Monday, July 4, 2011

10 Things you must know about Home Invasions

Hey FerFal,this story from Mexico is exactly like the stories you tell.

I feel that you should be made aware of an incident that occurred early in the morning of May 9 2011 and about the treatment we received after.
My husband and I were sleeping at our home on Calle ____________ in Res. _________, Ixtapa. At about 2.30 AM I saw 3 men approaching from the back area of the house. We jumped out of bed and managed to keep them from entering the house for at least 5 minutes. We turned on the alarm in our car and during this whole time we were yelling Ayudar Ayudar as loudly as we could. The robbers were also screaming and yelling because they were not at first able to get in. The leader of the bad guys picked up a brick and threw it at our glass door, shattering the glass. They were then able to get inside by smashing all the glass out of the door. The entire time this was going on, our car alarm was still sounding off.

Once inside our house the robbers beat both my husband (very severely) and myself and also at one point in the battle they shot a gun at my husband but thankfully did not hit him. They then tore our house apart and found our bank and credit cards. After they held a gun to my head and saying they would kill my husband I gave them the passwords. The leader of the gang left to go to the bank to check that I gave them the right numbers. While he was gone the other 2 men were kicking us and hitting us and putting guns and knives in our faces. When their leader returned they loaded up our TV, computer, camera, jewelry, etc. into our Honda CRV and then the main gang leader raped me and stabbed my husband. They told us that if we called the police or made a report they would come back and cut off our heads. I believe them. They terrorized us for almost 3 hours. In that entire time nobody called the Police or came to help us even though we had made a lot of noise for at least the first 15 minutes and then there had also been a gunshot. There are veladors and security guards all around our neighborhood starting within 30 meters away.

We have already done our duty and reported the crime to the proper authorities even though we are very frightened.
But even more than the crime itself which you may already have heard about I think that you should know about the things that have happened to us afterwards.
First, we went to the guard house at Condominium ________. We asked the security guard there to please call the ambulance because my husband had lost a lot of blood and was still loosing more blood. The guard did not have a telephone number. Why is he not trained to call his company and ask for help. I then asked him to call us a taxi. He had to call twice before anyone came. We waited for 20 minutes as my husband was bleeding and throwing up and going into shock. Finally a very nice taxista came and picked us up and took us to the Naval Hospital. They would not admit us because I had been raped and they said they did not have the personnel there to deal with that. They told our taxi driver to take us to Zihuatanejo. I can not believe that a Hospital turned away a man that had been beaten and stabbed and needed immediate medical attention. He then took us to Red Cross where there was also no one there to help us so we then had to go to Hospital General. When we arrived there we saw homeless people and people sleeping on the sidewalk. They let us in and started to very slowly take care of my husband who at this time had been bleeding for 3 hours. The people in this place had no compassion or sympathy for our situation. I was crying and pleading with them to let me use a phone to call my friend Snra. _________ but they kept telling me I had to use the pay phone. I explained that I had just been robbed and raped and nearly killed and did not have any money. They still would not help me to call my friend. Finally, after 40 minutes, one of the nurses let me use her personal cel phone.

That Hospital is not a place that I wanted my husband to stay in. There were flies all over and no privacy for any of the patients. The staff seemed to have almost no interest in helping us there. They did take X rays and put in some stitches to stop the bleeding and also gave him some fluids intravenously and then we were able to take him away from there.
As bad as things were at the Hospital they only got worse in the next few days. We asked _______ to help us to report the crime and if possible, to keep it out of the papers because we were afraid but also because we know that news like this happening to gringos will do extreme damage to the economy here.

It took 2 and a half days to get our report so that we could then register to the PFP (Federal Preventive Police) that our car was stolen. By now the car could be in Guatamala !! Nobody tried tracking the criminals by using our cell phone even though we gave them the number and told them that the bad guys have been answering it. When the prosecutors came to our house they did not have any bags for collecting evidence but had to borrow some from me, one of the victims of the crime. We had told them that there would be fingerprints all over including on our refrigerator but nobody brought the equipment necessary to dust for them. No one has interviewed the security guard. He must have seen the car that they arrived in or seen them driving around our street just before the break in. We feel that we have done everything possible to help the authorities to find and then prosecute these criminals but nobody is doing anything to catch them.
My husband had been very badly injured and I had been terribly traumatized by what happened but the government departments just seemed to not care at all that they kept us waiting in office after office for hours at each time, day after day. And we are very dismayed that no one was even trying to catch the criminals or look for our stolen car for almost 3 days!

I have been coming to Mexico my entire life and coming to Ixtapa Zihuatanejo since 1982. My husband and I have been living here full time for 6 years, sharing this time between Michoacan and here. We have given good jobs and much work to many, many people in that time. I have told hundreds of people about what a nice destination this is. After this terrible experience we will be leaving Mexico forever and I could not possibly recommend anyone to visit here.
While at the American Consulate office where I went to get a new passport, I learned that there were 4 carjackings of American citizens THIS WEEK ALONE on the road near Troncones and Saladita. This type of news is going to kill the tourism that this area has come to depend on.
We have been very careful to keep all of this out of the papers and off the message board that the tourists read. I honestly don´t know why we should care so much for Zihuatanejo. Zihuatanejo does not care for us.

