Thursday, March 5, 2009

Window-smashing: it's more common than you think

Buz has read several accounts recently of businesses (and some homes) being broken into using the handy/dandy nearby rock. Thug-burglars simply find something nearby and smash a vulnerable window. Recently a fancy, schmancy jeans store in the Mt. Washington Village neighborhood here in Baltimore reportedly lost almost $100K in merchandise when their nice plate glass window was smashed and their store was essentially looted. Of course, they may not always use a rock. But businesses with merchandise and plate glass windows often learn their lessons the hard way (don't we all, though?).

And a business in Hampden along Chestnut was recently broken into similarly--this time it was definitely not a rock, but the thief somehow removed the mail slot close to the door lock, reached in and unlocked the door. Sometimes, this happens to residences too: you'd be surprised how many folks have a great deadbolt lock, but it's locked with a handle, and right next to a window which is easily broken. Burglar breaks glass, reaches in, and let himself in. Most residences typically don't have plate glass windows, though, and most occupants are home at night. 

I remember several years ago the Princeton Sports on Falls Road got their windows smashed and lost a bunch of expensive bikes before they left before the police arrived. 

Alarms aren't often enough. Of course, if you lost $100K in merchandise, you probably didn't have a working alarm or weren't using it (you'd be surprised how many folks have stopped using their alarms not only because of the expensive monthly monitoring charges, but false alarm charges from their jurisdiction.) Even a dumb burglar figures he's got a good 5 minutes before the gendarmes arrive. So, dear readers, your defense must be in depth.

Take a look at Princeton now: "riot screens" of metal behind the glass-in addition to alarms. 
Even the gentleman who owns the fine men's clothing store in Lake-Falls Village has thick security screens as well as alarms and lighting and good solid locks.


John said...

Your thoughts on:

1.) Ofc. Woodlon. I hear they're going to railroad him. Personally, I think it's another prime example of laziness and sloppiness which unfortunately pervades the department.

2.) The policy of not naming officers involved in shootings is being revisited.

3.) More rumors about bringing back overtime at bars and nightclubs after they had a pseudo riot at closing in the Power Plant/Iguana this past weekend. I would suggest you observe from a safe distance one night when the weather is nice, it's quite the sight.

buzoncrime said...

I couldn't agree with you more on the sloppiness. And the insatiable need to develop stats for compstat. And what it all means.
Just look at Friday's article by Peter Hermann about the cops who came into a hardware store in SW and jacked up a customer--other cops had previously patted down (searched?) the store owner while he was taking out the trash. Um, Terry vs. Ohio, anybody?
I don't think they'll "railroad" him, but he'll probably join the list of officers not deemed worthy of belief by the State's Attorney's office.

I've written before about the not naming policy, and I think the heat is really on to greatly modify it. We'll see where it goes. In the meantime, Buz would like to know the name of the officer who threatened the other officer, and what happened with that case. A misunderstanding? Hmmmmmmm.
But seriously, threats to officers on a case-by-case basis make the most sense. And, oddly enough, no threats are received by officers who kill people.

Pseudo riot at the Power Plant/Iguana this past weekend?! Wow! I've heard that permission has been given to a club on the Block to have officers patrol the block of the Block, but not work for their club. Wonder if something like that might be coming about. (Of course, the club was grumbling that they would be paying for security of all the other clubs on the block--who would become free riders. ) We did go traipsing about Fed Hill a while back, checking out club security; I never posted about it, but maybe I should. Sounds a little wild at closing time; Buz is scared; might be a little too wild even for him. But, your suggestion is a good one; maybe I'll wait for a nice weekend and observe the festivities from a safe distance.

Seriously, though---ya have to wonder what is in the business plan for a club which needs 10-15 ARMED AND UNIFORMED POLICE OFFICERS to provide security for its business. (hey, c'mon, I know this is Baltimore, but still...........) And I wonder who the armed people are that they're using now.........all City Sheriffs?

John said...

I agree that perhaps Iguana's model needs a little modification. The biggest problem of late has not been from fights inside the club but the chaos that ensues at closing time as several thousand patrons emerge from both the Power Plant and Iguana at the same time. Of course these patrons are model citizens, exhibiting the virtues of temperance and civility.

I also hear the BC School Police are working overtime.

buzoncrime said...

John---it sounds as though you're working at Iguana now, perhaps as a doorman or bouncer, or even an off-duty po-leece!

Wow--Power Plant; Iguana; Club One; Coconuts; Kolpers---the city gendarmes apparently have their hands full about the bewitching hour of 2am. I always advise folks who ask my advice about bar-hopping: generally you'll be ok, but always leave for home around 1am. I know, that's early, but you avoid a lot of trouble if you do. Now, if you want to see some excitement rivaling Mixed Martial Arts, stay around as long as you can to watch the action.

Sheesh! What do we need the Preakness for? We have mini-Preakness every Friday and Saturday night.

Yeah, School Police. Huh. I noticed one School Police officer working "authorized" secondary at the library in Hampden when it's open at night. And he's armed and in full uniform. I didn't know that School Police have citywide police authority, other than on school grounds or in school-related incidents.

As far as the business model goes, the literature of the professional security consultants indicate that by the time a bar/nightclub requests a security review, it is almost always too late; there are people seriously hurt or killed and/or the place is the subject of lawsuits and/or liquor board action.
Truth is, a lot of them don't care; the idea is to make as much money as you can, as quickly as you can, then move on. Of course, with the economy bad, bars will try to get as much money as they can by getting as many patrons in there and buying booze as they can. I guess Kolpers, for example, couldn't make it on just being a Hampden sports bar, but felt they had to have these "parties".