Sunday, October 6, 2013
Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
It's time to be asleep, I know, but I'm developing pattern of falling asleep fairly late. At first it was anxiety that kept me awake. Right now, in my own home with it's reliable and high-tech alarm system, alerting us to fire, carbon monoxide issues,and any posible attempt at intrusion (we've been told that because the police department receives financial support from our alarm company, we receive priority in response time if all other factors are equal). I don't know how often all other factors are are equal, but even if such is true, the practice doesn't seem terribly legal. Unless the company paid for a specific officer whose first responsibility was to the subscribers of our alarm company, I don't see how the practice would be anything but bribery. It would make sense to have a couple of security officers (ideally police academy trained, deputized and armed with tasers at the very least) stationed nearer various sections of our greater metropolitan area for fast response time. Even this could press the bounds of legality.
I think our alarm system itself is a greater deterrent to criminals remaining on the scene in the event of a burglary than any law enforement officials themselves would be, although if the intruders knew that law enfrocement would not break any land-speed records in getting here, they might take the time to poke around in search of what it was they had come for, and might not be terribly impressed by the bells and whistles of our security system, although if they noticed the many cameras that are activated by the alarms, unless they wore heavy disguises, they might wish to make a hasty exit.
I, on the other hand, was and am quite impressed by the bells, whistles, cameras, and everything else the system hadand continues to have to ofer. We had a demonstration shortly after dark on the evening of the day the system was installed. Neighbors and law enforcement were given the precise time the dry run would occur so that law enforcement would not respond and neighbors would not be unduly alarmed. The neighbors did, in fact, show up on our lawn shortly before the demonstration to witnes the spectacle. Never in the history of the neighborhood had anyone installed anything with half as many bells and whistles.
For the run-through of what would happen should an intruder appear, an alarm company employee rattled our front door, which didn't set off the larm initially, but he then kicked the door with a bit more force. My dad was worried he would either weaken the door to the point that a two-year-old kicking a soccer ball into it by accident would break it in the future or the employee would actually kick a hole in the door and we'd be stuck with a boarded-up door until a new one coud be ordered and intalled, but our doors are steel-reinforced. Someone could conceivbly break the locks by kicking hard enough, but even that wouldn't be easy, as anyone messing with the handle or lock fixtures, or any significant pressureon them, will also activate the alarm, so the bells and whistles would start long before anyone achieved entry to our house.
Anyhow, almost the entire neighborhood was sitting on our lawn in their own lawn chairs awaiting the festivities. It reminded me both of neighborhood gatherings for fireworks displays, which were legal in our old county but not here, or of when Clark Griswold first activated his Christmas light display for all to see in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. We, the family, were sitting huddled in our dining room, per instructions from the alarm company, so that we could be prepared for our participation in the reenactment. The kicks in the door set the system in motion. Loud klaxon wails began sounding. Bright spotlights began cricling the property, and a particular strobing light flashed brightly at the site of the attepted entry. Loud speakers instructed the intruder, "To the person attempting unlawful entry into this building: Remain in place exactly where you are. The police will arrive shortly to assist you. DO NOT attempt further entry into the residence." (As though that's going to happen. Either the intruder will proceed as quickly as possible with his break-in, or he'll be miles away from the area before any law enforecment personnel could possibly arrive, unless he [they] happened to be parked around the corner enjoying donuts and coffee at the opportune moment.)
While the outside speakers and lights were doing their thing, making impossible any possibilty of sleep that anyone might get if the alarm were activated during anyone's sleeping hours,
Perhaps that's the goal. If an actual intruder activated an alarm, you'd want your neighbors to know even if it did wake them up. By the same token, conscientious neighbors would want to be awakened if their neighbors' safety or property were being threatened. So though it seemed like overkill, it was good overkill, if there is such a thing. the inside speakers werre asking us if we were OK and instructing us to relocate together to as secure a location in our home as possible. We locked ourselves in a downstairs closet that has a strong door and double-bolt for this purpose. Soon the demonstration was over, and all the neighbors applauded.
