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Old January 27, 2014, 09:34 PM   #1
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Not exactly a tactics question

Thirty minutes ago I got a call from my son, a medical student in Kansas City, KS, who took out a two year lease on an apartment fin an edgy part of town. About 7:30 his time someone banged loudly on the door and when he looked through the peep home they had there back turned. He didn't open. They banged again and ducked down so he couldn't see them.

After moving in he found out that the last resident was evicted the third time paramedics had to kick the door in as he was observed through a patio slider to be passed out on the floor. He was a druggy. Some of the residents are very nice, but some are coke heads.

Anyway I asked if it just happened and when he said it had I told him to get off the phone and call the police since the person may still be in the building or the police may be looking for the guy. He did and gave them the description but doesn't know if there is anything else the Kansas City PD can do.

The locks on his door suck as does the cheap door and the door jamb is weak from having been kicked in so many times. I told him at a minimum make the landlord repair the door and locks properly. I pointed this out when I visited and he blew it off. Perhaps now he will listen.

I think he made one good tactical decision, which was not to answer the door. After the dust settles, I am going to talk with him again about what to do in that and other situations. One thing he probably should have done is call the PD instead of dad. I may fly out to see him and try to improve the situation, but would like any suggestions other than he should move and get a gun, both of which I have in mind but he may not be amenable to doing either.
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Old January 27, 2014, 09:55 PM   #2
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He did the best thing, not open the door. He may even think about putting in some brackets into the wall studs next to the door and dropping in a 2X4.

When seconds count, the Police are just minutes away. Really at best it would be a half hour before they got there.

If your son doesn't like the idea of firearms, there is pepper spray, or a can of spray oven cleaner. Not too many bad guys wear face protection.
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Old January 27, 2014, 10:02 PM   #3
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Temporarily, there are alarms and extra locking mechanisms that you can buy for use on hotel room doors. I used to use an extra-loud alarm the size of a mini iPod that you plugged in and just slid the other end in the door gap. It was spring-loaded so if the door was forced open the contacts would separate and an ear-piercing 135dB siren would go off - pretty good deterrent!

Looks like there's several options here:

Hope this helps - if your son simply stays aware of his surroundings and doesn't get distracted by his smartphone etc while he's out and about he should be fine. Getting a big roommate that plays football for his school isn't a bad idea either...
"Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid." - Han Solo
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Old January 27, 2014, 10:45 PM   #4
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My concern is that my son wouldn't take the time to learn to use a gun or it may give him a false sense of security. Getting some kind of bar for the crappy door isn't a bad idea nor is having a room mate. I already warned him about going out alone at night. One nearby building looks like it is some kind of government halfway house.
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Old January 28, 2014, 10:57 AM   #5
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A secure door is a must, with visitors who are accustomed to kicking it in.
Have a proper one professionally installed.
Don't depend on the landlord.
And alarmed, as suggested.
Walt Kelly, alias Pogo, sez:
“Don't take life so serious, son, it ain't nohow permanent.”
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Old January 28, 2014, 02:58 PM   #6
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nor is having a room mate.
That idea quite possibly could cause even more problems.
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Old January 28, 2014, 05:30 PM   #7
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I'd suggest;
He move. It sounds trite or simple but sometimes, that may be best. As a security officer, I've worked in places where residents or visitors complain.
The managers or owners refuse to pay for security upgrades/improvements or they refuse to listen to security staff suggestions/reports.
Where I live is near the downtown area of a medium size city with a daytime population of approx 1,000,000 people. Crime isn't a major problem here but vagrants wander around often & thefts are not uncommon.
The property mgmt is lax about security & doesn't care about crime/safety.
They won't even install CCTVs or cameras.
If moving isn't a choice for your son, Id suggest he buy his own security system. Newer styles can be run with a smart phone or tablet. He can monitor his property & contact law enforcement/security if there's any trouble.
Buying a dog isn't a bad idea. Convicted felons & former crooks often say a loud dog or knowing a dog is in a home can be a serious deterrent.
Finally, if your son plans to get a firearm or a CCW, he should learn the local gun/lethal force laws. A pre-paid CCW legal service or a law firm isn't a bad idea either.
Crime prevention or safety isn't easy or simple but you can take steps to be secure.
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Old January 29, 2014, 01:41 AM   #8
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The secure door is one thing I have began to look into, but I agree that the best thing is to move. As for the year and a half left on his lease, I think I know how to shred it if not break it.

The biggest problem is the he won't listen to me. When he first moved in and I came to visit, it was obvious that he was in a pretty bad neighborhood and still he got mad if I simply suggested little things, such as keeping the drapes drawn so as not to advertise things like his TV, Computer and lap top. Things to turn into ready cash.

