Protecting Your Home Against Zipper Attacks

Motion_detector

Motion sensitive devices have been around for quite awhile, and they sometimes go above and beyond what we want them to do. For example, they light our driveways when our friendly neighbor’s flag flutters. They set off our home alarm system after the burglar who broke a window to gain entry is already twenty feet inside the living room. And they turn off public restroom lights in mid stream (pun intended) if they no longer detect movement.

But, in spite of their quirks motion detectors are handy devices. It’s their sensitivity settings, or lack thereof, that can drive an owner to the point of grabbing a baseball bat to knock the thing from its mounting in order to club it into a million pieces. The nerve of it to flash on and off all night long causing us to think an army of creepy crooked criminals are crawling across our concrete walks. Yes, feral cats think it’s funny to disturb your evening by darting back and forth across your driveway simply to watch you come running outside in your pajamas holding an umbrella or spatula as a weapon to use against the intruder your winky-blinky light told you was there.

So, knowing the current issues and flaws associated with these flawed fixtures, scientists have developed a super-smart motion detector that not only works well and is extremely sensitive, it is 100% concealable. And speaking of its sensitivity, well, it can detect a movement as slight as someone moving the zipper on their jacket. You know, like when the bad guys in old films give their coat zippers a tiny tug upward before committing a dastardly deed. So yes, the new motion sensor, a sensor cable, will fit nicely in crime novels and other fictional settings. Here’s how it works…

The cable is fitted with ultra-sensitive magnetic sensors that detect changes in magnetic fields…even minute changes in those fields, such as the slight vibration caused by the movement of the aforementioned zipper. When the cable detects these changes in the nearby magnetic field it sends a message via Bluetooth to a controller that can activate outdoor lights, alarms, video recorders, call the police, alert a home or business owner, etc.

The sensor cable can be mounted along a fence line, hung in trees, and even buried underground.

This new device sounds wonderful and foolproof. However, it is still a cousin to the Internet of Things family, which means that no matter how seriously sensitive the sensor’s sensors are, its controller is susceptible to super-sorry hackers.

Still, imagine an entry team ready to serve a high-risk warrant at a home with one of these cables buried around the perimeter of the property when one of the team members discovers that he’d forgotten to zip his fly at the last bathroom break. Should he zip up, risking alerting those inside the target home to the team’s presence? Or, should he move in as planned, hoping there are no “escapes from custody.” Either way, the result would not be pretty.

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20 Survival Tips for Real and Fictional Officers

Firearms Training

Cops absorb lots of information during the months they spend in the training academy. Then, when they finally do hit the streets they’re required to ride with a field training officer for a few months, a time when the FTO crams even more important stuff into their brains.

Over and over again, academy trainers and field training officers drill information and practical skills into the minds of recruits. Over and over and over again. And, among all the laws, facts, figures, running, pushups, sit-ups, shooting drills, defensive tactics, and on-the-job training, a common theme emerges—officer survival. And survival skills have never been more important than they are today.

Here are a few tips taught to police officers that can help keep them safe and bring them home at the end of the day.

1. Remember these three words. You will survive! Never give up no matter how many times you’ve been shot, stabbed, or battered.

2. Carry a good weapon. You can’t win a gun fight if your weapon won’t fire.

3. Carry plenty of ammunition. There’s no such thing as having too many bullets.

4. Treat every single situation as a potential ambush. This includes during meals, at movies, ball games, and church, etc. You never know when it could happen. This is why cops don’t like to sit with their backs to a door. Please don’t ask them to do so.

5. Practice your shooting skills in every possible situation—at night, lying down, with your weak hand, etc.

6, Wear your seat belt.

7. Wear your body armor.

8. Always expect the unexpected.

9. Suspect everyone until you’re absolutely sure they’re okay and pose no threat to you.

10. Trust no one until trust is earned. Even then, be cautious.

11. Everyone is a potential threat until it’s proven they’re not. Remember, bad people can have pretty faces and warm smiles and say nice things. But all that can change in the blink of an eye.

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12. Know when to retreat.

13. Stay in shape! Eat healthy. Exercise.

14. Train, train, and train.

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15. Take advantage of specialized training classes and workshops outside of the department police academy. For example, the blackbelt trainers at your local gym just might be police academy or military instructors who could address your concerns and weaknesses, and/or enhance your strengths. For example, some of the specialized training I’ve taught include standing, prone, and ground combat, knife and stick fighting, defending the sudden attack, and personal and executive bodyguard training.

