Workplace Violence Blog

The Four Burglar Types Who Can Invade Your Home

Posted on Thu, Mar 28, 2013

Today we're sharing a guest blog from Lynne Reed to make you aware of the four types of burglars who are looking to steal from you and your loves ones. Thank you for the valuable info, Lynne!

Protecting Yourself from Home Theft


There are few types of burglars who prey on homes in the world today. Some of them do not take the time to change their identities while others go to great lengths to con their way into one's home. In this article we will share the four burglar types who can invade your home and how you can keep your family safe.

* The Opportunist

The opportunist will not really disguise his identity. Many times this type of burglar is a young kid or someone who just happens to be around to notice that he can gain access to a home for a quick grab and run of something of value.

By making sure that you never leave a gate, door or window open, this will close any opportunity that a passing burglar may use to gain access for a quick grab and run theft. Always remember to keep any items of value out of passing sight and not in reach of anyone who is looking for a quick score. Even things like your kids bikes or other expensive toys can be seen as valuable to these types of burglars.

* The Scouters

These burglars spend a little more time on the planning stage. Often this type of burglary includes more than one thief. Many times it is teenagers or those who are drug addicts or alcoholics looking for money to feed their next fix.

When they choose a home or apartment to break into, they will first test to see if there is an open door or window. If none is found, they will attempt to break in with a screwdriver, a rock, or even the heel of a shoe that will work to break a window. Once inside though, they will not spend very much time looking for things of great value. They will try to grab anything they see that looks like it may bring in some money and then hurry and get out.

Since scouters are do not have the resources for a big job good security measures like an alarm system and good locks will keep them away.

* The Prowlers

These types of burglars are the most dangerous of sorts. They may try to break into your home while you are gone away or they may disguise themselves as delivery men, meter readers, the cable guy, gas man, or any other type of worker who would be able to gain entry into a home for a legitimate reason.

These burglars spend the time to check into what security system is being used so they can attempt to bypass it without alarm. They also will plan an escape route. They will case the home to know exactly where the valuables are kept and the exact layout of the place so they can move around swiftly and with ease.

If they do not use deception to gain entry into a home while the people are still there, they will use proper lock picking tools so there is no noise when they enter. But these burglars know the time it takes for the police to get to places, so they are prepared to leave just in time.

Many of these types of burglars are also violent. They have no problem breaking into a home and beating up, tying up or even raping and killing members of the household if they are home or come home during the time that they are there. IF they have gained access through masquerading as a service man, they will more than likely use force to gain information for credit cards, bank accounts, passports or any other personal identity information that they could sell on the black market.

* The Professionals

These burglars are the most prepared. They have the best gear for breaking into vaults and other big security systems but they usually prey on commercial properties such as banks, factories, warehouses or wealthy estates.

Taking the time to install a quality security system within your home can save your family a lot of heartache and allow peace of mind whether you are either home or away. Teach your children to put their valuables away and to avoid opening the door to strangers and they too will learn how to stay safe and secure.

Safe Sound Family is a good place for all your security system devices required for home safety. The Safe Sound Family Blog will be a one stop site for all you look for.

Tags: safety, burglary, Guest Blog, home safety, keep family safe

Piggybacking: A Dangerous Threat to Your Company’s Employees

Posted on Thu, Feb 21, 2013

Piggybacking Image

During a recent presentation on workplace violence, we were discussing the number of strangers that gained access to my clients' building who were not wearing a name badge (which is required by all employees). I explained to the group that this is similar to physical piggybacking - When someone enters a secure area by passing through access control at the same time as an authorized person. Criminals use piggybacking to gain access to a prohibited area and employees use it when they forget their credentials or want to avoid a sign-in delay.

This company does not have key card access, but has all visitors sign in with the receptionist and be escorted to their destination. Some employees of this company fail to wear their badges as a part of their daily practice and their supervisors never seem to be concerned (or maybe they just don’t understand the security risk).