Today I suggested he talk with the Campus cops in the hope he would listen to them, but he won't. I guess I will make a trip out there after I do some reading on Kansian landlord tenant law. If nothing else I can think of ways to make the place more secure (bar over the door as suggested and some commercial items - including a dozen 3-1/2" screws plus a decent security jam reinforcement kit.
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Old January 29, 2014, 02:53 AM   #9
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Man; family....

I can understand your concern & you have valid feelings as a parent, but your son is now a grown man.
If or maybe when, he gets into a gnarly situation or has a close call, then it might open his eyes.
Until then, Id offer advice & help but let it sit at that.
Guns are not the only devices he can check(depending on local laws or city ordinances). A EDW(electric discharge weapon) like a C2 Taser or a slick spy type Yellowjacket iPhone case(invented by a US Army veteran). The Yellowjacket puts out a reported 650,000 volts, & also acts as a back-up cell phone battery.
Tasers & C2s are not perfect. They are better then being knocked to ground & beaten to death.
A pet dog(if practical with his long pre-med hours) or a security system might be a good start.
I'd add that he(your son) and you(the father or parent) should be fully aware of the local PD or law enforcement agency, fire-rescue, hospital or ER/trauma ward(that he might know ), animal control office, etc.
Some progressive property managers & rental offices offer detailed check-lists to new tenants or family members.
Some communities now have Smart911 systems to speed up calls for service. See: if your son's apt is a city with the new service.

Crime prevention & safety isn't hard but for some they need to be "motivated" to act.
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Old January 29, 2014, 08:39 AM   #10
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I seem to remember from a long, long time ago that I was so much smarter than my parents. Listening but not hearing. If not for good basic upbringing I doubt I would have lived long enough to realize how stupid I was. So, how you raised him is probably your main hope. Though you didn't say, there may be a monetary lever you could start pulling on, if you are paying for/helping pay.
live and let live
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Old January 29, 2014, 10:30 AM   #11
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There is another more powerful lever. I have to be very careful, but may suggest that his GF, the princess, doesn't visit him not just because of the distance between there schools, but she may be afraid of the neighborhood (and for good reason).

I think he is in denial, Clyde, as he thinks he is trapped by his lease and keeping up with his studies is a lot more difficult than he thought. Hence, he doesn't want to think about things and denies that he has a problem.

I kind of like the idea of the taser. I would really like him to take a self defense class; not just weapons but things all have mentioned like pepper spray and tasers, better doors and locks, reinforcing the door jambs, alarms, what do in situations (like call the police and not dad 2000 miles away).

Last edited by Dreaming100Straight; January 29, 2014 at 10:40 AM.
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Old January 29, 2014, 11:02 AM   #12
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Many years ago we gave our mom a bar (about 4' with rubber feet) that fits up under door knob and a slight kick at bottom locks the door pretty good. We had an emergency to get in once, me and three others even with keys had a time getting in. Worked and cheap
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Old January 29, 2014, 02:50 PM   #13
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I will have to go back there. I think that someone had installed something like door jamb armor, but if that is what it is I didn't recognize it when I saw it or if it was properly installed. Even if it is installed correctly, I am not too confident in it. Bars like what qwik mentioned earlier got my attention as does cross bars. One that interests me most permits a door to be opened few inches, but still can't be forced. (The linebacker)

If it was me, I would have a gun and my son shoots my 870, but I don't know that he isn't one of those people who are better off without one - at least if he doesn't take the time to attend some good training and I don't know that he would do it.

One thing qwik brought up is the other kind of emergency, which is when the occupant can't open the door and needs help. Everything in life has a tradeoff.
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Old January 29, 2014, 03:40 PM   #14
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Even beefing up the door might not help. In some buildings, there is nothing between the living space and the hallway but studs and two sheets of dry wall that can easily be kicked in.

Still the door is the most obvious point of entry and reinforcing it can't hurt, but if the building management wants to be bad about it, they may prohibit any changes and order any changes already made to be undone. They can charge for "restoration" to the original condition even though that condition is unsafe. There is very little on wall construction in city codes, which seem more oriented toward fireproofing than toward protection against intrusion.

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Old January 29, 2014, 03:55 PM   #15
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Thanks James. I thought of that and if any changes are made it will be with the Landlord's written consent. After looking at what is available on the net, I am pretty sure that a good deal of the other apartments in his complex have had their door jambs reinforced. If so, I don't expect the landlord will be very reasonable unless they want an education in the law of fraud in the inducement.
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Old January 31, 2014, 04:04 PM   #16
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door devil.. its a 3foot piece of cut steel that covers the deadbolt and the knob indent on the door-jam side. It significantly strengthens the door. I think there is a video of it on youtube and ITSTactical sells them if I am not mistaken. Its around $50 but to me its well worth it.
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