Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Rich Live in the Real World Too

Wave of Home Invasions Puts the Wealthy on Alert - Some high-profile home invasions point out the fact that everyone is at risk. (updated)

Maybe it is because I worked for corporations that took physical security seriously. Maybe it is because I was robbed myself on more than one occasion. But why would someone wealthy, who from a criminals point-of-view had a big target on their back, not spend a little of their money being safe? In the "guns or butter?" equation, you need to buy at least some security.
"I have gone out to estates that are absolutely magnificent and have been shocked that they have the same level of security as for a rowhouse in Queens," says Paul Michael Viollis Sr., chief executive of Risk Control Strategies of New York.
When my uncle and my cousin went hunting, they often went several states away from where they lived, to where the hunting was good. Living in a tony suburb is no guarantee that criminals won't pay you a visit. Rich people, generally speaking, have more to steal.
In home-invasion robberies -- unlike burglaries -- thieves hope to confront the occupants, often intending to force victims to open a safe or divulge bank-card PIN numbers. Home invasions aren't separately tallied by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or by most state and local police. According to the most recent FBI data, residential robberies, which include home invasions, rose nearly 13% in 2006 from 2002, even as violent crime overall decreased 0.4%. Last year, 64,000 residential robberies were reported.
Security doesn't have to include firearms, but it should include something better than 40 dollar locks (locks that can be bumped).

And you don't have to consider yourself rich. All you have to do is LOOK rich, to the criminals.

Even when people have some level of passive security, they fail to use it consistently.
Indeed, in several high-profile crimes, assailants gained access through unlocked doors. In other cases, home-alarm systems apparently weren't turned on. Security and alarm experts say this is a surprisingly common mistake: Many homeowners lock their doors and set alarms only when they are away.
Violent crime is inherent in the society we live in. No place is safe. No neighborhood is immune. And while there is nothing you can do to completely guarantee your safety 100%, there are things you can and should do to ensure the safety of your family. Locks that can't be bumped. Perimeter security that is turned on while you are at home. Safety is the result of planning, not random chance. I also like to have access to weapons for my personal defense. You are free to make other choices.

"There are no guarantees in this life except death and next winter's snows," but you can make a difference in the world you live in. Taking responsibility for yourself and your family - to the extent you can - is called being a responsible adult. [via NRA-ILA]

Update 16 Nov. 2007: I read this article again. Warren Buffett (of Berkshire Hathaway) was one of the people who suffered a home invasion. This man is a billionaire. Security at home, at the office, and on the road should be a paramount concern. He has a net worth in excess of 50 billion dollars. It boggles my mind to think that he doesn't have round-the-clock, top-flight security.

I worked briefly for a European multinational, Jacobs Suchard, back in the 80s. They made some mistakes relating the American marketplace, but they understood security, and because they had business dealings all over the world, they had some serious, "credible" threats against some of the officers of the corporation. Facilities were gated. Executive suites inside the facilities were hardened. Data Centers were designed to withstand fairly large explosions.

My belief is that this all comes down to the "It can't happen to me," syndrome. Violent crime happens to other kinds of people who live in other kinds of neighborhoods. Denial - it ain't just a river in Egypt. If you are reading this, you live in the Real World™ and in the real world, people are at risk for violent crime.

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