Many of us have been victims of a natural disaster. Or perhaps more than one. And even if we haven’t, we’ve seen the devastation that results in other parts of the country.
Whether it’s an extreme weather event or some other crisis, lives are sometimes lost. Buildings including homes are often destroyed. Water purity is compromised. And blackouts are pretty much inevitable.
Trying to deal with these and other problems following a disaster is a major challenge. The last thing any of us needs at this stage is to worry about looting.
Unfortunately, it’s a common occurrence in the aftermath of an emergency. There are people who take advantage of those who’ve just been slammed by misfortune.
They swoop in, take what hasn’t been damaged and disappear. And when folks return to assess damage to their home, they discover some of their prized possessions are missing.
Looters Prosecuted as Burglars
Is looting different from burglary? It’s usually very similar. But it can be differentiated by the timing of the crime.
Generally it’s associated with the days following a major problem that forces people from their homes.
Fortunately, looters can be charged, convicted and punished in the same manner as if they’d broken into a home when things were calm.
Looters typically steal items from businesses and homes they can resell. Unless they want to keep items for themselves. Electronics including TVs and computers are frequently grabbed. Some also steal clothing and cash.
Protect Your Property
In a moment I’ll give you my recommendation for keeping looters at bay following a crisis. Both during “normal” times and following a disaster. Regardless of whether you stayed in your home or had to evacuate.
After all, protecting your property is an important part of National Preparedness Month.
Right now, though, I want to provide you with a few examples of what I’m talking about.
When we envision ourselves in the place of these victims, it makes us determined to see that it doesn’t happen to us.
50 Looters Arrested in Florida
Immediately following Hurricane Irma in Southern Florida in 2017, looters raced to abandoned homes and businesses.
They knew there would be plenty of opportunities for looting. Millions of people had been ordered to evacuate.
In Miami-Dade County, 50 suspected looters were arrested during and after the storm. In addition to their thefts, they caused property damage.
Some looters even stole a downed power pole. They were caught by police officers while trying to strap it to the top of their vehicle.
But Only a Fraction Are Caught
The following year, Hurricane Michael came calling. And once again looters attempted to cash in.
Authorities arrested an average of 10 looters per night in the Florida Panhandle. That was only a small percentage of the looters out and about.
There was only so much officers could do. Even while working 16-hour shifts. Some of them had seen serious damage to their homes as well.
When those who’d evacuated returned, many found the combination of 150 mile-per-hour winds and looters had destroyed or stolen everything of value.
Looting After Hurricane Ida
Hurricane Ida, which recently ravaged Louisiana and other states, is still fresh in people’s minds. And so is some of the looting that took place afterward.
Two men drove a white pickup truck through heavily damaged Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. They stole whatever of value they could find.
A business owner said all but 20 of his 140 tires were stolen. As well as a welding machine and a tire machine.
Ricky Adam is the Hancock County sheriff. He said, “There’s always opportunists – in my opinion too lazy to work for anything – and they take the opportunity to take other people’s things.”
Solar Sentry Security Light
One of the best ways to convince looters to skip your house is lighting. Looters prefer dark places where they can’t be observed.
The brighter the outside of your home is during the night, the fewer hiding places a looter can use. Bright lights will help expose the would-be thieves to security cameras and neighbors. As well as to pedestrians and you.
My suggestion for outdoor home lighting is the Solar Sentry Security Light. Regardless of whether you have a security system, you can benefit from increased lighting outside your home.
This is an ultra-bright, solar-powered, smart light that can stun and scare away criminals. Its battery is powerful (2200 mAh).
Its passive infrared sensors can detect humans and animals from 39 feet away. And then flood the area with 118 super-bright LED lights. That’s 1,000 lumens.
And yet it weighs only a bit over one pound and is simple to install. Nearly weather-proof and waterproof, it recharges with the free power of the sun. Thanks to a built-in solar panel.
A Portable Line of Defense
The Solar Sentry Security Light is your home’s first line of defense. Advanced motion detection technology and remote controlled settings put you in command.
You can choose your settings options. Such as the light only turning on when it detects motion. Or the light staying on all night and brightening when it detects motion. Or the light staying on all night at the same brightness level.
And if you ever need one of them elsewhere, just take it with you. To your RV or your cabin or even a basketball court.
Many people buy more than one so they can light up both the front and back yards. As well as their driveways and walkways.