Hurricane Looting - How to Protect Your House?

What is the appropriate response when a couple of guys pull up in your yard, turn off your generator, and start unplugging cords? They are not armed, but show no intention to stop stealing your generator and anything else they might think is useful. In these conditions the Police ARE NOT coming.

Is daytime response different than nighttime? Does it make any difference if the generator is behind a gated fence that may or may not still be standing due to hurricane damage?

This is specifically related to Florida …

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A lawyer blurb, take it for what it’s worth but you are allowed to defend your property from people that are attempting to commit trespass and looting (theft during a stated emergency)

This is the important part IMHO

If the defendant is in his or her home or vehicle, then, under Section 776.013, Florida Statutes, the law will presume that the defendant had a reasonable fear of imminent death or bodily harm if the alleged victim unlawfully entered or remained or attempted to remove another person against their will. A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter another’s home or vehicle is furthermore presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.

Cheers,

Craig6

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It would be great if Tom Grieve with the USCCA could/would weigh in on this scenario.

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Here, I will do my best Tom Grieve for you.

Its self defense not stuff defense, and I am not sure what the laws in your jurisdiction are so I would check them first.

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LOL. That is EXACTLY what I would expect Tom to say!

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In my state, if you, the owner, are on the property and they continue to burgle your property. It’s now a robbery and your response options open. Warn them and then, do what you have to.

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It is my understanding that under Florida’s Castle Doctrine that you have the right to protect property as well.

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I wonder if a state of emergency changes the situation at all? Probably varies by state. That might be good info to add to the laws page.

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Different state but here’s my take, Pre May 10th of this year: Inside the posted and locked gate, fenced backyard, just outside my garage and downstairs doors? Their lives are mine. Because until that date I had a housemate who Required electrical power to survive by continual use of a oxygen concentrator. If, for whatever reason we were unable to evacuate and had to shelter in place. They’d better believe I am coming to present the likeness of God into their consciousness.

Post that date, depends on the moment. So, if it is to prevent great bodily harm to myself or someone else, and I am the one there to defend those I love - wrong place. Is it their time?

I hope to goodness you have none of that and you and yours are safely through the passage of this natural wonder/monster.

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I am hoping this never happens to me personally, but I suspect that since I legally can and will open carry on my own property, just the sight would probably move most looters down the road.

I just walked down to the beach a few minutes ago and the surge is not bad, yet. High tide is at about 11 tonight and 12 noon tomorrow. Still have power right now :+1: I am heartbroken seeing what the Behamians are going through :-1:

I think this is a good discussion for us potentially in natural emergencies to consider ahead of time.

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Since it’s real and really here right now, you’re absolutely correct.
Needless to say, You be here long after the hurricane is gone, k?

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That only covers you in the home or vehicle. They way I’m reading this his generator is outside.

In that case force but not deadly force would probably apply.

To the poster, you also need to keep in mind that if you go out armed and it then escalates to a deadly force encounter your case is going to get awfully complicated and hard to defend in a hurry.

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How would you go out there?

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@WildRose In this particular instance “My Home” is within my fence line such as it may be following a big blow. I did not offer what I would do, only offered the law as written. FL law is written that during a state of emergency looting is a felony, not that that particular tid bit has any bearing.

The other thing to think about, which ever way you wish to, is that LEO are DAYS away from you and your needs. It’s a tough call and I will not offer my opinion as to what I might do.

Cheers,

Craig6

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Thanks @Craig6, it is a tough call because you are looking at losing everything in your refrigerator/freezer that you were counting on to survive for an indefinite amount of time, plus the ability to cook any of it. In addition, the US military deemed where I live as uninhabitable due to bugs that HVAC has made inhabitable. My nephew and his team disarmed 2 bombs dropped during training in WWII right near my house just a couple years ago. So, loosing power for indefinite amount of time is serious.

Edit; All of this is hypothetical … but could become reality

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@Gary_H_aka_Gary12 I get you. Do I think killing someone over a $500 generator while sitting in 70*F house in VA is worth it, No. I might change my mind if said blow hooks a looper and hits us dead on and that generator is now a fundamental part of my survival. I don’t have a good answer as to what to do in reality but if I were to think about it whilst’ sipping a nice scotch in my comfy chair 800 miles from you, most of them involve non deadly force and a good a$$ woopin’ and a big “LOOTER” sign hung around their neck as they were sent down the road. Hypothetically. 'Course the gas in that truck just became forfeit.

Cheers,

Craig6

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“Home” is a physical dwelling, even a camper/RV if you are living in it.

It would not include your yard and other curtilage areas.

Unless the generator is actually in the home as I said prior, defending your case would at a minimum be problematic should you use deadly force to save your generator.

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You make a good point @WildRose, And where I can see @Gary_H_aka_Gary12 referencing his perspective in this thought exercise is as like in and around New Orleans / Katrina circa 2005. Much happened, much has been said, I wager still things which will always be left unsaid. These ‘little’ hiccups in the fabric of our civil society are just a fractional level above the individual protecting their family in the face of intent, opportunity, and jeopardy.

Even though we may be speaking of the only 3.3 kW portable generator in the neighborhood, I couldn’t imagine installing my 17kw Genset inside the confines of my building, without adding another 20 thousand dollars plus, as an addition of to the house above and beyond associated electrical, the unit, concrete pad to mount it, and exhaust plumbing to clear the roof.

An exceptional quandary.

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@WildRose I would respectfully disagree with you. My “Home” is bounded by my “property”, in unusual circumstances like those in Hawaii where you are entitled to the home but not the property things are different. In FL I do not think the Seminole’s have that same privilege. If I am standing in my front yard am I not able to defend my home? In AZ and TX where I gather you hail from, there is much case law to define home, property, residence and abode. A “house” is a “dwelling” a “home” is a “property” with all rights and responsibilities.

Cheers,

Craig6

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I would humbly say to all first,remember after the incident comes the trial. The trial is not in the throws of the moment,but afterwards- when there are chairs,lawyers and quarterbacks to assess not just what you did,but what the implications are for “society” as a whole.
Regardless of how you define your house or house plus yard. I suspect the issues would not revolve around theft in this case,but around a legal definition possibly of “life threatening.” At least the way the issue was presented.

Any way you slice this puppy it is messy,but that’s the problem. If someone were attacking you directly "self defense " is somewhat easier to identify. However if it is merely “life threatening” a myriad of practical questions come up. I can think of at least three ways to keep food without electricity in a flooded/contaminated environment. So was it really necessary to kill over the generator? That then becomes a why did you have to kill them issue. While there is castle doctrine etc, that almost always involves breaking in and fear of life,—going out,and stopping a theft involves many option choices,not found if someone just kicked in your bedroom door,and is coming at you.

It may not be comfortable,but I would think @wildrose gave the best advice. The rub is ok why do I have a weapon. The answer is simple to preserve your life, before (immediacy) it is taken away. As to people putting you in "life threatening "situations,that requires additional preparation and thought.
As to the absence of the police,minutes late,hours late,days late,or weeks late doesn’t really enter into it. Late is late. The question will always be what options did you have? Who knows- if it is just about blood and not the law,that dangling electric line is good,if it is about life(everyone’s including the bad guys with no judgement) this society frowns on murder for the sake of murder. Even homicide is assessed if it was justifiable or not?
The ccw box doesn’t have a ton of room in it to begin with,the 2a fight is everywhere. Judgement is critical,watch our for armchairs quarterbacks,and after the fact assessments

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