Thursday, February 21, 2008

Buz Crime Tip of the Day: Bank Deposits

Yesterday Buz had lunch at a small deli in a safe, undisclosed location. I noticed the woman owner "proudly" and openly put her coat on and carried her fancy, shmancy heavy zippered bank bag out the door in on her way to the bank. Perhaps she has done this for years and nothing has ever happened. And the deli is in a real nice area with only real nice people; and the bank is around the corner; the guard is "always" outside there; and she is tough.

Great to all of that, but: why take that risk with your hard-earned small business cash?

If you think you can't afford our friends at Dunbar Armored, no one should know you are going to the bank, or if you're going to the bank, and certainly not when you're going to the bank.

Buz remembers the sad case of one of the owners of City Cafe a few years ago, who was shot and killed when making a bank deposit.

Buz Crime Alert-burglaries in Pigtown

I've seen that our dear friend and Blogger Carol Ott had her place broken into the other day, a week or so after her neighbor's house got broken into. Don't have many details about it, except that it appears to be a growing trend: active burglars in some parts of the city. Pigtown's current wave started several weeks ago.

There has to be defense in depth against these cretins. Alarms are only one chink in the armor. Some neighborhoods, frankly, are not terribly defensible. The decent people go to work, and the thugs are watching and waiting. And no one is calling and no one is snitching. And the cops are in court or working night work to stop the shootings and killings--perhaps detailed to the Eastern and Western Districts. Daytime burglars rely on this lack of "natural surveillance".

I hope Carol can give me a call to discuss her situation. As one of Bmore's famous lawyer's said: "let's talk about it".

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Crime Prevention & Safety Tips: College Students (and parents)

Parents and some students-to-be might be a little worried about selecting a college to go to in light of the recent shootings in Louisiana and Northern Illinois. No worry, at least not too much: fortunately, those kinds of Columbine-type incidents are generally very rare on college campuses despite the publicity. Parents and would-be students should be more worried about the kind of things which are much more likely to happen to the student then mass shootings. And I wish it weren't so, but women students are much more likely to be victimized than guys are.

Some of the more likely security-related issues a student might confront are: date-rape, sexual harassment, stalking, burglary of your dorm room, binge-drinking, drunkenness, rowdy behavior linked to noisy parties, illicit drug use. Further, many students are victimized by common street crime: theft, burglary, and robbery. Most campuses are pretty safe, but when the sophomore moves off-campus into the areas surrounding the campus is when the problems are most likely to occur. However, there are plenty of exceptions to that last sentence.

Buz analysis and study of the matter indicates a wise and sensible parent/student would look for some of these qualities in a school:

A small school; most of these kinds of problems occur in the large “mega-universities”--particularly the mass shooting incidents, of which there are not many.
No or few Division I sports teams. Sorry, I am not a big football or basketball fan. Binge drinking, “festive” rioting, and domestic violence often accompany.
No fraternities; always high risk, especially for the gals. Again, binge-drinking, and date rape are big risks.
An ability to live on campus past the freshman year, if desired; most schools have no room.
The apparent absence high-crime areas adjacent to campus.

When you go to visit a school, you will typically get the guided tour. Betcha, the tour guide will not bring up security issues unless asked. If she does, it will be most likely to brag about how many security cameras they have. By all means, go on the guided tour, and keep your eyes open for security issues. Is security present and obvious? (Of course, your tour will be during the day, but still take a look.) Is it easy to get into the dorms? Do the surrounding areas feel safe?

Now, Buz knows that many students could care less about security when selecting the school. Hopefully, they'll go for the academics or a particular sport or other area they're interested—such as campus lifestyle.
However, here are some things you (parents or students) might investigate when you visit:
Try to visit on a Friday and stay overnight nearby. Check out the atmosphere on and adjacent to the campus—the later the better. What's going on? Lot's of drinking and rowdiness? See any good fights?! Anybody try to sell you some weed? How easy is it for your daughter to get into one of the nearby bars?
Go to the library and look at some recent issues of the student newspaper. Any editorials, articles, or letters to the editor about the victimization of students or incidents on campus?
Ask some women students: do you feel safe around here? Any crimes happen much? How's the security force? (Always ask open-ended questions).
See if you can walk into the dorm. Are the rooms locked, or can anyone walk into any room.

See what ya think! Of course, if you live in a big city, and are used to dealing with high-crime issues, you probably don't care, but for those of you who do, those are some of my thought to get you start thinking. And there's a lot more which can be said on this subject.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Sun mentions crime-type blogs!

Well, the Sun mentioned my humble blog in the paper on Sunday. See this link:,0,265772.column.

It is important to note that Northern Illinois University "did all the right things", but the presence of their emergency notification system did not stop the killer nor help anyone in this case. If the killer was wandering around campus shooting people in different locations, some notification system would probably have been useful. The campus police arrived very quickly, but by the time they arrived it was all over. Is there a way to prevent these types of incidents? Probably not, as long as their is no quick and easy way to screen for mental illness.

Thank goodness these incidents, despite the hyped-up coverage, are very rare on campuses. Unfortunately, the more press coverage they get, the more likely it is that someone out there will try to get their day of fame.

Buz Crime Alert

Buz has learned that there has been a wave of burglaries of businesses in the Hampden area, including a number on "The Avenue"--36th Street. They generally have been overnight and through the backdoors. Taken has been anything which can easily be sold or pawned: jewelry, cash, etc. Many of the buildings in this area are old and the structures are not terribly secure. Plus, many of these small businesses are struggling, so they don't have sophisticated alarm systems. In one case a rudimentary alarm was easily disabled by the burglars, who apparently have some construction-type skills.

Sophisticated alarms are no guarantee, though. One Hampden business was broken into 3 times last year by the same burglar. He looked right at the sophisticated camera while he put the owner's gun down his unsophisticated pants. He did not care about all that noise the alarm siren was making, either.

(They probably cannot get construction-type jobs, for the most part, though, because they cannot pass drug tests, and have buried themselves with lousy criminal and work records.)

Buz suggests taking a hard look at your business security hardware, and think about how the burglar will get it to steal your hard-earned stuff.