“When did MPD become an advertising mouthpiece for a private security company?!”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric P.

“Dear PoPville,

When did MPD become an advertising mouthpiece for a private security company?!

These posts telling ordinary citizens to be more cautious and afraid have a real effect on the 99.5%[1] of us that are not victims of crime every year. The only person that is to blame for a home invasion, a mid-gas-pumping car theft, or an abduction of a child walking alone, is the criminal and not the homeowner, driver or parent; no matter if we leave our doors open, or allow our children to walk alone to the park.

It’s great that not enough real crime is happening so we have to manufacture fear with the theoretical. Please please just focus on catching criminals, rather than telling us all to be scared and suspicious of our neighbors.

[1] http://mpdc.dc.gov/page/crime-statistics-citywide”

Following is the email sent MPD 4D listserv, links removed go to Ackerman Security:

“We’ve Been Robbed!”: 6-Point Checklist of What to Do After a Home Break-In

It’s an unsettling experience.

Many homeowners feel so violated after a home break-in that they either panic or just don’t know what to do.

It’s not surprising. After all, your seemingly safe sanctuary has been invaded, and your sense of security has been crushed.

However, you need to be level-headed in this crucial moment.

By mentally preparing yourself ahead of time, you can act quickly, increasing your chances of catching the burglars and getting your stuff back.

Here’s a 6-point checklist of things you should do after a home break-in.

1) Call the police

Contacting the authorities is priority number one. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to catch the burglars and/or get your stolen items back.

If you have security monitoring with Ackerman Security, we take care of this for you. Once we get a signal that your home was broken into, we contact the police and give them your location.

2) Write down everything ASAP

Were you home when the burglar entered? Did you see them? Write down everything you can recall about them as soon as possible because you may forget. This will assist the police in finding the culprit(s).

Details you should write down include:

· How many intruders there were
· Sex
· Age
· Race
· Clothes they wore
· How they entered (and what property they damaged to enter)
· Where they went

It’s even better If you have a security camera. Then you don’t have to recall anything—the security camera does it for you and in more detail. Let the police know if you have a security camera and make sure they see the footage.

Learn more: Top 3 places to install security cameras to catch burglars.

3) Take pictures—but don’t disturb anything

It’s important you don’t disturb the crime scene until the police arrive. You need to show them the conditions of your home as close as possible to how you found your home after the crime.

With that in mind, take pictures of the crime scene without disturbing anything, including areas where items were stolen and entrances burglars used to get into your home. You’ll need this for insurance purposes to prove certain items were stolen and that certain areas of the home were damaged.

It also helps it you have pictures or receipts of the items before they were stolen.

4) File a report

When the police arrive they should give you your filing options, including going down to the police station and filing a report or filing the report online.

5) File an insurance claim

Once you have your police report, immediately contact your home/renter insurance company.

It’s important to file the police report first because your insurance company will need the report number and a lot of information that’s in the report, including the point of entry, property damaged, items stolen, etc.

Later, an adjuster may come out. All your work before will pay off now, because you’ll need to explain your situation, provide receipts and/or pictures of items stolen and property damaged.

6) Identify your security weak points and strengthen them

Now that you’ve done all you can to get your items back, it’s time to repair and strengthen your home so this never happens again.

So, here’s the good news if you’re reading this and your home has not been broken into: You can strengthen your home now and save yourself the trouble of steps 1-5.

Here are 3 articles showing how to strengthen home entryways that burglars usually use to break into a home:

· Warning: Your Windows Are a Security Weak Link—Here’s the Solution
· Why You Need to Kickproof Your Doors…Even if You Have an Alarm System
· Top 3 Places to Install Security Cameras to Catch Burglars

Want to beef up your home’s security?

Talk to one of our security consultants for help. They’ll find your home’s security weak points and find the right solution to strengthen your home against attackers.

Lieutenant Michelle Ridlehoover
Metropolitan Police Department
Fourth District PSA 405
6001 Georgia Avenue NW

16 Comment

  • jim_ed

    I saw this and thought it was totally bizarre. I’m going to give the Lieutenant the benefit of the doubt that she committed Cardinal Internet Sin #1 – she read a third of the way through something and forwarded it along without checking the source. MPD’s twitter feed gives citizen “tips” fairly frequently, which often just sound like advice from your mom (dress warmly!, check your mirrors!), so I would guess it was supposed to be helpful like those are supposed to be.

    • Yeah, I saw this last night and thought the same thing.
      The overall points might be good, but if MPD was going to send this along, they should have removed the Ackerman-specific links and wording, and probably have even taken out any mention of security monitoring and security cameras.

  • What did Lt. Ridlehoover say when you replied to her message and stated your concern?

  • I agree that it is inappropriate for MPD to shill for a particular security company, but the OP’s beef seems to go beyond that. He/she seems to be saying that people in DC shouldn’t “be more cautious.” That’s just naive.

    • I don’t think we need to be more cautious than anyone else though. Everyone I know who’s been burglarized or had stuff stolen from their property lived in the suburbs when it happened– it’s a lot easier to break in and steal stuff when no one’s around to notice.

    • It feels like s/he was making a “don’t blame the victim” statement a la rape victims – but maybe it’s my perspective on life (having “don’t get raped!” advice shoved down my throat every few weeks) – that being said, This is one of those situations where everyone is generally taught to do the right thing (don’t steal, kidnap, murder, etc.), yet there area still scumbags who will commit those offenses. This small-town girl still locks her doors, is aware of her surroundings, and keeps an eye on neighborhood kids who appear to be unescorted. Because sometimes, the world sucks.

  • They just copied it directly from Ackerman’s website and posted it. Probably didn’t read through it to see that it mentions the company.


  • Emmaleigh504

    I bet a retired cop works there or some other buddy, and this cop is going to get a commission.

  • I got this too (hi neighbor), but it didn’t really bother me. I thought that the tips they gave were good ones. It seems to be practical advice, not fear-mongering or anything nefarious to make us afraid of our neighbors. And, suggesting common-sense advice does not equal victim-blaming.

    • I didn’t see any neighbor-fear either, but I did see general fear-mongering motivated toward getting a security system (e.g. Ackerman Security):
      “It’s even better If you have a security camera. Then you don’t have to recall anything—the security camera does it for you and in more detail. Let the police know if you have a security camera and make sure they see the footage.”
      The more fear among the population, the more security systems sold.

  • Overreaction. I see no evidence that MPD is a shill advertising mouthpiece for security companies. Looks like a pretty ordinary explanation of how to improve security for those who are concerned about that sort of thing.

    Would you suggest MPD is shilling for alarm companies if they suggested you install an alarm? For people who want to be “100% safe,” that’s the path to follow. You can either adjust your expectations of personal safety or spring for additional protection.

    Personally, I’m not so concerned about my personal safety to go out and buy an alarm. If your safety bothers you, go get an alarm, hire a guard, etc.

  • Sounds like a copy/paste job to me. To wit: “If you have security monitoring with Ackerman Security, we take care of this for you. ”

    The “we” is a dead giveaway. This was copy/pasted directly from Ackerman, probably from their website.

  • I have nothing meaningful to say about the topic here. However, I’ve seen the dude in the picture with the two megaphones rambling on irrational crap before, and I find him to be super annoying. A guilty pleasure of mine would be to see someone smack the megaphones out of his hands and tell him to get a life.

  • In my neighborhood (Petworth), the cops always blame us for crime. It’s always blame the victim. So if it’s our fault, we become victims, them who’s fault is it when no arrests happen? Or crime continues on the same corners, the same streets, the same house; yet the no arrests. No meaningful results.

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