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I would like to update a blog entry I wrote a couple of months ago about home security.

The update is based on a newspaper article I read recently in the Tri-Valley Times, dated Wednesday, March 28, 2012.  The article illustrates how complacent and vulnerable we become in the “Safety” of our own homes.

For those of you who are not familiar with the San Francisco Bay Area, San Ramon, where this attack occurred, is nestled into the southern most tip of Contra Costa County in the East Bay.  Residents, mostly middle to upper class, comprise the demographics of this city.  As with neighboring communities, San Ramon is regarded as a safe place to live, raise your family, great schools, no gang graffiti, the city is virtually a model of stability.

Our homes, where we feel safe and secure, provide us with the protection and privacy that we all seek.  Our homes are our sanctuary, where we live and love.  Our homes allow us to share with family and friends, to invite those that are special to us into the comforts that we so closely regard as our very own. The following is the complete article as it first appeared in print:

Woman Sexually Assaulted in Her Home*

A San Ramon women was sexually assaulted by an intruder who came to her home Tuesday morning, police said.

Officers were called to the residence on Montrose Way in San Ramon at 11:05 a.m. after a woman reported a man rang her doorbell, according to a news release from San Ramon police Chief Scott Holder.

The victim told police she looked through the door’s peephole and saw the suspect on her porch and a smaller blue or silver SUV parked in front.  She opened the door and had a brief conversation with the suspect before trying to close the door.

At that point, police said, the suspect bullied his way into the residence, forcing the woman to the ground.  He sexually assaulted the victim before fleeing in the vehicle.

The suspect was described as a Middle Eastern man in his 40’s, approximately 5 feet 9 inches tall with a heavy build, short black hair, brown eyes, and no facial hair.  He was wearing a navy blue cotton jacket and brown leather shoes, police said.

Anyone with information can call the San Ramon police at 925.973.2700.

Rick Hurd, Staff


*  Tri-Valley Times, Section B, page 4

   Bay Area News Group, March 28, 2012

Safety Tips

When a stranger comes to our front door, they know why they are there, we do not.  Once the door is opened, we have removed our last means of defense.  The void has altered our secure environment and has left us at the mercy of a total stranger.

For the most part, encounters with strangers are uneventful.  Perhaps a sales person, someone mistook the wrong address, but for the woman in San Ramon, it proved to be horrendous.  Here are a few safety tips that you may want to consider:

  • You can talk through a locked front door.  Use your peephole or a window to see who is on your porch.  If you do not know the person(s), simply say “Can I help you.”
  • If the person(s) says they have something to give you, your response should be “Leave it on the porch.”
  • If you are a woman, living alone or not, the doorbell rings, approach the door saying out loud “I’ll get the door, honey.”  It gives the appearance that you are not alone.
  • Again, if you are a single woman, or your husband/significant other travels or works swings or the midnight shift, go to a thrift shop and buy a pairs of mens’ sneakers or work boots.  Place them outside the front door.  This too gives the appearance of multiple occupants.
  • Put your home burglary alarm on when you are at home.
  • Alarm systems (With battery back-up), dogs, pepper spray, Tasers, and firearms are all good deterrents.  With the exception of alarm systems and dogs, you need to become proficient in their use, and have them within your reach to ward off an attacker(s).

Some people who canvass a neighborhood know that ringing the doorbell announce them as “Salespeople,” choosing to knock instead, because knocking is what friends do.  Whether you feel rude by talking through a locked front door or not, you are much safer and the chances of attack is reduced greatly.  I will end with two short stories, the first involved me:

Shortly before 9 p.m. on a week night, my doorbell rang.  I saw it was a single male on my front porch.  Through the locked front door I asked “What do you want guy?”  His response was, “What do I want?  I want world peace!”  I told him “World peace was two doors down on his right.”

An older man, dressed in a doctor’s white coat, was going door to door in a neighborhood.  His actions coincided with a national campaign for breast cancer awareness.  He would ring the doorbell, make reference to the national campaign, then offer a “Free” breast examination to each woman who answered the door. 

According to the police, he had made contact with seven woman, a couple of woman excepted his offer, invited him into their homes, disrobed, and let this “Doctor” examine their breasts.  Officers arrested him, ending his “Medical career,” and put him in jail.  To those woman who allowed this fraud into their home, shame on them.

Stranger – Danger

Play it safe.  Remember that “Bad guys and gals” hide in plain site.  Keep your doors and windows closed and secure.  You may not get a second chance.

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