Caracas burglary cases increasing

robo viviendasAlthough several criminal groups dedicated to burglary in the Chacao area have been dismantled, there are still gangs committing mass robberies in people’s homes.

In some cases using influences with domestic or security staff, criminals access buildings or house complexes and take all kinds of valuable articles and cash.

The director of Polichacao said burglary reports have peaked over the last few months, going from seven to ten cases per week. Robberies used to be random, but now have increased to two per week.

According to this officer, most criminal groups involved in robbery and burglary come from the Libertador Municipality and also affect the areas of La Florida, Los Caobos and La Campiña. He also said the police are currently investigating two building maintenance companies that could be involved in the robberies occurred over the last few days.

Most vulnerable areas of Caracas

  • Chacao. The most vulnerable areas for house burglary and robbery are: Altamira, La Floresta, Los Palos Grandes and La Castellana. In most cases, criminals act in complicity with security or domestic staff. They follow their victims, with previous information, and attack them as they enter their property. Three gangs have been dismantled in the past month.
  • Sucre. Burglaries usually take place during the day and over the weekends, and robberies during the night. According to the director of Polisucre, criminals follow their victims as they leave some establishment and when they arrive at their homes, they intersect them and submit them. Macaracuay and El Marqués are the most affected sectors.
  • Baruta. Two burglaries per week are reported.

Source: El Universal

Be alert, assess your surroundings and foresee your responses

AlertaThe traditional concept of security was associated to reaction when facing a crime or maintaining the order however, in time, it has been necessary to go from reaction to prevention by acting over the causes of crime and not only, over its elements. As it has been demonstrated, the matters of security cannot be reduced only to criminality issues. “It is about something more complex that is related to issues of sanity, the environment, urbanism and education. It is the consequence of growing inequalities in the access to the resources”, explains Maria del Carmen Llanos, psychotherapist and organizational behavior consultant specialized in citizen security.

Understanding the process

The decision not to become a victim is a “responsibility” of each individual as the best defense will be “self-protection.” We must be aware of our surroundings, be on alert and use our common sense. The criminal will always choose the victim that will provide the best chance for a successful attack, acting over confidently, and using both physical and verbal violence. The delinquent will use the surprise factor, carry a gun, take some drugs and will generally be with company. There must be an observational and analyzing process as this will help him / her identify the environmental and architectural elements that will create the conditions for committing criminal acts.

At home and with the family

Keep a telephone directory for emergencies within reach. Do not give information about your home or office without careful consideration. Keep your neighbors contacts within reach and tell your family about it so they can contact you in case of an emergency. Family members should be taught how to deal with strangers that have no proper identification. Do not give confidential information regarding travel or business in the presence of strangers. Make sure that all the doors, windows and gates are locked before leaving your house. If you go out, leave the lights on and the phone unplugged. Do not leave your mail in the mailbox for long periods of time and do not leave a message on your answering machine telling the callers that you will be out. Teach your children how to call the police if unknown people or marauders surround the house, or attempt to break and enter such place.

In the street

Walk aware of everything that goes on around you (360º attention). It is essential that you analyze the behavior of any suspicious individual nearby. When noticing a strange situation, walk away from it or change directions.

The delinquents are enemies of distances because they need to “close spaces” in order to attack. Keep yourself at least 20m from any suspect. Remember: “the criminal will need to come close enough to attack you.”

In the vehicle

Do not put stickers that may show you as user of a specific brand. Also, avoid putting stickers that may give hints about the number of members in your family, or which school or club you frequently visit with your children. Drive with the windows closed and locks on. If you notice any suspect, do not slow down or stop, go to the nearest police station or to a place with a lot of people. Do not use any accessories that may call the attention of delinquents. Smartphones tend to be an easy target and even wedding bands because of the gold they may represent in terms of money.

In a parking lot

Whether it is the mall or the supermarket, do not leave your car in the street. Inside the parking lot, make sure the car is locked and the alarms are activated. Do not leave any valuables inside. If someone is surrounding your car, get help from the security staff. Avoid lonely and dark places.

7 security mistakes most commonly committed on Facebook

Facebook perforadoFacebook is a public virtual place many people find entertaining, but a simple mistake or imprudence could become the cause of many problems, and not precisely virtual… but quite real.

For that reason, over the last few years experts have insisted in a series of recommendations to safeguard the privacy of the users and their families in a network with more than 700 million people.

If you’re one of those people who visit their Facebook profile every day, then you should check and make sure you’re not making one of the 7 security mistakes most commonly committed in this social network, summarized by AllFacebook.com:

  1. Don’t disclose your date of birth

According to financial experts, your year of birth is an excellent starting point for identity theft, as from your birth date it is possible to deduct user preferences and passwords.

It is recommended only to disclose your day and month of birth, not the year.

  1. Don’t announce you’ll be out of town

Nothing is better for a real world criminal than knowing when your home will be empty. After all, no one would put up a sign on the door stating “Left town for 2 weeks.”

  1. Avoid using obvious passwords

Kid and pet names, birthdays, addresses or favorite football teams are some of the worse security bars you can set between a stranger and your profile information.

It is best to use a strong password containing 8 or more characters mixing numbers and upper/lower case letters.

  1. Don’t underestimate privacy settings

It makes no difference to demand more and better privacy options from Facebook administrators if most users have never even checked them.

Currently, this social network allows users to determine who they would like to share not only posts but also personal information and pictures with, as who you can communicate with.

No one should use Facebook before having checked the menu’s Account —–> Privacy Settings.

  1. Think before you post

It is very dangerous to use social networks when you’re angry or without first thinking what you’re going to post. Also, before sharing personal issues or involving other people, it is best to think twice whether it’s worth sharing such information or what the consequences might be.

