The Codist Confronts a Burglar Breaking Down His Door

February 19, 2007

I happened to be home today when a burglar kicked in my front door (the usual mode of entry for home burglars in the US). As I came running out of my bedroom I yelled in my best imitation of a police officer's command voice something unoriginal like "get the hell out of here". He slammed the door shut, ran to his car and peeled off.

My home does not have good front vision, so I could tell the car's make and approximate description but no license. I did get a glimpse of the culprit but not good enough to ID him. The police dusted my door for prints (finger and shoe) but I doubt it will lead to any arrests.

My home as the neighborhood watch sign out front, signs indicating a security system everywhere (and I do have one). Even with all I know about computer security, I should have been more aware of the vulnerability of my front door to brute force. Sometimes the most obvious issue in securing a system is not stopping the clever hacker but the guy who steals a laptop or breaks into a server room. I have read many stories of ATM machines being dynamited to gain access but a recent discussion led to the realization that many ATMs still have default passwords and can be broken in the easy way.

Of course if I had had a loaded gun the guy might be bleeding away on my front porch so I'm sure he was shocked I was home (he knocked but I didn't get out of the bathroom for a bit) and he got away. In Texas we have the total right to defend our homes with deadly force (not true in every reader's country) although I'm not much on firearms.

The lesson learned is that security begins at home (!). Or maybe the real lesson is that security has to be a total effort in any system, you can't just defend against a few things and leave other access points open. It's the one you didn't consider or ignored that will get you.