Construction and Renovation Safety pt 1

Below is a citizen reporting an incident that appeared on the 5D Listserv Oct 2nd via the Brookland Listserv. There are some issues that I’ll address in another posting, but there are practical bits of advice that seem to go against what we are told about giving people the benefit of the doubt, not relying on stereotypes, yadda, yadda, yadda. Read it, tell me what you think. Also be safe out there:

Today at 4:50pm the construction workers renovating the owned but unoccupied house opposite mine were robbed at gunpoint (15th/jackson) .

I saw the crimnals 1 minute before the actual robbery took place, as I was pulling away from the curb they were walking up the front steps. Fortunately, no one was physically harmed as all three had guns; unfortunately, I did not get a good look to give a better description: 3 young adult males approx 17-early 20s, medium black complexion, average height, lanky build, one in a gray sweatshirt and jeans, the other two dressed in black sweatshirts/ black pants.

What I learned from those robbed — one guy came by earlier and walked in the open door as they were working. When questioned why he was there he said he was looking to buy a house. They told him that it was owned and was not selling. They regret not calling the police at this first round because the age, dress, and line and method of inquiry (walking in and looking around, no standard questions in line with home buying) of the person clearly demonstrated ‘kid’ more than ‘potential home owner,’ and thus after the fact realize this was the stakeout for the later return in the day, when his friends were available to assist.

What I learned FROM THE POLICE — 1.) construction workers are an easy target for robberies of their property (tools, $) and your household property, because since they don’t know every one of your relatives, friends and neighbors, they allow themselves to be approached by strangers visiting. [SNIPPED by InShaw] 3.) the pre-visit is a common robbery set up pattern, on a type of people commonly marked – contrators.

So my take away from this experience is this:
1. If someone shows up on your property that doesn’t quite ‘fit the bill,’ better to be suspect and guarded, as you are only protecting yourself and your property. If the person is innocent, well the questioning by the cops ultimately does him/her a service to wake up and realize that in today’s time you just don’t walk up on someone’s property and into an open door uninvited. They should know they were lucky to encounter you, a nice person who only called the cops to check them out — another person may not be so nice and may try to physically protect their property…
2. If you are not in your property yet, make it a point to visit often, even if it is an inconvenience since you have so many other things to do … Meet your neighbors now, not the week you move in. Let them know point blank that they are free to question anyone on your property. The neighboring young new couple had expensive things stolen from their house (whole central air/heating system) because they were
never ever there in a one years time of construction. ..
3. Same for your contractors — let them know that a) you demand they work behind locked door, no matter how much of an inefficent hassle it is; b) no friendliness to strangers you have not specficially pointed out to them are on the ok to fraternize with list, not even the elderly woman in the floral apron with a plate of home-baked cookies who claims to be your mother, and c) they must call the cops immediately.

2 thoughts on “Construction and Renovation Safety pt 1”

  1. This is very useful advice and I will try to follow it. The person who loaned me a ladder said, Don’t leave this where it’s visible from a window. There is definitely a market for new and used construction tools. (I would gladly buy some more on craigslist if they were offered, for example.) But, you make a good point about the construction permits. No matter how many lamps you have on timers or burly guys working on carpentry during the day, it’s pretty obvious to someone watching the street when a house is unlived in.

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