In fact, a study carried out by the firm Proof Point proved that at least 8% of companies have fired someone for “inappropriate use of social networks.”

It is frequent hearing about cases in which reckless posting generated legal problems or even put someone in jail.

Our advice: if you’re upset over something, take a minute and think whether you should post about it. If it concerns your work, think about the kind of post that could bring you trouble.

  1. Use private messaging

Many reflections, thoughts and other things can be shared with all your Facebook contacts, including those you barely even know. However, when it comes to intimate situations or invitations, you should use the private messaging option.

  1. Avoid posting information about your children under 13

Many people share sensitive information about their small children, their names, the school they attend and places they frequently visit.

Facebook is home to all kinds of people and you can never be really sure that whoever’s accessing your family’s information will not use it for their own advantage.

It’s not about getting paranoid, but if we’re always telling our kids to be careful with information, we should lead by example.

Personal and Family Security

FamiliaThe news about violent crimes in the main cities of the nation, are usually in the minds of Venezuelan residents. The authority’s ability to stop this crime wave is quite questionable, and most people feel highly exposed and at risk in the concrete jungle where predators threaten to attack anytime, anywhere. The crime rate is outrageous for both locals and visitors, and there doesn’t seem to be any possible short term improvement. But, it’s worth wondering: Are we doing everything we can to avoid becoming victims of a criminal attack? Do we know what to do? How to act when facing an attacker to try and mitigate the damages? If we can’t count on an efficient response from the authorities, then it’s necessary for us to generate individual and collective active and passive measures to protect our personal integrities.

Looking to contribute with that purpose, in this and upcoming issues we will touch on personal and family safety issues, however, we must warn you that our suggestions are not the only recipes, and it will be each person’s judgment, experience and personal knowledge, properly combined with a good dose of serenity, what will ultimately generate efficient results to overcome the tensions of being victims of a criminal action.

Protect your family: prepare a family security plan

Our home is our sanctuary, the center of our personal universe, a “controlled environment” we constantly try to strengthen with active and passive security measures to protect our loved ones. But, once out of the house, they are no longer under our protective cloak, becoming exposed, and then it is luck and whatever knowledge they may have about personal security what will allow them to foresee unsafe situations in order to avoid becoming victims of criminal attacks. To help protect our family in this context, the best defense is to make them aware of the dangers they are exposed to, so they can anticipate themselves to any potential danger in order to plan their actions for whenever they may need them.

We recommend having a family meeting to talk about the most frequent crimes that take place in our cities, which we are exposed to: armed robbery, kidnapping, armed burglary and extortion. It is necessary to draw a security plan using the “WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF…” technique.

We know this is an unpleasant topic to discuss, but it is necessary to be clear about it in order to know what to do in a given opportunity. For instance, families can establish strategies and courses of action regarding what to do and say in case one of their members become the victim of an Express or Long-term kidnapping, who they should call first, what to say and not to say to the criminals, how to behave in front of the kidnappers, what attitude to assume, etc. It is also very important to develop an argumentative script to be consistent when the time comes in order to avoid ambiguities during the negotiation process, since a single slip could aggravate the situation. It is also recommended to know what to do in case of an extorting or threatening call, what to do to get “unhooked” from the extorter, and what precautions to take.

But, what do we need a tentative plan for? When we don’t have a plan and an attack takes place, we leave the resolution of every problem in the hands of our instinct and, what if we have the wrong reaction or our actions are inappropriate? The answer to this question is in the countless number of cases in which people have lost their lives due to inconvenient reactions in front of criminals who have no respect for human life or are simply so nervous they can’t control their reactions either. Having a plan, as simple as it may be, will give us confidence, will allow us to assess the situation and choose the best option when the times comes. But in order for the plan to work, it needs to be rehearsed, and that’s how families can turn such a delicate topic into an interesting activity.

It’s worth adding that a little training in personal security will always be very convenient, especially to add the knowledge of prevention and internalize it as a daily practice until it becomes a habit.

To develop a family security plan it is also convenient to consider the household members’ routines, the areas they frequent, the incidence of crime in such areas, and make them aware that crimes are not random, but somehow provoked by ourselves when we are unaware in unsafe environments, thus inviting criminals to attack; it is necessary to emphasize that before engaging, criminals make a cost/benefit analysis of attacking, weighing up their risks and their possible rewards, and they usually do not take risks against potential victims who look aware. Likewise, it is important to warn our loved ones who’ve developed some kind of skill in terms of personal defense that they shouldn’t risk confronting criminals like in the movies, since in real life, things rarely turn out the same, and there are countless cases of deaths due to resistance.

The planning process includes all the preventive measures to be taken in order to avoid becoming victims, so it is important to teach our loved ones how to detect whether they’re being followed and stimulate and sharpen their observation skills as well as orienting them about the precautions to be taken in parking lots -such as not parking next to cars with people inside- what to do if they see subjects with suspicious behaviors before parking or when walking back to their vehicles. When returning home, you should not try to enter if you see strangers in the driveway or building gates, take into account that it is from these places where most Express kidnappings occur. Agree upon communication protocols in imminent danger situations, for instance, if being followed, call the mobile of the family member who will surely pick up the phone, the person we’ve agreed to call to inform of our situation, where we are and to whom we will describe whoever’s allegedly following us (vehicle make and model, color, license, subjects’ descriptions, etc.).

Finally, it is necessary to insist that in order to protect our families, the best defense is to make them aware of all the risks they are exposed to, so to allow them to anticipate potential dangers and plan their actions for when it’s necessary.