What came out in the discussion around this issue is that most employees are very uncomfortable approaching a stranger and asking them if they belong there. Their concerns were:

  1. I don’t want to make the other person feel badly, especially if they work here or at one of our company's other locations.
  2. I’d be embarrassed if I question someone and they actually have worked here longer than me.
  3. I’m not comfortable with confrontation – I don’t know what to say.
  4. I’m afraid of either offending someone or afraid that they may cause a scene.

What I found interesting was that the men in the room were just as uncomfortable as the women about approaching someone who doesn't have the proper credentials. An ongoing theme within all my presentations (which I especially drove home to this group) is that it's everyone's responsibility to keep the workplace safe.

Here were my suggestions for approaching a stranger or an unbadged person in the workplace. These tips will also work for someone who is attempting to piggyback into a secure area when there is key card access (like an apartment building).

First, reframe the situation in your mind. Instead of thinking of this as a confrontation think of it as an opportunity to meet someone. Approach the person with any of the following:

  • “I see you're not wearing a badge – are you new around here?"
  • “You look familiar to me but we haven’t met. My name is Sheila and I work in accounting. Where do you work?”
  • “Hey, I think I’ve seen you before…Are you one of our vendors?”
  • “Hi! Can I help you?”

If you are open and friendly when approaching someone you will likely get a positive response. And even if the person has worked at the company longer than you they will probably get a chuckle out of the situation. If you approach the situation in a confrontational manner or accusatory manner, people will get defensive, which can be uncomfortable and escalate quickly.


Call me today at (623) 242-8797 about customizing a workplace violence training for your managers and employees.

Tags: workplacce violence policies, safety, workplace conflict, violence in the workplace, workplave violence policy, workplace violence manual, workplace violence preparation, workplace violence training, workplace safety, stalking, workplace violence

The Truth About Neighborhood Crime

Posted on Mon, Jul 09, 2012

I found this chart on neighborhood crime in the United States very interesting - especially the break-down of most dangerous and safest cities. It also reminds us that it takes a community to keep a neighborhood and the residents within it safe.neighborhood violence

It is important to remember that many crimes occur within a few blocks of where we work and live. This mainly happens because these are the areas where we let our guard down; we feel relaxed and safe in our known environments. Crime can occur anywhere so it's best to be aware of your surroundings at all times not just when you are in a dangerous area.

Tags: family safety, safety, violence in the news

Workplace Violence: TOP 5 Phrases to AVOID when Dealing with an Angry Person

Posted on Thu, Jun 28, 2012

anger management When confronted with an angry customer, co-worker, employee or stranger, it is important to not only know which verbal and non-verbal communication you should use to de-escalate the situation, but also be aware of the phrases you should absolutely avoid.

The last thing you want to do is push someone’s button and trigger an emotional response which is what some of these phrases do in a tense situation.

1. Calm Down
This has become a very common phrase that most people use. Think back to the last time that someone else told you to “calm down.” Did it work? No, in fact this simple statement actually escalates the situation and often causes the angry person to shout “I AM CALM!”

2. You Said…
This is an accusatory statement and even if the angry person actually said what you are accusing them of, he/she will escalate and become defensive. It is much better to change our language and say “What I thought I heard was” or “I may have misunderstood.” It is never good to accuse an angry person of anything because it guarantees the escalation of the situation.

3. If I Were You…
There is no benefit to offering your opinion – an angry person doesn’t care what you think. They want to be heard! So instead of offering your opinion, be quiet and listen. Really listen to what they are saying, it is very clear to the other person if you're engaged or not.

4. I Know How You Feel
How could we possibly know how to they feel? We know how we feel and often project our feelings on others. When we tell someone else how they feel they know immediately that we are not listening to them.

5. I Understand
Never use this term unless you have walked a mile in their shoes. For instance, they may be incredibly stressed and in fear over something; perhaps they have a young child going through chemotherapy and maybe your child was also diagnosed with cancer and underwent chemo. In this circumstance it would be okay to say “I understand what you are going through because my daughter was diagnosed with cancer 5 years ago and I know how stressful that can be.” But if you don't have the facts to back this statement up, avoid it at all costs. Using it without context will come off as patronizing.

The main thing to remember is that the angry person wants to be heard! By changing our language we can de-escalate the situation and change a possible violent outcome.

