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Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
May 12, 2007 5:05pm
Board
Just a bit of cautious warning ....

We went letterboxing today. It was fun. We were all laughing about shirts we were going to make for us. Making our signature stamp (we have a pre-maid one now). Cute names for each of us. Saw some wildlife. Got back to our car and the window was busted out and my purse was gone.

Shame on me for leaving it out where someone could see it. Lesson learned. This was in an area where I felt really safe and yet this happened.

Be careful when you are on the trail!

familyfun44
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91672 by familyfun44
May 12, 2007 5:22pm
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I'm so sorry to hear that! What I do because of the very reason(I didn't get my purse stolen, but to prevent that) is I have a letterboxing purse. It's bigger than my everyday one because I have quite a bit in it. When I go letterboxing, I have all of my letterboxing gear(which is in a smaller bag/makeup bag) in it and then I put my wallet, cell phone, keys, and whatever else I need in there as well. That way, I look like a normal person not looking for anything in particular. I hope all gets better and this doesn't discourage you from enjoying the greatest hobby in the world!

Trouble Bug, a bug who doesn't really like trouble, it's just a nick name. 8-)
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91672 by familyfun44
May 12, 2007 5:32pm
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Got back to our car and the window was busted out and my purse was gone.

So sorry to hear that your car was broken into and your purse stolen. This has happened twice (that I know of) recently in the dog park I visit. Both times a purse was left on the seat. Their misfortune has taught me never to leave valuables where they can be seen. In fact I've become rather untidy lately figuring a messy car with no valuables visible is even less attractive to criminals (at least that's my excuse for the mess).

Lone R
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91673 by Trouble Bug
May 12, 2007 5:53pm
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No, I don't think it could discourage me too much.

Right now we have a letterboxing backpack because my husband likes to take everything but the kitchen sink! Our letterboxing stuff, bug spray, compasses, knife, first aid kit, toilet paper, water. Meanwhile he wants to add so much more like wipes, trinkets (for when we accidentally get a geocache), baggies (for boxes we encounter that need new ones), etc, etc, etc.

Add today, ponchos and towels (leave in the car) because a thunderstorm broke out and we were soaked when we got back to the car. Of course the car was soaked because the window had been broken out!

As for the break in, I just feel violated. The thieves got my credit cards and $1 (haha). Of course it will cost us the high deductable we have on the car to repair the window and repaint the door (they chipped the paint). Canceled the cards so they get nothing there. It's just while we were laughing on the trail someone else was plotting to ruin our day.

familyfun44
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91674 by Lone R
May 12, 2007 5:56pm
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Quote In fact I've become rather untidy lately figuring a messy car with no valuables visible is even less attractive to criminals (at least that's my excuse for the mess).


Good Idea! You think going to your local dog park is safe but it appears that nowhere really is .... very sad.

Since we got home we have decided to put a freeze on our credit so that if anyone applies for credit they have to call our home and get an answer before credit is dealt out. We don't get credit cards all the time so this is not an issue for us.

Familyfun44
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91672 by familyfun44
May 12, 2007 6:22pm
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Quote Got back to our car and the window was busted out and my purse was gone.


This happened about 2 years ago to my son in a nearby park. His car was extremely messy. They didn't touch a thing in the car (cd's, coat, school stuff) but did get into the trunk and stole old cd's that were under bunches of things.

The car next to him had absolutely nothing inside the car. They broke into his car and got his wallet that was in the trunk. So it really doesn't matter whether or not you have things visible. The police said they break a window with a brick, then hit the inside trunk button with their elbow. That way, no fingerprints. It's quick and most people think things in their trunk are safe!

They caught someone with my son's plan book and cd's. The guy was FINALLY convicted in Dec. & got probation. He is also supposed to pay $2200 in restitution but we've only seen $112 of it so far.

Beachcomber
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91681 by Beachcomber
May 12, 2007 6:26pm
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Just so I have this straight ....

Messy or neat doesn't matter
Put things in the trunk doesn't matter
Everywhere seems to have crime (ok I am a bit jaded because of today)

What to do?
How to avoid?
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91678 by familyfun44
May 12, 2007 7:30pm
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It is no fun to have to go through this so I hope what I can tell you will make you laugh, maybe contemplate and feel a bit revenged and then I hope life goes on and this is all a quick bad memory.

I've lived in NYC(early 90's) and then South AFrica. Both are notorious for smash and grab even if it looks like there is nothing to steal. SA was very, very bad and cars were stolen regularly. The following is a list of innovative ways to help the smash & grabbers to change their ways(the locals in South Africa really did this stuff too):

Leave a snake visible in the car--the bigger the better(and non-poisonous for you).

Leave a bottle of rat-poison spiked alcohol(beer, wine, vodka, whiskey)

Fake purse with expired/cancelled/fake credit cards mixed with stinging nettle(or poison ivy, oak).


Well I hope these ideas made you laugh a little.
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91694 by Roots and Shoots Redmond
May 12, 2007 8:44pm
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That did make me laugh! Thanks!

