As you well know, I enjoy training with firearms and I always carry concealed wherever I’m legally able to do so. Since our Second Amendment rights are so important, it’s imperative that organizations like the NRA do everything possible to protect our right to bear arms.
If you’ve ever been a member of the NRA, I’m sure you received your decals so you can proudly display your support for gun rights. Many people put these stickers on their car or in a window of their home to scare away intruders.
The thing is, even though I’m a huge supporter of gun rights, I would never put a pro-gun sticker or decal any place where someone could see it. You see, these types of stickers actually work against you by encouraging criminals to break into your home or vehicle.
A few years ago a criminal ring in North Carolina was specifically targeting people who displayed gun-related bumper stickers or decals on their vehicles. They would follow these vehicles, and when the driver was not around, they would break into the vehicle in the hopes of finding a firearm.
Some criminals will even follow people who have these stickers all the way home and wait until the homeowner leaves to break into their residence. Stealing guns is profitable for criminals, so when they see someone basically advertising that they own firearms, it presents a lucrative crime of opportunity.
Unfortunately, this is not only true of pro-gun decals — bad guys will use any available information to their advantage. So today, I want to share with you a few things you should consider about what information you’re sharing with the world.
Bumper Stickers, Decals and Lawn Signs
I already mentioned avoiding pro-gun stickers and NRA decals. The same goes for lawn signs and flags. I don’t mean the American flag — feel free to fly the old red, white and blue all you like.
What I mean is flags that say “Don’t Tread on Me” or signs that boldly proclaim, “Trespassers Will Be Shot, Survivors Will Be Shot Again” or “This Property Protected by the Second Amendment.”
Now think about this: Do you have a child or grandchild who made their school’s honor roll? If so, that’s wonderful, and you should absolutely be proud — but you shouldn’t broadcast their achievement on your car.
By doing so, you’re telling criminals where your kid goes to school. With this information, they could follow you or your child home from there — or wait until you are attending a school event to break into your home.
All right, what about those stick-figure families you see plastered on the rear windows of cars? If you have these stickers on your vehicle, I recommend removing them immediately.
Why? Because you’re essentially giving a burglar everything they need to know about your family to pull off a successful home invasion. Now they know exactly how many people live in your home so they can follow you home and break in once all the family members leave. They’ll also know whether or not you have a dog or other pets they need to watch out for.
I’ve made it very clear how I feel about social media and why it’s critical that you think twice before posting anything online. This is one of the biggest ways criminals learn about people, their families and what’s in their homes.
I’m truly shocked by the number of people who post where they are at any given moment — such as a concert or a restaurant enjoying a nice dinner. It also amazes me how many people share their vacation photos while they are STILL out of town.
The reality is criminals use social media to find victims and these types of posts tell them where you are and when your house will be empty. Not only that, but if you post photos of the inside of your home, thieves will be able to get a general idea of the layout of your home and pinpoint exactly where certain valuables are.
Even if you think you know all the people with whom you share your social media posts, you never know who else might have access to that information. To be safe, don’t post too much revealing information about your family, your home or your plans. And definitely wait until you’re home from vacation to share all the amazing pictures from your trip.
Delivery, Door-to-Door Sales and Repairmen
I’m sure at some point you’ve had a repairman in your home to fix something. The thing is how many of you have followed the worker around your home or watched them the entire time?
Typically, most people let them do their job without hovering. Unfortunately, this is a perfect opportunity for someone to case your home and note all the nice electronics you have so they can come back once you’re gone.
The best thing to do is use someone from a reputable company — and be sure to check their references. You could also try this: I have a family member who, if he has a handyman in his home, will put the dog in one room and tell the handyman not to go in there because the dog will attack him.
Now, this dog wouldn’t hurt anyone (he’s actually incredibly friendly), but if the handyman had any thoughts about coming back to break in, he would probably choose another house where he wouldn’t have to deal with a supposedly aggressive dog.
You should also watch out for people going door-to-door casing homes. It’s a common scam — criminals will claim to be from a utility company or offer to do cheap yardwork or say they can provide a free consultation for a home security system.
If someone knocks on your door offering a service you are actually interested in, ask the person at the door to wait while you call the company they say they are from. Look up the company’s phone number yourself and call to verify that the person at your door is an actual employee.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to home security, I always recommend looking at your home from a criminal’s point of view. Then take the necessary steps to make your home less attractive as a potential target.
Things like home security systems, dogs and motion-activated lights are just a few of the steps you should take to make thieves think twice about breaking in.
And be smart. The next time you buy a cool new electronic device or go on an amazing vacation, share that information only with people you trust — don’t post it online for the whole world to see.
Editor, Spy & Survival Briefing