Archive for March, 2011

Been A Little Busy

Lately I have been busy with other matters, all the while the world has kept turning and one disaster after another has struck. I wonder how many people in Tsunami struck parts of Japan had an Emergency Food Supply they could rely on for the days, sometimes weeks after the disaster strikes? Living where I do the worst we have suffered this year so far has been a five hour blackout one Saturday night. Fortunately we had candles and a BBQ and made it fun for the kids. If it had gone on for 24 hours though we would have lost food in the freezer if I hadn’t been able to get the camping fridge going on the LPG bottle. Luckily frozen will stay that way for some time and chest freezers more so than uprights, so long as you don’t keep opening the door.

I have been writing eBooks for a US client covering finance, credit, mortgages and investments for Australia and it has been an education. Doing the research and writing the books has made me a fan of calculators like the Mortgage Payment Calculator and another one that calculates compound interest, how much you need to save to reach a set target and so on. These are important tools for your financial safety management. We often think of natural disasters and wild animals, car wrecks and robbery, but who considers the risk and harm of losing your job?

It pays to be financially safe as well as in all the other ways. I’ll write more on that soon.

The Simple Things In Life…

The simple things in life are often the best, so the slogan for a cereal brand used to go. The old K.I.S.S. or ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid’ theory does hold water. When things get complicated there is more chance some part will fail and the whole thing will fall apart. The old ‘for want of a nail…’ thing. I have just watched a video clip, allegedly from a car park security camera, of a clever yet simple way to steal someone’s car without breaking in and with the key in the ignition. Given how sophisticated car security is becoming today, this is a good method for anyone not willing to step over the line and physically threaten the owner or harm them. In fact, it has the benefit of most likely never even being seen by the owner and risking identification.

The thief ties three or four tin cans to the back of the car and lurks nearby. The owner returns, gets in and drives off. The scraping of the tin cans alerts them to a possible problem, so they stop the car and get out to investigate. Most people will leave the car running and the door open. As they walk to the rear of the car, the thief jumps in and drives off. In the video clip I saw, the driver was a woman who had placed her handbag int he car and of course that went with the vehicle. The thief has her purse, her car, her keys, her cellphone, her wallet, everything. The could check if anyone is home by calling via her cellphone (most of us have our home phone in there somewhere) then drive there after getting the address from her license in her purse. He has the keys to the place, can load up her car with some valuables and be away, probably before she has had time to find a phone and call the police.

Currently, the police require you to attend the station and fill out a report, get a crime number for your insurance and so on. I doubt they would attend the empty carpark and no doubt very upset car owner. Unless there was a spate of these carjackings not much effort would be put in if only because the owner has no description of the thief, they were at the back of their car looking at a couple of tin cans tied to their bumper bar when the thief struck. They saw nothing. What have the police to go on as the car is no longer there?

it is not a perfect crime but it is a clever one and a simple one. It reminds us all how easily we can be distracted and off guard in everyday circumstances. Who would think to take the key with you when just checking for the source of the noise? Or to lock the door? Yet it is these split second decisions and moments of unguarded reaction that give the thief a chance. When he sets up the opportunity it is even easier but there are still plenty out there always on the look out for opportunities. opportunities such as when you fill your car with petrol, then leave it at the pump and walk in to pay. How many people leave it open and begging to be stolen or your possessions redistributed?

It only takes a second to lock the car. If I have my kids with me,  I drive away from the pump and park close to the shop. That way someone else can use the pump, my kids are not left trapped next to a potential bomb and I figure I have deterred most thieves simply because they see I have made it more difficult for them. Most of us refuel our cars at least once a week, but we park them and walk away more than once a day. Sometimes it might pay to walk around the car if you have left it for the day and gone into work. Do a quick visual check just like pilots do of their aircraft before they take off.

Yesterday when I finished my regular swim session I noticed the tail lights on my car were on. I must have accidentally switched on the headlights when I got out.  looked at the front of the car and yes, the headlights were on. Hoping the battery wasn’t too flat to start the car, I reached for the door lock with the key and wondered who put that back rest thing on my driver’s seat? Then it dawned on me this was not my car. Two spaces further up was my car. Same make, model, colour and all, just without the lights on. My point is, if I had been thinking more about the approach to my car and drive off, rather than the swim session and new lap record I had set for myself, I would have noticed there were two cars like mine parked pretty close together and not made the mistake of thinking one was mine when it wasn’t. No harm done this time but who knows for next time?

You can’t be on Code Red 100% of the time and there is no reason to be. But it does make sense to be a little switched on and taking account of what’s going on around you at all times.

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