Are Home Invasion Robberies “Hate Crimes”?

Are Home Invasion Robberies “Hate Crimes”?

Tuesday, January 04 2011 @ 08:34 AM EST
Contributed by: Don Winner
Views: 444
By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com – Received this morning via email: “I want to keep an open mind after reading about the Bugaba and Dorado crimes. My knee-jerk reaction is that our search will be focused on locating a home in gated communities, but these walls and gates are really more a visual deterrent than and actual physical one making true security illusory. Does anyone know more about these crimes ? Does anyone know the victims or their situation? Unless they helped provoke the attacks by having too much stuff (cash on premises) and telling or showing the wrong people, it would appear to be almost hate related crime, meaning several people forming an attack squad and purposely targeting one individual or house hold. Are they targeting just Americans, expats in general, or just people with a lot of stuff or people whom appear to be an easy target? If that is the case, then alarms systems would be minor deterrent to a determined crew / individual committing such a crime. Part of personal protection is certainly behavior and situational awareness but having a great alarm determent system / strategy reduces your chances of becoming a random victim and yet there must be more minor and yet equally important defense strategies that others in here can share with all of us, inside and outside of Panama. Does anyone have contacts with the government that can shed some light on what they are doing, if anything about this problem?”
Big Questions: The short answer is – no, these are not “hate crimes.” The victims of home invasion robberies are almost always selected for two reasons, because the robbers think there is something in the house of value that they want to steal, and that the overall security posture of the target can be defeated. (more)

Don’t Blame The Victims: Unless they really, really deserve it, that is. There was once some people who called to complain that someone had broken into their house and stolen the $60,000 dollars worth of gold and jewelry they had hidden under their mattress. OK, that’s “off the charts” dumb-ass, right? However remember that in Panama many honest people who are working full time make less than $500 per month. The less than honest people who are not working full time “make” much less. I’ve seen cab drivers shot and killed for $20 or $40 dollars. The bottom line is that the amount of money or valuables you might think of as “not that much” stuff could easily be seen by the potential robbers as a really valuable target. They especially like small and portable electronic devices such as iPods and iPads, Blackberry cell phones, laptop computers, large modern televisions, and of course cash, jewelry, weapons, and anything else they can quickly and easily get rid of for money.

The Valuables Are Targeted, Not The Gringos: However, most often a retired gringo couple might be the richest people within 100 miles. The robbers don’t care what color is your passport – they will target the valuables if you’re from the US, Canada, Spain, Venezuela, or Colombia. They want the money. Period.

Hits Are Cheap Too: However because there are so many poor people and many of them are involved in crime, one way or the other, it’s relatively cheap and easy to pay a small gang of young offenders to target someone for whatever reason. Let’s say the new old grouchy gringo in the neighborhood is a real son-of-a-bitch. He’s pissed off everyone, does nothing to help the community, and has been at war with the entire neighborhood for one reason or another since he moved in. In short, he’s given on one any reason whatsoever to “like” him. There’s a good chance the bad guys in the area might target him, just because he “deserves” it (in their minds.) You understand what I’m talking about, right? There was one case a long time ago of a couple that was ripped off, but they had literally bent over backwards to be the best neighbors in the entire community. When the robbery occurred, the mothers (of the thieves) heard about it and made them give everything back. It can go both ways. So maybe just beings “nice” in your community might be your best first line of defense.

What Is The Government Doing? As much as they can. They have to worry about every crime, not just yours. They have limited assets are resources and you might not like it, but if they have no clues or leads there’s really not much they can do. And besides, there was a murder that just occurred a few streets away and that is now taking the priority over your robbery case. The cops tend to see these in groups and clusters, rather than just one at a time. They know the same bad guys commit more than one crime.

Layered Defense: There are many things you can and should do to increase and augment the security of your home. Obviously apartment buildings are much more secure than stand alone single family homes. If you make yourself the hardest nut to crack, then the bad guys will turn away and try to find something easier.

Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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