04 Mar Everybody is on Edge!
During the early part of 2019, the northern Nevada area was rocked with four murders that occurred in a relatively short period of time. The first murder occurred in a town called Gardnerville, NV. In that murder, a female was murdered in her home and no further details were given. Approximately four days later, a second female was also found murdered in her own home. Two murders in two different households with the distance between the two houses approximately one mile from one another. The details of the circumstances of each of these cases were not provided to the public other than two murders, two different victims, both female, and two different crime scenes. There was no information given as to any motive of the crimes and no suspect information provided.
I routinely notice and report on local and national crime issues via social media and felt compelled to provided information to at least heighten the awareness of others. Within days, a report of murders where this time an elderly man and his wife were found inside their south Reno, NV home approximately fifty miles north of the first two reported murders. Still, no motive was given nor suspect information on now four murders, placing the entire northern Nevada communities on high alert.
In my travels through the community, I noted a plethora of citizens that visibly exhibited their fears and concerns of this latest violent crime way forced upon their community. One would only assume that gun sales increased as well as for calls for home intruder/burglar alarm sales went up as well.
As a Personal Safety consultant/trainer coupled with my law enforcement background, I took to the news airwaves to announce I was providing a Personal Safety Seminar free to the public at a local casino in South Reno. Between the time of the Friday news cast and the following Tuesday evening seminar, a criminal had been apprehended that was believed to be responsible for all four murders. I still conducted the Personal Safety seminar, but only to a modest crowd amount. The news of the arrest was top billing on all the local news stations and people felt a general sense of relief.
Although I was alive during some of the most notable crime trends and sensationalized murders in the western part of the United States (The Night Stalker in Los Angeles, CA, the California Golden State Killer, the Zodiac killings throughout California, and the Son of Sam in New York) I had never resided in the actual area where the entire community was on edge. I personally noticed the fear and anxiety emanating from the public was almost palpable. The places I went in public had people discussing the crimes and what they felt they needed to do to stay safe. Just some of the whispers I overheard were: had the women been sexually attacked, what was the motive, how did the suspect select his victims and why those particular people as the victims.
I could only assume that in those cities where those sensational and nationwide publicized crimes took place, the same or similar questions had been asked. This time, I had the opportunity to live through it, experience the feelings right along with everyone else and take even more safety precautions that I normally take. In that I have a concealed weapons permit, I strapped on my weapon and extra ammunition and carried them from the time I put my clothes on until I readied for bed. I performed security checks on my own home and installed a few more security cameras.
When I left the house, my head was literally on swivel as I watched nearly every nook and cranny just in case there was more than one suspect in those string of four homicides.
After approximately one month passing since the suspect’s arrest, there was no mention of any additional suspects and the motivation of the crimes seem to have been burglary and stolen property. The Hispanic suspect was not in the United States legally which has another set of issues to deal with in these current political times of legal versus illegal immigration.
As far as lessons learned, I could pass on this: one should always take reasonable precautions of awareness. Notice things around you while you are out in public, be aware if someone is following you to your home or another place and to not only have a plan in place you are being followed, but to execute your plan if you are in fact being followed.
Perform a thorough security check of your home to ensure your doors, windows and associated locks are as secure as they can be. If you have an alarm/security system, make sure it is operable and that you use it. If you are knowledgeable and competent with firearms for your personal protection, ensure that you know when to use the weapon for the safety of you and everyone in your home.
Have a solid plan in place if you find you are the victim of a home invasion. If you live with one or more people, how can you alert them of the danger to a sudden home invasion in progress without endangering them. Can you let them know something is drastically wrong which may allow them to intervene in a different way and not walk into the present danger? Can you alert them of the danger to perhaps allow them time to escape and either summon help for you or themselves?
The aspect of accountability is huge. That is, tell others close to you (and not just one person) what you are doing, where you are going, what time you are expected to return, your route and how you expect to get there. And even more importantly, if you are going somewhere with someone, who is that person and how you know them. This accountability helps you in that if something were to happen to you, they may be able to notice you are missing, trace your route, locate you by any number of tracking means, and possibly get to you in time to help save your life.
If the person you told of whom you were to be with were coming to find you, they should also tell someone they trust that they are coming to look for you. If something were to happen to them as well, they have also let someone know where they were going. In the worst case scenario, law enforcement will know who to come and speak with who was the last person known to be in your or their presence.
In the late 1970’s, Ken Bianchi (The Hillside Strangler) had killed 10 women in the Los Angeles, CA area before moving to Bellingham, WA. Bianchi was working as a security officer and had met two women and invited them up to a house for a house sitting job. When the women showed up for the job, Bianchi killed both of them inside the house almost instantly. When one of the women had not returned home, her boyfriend reported her missing and was able to tell police that his girlfriend was to meet Ken Bianchi (a security officer) and house sit for him. Once the police interviewed Bianchi, that led to the discovery of the crime scene, bodies and the capture of one of most prolific killers during my life time.
When I speak with clients, I advise them they should always have safeguards for their own safety. That is to say they should never allow one person they are not very close with into their house, or be with them on a one on one basis.
There is not a guarantee that having at least one other person physically with you when having a person over into your place for workman type purposes, but it may just deter the person from wanting to take advantage of them if they are alone. On a proactive basis, it is always a good idea that you and your closest friend should practice and discuss what actions you both will take should things ever get physical and potentially way out of bounds. How will you alert the other one to danger? Will both of you remain to fight the bad guy, or should one of you make a run for it and report the crime? These are questions that deserve being answered long before any person might possibly be exposed to danger. Taking proactive steps allows one to implement their safety/survival plan when the emergency arises, rather than to force their brain to conceive what their options are at the time of the life-threatening emergency. dpr