Once and (I hope) future TTAG contributor Donal Fagan just chimed-in under Chris Dumm’s post about a drug-related home invasion. “Just to spite you, it seems, we just had a home invasion that did involve theft of guns and no current evidence that the elderly couple were growing or dealing anything.” Yes, well, Chris didn’t say all home invasions were drug-related. Just most. And yes, maybe even this one . . .

Police said it occurred at about 8:10 p.m. Thursday in the unit block of Bruce Street South in Laurel.

The victims told police they were watching television when they heard a knock at the door. The woman opened the door, and an armed man forced his way inside, according to police.

Three more men then entered the home, and the culprits stole money and two handguns, according to police.

Donal’s asking us to take the bare bones facts of the matter at face value. Ain’tgonnahappen.com. People lie to the police. All the time. Especially when someone steals their drugs. So what are the odds?

It’s a trailer park. Nice-looking trailer park a few miles from the NSA no less, but a trailer park nonetheless. Need I make the obvious connection between this type of transient housing and criminal activity, including drug-related commercial transactions? Even if the couple robbed are upstanding citizens, perhaps some of their neighbors are not quite so horizontal when it comes to legal considerations.

In any case, the TV reporter on the link starts his report by pointing out that police believe the home was targeted. If it wasn’t drugs, what?

As Chris Dumm says, perps are only interested in goods that can be used or sold quickly and easily. The fact that the elderly couple (60’s are not elderly!) had two handguns [that we know of] in Maryland—not the most gun-friendly of states—tells us that they had something to protect.

Assuming that the armed gang weren’t after drugs doesn’t really change the basics of the equation. They knew where they were going. There was some connection between a couple in their sixties and four criminals.

There are cases where criminals invade houses at random, with terrifying consequences. The Petit case is (currently) the most famous modern example. Even though the FBI doesn’t keep stats on home invasions—they’re not classified separately from burglary, assault, etc.—it’s safe to say that random home invasions are statistically insignificant.

Alpha dogs have a natural tendency to focus their attention on anomalies (e.g. the weak prey in a herd). By paying attention to non-drug related home invasions you can miss the wider point. Stay away from drugs, places where drugs are dealt and people who deal drugs and you can worry about . . . something else.

Sure, it pays to be quiet about your stuff, prepared for the worst and careful—in the same sense that it’s best to be in a Volvo SUV if you get hit by a train (if you have to be in a car at the time). But those who wish to reduce the odds of a home invasions are best advised to follow thew above advice and common sense precautions (install a burglar alarm, don’t open your door to strangers). And the rabbi’s advice: avoid stupid people doing stupid things in stupid places.

Is that how you think?

4 Responses to Question of the Day: How Random Are Home Invasions?

  1. "And the rabbi’s advice: avoid stupid people doing stupid things in stupid places."

    Point 'em out to me, Reb Tevya, and I'll do my best to comply.

  2. I'm not asking you to accept anything. I caught the story on my way out the door this morning, and noted that it was the current evidence. WBAL hasn't mentioned it again this evening and it hasn't been picked up by the Sun either, so who knows? Though more suburban now, Laurel has a (fading) tradition of being rural horse country, and is a lot more gun-friendly than Baltimore.

    BTW, here's a case that might interest you. This fellow shot his wife way back when, but got the Supreme Court to reverse his conviction. Now he's suing the FBI and ATF to expunge their records, too, so he can buy weapons more freely. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/b

  3. "The fact that the elderly couple had two handguns in Maryland – not the most gun-friendly of states – tells us that they had something to protect."

    Ummmm… themselves?
    Maybe they'd watched the news, heard about something called violent crime, figured out that they didn't stand much of a chance defending themselves bare-handed, and decided that being armed (& possibly in technical violation of a law… which might itself be illegal) was better than being dead.

  4. Ummmm – Thier lives? Thier second handgun? Of corse they have something to protect, or they would just have turned the handgun on themselves.

    Geeze, how stupid do you think people are?

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