Contact me today at to talk about my customized "Managing Angry People" training that can be delivered as in-person seminars or virtually.

Tags: safety, workplace violence preparation

Workplace Violence: Personal Safety: American Red Cross Launches First Aid App

Posted on Thu, Jun 21, 2012

Personal Safety is a topic of great importance to Violence Free, and we are often brought into organizations to teach the skills necessary to remain safe in any scenario. We will now be recommending the new American Red Cross First Aid App to all our clients, which allows iPhone and Android users to have lifesaving information at their fingertips.HEALTH AND SAFETY

Download this app today - It could save a life.

Tags: family safety, safety

Red Flags of Potential Violence: White Supremacist Kills 4 People and Himself

Posted on Thu, May 03, 2012

Yesterday an Arizona man and former leader of the Arizona Neo Nazi movement killed 4 people, including a 15-month-old toddler, before turning the gun on himself. This tragedy is officially being labeled "domestic violence" and authorities are attempting to understand his motive for the shooting rampage. What strikes me is how many red flags and warning signs there were that could have predicted this type of violent behavior. In fact, the FBI sent in a task force to aide in the investigation which signals to me that this man was probably on many government watch lists.violence prevention

Jason "JT" Ready is believed to be a white supremacist and was a founding member of the "U.S. Border Guard" – a non-government sanctioned group that advocates using deadly force against illegal immigrants and often patrolled the US/Mexico border. Ready was also running for Pinal County Sherriff.

Check out the "JT Ready for Sherriff Facebook Page"

The self proclaimed Neo-Nazi had been very outspoken about his extreme beliefs and it’s been reported that he had increasingly bizarre behavior in the past few months. He had been interviewed on local TV several times and on one of these interviews he showed his large collection of high-powered weapons.

Just this week I presented a webinar on  "Workplace Violence: Warning Signs, Red Flags & What Puts You at Risk!" Here are some of the Red Flags I talked about that also apply to the JT Ready Tragedy:

• Fantasizing about weapons or fanatical about collecting military assault weapons
• Fascination with violent incidents
• Being a member of a hate group or underground militia
• Obsession with law enforcement, military, or military groups
• Hate issues with authority figures like supervisors, managers or government officials
• Ongoing bullying and intimidating behavior
• Overall Bizarre Behavior - Someone suddenly becoming extremely distrusting or obsessive in their thoughts or conversations
• History of domestic violence
• Extreme suspicion or paranoia
• Using social media to post outrageous claims, extreme political views and to spew hatred

Read the Full Story:

Make sure your employees understand the warning signs and red flags of potential violence and free to call me at (623) 242-8797 to explore in-person or virtual training to help keep your people safe.

Tags: safety, violence in the news, workplace violence preparation, workplace violence statistics

FCC Cracks Down on Wireless Carriers to End Violent SmartPhone Thefts

Posted on Wed, Apr 11, 2012

workplace violence cell phone theftSmartPhones are big business these days, and as with any booming business, there are criminals whose goal is to pinch off the profits. America's four major wireless carriers - Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility, Sprint Nextel, and T-Mobile USA - have finally agreed to create a database of stolen phones so they are void of service after theft. The industry found themselves in hot water recently when The Today Show's Rossen Report did a story that highlighted the fact that the technology to disable stolen phones has been available and used in others countries for some time, but was not enacted by the U.S. providers for profit's sake.

Tags: family safety, communication tips, safety, workplace violence statistics, workplace violence

School Shootings: Why Social Media Warning Are Often Missed

Posted on Fri, Apr 06, 2012

It was reported that on the morning of February 27, 2012, T.J. Lane Tweeted about bringing a gun to school…a Tweet that went unnoticed. Was it a cry for help? Could someone have intervened and possibly stopped this terrible tragedy from happening?workplace violence school shootings

Children, especially teens, can be influenced by a number of stressors that could lead them to commit violent acts. Gang activity and the use of drugs are two common stressors that lead to violence. Others that we don’t often think about are:

• Physical, psychological or emotional abandonment by parents (or someone else that it close to them)
• Abuse, neglect or severe family dysfunction
• Witnessing domestic violence

In the case of T.J. Lane, he came from a home where his father was arrested several times for abusing a multitude of women, including T.J.'s mother.