I love those ideas!

My husband was thinking of an exploding purse - something similar to what they do with money that sprays paint.

We live in a very safe city and ventured a bit out to a city close by. It just makes me feel in general very unsafe and question all the places we have parked to find letterboxes. Far off the beaten path, sometimes desolate places. Places we have taken our children. My husband tries to console me by saying desolate country places are different than city parks full of cars.

Definately hide the valuables or take them out of the car!
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91681 by Beachcomber
May 12, 2007 10:46pm
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Quote The car next to him had absolutely nothing inside the car. They broke into his car and got his wallet that was in the trunk. So it really doesn't matter whether or not you have things visible. The police said they break a window with a brick, then hit the inside trunk button with their elbow. That way, no fingerprints. It's quick and most people think things in their trunk are safe!


Certainly has me thinking about putting my purse in my trunk for now on...... just today we went LB and I put my purse in the trunk both times..... hmmm I am thinking leave purse at home for now on and stick all essentials in backpack.

Humngbrdwchr
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91694 by Roots and Shoots Redmond
May 12, 2007 11:03pm
Board
Quote Leave a snake visible in the car--the bigger the better(and non-poisonous for you).

Leave a bottle of rat-poison spiked alcohol(beer, wine, vodka, whiskey)

Fake purse with expired/cancelled/fake credit cards mixed with stinging nettle(or poison ivy, oak).



That is hilarious! My family lives in Hawaii and that is very common there as well. I'll have to pass that on!

Trouble Bug
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91722 by humngbrdwchr
May 13, 2007 1:30am
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Certainly has me thinking about putting my purse in my trunk for now on..


I have had my car broken into three times whilst letterboxing (in areas 300 miles apart). They stole nothing any of those times because there was nothing in the car to steal. It just meant I had to pay to have the locks replaced each time, and that is not cheap!

In car parks I used to have a tendency to park at the empty end, away from tourists, but now I have learnt better.

The main thing I do is always stop before I get to my chosen parking spot, change into my hiking boots, gather my backpack, walking stick, waterproof etc together in the main body of the car, then get back into the car and drive to my real parking spot.
Never, ever, open the trunk whilst you are in the car park where you are leaving the car. Not even to toss unwanted items into it Thieves sit and watch for which trunks are being opened, even if they can't see what you have put in.
I now park amongst all the other cars.
I never leave anything valuable in the car, not even in the trunk.
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91734 by The Yorkshire Tortoise
May 13, 2007 3:08am
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Very good idea! Unfortunately both our cars do not have "trunks". One is a suburban and the other a pilot which have open compartments. But I think I will learn to have everything with us and leave the car empty.

So you had your car broken into 3 times in how many years?

familyfun44
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91735 by familyfun44
May 13, 2007 4:25am
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Quote So you had your car broken into 3 times in how many years?


It was in the late 1980's, but 3 times in 18 months, once in Yorkshire, and twice down south.
I have been fine since I have been taking these precautions. Cars were easier to break into then, so fortunately no smashed windows, but the locks were about $140 even in the '80's.

I think it is even better if you don't have 'trunks' [ we call them 'Boots' here :-D ]. It means everything can be seen through the windows, and if there is nothing to be seen surely they will leave it alone. I do have a bright yellow driving wheel lock too, not because I think they can't get it off, but because I believe it is a visual deterrent. Surely it will be easier for them to pick the cars with no wheel lock on.

YT
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91722 by humngbrdwchr
May 13, 2007 4:57am
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Quote I am thinking leave purse at home for now on and stick all essentials in backpack


Yes, that is exactly what I do now.

Beachcomber
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91672 by familyfun44
May 13, 2007 6:12am
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Quote Got back to our car and the window was busted out and my purse was gone.

Shame on me for leaving it out where someone could see it.


It's not your fault. It's the criminal's fault. Remember that when the cops are trying to blame the victim, as they usually do.
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91752 by Kirbert
May 13, 2007 6:24am
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Oh I am definately blaming the criminal too :-)

I kind of look at it like:
"don't walk down deserted alleyways at night"
"don't leave your purse in plain site"

Arg!
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91725 by Trouble Bug
May 13, 2007 6:46am
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Leave a snake visible in the car--the bigger the better(and non-poisonous for you).

Leave a bottle of rat-poison spiked alcohol(beer, wine, vodka, whiskey)

Fake purse with expired/cancelled/fake credit cards mixed with stinging nettle(or poison ivy, oak).

That is hilarious! My family lives in Hawaii and that is very common there as well. I'll have to pass that on! - Trouble Bug

Trouble Bug, you can't use that first one, snakes aren't indigenous to the Hawaiian islands. I grew up there and it caused my brother great distress not to be able to catch snakes! :o)

Travel'n Turtle
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91734 by The Yorkshire Tortoise
May 13, 2007 6:48am
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Quote The main thing I do is always stop before I get to my chosen parking spot, change into my hiking boots, gather my backpack, walking stick, waterproof etc together in the main body of the car, then get back into the car and drive to my real parking spot.