Thanks for the link. It really doesn’t matter if the story is true or not, there’s thousands like those that unfortunately are true and its something that happens in most South American countries with unbelievable frequency.
What surprises me the most is that they had no burglar bars (in Mexico!?) and the robber could just get in by throwing a brick at their window. Did these people really think a glass panel was any sort of protection? Unfortunately this is true for most American houses, glass everywhere and a false sense that you have some sort of barrier between you and the outside. You don’t.
One of the frequent comments I hear when this sort of topic is brought up goes along the lines of people not willing to live paranoid, have burglar bars (or other forms of securing windows) because that’s not how you’re supposed to live. Don’t worry pal, if things really get tough and don’t evolve so as to survive you won´t have to worry much about living that way, or living at all!
The reason I keep bringing up this topic is because I care for you, my readers, and I don’t want you to be the easy target. If there’s 6 houses in your block, and your’s is the only one that didn’t accept the new reality, you will be the one getting hit. No one but two or three nutcases in your entire neighborhood does anything about security? That’s still not an excuse. Guess which is the house that WONT get broken into, the family beaten and tortured? Please start doing something about it because this is what survival and preparedness is all about. We already covered the Petite family story. These things are happening, now, its not SHTF or in a close or distant future, but now. While this happened in Mexico and not in USA, that it’s any kind of novelty for this poor people that such things happen on daily basis goes along to prove how unprepared most Americans are for such events, even those that consider themselves survivalists and think a safe with guns means you can slack on how quickly attackers can get to you.
It’s one thing to be paranoid, and it’s another to be blind as to how easy and obvious it is for the most stupid, single digit IQ bad guy to simply break a window and get to you.

10 things you must know about home invasions

1)You are a sitting duck. If your door can be easily kicked open by the average person, if simple glass is all that separates your family from the outside, if you don’t even remember to close your door at times or leave the back door opened for convenience.  If after doing a bit of self-criticism about your home security you admit to yourself that anyone can be inside your house in less than a minute, you are a sitting duck and the only reason why nothing serious has yet happened to you or your similarly set up neighbors is because no one has yet put you to test.

2)Secure your entry points. Starting with the micron thin door with all that nice glass and the wooden match thick frame its set on, to the windows that have no burglar bars, aren’t shatter proof and don’t even have an anti-riot/security film to buy you a few seconds to get to your gun. I know some American house designs are just hopeless. At least get a real door and install some thick window film. It improves your house’s insulation too so it eventually pays for itself.

3)As the hardware is getting done (the physical part of your home security) work on the software right away. How do the family members behave? Are they aware of the potential dangers? This is the part where you sit with your family, thank God for having been safe so far, but explaining it clearly to everyone that God helps those that make His job a bit easier. If your not the religious type just luck at is as a simple matter of luck eventually running out.

4)Don’t leave tools in the yard that would facilitate the entry to your house. In this story a brick was used. Don’t leave bricks or rocks, ladders, or hoses that could be used for climbing. You shed is not only full of potential breeching tools, its full of potential weapons as well!

5) Take added measures so as to make your house the less appealing to your potential attackers. The alarm system adds to the deterrent factor, even more so does a couple big dogs. If your not a dog person German Sheppards have great instincts and are easy to live with. If you had the patience to read this long, then you probably should consider owning a firearm as well, a recurring topic in this blog. Not only should you get the needed training to use it proficiently, it must also be put away yet available enough so that you can get to it within the timeframe your home security setup allows. If all it takes is a brick through your window to get in, that time frame is reduced to one second for putting the rock/brick through it, and another 3 seconds to kick the broken glass away and stepping inside.

6) Criminals go after cash, jewelry, guns and drugs (legal ones work for them too). You have any of those? Of course you do. There’s no such thing as a “poor” house when it comes to criminals. I’ve known of cases where they robbed from some of the poorest people in the planet. Of course showing off fancy HD TV  through the window or having the latest luxury car on the driveway makes you even more attractive, but don’t think that just because you don’t have much that you will be spared.

7)Keep an eye on suspicious activity. The more professional criminals will do some intelligence work ahead of time. Notice recurring strangers walking around or vehicles passing by or parked within sight. Its not a bad idea to take the license plate and maybe ask the police to check it out. When this sort of activity is detected, your awareness level should go up to red for the following couple weeks.

8)While cameras may not stop home invaders or robbers, it does help to identify them quicker. A more visible camera would mostly be a deterrent, others hidden are the ones that will go by unseen and help ID the criminals later on.

