Too often, people stereotype criminals. Many believe them to dress in a certain style, wear dark colors or even reveal a telltale expression like shifty eyes or a nervous demeanor that somehow indicates that they are up to no good. Right now if everyone reading were asked to close their eyes for a moment and imagine what a typical burglar looks like, certainly they’d report a variety of different descriptions– some rooted in reality and some even attributed to the images often portrayed on television and in the movies. While the imagined physical characteristics of a burglar may vary from person to person, I’d be willing to bet that everyone reading this shares a very common image of a burglar in that it is almost always of a male suspect. What everyone needs to be aware of, however, is that women break into homes, too. In fact, just recently there have been multiple stories in the press about female burglars.
A Female Crime Boss?
At just 17 years old, Claudia Hidic of Fort Worth, Texas was shot and killed in a robbery gone bad. Upon hearing this, most will assume that Hidic was the unfortunate victim of a robbery. However, authorities believe that she was the actual criminal.
Incidences of women burglarizing or robbing homes, while rare, are not completely unheard of. More often than not, however, a man is usually accused of concocting the burglary plan and coercing a woman into participating. The Hidic case is presents a more unusual story, though, since it has been alleged that the slain teen was actually the one who masterminded the failed heist.
Photographs of Claudia Hidic don’t seem to suggest that she was anything other than a typical teenager. A pretty brunette who often posted pictures of herself on social media sites, commenters across the web have mixed feelings about the way that this young girl died. Regardless of sentiments, by all appearances, most agree that she doesn’t fit the profile that most people think of when it comes to crimes like burglary and robbery.
Female-Initiated Crimes Are Not Isolated Incidents
Recently, we produced an infographic on the characteristics of a burglar where it was reported that the average burglar is a white male younger than 25 years old. Despite this fact, we don’t want you to think that every young white male is a suspect any more than we want to leave you with the impression that anyone with a different description is not. In addition to the Hidic case, other recent news reports about thieving women reveal that 26 year old Brandi Balasavage of Pennsylvania and Meredith O’Flaherty of Nevada both had prior criminal records when they were apprehended in separate and unrelated robbery incidents. We see that not only are burglary-related crimes sometimes spearheaded by women, but some are even repeat offenders.
Anyone Can Be a Suspect
If you’ve been keeping up with our recent infographic series, you know that most burglars live close to the homes that they burglarize. This means that a burglar could be lurking in your midst right now. Of course, there’s no need to become suspicious and distrusting of your neighbors, but you do need to pay close attention to your surroundings, be careful of who you invite into your home and make sure that you have taken extra precautions to make sure that your home is not targeted by criminals. As we hope to highlight in the stories of Hidic, Balasavage and O’Flaherty, do not allow yourself to be taken in by someone who doesn’t fit the profile of a criminal that you may hold in your mind’s eye. Simply put, anyone can be a suspect.
Basic security precautions to avoid being victimized by a criminal of any profile include:
● Keeping your doors and windows locked at all times (even when you are at home, since reports of criminals breaking into homes while the occupants are inside are becoming all too common).
● Remember, that your alarm only works when it is armed. Keep it on at all times, especially when you leave home.
● When at home, do not open your door for strangers. Instead, invest in a video intercom system like Atrix Wireless 2-Way Video Intercom, which will allow you to see who is at your door and communicate with unexpected visitors without ever having to approach your front door.
● Install motion-detected outdoor lighting around your home, especially around all exterior doors and windows.
● Do not let your guard down around strangers, especially if you have allowed them access to your home. Don’t assume that a woman, a teenager or someone that you perceive to be physically weaker than you cannot overpower you with a weapon or simply steal from you when you are distracted.
Expect the Unexpected
Movies where a man dons women’s clothing as a disguise can be entertaining and even amusing at times. In real life, reports of criminals dressing as women in order to avoid identification are not the least bit surprising. That women, many with multiple criminal offenses, are actually in the burglary business is probably shocking to some. Now that you we’ve shown you that they’re out there, however, we hope that you will make good use of this information and protect yourself against the girl next door types who just may be sizing your home up for their next job.