Category Archives: Reference

Earthquake Anniversary – The Quake of ‘89

Earthquake of 1989 photo

Today is the anniversary of the earthquake of ’89.  Many of us remember this day like it was yesterday. The quake lasted 10–15 seconds and measured 6.9 on the open-ended Richter Scale. The surface-wave magnitude measured 7.1. This devastating quake killed three people in the collapse of the Pacific Garden Mall in Santa Cruz.  An estimated 1.4 million people lost power following the quake throughout Santa Cruz County and the Bay Area.  Many people were without necessities like water, food, and shelter as many homes were damaged and unlivable.  The quake killed 63 people throughout Northern California, injured 3,757 and left some 3,000–12,000 people homeless.  It is important to have a Disaster Preparedness Kit on hand for emergencies.  You can purchase a disaster kit, or just be sure to keep water and canned food, flashlights, batteries and first aid kits stored in your home, in a place that would be easily accessible in the event of an earthquake.

How to Secure your Home

While it’s difficult to protect your home from professional thieves, most home burglaries are done by amateurs. These thieves are more easily thwarted if you employ some of these simple security precautions:

Plan to “burglarize” yourself. You’ll discover any weaknesses in your security system that may have previously escaped your notice.

Lock up your home, even if you go out only for a short time. Many burglars just walk in through an unlocked door or window.

Change all the locks and tumblers when you move into a new house.

For the most effective alarm system, conceal all wiring. A professional burglar looks for places where he or she can disconnect the security system.

Your house should appear occupied at all times. Use timers to switch lights and radios on and off when you’re not at home.

If you have a faulty alarm that frequently goes off, get it fixed immediately and tell your neighbors that it’s been repaired. Many people ignore an alarm that goes off periodically.

A spring-latch lock is easy prey for burglars who are “loiding” experts. Loiding is the method of slipping a plastic credit card against the latch tongue to depress it and unlock the door. A deadbolt defies any such attack. It is only vulnerable when there is enough space between the door and its frame to allow an intruder to use power tools or a hacksaw.

If you lose your keys, change the locks immediately.

Before turning your house key over to a professional house cleaner for several hours, make sure the person is honest and reputable as well as hardworking. Check all references thoroughly. If the house cleaner is from a firm, call your local Better Business Bureau to check on the firm’s reputation.

Instead of keeping a spare key in a mailbox, under the doormat, or on a nail behind the garage, wrap the key in foil — or put it in a 35mm film can — and bury it where you can easily find it if you need it.

Don’t leave notes for service people or family members on the door. These act as a welcome mat for a burglar.

If the entrances to your home are dark, consider installing lighting with an infrared detector. Most thieves don’t want to be observed trying to get in a door.

Talk to your neighbors about any suspicious people or strange cars you notice lurking about.

To keep your tools from being stolen, paint the handles. Thieves avoid items that are easy to identify.

Trees located near windows or shrubbery that might shield a burglar from view can be major flaws in your home-protection plan. Consider your landscaping plan in light of your protection needs.

Ask for credentials from any sales-person who requests entry to your home. Ask that their ID be pushed under the door. Many professional burglars use this cover to check out homes. If you’re doubtful, check with the person’s office before letting him or her in.

Do not list your full name on your mailbox or your entry in the telephone book. Use only your initial and your last name.

If someone comes to your door asking to use the phone to call a mechanic or the police, keep the door locked and make the call yourself.

Dogs                                                                                 

Dogs are good deterrents to burglars. Even a small, noisy dog can be effective — burglars do not like to have attention drawn to their presence. Be aware, however, that trained guard dogs do not make good pets. Obedience training and attack training are entirely different, and only the former is appropriate for a house pet.

Securing Doors

To help burglar-proof your home, install 1-inch throw deadbolt locks on all exterior doors.

A door with too much space between the door and the frame is an invitation for the burglar to use a jimmy. Reinforce the door with a panel of 3/4-inch plywood or a piece of sheet metal.

If there are door hinges on the outside of your house, take down the door and reset the hinges inside. Otherwise all a thief has to do to gain entry to your home is knock out the hinge pin.

You can burglar-proof your glass patio doors by setting a pipe or metal bar in the middle bottom track of the door slide. The pipe should be the same length as the track.

It’s easy for a burglar to pry through rot. Replace rotted door frames with new, solid wood.

It’s simple for a thief to break glass panels and then reach in and open a doorknob from the inside. A door with glass panels should be either fortified, replaced, or secured with deadbolts that can only be opened with a key.

Securing Windows

Protect your windows with one or more good locks, an alarm system, burglar-resistant glass, or many small panes instead of one large area of glass.

When installing a window lock, drip some solder on the screw heads. It will stop a burglar from unscrewing the lock after cutting a small hole in the windowpane.

In the next section, we’ll focus on the special steps to take to keep your home secure while you’re away.

Garage Security

Garages present special challenges for security. Here are some tips for keeping your garage secure.

If you frost or cover your garage windows, burglars won’t be able to tell if your car is gone.

Keep your garage door closed and locked even when your car is not in the garage.

Install a peephole in the door separating the house from the garage. If you hear suspicious sounds, you can check without opening the door.

Are you worried about someone entering your house through your attached garage? If the garage door lifts on a track, a C-clamp can provide extra security since the door cannot be opened if you tighten the C-clamp on the track next to the roller.

Source: http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/household-safety/security/home-security-tips.htm

ATTORNEY’S ADVICE – NO CHARGE

4. Place the contents of your wallet on photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place.

I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here or abroad. We’ve all heard horror stories about fraud that’s committed on us in stealing a Name, address, Social Security number, credit cards.

Unfortunately, I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieves ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and more.

Read this and make a copy for your files in case you need to refer to it someday. Maybe we should all take some of his advice! A corporate attorney sent these tips out to the employees in his company.

NOW HEAR THIS… NOT ALL THIEVES ARE STUPID!

2.  GPS.

Someone had their car broken into while they were at a football game.  Their car was parked on the green which was adjacent to the football stadium and specially allotted to football fans.  Things stolen from the car included a garage door remote control, some money and a GPS which had been prominently mounted on the dashboard.  When the victims got home, they found that their house had been ransacked and just about everything worth anything had been stolen.  The thieves had used the GPS to guide them to the house.  They then used the garage remote control to open the garage door and gain entry to the house.  The thieves knew the owners were at the football game, they knew what time the game was scheduled to finish and so they knew how much time they had to clean out the house.  It would appear that they had brought a truck to empty the house of its contents.

Something to consider if you have a GPS – don’t put your home address in it… Put a nearby address (like a store or gas station) so you can still find your way home if you need to, but no one else would know where you live if your GPS were stolen.

ATTORNEY’S ADVICE – NO CHARGE

3. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks.  You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have It printed, anyone can get it.

NOW HEAR THIS… NOT ALL THIEVES ARE STUPID!

1.  Some people left their car in the long-term parking at San Jose while away, and someone broke into the car. Using the information on the car’s registration in the glove compartment, they drove the car to the people’s home in Pebble Beach and robbed it. So I guess if we are going to leave the car in long-term parking, we should NOT leave the registration/insurance cards in it, nor your remote garage door opener.

This gives us something to think about with all our new electronic technology.

ATTORNEY’S ADVICE – NO CHARGE

2. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the ‘For’ line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won’t have access to it.

Read this and make a copy for your files in case you need to refer to it someday. Maybe we should all take some of his advice! A corporate attorney sent these tips to the employees in his company. (More tips to follow).