Looters Add to Natural Disaster Victims’ Woes

There are bad guys and there are really bad guys.

Among the really bad guys are ones who prey on innocent victims. They abuse children and scam the elderly. It’s disgusting and it makes me very angry.

No punishment is too great for those who do these types of things.

One of the ways these really bad guys take advantage of helpless victims is by swooping in following a disaster. A recent example is what has been happening lately to Hurricane Michael victims.

Tens of thousands of people in Florida and surrounding states had to evacuate their homes prior to and after Michael made landfall last month.

Plenty to worry about

For many of them, their biggest fear was what damage the storm would do to their homes.

As it turns out, some of them had other things to be concerned about. Including looters. In Panama City, Florida, Sheriff’s Major Jimmy Stanford recently said that deputies had arrested approximately 10 looters each night since the Category 4 storm hit.

For every looter that was arrested while targeting a home or business, there were far more who didn’t get caught.

And many of these looters came in armed. Just in case they entered a home or business where someone was hunkering down.

Some residents spray painted signs warning that “Looters will be shot.”

5 ways to thwart looters

If the time ever comes when you need to evacuate your home due to a disaster, there are a few precautions you can take that might help you avoid becoming a victim of a looter.

  • Make sure your essential documents are safe. Make multiple copies of your most important documents – driver’s licenses, birth certificates, tax records, insurance policies, stock certificates, etc. – and keep them in waterproof bags in multiple locations. Including a safe deposit box and a fireproof safe within your home.
  • Take photographs of all your most prized possessions. Also, label each of them in some fashion so that you can prove it’s yours if police or someone else finds it following the disaster.
  • Install (or use previously installed) security and tracking apps for your electronics. That way, if they are stolen or lost during the carnage, you’ll have a better chance of retrieving them. These apps can also remotely wipe data from a device to protect your personal information.
  • Get mobile access for your security system. This will allow you to monitor your home from the Internet no matter where you are. A video camera with a live feed would also be very helpful. Even before a crisis occurs, this could help you keep tabs on contractors or repairmen while you’re at work.
  • Have your mail forwarded. As when you’re on vacation, if a passerby or would-be thief sees a bunch of mail piled up, they’re going to know you’re not around. If you have a daily newspaper delivered, stop that delivery temporarily as well.

It’s always going to be easier to defend your home when you are there. But there may be times when you’re forced to evacuate. Following these steps could help you avoid becoming a victim of those who prey on the innocent.

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