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16. Use common sense and remember your training, because your family needs you safely at home at the end of your shift.

17. Family first. Job second.

18. Make no judgements based on a person’s lifestyle, personality, race, or religion. Treat everyone fairly and equally, from the homeless drug addict to the crooked Wall Street embezzler. However, remain on alert and cautious at all times.

19. Talk to people. Get to know them. Let them get to know you. After all, it’s often a bit tougher to hurt an officer they know and trust.

20. Find a release for your stress. Bike/exercise. Vacation. Talk to someone. Read. Write. Spiritual guidance. Hobbies.

Seek help the moment you notice a change/decrease in your work performance, increase in anxiety, excess use of alcohol and/or you consider drug use, change in sleep habits, you experience suicidal thoughts, or other drastic changes in your normal behavior.

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5 To Drive: A Life-Saving Conversation with Your Teen

accident

Vehicle crashes, not guns, knives, overdose, or physical abuse, are the leading cause of death among 14-18-year-olds in the U.S. Did you know that nearly half of all teen drivers involved in car crashes die?

Have you taken the time to talk to your teen about the dangers of driving? How about the 5 to Drive rules?

1. No cell phones.

2. No extra passengers.

3. No speeding.

4. No alcohol.

5. Always buckle up.

You say you have not discussed the 5 to Drive Rules with your teen driver? Well it’s time you did…please. And here’s how to begin.

In 2013…

 

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There, see how easy it was to have the conversation?

* Above data and infographics from the National Sheriff’s Association and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration/Traffic Safety Marketing.
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Intimate Partner Homicide: He Would Never Really Do It…Right?

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Intimate partner homicide is the 7th leading cause of premature death for women in the United States. It’s the number one cause of premature death among African American women between the ages of 15-45. Are those numbers not scary enough? How about this: Of all the women murdered in this country each year, half of them are killed by their intimate partners. And those figures do not include ex-boyfriends.

Is there a means to prevent these deaths? Should a woman be able to see this coming? Are there indicators that her partner is approaching the point of no return? Well, possibly.

Several risk factors have been associated with the murders of  battered women. However, many of the women who were killed by their domestic partner never realized the severity of the abuse. Sure, they knew they’d been beaten, had bones broken, etc., but they never actually thought they’d be killed. They suffered from the, “He’d never really do it because I know he loves me…” syndrome. And that’s not a bad thing, wanting to believe the best in your partner. But denying a problem is harmful, especially when it comes to abuse.

So what are some of the indicators that a partner’s violence may be escalating to the point of no return?

Studies have found a direct correlation between gun ownership and intimate partner homicide. In fact, women who are threatened with a gun are more likely than other women to be murdered—20 times more likely. Just the mere presence of a gun in the house causes an abused woman’s chance of being murdered to be 6 times higher than a woman living in a gun-free home.

Other risk factors include:

– Serious alcohol and drug abuse, where the abuser is high or drunk on a daily basis.

– Threats to kill

– Choking

– Jealousy

– Forced sex

– Partner controls all activity (when to leave the house, etc.)

– Woman is beaten while pregnant

– Partner beats the children

– Partner is violent outside the home as well

– Partner has threatened suicide

– Abused victim has thoughts that her partner will attempt to kill her at some point during their relationship

– Abused victim has thoughts of suicide to escape the violence

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Photo credit – FBI

Has your partner ever done or caused any of these things? If so, you are at risk. Please seek help immediately.

– Slapping, pushing—no injuries and/or lasting pain

– Punching, kicking—bruises, cuts, and/or continuing pain

– “Beating up”—severe contusions, burns, broken bones

– Threat to use weapon—head injury, internal injury, permanent injury

– Use of weapon—wounds from weapon

Ask yourself the following questions. If your answer to any of the questions is yes, you are at risk. Please seek help immediately. Do not wait!

– Has the physical violence increased in frequency over the past year?

– Does he ever try to choke you?

– Does he keep a gun in the house? In his vehicle?

– Has he ever forced you to have sex?

– Does he use drugs? Any drugs?

– Does he threaten to kill you?

– Is he drunk every every day?

– Does he control most or all of your daily activities, like who you can be friends with, how much money you can have, or when you can take the car, when can use the phone, etc.) Does he always have to be with you when you visit family, or go shopping? Does he tell what clothing you can and cannot wear?

– Have you ever been beaten by him while you were pregnant?

