Thoughts by Richard Bleil
There were very few Trick or Treaters this year. Would anybody be surprised to discover that one of them was, yes, indeed, George, and by himself at that. I didn’t think he had any children (although I can’t be sure), but no nieces, no nephews, no kids at all. I only mention this because, frankly, I can’t imagine how he manages to walk as big as they must be.
But I wasn’t really surprised that there weren’t many kids coming around. Actually, canvassing the neighborhood seems to be a thing of the past, giving way to things like “Trunk or Treat”, and businesses (like malls) doing their own. The local zoo, for example, has been handing out candy for a couple of weeks now. Mostly it’s a safety issue. In a public place with a lot of people, and especially businesses where you need not worry about getting tainted candy. I distinctly remember my mother going through each piece of candy and wouldn’t allow me to eat some of it if she didn’t like the way it was wrapped. But even as the tradition wanes, I there are still those who still take their children out, but frankly I just didn’t expect many. Nobody knows me, so I don’t have friends coming to trick or treat (too bad, too, as I was giving out full size candy bars or rice treats for those with allergies). This neighborhood is really not very safe. It’s not horrible, but it’s also not terribly comfortable, and nobody really knows me yet.
I posted something about this on my social media page, and one of my friends asked if I felt safe in this neighborhood. My response was, literally, “Me? Yes. But I also took multiple measures to feel safe.” I thought I’d take a moment to run through these, both to reassure my friends (and all of my readers are friends), and maybe, if somebody is looking to increase security, they will get an idea or two.
First and foremost, I now have two, count them, two attack kitties. Yes, they’re vicious, and to protect myself from them I have multiple handguns. The handguns (a .22, a 9 mm, a .45 and a .50 magnum) are actually for hobby use, but I do keep a couple of them near the bed and loaded, but without a round in the chamber. It would be very difficult to enter my house (you’ll see why a bit further down) without my knowledge of it, and frankly nobody should be in my house but me, so in a second or two, I can be armed. If you’re wondering, I consider the .45 to be my main handgun for home defense, and my 9mm being the secondary weapon. And, yes, if somebody broke in, I would shoot to kill. I’ve already considered the consequences and accepted them.
The first thing that I did was install, in a very public manner, brand-new deadbolts in all three of the doors. The doors are quite heavy, exterior steel doors so they would be difficult indeed to kick in but installing them does a couple of things. First, it ensures that nobody has the key that shouldn’t have it, and anybody seeing me install them knows that I take home security seriously.
Second, I have motion sensitive video doorbells with back-tracking. That is, when something triggers the video recorder, it also shows about five seconds before the event. These are a name brand, and although there are those who do not know about them, anybody who knows this brand should realize they are being recorded. There are really only three sides to the house, the fourth being a sharp embankment that would be difficult to get up, and there are no doors or reasonable windows (save some very high small ones) that are accessible. This means that you cannot approach my house from any direction without being picked up on the doorbell video recorders.
Third, I have installed a name brand security system. This has a motion sensor, sensors on all doors, and even an interior video recorder (motion activated as well) that I have poised to record if anybody goes into my driveway. If it is off, it still alerts me (and I have the volume all the way up) that a door has been opened. It’s loud enough that it would wake me, even if the noise of breaking in didn’t. As odd as it sounds, I’ve also put warning stickers on my doors that this system has been installed, and these stickers alone have been proven to reduce home break-ins by about thirty percent. This system, by the way, includes a smoke alarm and automatically notifies the police or fire department depending on what type of alarm is triggered.
Finally, I have motion activated lights installed in the most vulnerable spot on my property. Any motion that would trigger this light will also activate the internal video camera so the source will be recorded. So, yes, I am safe. I feel a little like it’s overkill, honestly, but just a couple of months ago there was a shooting just about a block away, so it’s warranted. I keep the windows and doors locked, and my two friends and I are just fine.