On January 16th, 2013, a 65-year-old woman was roughed up and robbed during a home invasion in Anchorage's Airport Heights neighborhood early in the evening. What heightens concern is that several strong-arm robberies have occurred at nearby fast-food restaurants, triggering speculation that the same perp may have been responsible for this one.
The unidentified victim who lives in the 2700 block of East 17th Avenue says she answered the door after someone knocked, and the next thing she remembers, she woke up on the floor covered in blood, after which she called police around 6 P.M. It appears that only the woman's purse was rifled through, and a small amount of cash and a credit card are missing. The woman lost a considerable amount of blood and was treated at a local hospital, but was not critically injured. No description of the perp is available at this time.
Since this type of crime is uncommon in the Airport Heights neighborhood, it is possible that the perp scouted the home, saw that only an elderly lady lived there, and decided she'd be an ideal victim. Although police have not yet declared any official suspects, the Anchorage Daily News (metered pay wall) refers to the arrest of Alejandro Aulman, 25, who police say shot a woman in the hand while robbing her of her purse at about 4:30 p.m. the same day in the area of 10th Avenue and Latouche Street in Fairview. Aulman was arrested at about 6 P.M. This implies that police are considering the possibility that Aulman was also responsible for this robbery. The Alaska Court System database indicates that Aulman has an arrest record for various felonies and misdemeanors, to include burglary in 2007 and armed robbery in 2008.
The bottom line -- it is best to avoid answering your door for strangers without advance verification if at all possible, and not just late at night. If you must answer your door, a person posting a comment to this home invasion story on KSL Channel 5 in Salt Lake provided a valuable tip which he says deterred a possible invasion of his own home. According to the comment, since deleted, the man answered the door and was confronted by a 30-year-old who mentioned the homeowner's son's name and implied he was looking for him. However, when the 30-year-old saw the butt of a handgun in the homeowner's waist, he suddenly decided he was at the wrong house and made a quick exit. One would not even need to use a real gun for this purpose.
Retired FBI agent Clint Van Zandt provides 10 rules for deterring and surviving home invasions:
1. Lock all the doors in your residence, including keeping your garage door down and locked.
2. Use motion detector lights around your home to deny anyone the ability to roam your lot undetected.
3. Install a home alarm system and be sure to activate it when appropriate. Consider a system that alerts you to a vehicle entering your property such as can be found at www.dingdong.com, or a Blackberry or iPhone application that can call for assistance such as can be found at www.silentbodguard.com.
4. Do not open your door to anyone you do not know and use a peep hole in your front door to determine who is on the other side.
5. Have a family home invasion plan, like your fire escape plan, that tells every family member what to do in case of the unthinkable.
1. Don’t panic and keep your wits about you. You and your family’s survival depends on it!
2. Insure that every member of your family knows to escape and call police at the first opportunity they have and never let an assailant take you to a second location where you will almost surely be assaulted or worse.
3. If trapped in your home, hopefully you have a safe room, like a well-built closet with a lock on the inside of the door and remember to take your phone with you to call 911. You can also set off your home security and/or car alarm to alert neighbors of your plight.
4. If you must fight for your life, hit the intruder fast, hard and as many times as you can, using anything you can find as a weapon.
5. Lastly, remember nothing you own, possess or have access to is more important than the lives of your family members and yourself.