if bullets will penetrate most cars easily, at least you aren’t that exposed to someone grabbing you and overpowering you in a stop. There’s a physical protection of some sort, and it’s better than no protection at all.


Anonymous said...

I'm amazed that so many really believe you are what you say you are. I don't think you're Argentinian at all. I suspect you're really am American based in the US.

FerFAL said...

That’s pretty weird. No one told me that before, and I’ve received thousands of emails and PMs through the years.
Why would I lie?
Why do you think that?


Anonymous said...

Conspiracy nut?

Ferfal's posted pictures previously both here and elsewhere that support his assertions. He has also described events that were confirmable via other websites (news stories, etc). In addition, he has certain linguistic cues that give him away as native Argentinian to the informed.
To say he's not Argentinian or even in Argentina is a stretch, and an unsupported one at that.
Your evidence to the contrary is...?

Anonymous said...

I found you through Tastespotting of all places, and have little doubt you are who you say you are.
After not checking your blog in months I find it full of information that will most definetly come in handy for my own preps here in the US. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hello Ferfal,
A few weeks ago I noticed your blog and I find it very informative.
I'm dutch and living in Holland and because of the upcoming (fascism) EU I'm thinking of moving abroad.Last year I've visited Argentina scouting for some property where I can live self sufficient.In one of your latest blog you mentioned that citizens can't own any weapons. Do you know a latin american country where you can legally or lawfully own weapons/guns?
In a few weeks I've got a leave of a few months and I'm planning a trip for some more scouting.
Regards, archie

FerFAL said...

Thanks guys, glad you enjoy my blog. :)

Posted by anonymous:
"In one of your latest blog you mentioned that citizens can't own any weapons. Do you know a latin american country where you can legally or lawfully own weapons/guns?"

I’m sure I never said that.
You can legally OWN guns in Argentina, most guns at least, what you can’t do is CARRY them, concealed or otherwise.

As far as I know, even foreigners can own guns here if they reside in the country.


Anonymous said...

First of all thank you for your respons and second my apologies for my misinterpretation.

In that case Argentina is still on my 'possible retreat' list.
Can you sent me a link where I can get some more info on the course 'The Ultimate Combat Skills' or some info on the classes from Jorge Baigorria?