In order to keep our schools and homes safe we should be aware of signs that children and teens need help. The National Crime Prevention Council suggests that we look for the following signs:

• Lack of interest in school
• Absence of age-appropriate anger control skills
• Persistent disregard for or refusal to follow the rules
• History of bullying
• Talking constantly about weapons
• Obsessions with violent games
• Talking about or actually bringing a weapon to school
• Misplaced or unwarranted jealousies
• Involvement with or interest in gangs
• Self-isolation from family or friends

The more of these signs you see in a child, the greater chance that the child needs help before they lash out in a violent manner.

The red flags that I would add to this warning list are:

• Violent fantasies
• Feeling of hopelessness and despair
• Victim of extreme or ongoing bullying
• Artwork that depicts isolation or anger
• Violent or “dark” writing
• Makes ongoing jokes about violence
• Cruelty to pets or other animals
• Extreme isolation - sense that they don’t fit in anywhere and are the only one who feels that way
• A sense of desperation
• Talking about death for themselves or others
• Expressing angst about something that hasn’t happened yet

It has been reported that T.J. Lane posted this on his FaceBook status in December of last year:

“Feel death, not just mocking you. Not just stalking you but inside of you. Die all of you.”

This type of dark media is haunting and we need to teach students, teachers and parents to pay attention to social media postings like this.

Students are the best eyes and ears to what is going on in their own world. We must teach the younger generation to patrol Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites and when they find dark postings, threats or anything that makes them feel uncomfortable, they should bring it to a trusted adult.

Youth often find it difficult to go to an adult when they are in trouble or being bullied. They fear that we won’t believe them, will laugh it off and not take it seriously; or even worse, that we will think that they are weak and can’t stand up for themselves. When kids bring us information about themselves or a friend, especially if it’s involving threats, we need to address their concerns immediately.

Parents can be proactive by Friending and Following their children and their children's friends on social media. Depending on the age of your child you may want to know their password so you can periodically monitor posts.

By paying attention to social media posts both in our school age kids, as well as in corporations around the world, we can intervene early and get people the help that they need before a situation becomes violent.

Email me today at to explore training options for Personal Safety and Warning Signs of Violence seminars.

Tags: internet safety, communication tips, safety, workplace violence stat, anti-bullying policy

Workplace Violence: Stranger than Fiction Crime

Posted on Fri, Mar 30, 2012
safety solutions

I heard this story on the evening news and it's so bizarreI had to share. A 23-year-old female was shopping at a Phoenix,AZ Target store and noticed that a man was following her. The next thing she knows he's dropped to the floor and biting her foot. He apparently bit through two layers of skin before she was able to kick him away.

News Report of the Attack:

The news reporter does a great job covering the story but when he gets to the very end he makes a comment suggesting that women may reconsider wearing open-toed shoes before they go out shopping. It seems this comment was said in jest but it got me thinking about how the media sometimes creates fear where it is not needed. This is indeed a strange and bizarre story, but it's certainly not necessary for women to wear closed-toed shoes while shopping.

For years in our personal safety seminars women would share a fear that a man would hide under their car and slash their ankles when they were entering. This rumored story has been going wild for years, and while we have investigated many reports, we've never found an incident that was substantiated.

There is an important lesson with stranger than fiction stories: Don't buy into fear based stories and rumors - they are probably false! So shop with or without your open-toed shoes just remember to be aware of your surroundings and be careful if you think someone is following you. And if you do notice someone following you, head immediately to the safety of other shoppers or employees.

To learn more about Violence Free's Personal Safety Programs call (623) 242-8797 or email

Tags: safety, workplace violence preparation, fear

Workplace Violence: See Something - Say Something

Posted on Thu, Mar 15, 2012

“See something – Say Something” This is a slogan that has been used for several years in New York City and more recently by Homeland Security to help fight terrorism and major crime. Check on the video to see how this slogan could be a helpful addition to your company’s workplace violence prevention program.

Tags: safety, workplace violence preparation, workplace violence, bullying at work