Home Invasion News scours the Internet daily for stories. Today we came across a quickie website called “Best Home Security Info, which featured a post titled “Home Invasion Survival Tips.”
In this article, the site administrator, who calls himself “Dosh-Dosh,” essentially regurgitates the advice suggested by Global Security Experts, a highly regarded American company that manufactures and sells a number of quality home security products, including OnGARD (video demo, below).
The problem is, Dosh-Dosh doesn’t really get it right.
The tips are pretty good — develop a written safety plan, use effective security to deter intruders, install alarms, communicate clearly on 911 calls, and stay cool under pressure. On the other hand, we were a little skeptical of the statistics presented by Dosh-Dosh, so we made the effort to figure out where he got his info.
See, this is a problem on the Internet. People make a lot of assertions without telling us their sources. It looks like Dosh-Dosh picked up some of the statistics from Global Security’s website. Unfortunately, he changed the wording a bit, too, which pretty much renders his “statistics” a matter of opinion, rather than data.
For example, Global Security says that “1 of every 5 homes will experience a break-in or violent home invasion.” Dosh-Dosh alters this to, “1 out of every 5 homes experiences a violent home intrusion or burglary.”
Maybe that sounds the almost same, but it’s different. Here’s why that matters.
• First, the words “burglary” and “break-in” are not interchangeable, so changing the words screws up the statistics.
• Second, the Global Security statistics gloss over the difference between a “break-in” and a “violent home invasion.” The difference matters to the victim, the police, and the courts. So does this range of difference belong in one breathy statistic? I don’t think so … and especially not if you’re talking about the highly charged term “home invasion” like Dosh-Dosh is.
• Another example: Global Security uses the term “will experience” in referring to statistics for 1 out of 5 homes.” Dosh-Dosh uses the word “experiences” (present, not future tense). Sure, it’s a small – and very subtle — grammatical distinction, but Dosh-Dosh’s wording makes home invasion seem far more likely and imminent to the reader. In other words, it rachets up fear.
• Finally, there’s the Global Security statistic that says “80% of break-ins occur forcibly through a locked door.” The word “forcibly” is interesting. Is somebody who picks a lock to creep in and out unnoticed also entering “forcibly?” Possibly, but quiet entry and exit aren’t even close to two or three criminals who storm into a house, armed with weapons and duct tape.
Unfortunately, Dosh-Dosh takes that bit of information to a whole new level, saying , “Most home invasion crimes begin with the intruder entering forcibly through a “locked” door (usually a swift kick or heavy shoulder slam is all it takes).” Clearly, we’re talking about some bodily effort here, not a picked lock.
There’s a point to all this. Dosh-Dosh isn’t purposely misguiding us. He’s just not careful enough with what he says. As for Global Security, this is a very respected company with respected products and I’m not disputing their statistics (though, I still don’t know where these statistics come from because there is no link to the source). That’s too bad, because statistics can go a long way in reducing hysteria and building trust.
In the final analysis, the Internet is a bit like the old whisper game, where a word starts in one place and, after being passed around, comes out unrecognizable.
Please try to check statistics against original sources as much as possible. A good place to start is with the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, right here.
And while you’re at it, do watch the video from Global Security about the ease with which doors can be broken down. This we believe.