– Is he extremely jealous?

– Have you ever threatened or tried to commit suicide?

– Has he ever threatened or tried to commit suicide?

– Is he violent toward your children?

– Is he violent outside of the home? Does he fight with others?

Laci Peterson – murdered by her husband, Scott.

In 2008, 14% of all homicides were committed by intimate partners (70% of the victims were female).

Scott Peterson is currently awaiting his appointment with San Quentin’s executioner. He was sentenced to death for murdering his wife and unborn child, and tossing them in the San Francisco Bay on Christmas Eve of 2002. It is believed that Peterson fabricated homemade anchors from blocks of concrete and them fastened them to Laci’s body, hoping she’d remain on the bottom of the sea, forever.

Now, Peterson spends his days playing basketball and cards with other murderers. Oh, perhaps I should mention all the letters and money he receives from female admirers from all over the world. He deposits the cash into his inmate account, spending up to $180 per month on frilly things, like soda, cookies, and deodorant.

*NIJ statistics

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I. B. Steelin: Tips On Preventing Vehicle Break-ins

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It’s me, I. B. Steelin, the guy who broke into your car last night. Sorry about having to wear the mask, but I heard a bunch of cops hang out on this site and I can’t risk going back to prison.

Anyway, thanks for leaving so many goodies on the front seat. Caught my eye right away. My kids needed the new iPod, and the wife will absolutely love the purse. Louis Vuitton, right?

Your neighbors were equally as generous. The blue house two doors down… Left their car doors unlocked, so a quick stab at the remote and, BINGO, up goes the garage door. What a field day that was…power tools and a small TV (perfect for the kids’ room, by the way). I also took a quick peek inside the house. They’ve got a really sweet flat screen and I’ll definitely be back for it another night.

Across the street… Yep, the people with the BMW. Sunroof was open again so I took the gym bag from the back seat. Not much inside but the bag was nice. The best part, though, was what I found in the glove compartment. All sorts of documents containing personal information—social security numbers, addresses, pin numbers, bank statements (I see some new charge accounts opening in the very near future), a letter from the alarm company saying they hated losing BMW’s business and that service could be reinstated for the low, low price of $19.95 per month and, well, let’s just say it was a real smorgasbord. My favorite thing, though, was the key ring…front door key, key to the business downtown, the tool shed, the rear gate…(yep, they were labeled).

There was a blue SUV on the next block. Two boxes in the rear—a microwave and a projector for a home theater. Spotted them from the street while passing by. The owner should’ve taken the time to pull the built-in cover over the cartons. But…easy money for me. Took a rock from the landscaping beside the driveway and those two sweet items were quickly in my greedy little paws. The cards read, Congratulations, Billie! So thank you very much, Billie, for whatever you did that almost earned you a couple of nice, new gifts. Mine now.

Actually, the entire neighborhood was easy-pickings. Lawns not mowed (a sure sign no one had been home for a while), newspapers piled up in the driveway, mailboxes overflowing, windows open, no lights in houses and yards, garage doors up, lawn mowers and bicycles left outside, no curtains on garage and basement windows, and there was even one house with a note pinned to the front door—“Be Back Tomorrow. Please Leave Deliveries In Kitchen. Key Under Mat.” Well, Duh. Loved the cheesecake in the fridge, by the way. And those homemade cookies…to die for.

Okay, that’s enough for now, but I’ll be back for the rest of your things. Unless, of course, you start using some common sense and lock up, close the sunroof, turn on a light or two, and activate those alarms. Until then, you’re just another number in the 1.85 million thefts from vehicles that occur each year. That number is indeed correct and, as a result, my friends and I steal approximately 1.26 BILLION items from cars each and every year.

So…thank you very much for helping us achieve our personal goals.

See you soon. Very soon…

 

 

 

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Just Say No To Weaponized Hairspray

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Due to a rise in home invasions, using hairspray as a chemical deterrent to ward off attackers has been a hot topic lately. The general idea is to keep a can handy on the nightstand beside the bed, or a smaller can inside a handbag. Then, as an unsuspecting attacker approaches, the would-be victim sprays the hair-stiffener into the thug’s eyes, causing him to stop the attack and immediately run away.

Personally, I do not recommend the use of hairspray as a means of defense against attackers. It’s not totally effective. Unlike pepper spray that can be effective without direct contact to the eyes, the burst of hairspray mist must hit the eyes directly to do any good at all. As a result, carrying the stuff gives a person a false sense of security. And, like firearms and other weapons, unless you practice/train with with your handy-dandy hairspray bad-guy-stopper, chances are that using it in real-life would be totally ineffective. I don’t believe there are any hairspray training academies in my area. Not sure about where you live.

