Two of my best friends are living examples that opposites do attract and that they can live in wedded bliss, somewhat. 

Bill is Type A: organized, thoughtful and very patient. Candy is more abstract: loving, free thinking and absolutely devoted to the latest research or trends. It was interesting when Candy decided that all-natural foods and especially those that were homegrown were the best. Bill was hard put to keep up with building gardens and scrounging only organic ingredients. 

He especially had trouble with their homeowner’s association when Candy found out that the weeds in the front lawn were dandelions. No amount of pleading did any good and eventually Candy was forced to buy them at a produce market, and Bill could return to cutting his grass instead of pruning it.

It was somewhat of a surprise when I got a call from Candy, who invited me to lunch, addressed me as Officer Candelari and instructed me to bring my materials to do a home-security survey. I could hear Bill in the background muttering something and warning me to “save myself.” 

On the appointed day and at the scheduled hour I arrived, clipboard in hand and ready to do my duty. Both Bill and Candy met me at the driveway armed with notepads, ladders and measuring tapes. This was not good. We started at the driveway. Their house numbers were painted on the curb in florescent colors and very readable, shrubbery and trees trimmed to the 3-feet by 8-feet rule. As a bonus, Candy had Bill remove their flowers and edible food supplements around all the windows and replace them with some of the most vicious looking cactuses I have ever seen — ever thinking, Candy had planted those with edible leaves and bulbs. Not bad so far. The sides and back of the house were equally trimmed and secure.

Bill was perking up, and Candy was frowning. There just had to be something that needed fixing. Short of removing all of their privacy fencing, which all of the neighbors, Bill and the HOA adamantly opposed — a remnant of responding to Candy’s ‘au naturale’ stage — and replacing it with a more open concept was not going to be well-received. Bill was definitely looking better. 

It was here that things began to go downhill. Candy, in her tone of voice that signaled she had been surfing the Internet — and we all know they can’t put anything on it that isn’t true — and had already formulated what the correct response would be, asked about security cameras and systems in general. Citing an increase in crime in the area — well, somewhat in the area — Candy felt the need to be secure. Bill had disappeared into the garage.

Inside, over a lunch of cactus leaves and free-range chicken, we talked about rings of security. Outside there was the shrubbery, porch lighting, landscaping that reflected a care for details, which also implied a care about security, and that directed people to an entry. Exterior doors were solid and had the hardware upgrades. In the interior, Bill had added locks to all windows. Candy had insisted on a metal bar for the sliding door, at which point, Bill reminded her they didn’t have a sliding door. Bill even had an exterior and interior alarm attached to a commercial system. 

Now came the bonus: They had taken a trip to New York and in one of the homes they stayed at, they noticed coiled escape ladders in the second story rooms. Upstairs they showed me those they had purchased and how they would work. Fantastic! It was on the way down that I began to wonder about a minor detail, “What happened when they got to the bottom and landed in the cactus?” Bill was headed to the garage, again.

When Bill returned in a more relaxed state, we talked about security cameras and systems. My advice was to go commercial with a reputable company. Candy objected. She insisted that she knew what was needed and Bill could do it. I stopped Bill from heading to the garage. The plans that Candy had drawn had cameras, motion-activated cameras and infrared units everywhere. A high-security prison couldn’t boast of a system like the one she designed. 

After much discussion, we were able to agree on a more manageable program, having gotten rid of a number of units, including the one monitoring the garden and the one in the bedroom, noting Bill’s frequent nightly trips to the potty could be a problem if he failed to hit the off switch before venturing forth. When all of her options were considered, Candy begrudgingly admitted that the house and interior could be covered adequately with fewer than half of her original design and that a commercial company might be an option, especially when the 24-hour service along with the fire and EMS options were added.

At this point, Candy went to research commercial options and Bill invited me to join him in the garage. Bill had converted a storage room into a man cave complete with TV, recliners and a bar. Here, he had real beer and spirits, not the fruit-flavored, flavoring-added stuff Candy had insisted he stock in the bar in the house. I had a real Coke while he fixed a manly drink. Holding his drink up, he proposed a toast, “My Candy is still a dandy, but my liquor is still quicker (to keep me on an even keel).” I know that was a long way to go for such a bad pun. Also, please note that the names have been changed to protect me — from Candy — and some embellishments have been added. 

Remember, think, plan and execute crime prevention design. Don’t be a crime victim.

The Crime Corner: Prevention Tips & Tidbits

Walt Candelari is a police officer with Dickinson Police Department. He is writing a series of columns on creating an environment of safety from burglars.

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