Murder rate is up , home robbery rate is up . Large gangs of mostly teenage kids are raiding high-end stores in what they call ” smash and grab ” robberies . Incidents of robbers following rich people home and then robbing them are increasing lately . In a beach town south of here , robbers dressed as gardeners follow rich people into their gated communities and rob them .
It’s a mess , really .
A man robbed a wealthy philanthropist in her 80s recently in her home in Beverly Hills and murdered her. He then headed immediately for the Hollywood hills and chose a house there to rob . A teenage girl in her bedroom heard suspicious noises and called 911 . Then she heard a shot . The would-be robber had accidently shot himself in the foot . He called 911 for medical help . Cops arrived to escort the guy to jail .
You never know . I sort of read these stories , though , as an outsider looking in . You know , the rich target , the follow-him-home victim we ain’t . Part of the reason I never bought a Bently or a mansion in Beverly Hills.
One time years ago I got served with a supoena at my front door , nevertheless . A young man asked me my name and handed me the papers and rushed away . When I glanced at the papers I saw that someone with my name was being sued ; but that other guy owned a string of gas stations from here to Bakersfield , fifteen or twenty of them at least . ” Hey , ” I shouted to the process server , ” does it look like I own all of these gas stations ? ” ; but he was already hopping into his car . Just doing his job .
I called the lawyer’s office that was on the paperwork and told them that I wished I were the owner of all of those gas stations but that I wasn’t. The woman on the phone was particularly rude. I was surprised by that since I had made the good-will effort to call ; but maybe I shouldn’t have been . Why wouldn’t I lie about it , after all . Just doing her job.
I consulted my lawyer sister about it and she told me that crappy law firms sometimes won’t make the effort to find their target person but , instead , send out notices to everyone with that name in the area . Lazy . Incompetent. Unprofessional.
Oh , but there’s some rich guy in the area with my name who owns a string of businesses ! Good for him , I guess .
Wouldn’t be the first time that I ran into a stranger with my name , now that I’m thinking of it . When I graduated from UCLA the university sent my diploma to the wrong Dan. He had graduated from UCLA about ten years before I had . He was nice enough to track me down and send me the diploma. He was then a poet and a college professor . I don’t think he got into the gas station business later , but who knows . Different guy , most likely.
About this robbery stuff , though , you never know . A couple of years ago someone intended to burglarize the house next door . He snuck around behind the house in the dark and threw a backpack over the neighbor’s fence with the intention of following the packpack over the fence into the neighbor’s yard . He didn’t know that the neighbor had a couple of dogs until they started to loudly object to the surprise unwanted intrusion . They could have torn him to shreds .
The would-be robber then walked around the block , went to the neighbor’s front door and rang the doorbell . It was about four in the morning . My neighbor has one of those camera doorbells and the device got a good shot of the wanna-be robber . There is also an intercom setup and my neighbor asked the man at the door on the speaker what he wanted . The guy told him that his backpack was in the backyard but he couldn’t get it because of the dogs and he just wanted it back . At four in the morning ! Just trying to do his job.
By the time the cops arrived the person was gone . They have a good picture of him , but I don’t know if he was ever caught . The backpack was full of cell phones and keys . Maybe he’s the same guy who shot himself in the foot recently and was then captured by the Hollywood cops .
And the theft of catalytic converters is on the rise ! I have a Prius , an old one , but I read that Priuses are prime targets for catalytic converter thefts , along with pickup trucks . I bought a shield for the catalytic converter on my car . Just in case . It cost me $100 but a converter replacement would cost over $1000 for my Prius . A mechanic friend of mine installed the shield . He told me in passing that what would have taken a catalytic converter thief five minutes to steal would now take ten or fifteen minutes . Encouraging ?
Overall , one has to weigh the pros and cons of things . A little peace of mind is worth $100 to me . ( Plus $40 for the installation .) I figure a potential thief will go on to the next Prius or pickup truck and leave mine alone .
That’s as far as I’m willing to go , though , worrying about the evident rise in crime . Worst come to worst , I’ll sell some of my gas stations and use the money to buy some big house in a gated community . Then I’ll be safe , except from the gardeners .