“A man and his girlfriend were on their front porch about 3:30 a.m. on in the 500 block of 8th St. N,” tampabay.com reports. “Three men in ski masks and gloves approached. One had a firearm, and they ordered the couple inside. The three suspects demanded valuables and told the boyfriend to sit on the couch. One suspect then hit the boyfriend on the back of the head with the butt of the gun. Then the suspect fired multiple times in the general direction of the boyfriend. The three men searched the house and stole $1,000 in cash and electronics.” Not to put too fine a point on it, that’s some scary ass shit. I read at least a dozen such accounts per week. And every single time I think to myself: “drugs.” Consider the evidence:

1. It was 3:00 am

Who’s out on their porch at 3am?

2. The victim was targeted

Do three masked men knock on your door without knowing there’s something valuable inside to steal? Hardly. Lone drug addicts might do a “burglary of opportunity.” But teams of perps do the same risk – reward calculations as some yutz betting his kids’ college fund on E-trade—with just about the same pay-off. Unless they’re high end antiques thieves (such things do exist), the gun guys are after two things: cash or drugs. Make that cash AND drugs.

3. The attackers pistol-whipped the home owner (occupant?)

When that didn’t work, one of the invaders fired off “multiple” shots. Let me guess: the boyfriend wouldn’t reveal the location of . . . the money. Hang on; a grand’s worth of cash, jewelry and electronics? Split three ways that’s $333.33 repeating per person. Maybe the invaders took drugs and the victim didn’t report it. What are the odds?

4. The robbery happened in a bad part of town

A quick scan on Google Earth reveals a densely packed ‘hood. The St. Petersburg map on spotcrime.com is even more illuminating. And the journalist who wrote the story told TTAG “I live in that neighborhood. This [attack] definitely could be drug-related.”

I also called the St. Pete police. Chief Information Officer Michael Puetz couldn’t comment on this case, but did anyway, in a general sort of way.

In the vast, vast majority of these cases the victim is involved in what we call a ‘high risk’ activity. Whether that’s drugs, or prostitution or gang affiliation or something else.

And that means that the average law-abiding family “doesn’t have to live in constant fear of home invasions.” Although . . .

I remember a case back in 2006, on Mother’s Day, when three men invaded a home. The woman opened the door, the man turned the corner and one of the attackers shot him in the chest.

But isn’t that the point? That the 2006 case was so unusual that the former homicide detective remembered it? Back to tampabay.com’s description of the crime in question for a moment:

The suspects then left the house and fired the gun a few times outside.

After they left the boyfriend, 22, tried to see where the suspects went. He then drove to his mother’s house, brought her back and called police. An infant inside the house was unharmed and slept through the incident, police said.

Fired the gun why? To ward off potential gang members? Puetz pointed out that even if this home invasion was a drug-related rip-off with a gang-flavored accent, the police can’t make those distinctions.

We can’t just blow it off saying, ‘oh it’s a drug dealer who’s been victimized.’ There was an infant in the house at the time.

Yes, there is that.

One Response to Question of the Day: How Many Home Invasions are Drug-Related?

  1. Maybe there are a large number of home invasions that are drug related, but when a couple of punks broke into my home while my wife and infant daughter where there, it wasn't because they were looking for drugs. They just wanted to score a quick hit, and steal a few things. It was 10:30 in the morning, and I had just left to go to the store. Fortunately I was not far away, and once they realized someone was home they left. I do stay in a nice middle class neighborhood, which I think is why it was targeted.

    Now as for the article you referenced, it has all the earmarks of being "drug" related. Many times its just a matter of reading between the lines to see that it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck. You know the rest. My point in all of this is that the tone of your article paints a biased picture towards home invasions. It's not always drug related. Sometimes it is what it is, innocent people targeted by bad guys.

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