9) Information such as you leaving town or business transactions that may involve cash should be treated as “top secret”. You don’t speak about it, and your kids know they shouldn’t either. In so many cases the robbers new exactly what they were after. A common story victims later tell here is that the robbers tell them the exact sum of money they are looking for “We know you just sold your car and have $5.000 cash in here somewhere.”

10) Network. Talking about this sort of thing with your neighbors and having them on board is a huge asset. Make an actual effort to get everyone involved. Maybe organize a picnic or BBQ and specifically explain your concern and what you want to talk about. Its more eyes on the neighborhood in general, more people watching each other’s back. Something as simple as asking the guy that lives across the street to please call the cops if he sees something happening on your house, or calling you to check if everything is OK, that’s the sort of simple measure that may save your life during an attack. Around here, in most cases where people got saved by the police during a home invasion, it was because a neighbor saw strange movements and made the call. This sort of community organization extents to suspicious people lurking or any sort or strange circumstance.

Take care folks,


Join the forum discussion on this post


Anonymous said...

The police response was the same as in Panama under Noriega, total corruption,you must be prepared to defend yourself. The "security guards" are paid a pittance and often get a "Cash Tip" from the thieves in return for a 'HOT tIP". A gringo in Mexico should have tightened up security a long time ago, I'm sorry to hear their world went to hell but they had a lot of warning. People in the USA take heed we are going to be facing the same troubles in the near future. Get ready for them and ride them out in relative peace.

Anonymous said...

""""This type of news is going to kill the tourism that this area has come to depend on.""""

If I was shot,beaten,robbed and my wife beaten and raped, would i give a damn about the tourism in that area, I would be looking for payback and revenge

Tony1790 said...

I can't believe anyone that's been watching the news on how Mexico is devolving into a failed state cannot know what dangers are lurking there. Some people living with their heads in the sand, wow.

Anonymous said...

If I live in an apartment can I get a security door-window bars? Im not even allowed a bbq on the balcony.
I know the security in my building sucks.

Anonymous said...

Yes, living in a failed state if you have other options...a bad idea. Seems like it breeds neighbors who are afraid or don't care. Here in U.S., even in crummy neighborhoods, screaming for help will most likely elicit a 911 call from people, even if they don't know you.


Anonymous said...

Home invasions are rare in the US except in areas with restrictive gun laws. The main reason home invasions are rare is that Americans are, by and large, an 'extremely' armed society that is skilled with firearms (70 million gun owners of 300 million citizens, including the children and the elderly). Ask any burglar if they want to confront a homeowner - the answer is "hell no, they'll probably shoot me where I stand". No kidding. I'd be torn choosing between an M4, an FNFAL or a riot shot gun.

However ... Americans are terribly complacent in adopting lesser, passive crime barriers like window security film / bars, enhanced doors & locks, CCTV and OPSEC security behavior. That's changing as our society changes.

God bless Fernando for his work at raising awareness levels for all of us. Save a life, save the world.

Anonymous said...

In the US, bars on the windows is a telltale sign the neighborhood is in decline and you have something of value to steal. An alternative is the 3M 14 mil security film, the beauty of which is it's totally invisible to the perpetrator. It is the ultimate "hidden in plain sight" alternative. Although expensive, how much is your life worth? How much will your household insurance "not cover". Likewise for door hardening and lock upgrades. Finally, CCTV systems are cheap and readily available, as is motion detection activated outdoor lighting.

Security isn't 100%. It is done in layers and buys you critical time.

Finally, there is no replacement for being armed and trained for such an event. I have helped a handful of people become more proficient with firearms and encouraged all of them to continue the learning process with a full time professional instructor. I've warned them not to own a gun unless they are willing to learn how to use it, store it, carry it, and remain proficient with it.

At least in my part of the world the anti-gun bias is changing because people understand the police can't be everywhere. Obama was the best salesman for guns and ammo purchased in 2008.....ever.

While I suspect the US is heading for very hard economic times, we are "different" as we are armed to the teeth with tens of millions of people proficient with firearms. It's a part of our culture. Gun confiscation would lead to civil war in the US - not so anywhere else - i.e. Canada, Great Britain and Australia. And many of my friends in Law Enforcement agree that an unconstitutional order would be ignored, perhaps even openly opposed by the "troops". Cops see reality every day and want responsible citizens to be armed and trained.

God made man, and Samuel Colt made them all equal. Maybe we should update that to say Gaston Glock made us all equal.

Finally, thanks to Fernando for his continued efforts to educate the masses - and that's all of us. There is nothing to fear but being unprepared.

Anonymous said...

Most of the houses in my town and country have little or no security. I was made even more aware of my own situation when my family was threatened. Glass doors, no bars, lots of windows....I have been taking note of all that you have written Ferfal and want to thank you for the tips, writings and videos you have done on home security in particular. I have little money but intend to be inventive in securing my own security. I expect that the price of those items will only increase.