“Follow-Home” Robberies

“Follow-Home” Robberies

The term “‘follow-home’ robberies” may not be that familiar to you, but the words themselves suggest a vulnerability that is usually reserved for TV drama. Holiday shopping is a vulnerable time, but it is not limited to the holiday shopping season.

We know what a “home-invasion” robbery is, when one or more (usually more) people break in or more commonly force their way in when the door is answered. These are very dangerous situations, obviously.

We are also familiar with various types of robbery that can occur at a store or in a parking lot, typically the “grab-and-go” type or sometimes robbery at gun- or knifepoint as you enter your vehicle.

Here’s the “follow-home” robberies methodology, as you probably have already figured out: you are out shopping and conspicuously have flashed cash or purchased goods for predators (often professional) to see. Rather than draw attention to themselves in a busy area, they follow you home. They have already sized you up as someone who is likely to offer little resistance, whether in attitude or stature. You pull in your driveway and they might accost you right there, or they might slip in your open garage door, or they might catch you at your entry door. Whichever way they can catch you off-guard and as an easy mark, they will. Probably there is a driver who is ready to speed off when the other grabs and runs. More dangerous is the type who will turn this into a home invasion, and force their way in behind you.

So, how can you avoid “follow-home” robberies??

First of all, most people operate in a state ot total oblivion, which the late, great Col. Jeff Cooper referred to as “Condition White.” This person has no idea they were being watched at the store. They had no idea they were followed out to their car. They had no idea they were followed home. They have no idea that a car pulled up to very near their own house, or that someone was walking or running towards them.

Perhaps they were on the phone (quite common). Perhaps they have not developed any sense of situational awareness, which can be developed through exercises to check your alertness for details and things or people that “don’t fit in.” Perhaps they were lulled into believing that they lived in a “safe” area and therefore did not have to worry… perhaps that the police ensure that the area is safe. Perhaps they have a police officer as a neighbor who they can call “in case anything happens.”

What would you do if you suspect somebody is following you in the car? Take some triple-right turns to see if they follow, as nowhere would that be normal for them to be going the same way. Drive to your nearest police station. Do you know where your city police or county sheriff offices are? While you are driving, do not stop but call 9-1-1, and report that someone is followng you. The dispatcher will stay on the line with you to help an officer find you and pull them over to check them out. Do not be afraid that you are being paranoid. Follow your instinct that something is wrong, and act on it. Better silly than dead.

What if a person you do not know rapidly approached you in your driveway? What would you do? What if they were a sketchy-looking misfit? What if they were a young lady who looked in distress? A seemingly lost person asking for directions? All these provide enough of a distraction to get your goods — and maybe you.

Do you immediately bring all your goods into the house? Maybe you should leave them locked in the car and lock yourself inside your home for awhile. If you have to make several trips in, do you lock your car up each time? Yes, it’s a hassle for only a “second”, so you probably don’t, and make yourself vulnerable.

The key to success is avoiding “follow-home” robberies, and most any other type of crime, is alertness and eliminating the element of surprise, the most important tool the criminal has. But if they do initiate the robbery, ALWAYS GIVE UP THE GOODS. There is nothing you just bought worth dying for. You have no idea of the their intent, so drop the goods and run. Chances are good they will be happy with your stuff and you will be safe.

All this begs the question of whether or not people should carry a gun. The answer is YES. The only exception to this is that there are a few places that you cannot legally carry a gun, so if those places are on your errand list, you are vulnerable. Now, the gun IS NOT TO PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY! You cannot protect property with lethal force, or threat thereof, unless the attacker is armed. The gun is so you are prepared in case this escalates into more than a robbery, and you are in danger of grave bodily injury or death. Of course, carrying a gun presumes you are a responsible-enough citizen to be trained in its use. Possession of a gun and carry permit is not tactically sufficient, even if legally so.

If you need to fulfill your responsibility to protect yourself and need a gun and training, we can help with both. We have the most comprehensice classes in the area and are licensed gun dealers. Check out our FL CWL (Carry Permit) Class, our Women’s FL CWL Class, our REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS FL CWL Class, and others we make available from time to time. Don’t depend on luck — train to win.