My mom immediately brought out folding tables and chairs, along with drinks, and the pizza delivery man showed up shortly. All the neighbors were invited to stay for pizza and ice cream as repayment for the interupption and inconvenience the "trial run" had caused them. This ws fitting, as it was the second day we had moved into the house, so it was the perfect chance to become acquainted with our neighbors.
Sinister forces, however, were at work. Not all alarm companies thoroughly vet their employees before hiring. A rogue employee alerted his criminal element that an alarm had just been tested that day. Their rationale was that an actual break-in might be ignored by the alarm company, and justifiably so, as being confused with the trial run, even if the time was after midnight and an actualtrial run had alread taken place. A response operator might therefore be justified in not automatically alerting the local police. The local police are also alerted automatically by the activation of the alarm itself, but as a squad car is dispatched, a dispatcher also waits for contact from the response operator. The response operator, as part of the small-scale crime ring, told the police dispatcher she suspected it was the dry run or drill but that those responsible for implementing it had failed to alert her in the office. The police dispatcher said she was sending out a squad car just the same. The response operator attemted to dissuade her, but the squad car arrived. Meanwhile, one of our nieghbors, who was and is is our local police chief, parked his own squad car directly behind the car of the intruder, who had been dumb enough to park in our driveway, so that the intruders' only means of escape would had been by foot. Shortly after, one squad car showed up, followed by another. The police chief watched for the driver to emerge from the car. When she did, on the passenger side, attempting to make a run, he tackled her and cuffed her.
The neighbors, they had hoped, might just assume it was an annoyingly sensitive alarm that still needed to be tweaked and ignore it. Furthermore, the would-be intruders had some inside knowledge from the trial run. They expected us to run to the downstairs restroom again, which was a foolish assumption.Why would we not have a secure location upstairs for nightttime, when most break-ins occur. My parents quickly gathered us into their closet, which is reinforced, and locked it. They were in communication with the plocice from theland line, though there i cell pohone capability as well in case the land line is cut. The intruders had the information that my father was a doctor. While most robbers or burglars won't turn down money or easy-to-carry valuables, what these robbers sought were drugs of the narcotic variety. This came out in questioning as each participant tried to place the blame on the others.
The remaining two on-site participants were quickly captured by officers from the other squad cars as the would-be robbers tried to vault the fence to the backyard, which they should have known better than to attempt, as their only reason for attempting entry by breaking a front window pane in an area where the window panes are individual and are separated by rows of wood was that they knew the fence was weight-activated as well. You may have a few Hannibal Lectors in real life, who are smarter than the average Cal-Trans worker or officil, but, by and large, criminals are not among our smarter segment of society. At least these criminals were not.
My parents fired the alarm company, who apologized profusely but said they had no way of knowing the employee was dishonest and had criminal connections. He had, in fact, a prior felony conviction for breaking and entering. Because the company could not produce any documentation that any workers' backgrounds had been checked with anything beyond consultation of worker-provided references, and not even that in most cases, the police advised them that they would be fighting a losing battle if they attempted to hold may parents to their contract. The police also advised them that it would be wise to pay the bill for the replacement of our small window pane when the bill was submitted to them.
The small window pane was replaced that night by the next-door neighbor, who does mason work as a hobby and had matching glass and a cutter in his garage. He was encouraged to write up a bill for the upper range of the going rate for providing after-hours service. He didn't want to charge my parents, but they convinced him that it was the alarm company who would pay.
So after my second night in the house, I was so freaked out that I had to move back in briefly at the loony bin, and then for a week with my pseudorelatives, before I was ready to move back in at home. By that time, my aunt had finished decorating my new room. The night of the attack, I was sleeping in the guest room.
This is not at all what the blog was suposed to be about. Perhaps tomorrow I'll attempt the intended topic, and I'll try to stick to it. Before publishing, I'll have to edit the title.
This blog is ended. Go now in peace to love and serve the Lord, and if you really feel that the only way you can do such is through criminal activities, at least be a smart criminal and not a moron.