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Sunday, March 20, 2011


1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.

2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier.

3. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it..

4. A good security company alarms the window over the sink. And the windows on the second floor, which often access the master bedroom - and your jewelry. It's not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there too.

5. I always knock first. If you answer, I'll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters. (Don't take me up on it.)

6. Do you really think I won't look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet. Helpful hint: I almost never go into kids' rooms.

7. A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system.

8. Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.

9. The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors.

10. I'll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If your neighbor hears one loud sound, he'll stop what he's doing and wait to hear it again. If he doesn't hear it again, he'll just go back to what he was doing. It's human nature.

11. I look for signs that you're home, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems. I'll drive or walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds, just to pick my targets.

12. Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It's easier than you think to look up your address.

13. To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way to let in a little fresh air. To me, it's an invitation.

14. If you don't answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in.

Sources: Convicted burglars in North Carolina , Oregon , California , and Kentucky ; security consultant Chris McGoey, who runs and Richard T. Wright, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, who interviewed 105 burglars for his book Burglars on the Job.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

10 things parents can do to build confidence and keep children safe

Children grow strong and resilient if you:
1. Let children know they are awesome by taking 10 minutes every day to ask questions and listen without judgments.
2. Teach children to grow strong from within by setting an example of staying cool, calm and collected, no matter what is going on. Anger breeds anxiety and confusion.
3. Create rule and boundaries for the family and stick to consequences for bad behavior.
4. Work out problems together! Anger and stress weakens the immune system and makes your family less healthy.
5. Allow children to make mistakes. Children learn from failure and discover that life can be difficult. They grow stronger and wiser.
6. Encourage children to speak up and stand up for themselves without any anger.
7. Teach children to use their instincts and intuition. If they don’t feel safe, run away. Always have children use the buddy system.
8. Teach children how to handle a bully. Children grow strong by discussing solutions, role-playing and encouragement.
9. Surround your child with a positive network of support. Your family, friends and neighbors are your child’s role models and mentors.
10. Do something special with each child every week. Go to the park, a movie, play a game, invite their friend to join your family, etc.

For more information: Go to