I've done this with Christmas shopping. Had an armful of bags and still needed to do some more shopping so I dropped them off in the car's trunk, then moved the car before going back in to finish my shopping.

Of those of you that have had your car broken into, did they wrench open the glove box? I sometimes leave valuables in there but I lock the glove box. I figure that since they need to be fast - a quick grab and go - a locked glove box would be a deterrent.
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91763 by Lone R
May 13, 2007 7:13am
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Quote Of those of you that have had your car broken into, did they wrench open the glove box? I sometimes leave valuables in there but I lock the glove box. I figure that since they need to be fast - a quick grab and go - a locked glove box would be a deterrent.


They did pop open the glove box but it wasn't locked. That may be an idea.
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91766 by Beachcomber
May 13, 2007 7:31am
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I think the biggest PITA factor is the loss of the cards. Just trying to remember them all would be a pain. What I've done is photocopied all of the cards I carry so I'm a little more prepared for the day when someone takes my wallet. It seems inevitable -- I know many people who've had purses/wallets stolen. At work, at least 5 of us have had purses/wallets stolen from our offices and cubicles. It's a busy place with non-employees going in and out of the area frequently. When I go out for an evening of entertainment I pare down the cards to the essentials - one credit card, driver's license, health card.

Lone R
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91672 by familyfun44
May 13, 2007 7:53am
Board
Once a number of years ago, we went hiking--husband, 6 month old and I--I actually meant to bring my purse with me, but in getting baby gear out of the trunk, I laid my purse down and forgot to pick it up. Anyway, we came back to the car and the passenger door lock was scratched and bent--the key wouldn't fit in. So immediately we assumed a break-in and checked around. Everything was intact--music, etc was untouched in the main part of the car and my purse was still in the trunk. I opened the purse and all of my money was still in it--we breathed a sigh of relief--next day I was shopping and went to use my primary credit card and it was nowhere to be found. That was all they took--one credit card--smart idea as I didn't immediately notice that one missing item, since everything else was there--they got a 24 hour window in which to use it!!
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91734 by The Yorkshire Tortoise
May 13, 2007 10:23am
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Quote The main thing I do is always stop before I get to my chosen parking spot, change into my hiking boots, gather my backpack, walking stick, waterproof etc together in the main body of the car, then get back into the car and drive to my real parking spot.
Never, ever, open the trunk whilst you are in the car park where you are leaving the car.


Very good advice! Certainly makes you think and get out of your comfort zone! I can't tell you how many times I have stuffed something in the truck before hiking. I do look around before doing it, but you can't see everyone who is watching. Thanks everyone for the good advice and for really making me think and start to be more aware. You just like to assume everyone that is in an are for hiking has only that on their minds not some evil!

Humngbrdwchr
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91780 by humngbrdwchr
May 13, 2007 10:24am
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HEY I got my first YELLOW STAR!!! whoo hoooo!!! *jumping up and down* sorry I will try and control myself next time. LOL
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91763 by Lone R
May 13, 2007 10:48am
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Quote I've done this with Christmas shopping. Had an armful of bags and still needed to do some more shopping so I dropped them off in the car's trunk, then moved the car before going back in to finish my shopping.


I never even thought about that! Thanks!
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91769 by Lone R
May 13, 2007 10:52am
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Quote I think the biggest PITA factor is the loss of the cards. Just trying to remember them all would be a pain


Yep. Luckily I don't keep alot of cards anyway. ATM, AMEX, VISA. Thats it. But it was the little things like a new drivers license, insurance cards, membership cards, etc. And of course the little stuff I can't remember ....

I am going to plan on getting a "mini wallet" that contains just what you said and then a purse that the mini wallet can go into along with my big wallet. If I could find a wallet where the mini wallet just detaches would be great. Then I can just grab it when I need to run somewhere.
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91781 by humngbrdwchr
May 13, 2007 10:53am
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Quote first YELLOW STAR


It is exciting - I know!!!
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91756 by familyfun44
May 13, 2007 10:57am
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Quote I kind of look at it like:
"don't walk down deserted alleyways at night"
"don't leave your purse in plain site"


Yes, and you shouldn't. Here's the way you -- and all of us -- should look at it: If I leave my convertible with the top down and the engine running and someone runs off with it, he had better be able to prove in court that he owns a nearly identical convertible that he left nearby with the top down and the engine running and he merely got confused and thought my car was his. If he cannot, he should be stood up against a wall and shot. It doesn't matter how much the convertible was worth. It's not the crime, it's the criminal. That convertible wasn't his, he knew it, and our society doesn't need scumbags who try to steal whatever they can grab.
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91788 by Kirbert
May 13, 2007 11:48am
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Quote If he cannot, he should be stood up against a wall and shot


I definately like your thinking ....
Re: Think About Safety!
Board: Traditional Letterboxes
Reply to: #91761 by Travel'n Turtle
May 13, 2007 1:04pm
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Oh yea! I grew up there too! I guess I didn't think about that when I was posting it. 8-) Silly me! Anyway!

Trouble Bug