The other premise is for the victim to use a cigarette lighter to ignite the hair goop as it leaves the nozzle, turning the misty chemical into a homemade hairspray fire-fogger. Now, what halfway intelligent crook would dare continue his advances when faced with a scared and angry, fire-spurting homeowner?

Well, the ideas are good—spray the attacker’s eyes which could render him incapable of continuing the assault, or, set his hair on fire causing him to run outside looking like a human 4th of July fireworks display. But, there are a few things to keep in mind.

1. For obvious reasons, remember to use the aerosol hairspray, not the pump type. The idea is to stop the attacker, not give him his recommended daily dose of laughter.

2. The actuators (push buttons) on aerosol cans are normally made of plastic and could melt when exposed to prolonged extreme heat/fire.

3. The flame generated using a hairspray can extends only as far as the distance reached by the spray, which is basically a couple of feet. Therefore, an attacker could simply wait at a safe distance—four feet, or so—while your weapon slowly burns up/extinguishes. Or, he could stand at a safe distance and roast a marshmallow or two while waiting for the flame to subside. Also, if the attacker is only two feet away when the victim begins the process of match-striking and spray-squirting, he could easily disarm the victim.

4. While standing in your bedroom, striking matches and flicking Bic’s, an attacker could easily grab the blanket from your bed, toss it over you and your flamethrower, and then beat you senseless with your own fuzzy orangutan slippers .

5. If the spray fails to ignite, you will have merely succeeded in helping your attacker keep his “Do” in fabulous shape for his appearance at your neighbors house…after blacking your eyes and stealing your stuff.

Of course, you could always switch to deodorant as a source of power for your flamethrower/chemical deterrent. At least then the attacker would smell nice while he pounded out a rhythmic Latin beat on your head.

A prime example was the fight between two Michigan women where one grabbed a can of hairspray, aimed it at her opponent, and set the stream on fire. Well, the flame never reached the other woman, who grabbed a lamp and hit the fire-sprayer with it. When police arrived they found scratches on the faces of both women…and a broken lamp.

Of course, there’s a more deadly use for hairspray…

Way back when (sometime during the late 1980’s), Virginia coalminers decided to strike, becoming rowdy in the process, and when the state police moved in to restore order they were met by jack rocks in the roadways (jack rocks are large, sharpened metal objects shaped like jacks—kid toys—designed to flatten car tires), gunfire, and incoming spuds fired from potato cannons.

The VSP spent nearly $200,000 to replace flattened car tires during the period when over 400 troopers were assigned to the area on a rotating basis.

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Jack rocks are sold openly on eBay for use as “defensive spikes”

The state police spent nearly $8 million keeping the peace during the nine month strike.

Anyway, back to Potato cannons. They’re simple devices, generally made from PVC pipe, a source of ignition, such as a barbecue grill spark-lighter, and an accelerate, such as hairspray. Users wedge a potato into the open end of the cannon, squirt hairspray into the area where the igniter is installed, close the cap, and then flick the igniter. The spark ignites the hairspray which then propels the potato. A simple, yet effective process.

Also for sale on eBay…

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Another eBay item is a potato cannon called the City Slicker. Sellers advertise this weapon/toy has having a loud discharge. In addition to launching a potato over a great distance, it reportedly shoots an 18 inch flame from the barrel when fired.

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City Slicker Potato/Tennis Ball Cannon ~ $49.95

During the time of the troubles with the coal miners, I just happened to be at the State Police Academy for in-service training and was lucky enough to be one of the cops chosen to test fire potato cannons. The idea was to see how much damage they could do and then relay our findings to the troopers assigned to the mountain areas where the strike was taking place. So, after firing a couple hundred pounds of spuds at various targets, we learned that the force generated is often great enough to send a spud through plywood, cinder blocks, and even the door of a passing trooper’s car. The cannons were surprisingly powerful.

Below is a video recorded by author and Florida law enforcement officer James O. Born. In the brief film, Jim demonstrates how to fire a potato cannon. His target is a bit…well, unconventional, but the action is real. You’ll notice a large cap on the rear end of the cannon. That’s where hairspray is applied. And, you’ll see Jim holding the ignition switch in his right hand.

Take it way, Jim…

 

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