From sharing bland statements and random emotions to photos and videos of the mundane day to day, social media has had a huge impact on us. One of its massive benefits is reaching out to various groups, especially to a user’s direct connections like friends and family members. This instant global reach can seem indispensable during times of emergency.
Such is the case for a woman from Texas, whose main goal was to protect herself and her house. When she took to her social media account to warn anybody and everybody of the unbelievable tricks of thieves nowadays, her story went viral. Read her message that left her readers, neighbors and even the police in shock and feeling mixed emotions.
Back in April 21, 2016, a woman named Kim Fleming Cernigliaro created headlines across the internet thanks to her Facebook post that sent a chill through its readers. Her now-viral message described what was a completely regular day; until, that is, an unwanted visitor interrupted her peace and calm. The Texan noted that someone was knocking at her door but described that it was an alarming pounding on her door and not a “regular knock.”
That said, anyone engaged in beating another person’s door down was obviously determined to send a signal to the homeowner to open it as soon as possible. Could the visitor be a friend in need or a total stranger?
Kim’s initial reaction was that someone could be in dire need of her help. According to her Facebook post, she emphasized that she’s not the type who would answer her door when she’s alone. Despite her desire to respond to the irregular knocking on her house’s door, she ignored it as she was, understandably, more concerned for her safety than that of anyone else. After several failed attempts, the unusual knocking stopped.
With the silence, Kim assumed that the stranger had given up and left her house. Could this be a good sign to pacify Kim’s anxiety and worry? Or was the silence more sinister than the noise? Read on for more details of her thrilling story...
When Kim realized that the pounding of the door had stopped, she did not go out right away to check anything or anyone. Kim explained that it took her half an hour before she convinced herself to venture outside of her house. She claimed that she was expecting to find some junk mail or leaflets lying on her doorstep.
To her surprise, she saw something that she never expected and so it took her awhile to figure out what had really transpired. What did Kim Cernigliaro see that shocked her? If it wasn’t an odd package or unexpected mail, what could it be and why was it placed on her doorstep?
What she discovered was a far cry from her expectations. According to Kim, a rubber band had been interlocked around their door knob. She said that it had been intentionally placed there to keep the door open when the latch was unlocked. She immediately called her husband who, according to her Facebook post, encouraged her to keep the family gun by her side for safety and security reasons.
To him, this was an emergency situation. Although she felt threatened by the irregular knocking on her door, no violence happened according to her lengthy social media post. She just kept her calm and stayed silent while waiting for further actions from the stranger.
Much to Kim’s surprise, when she contacted the local police, she learned that a batch of similar attempts had taken place within the area recently. The alleged home intruders hooked a rubber band on the doorknob before they knock. This rubber-band strategy works to their great advantage. When the homeowner answers the door, the thief will have easier access to get inside the house.
The good thing is that the thief did not become successful in entering Kim’s house as the latter did not give in to his trap. Thankfully, her ignoring the thief's strategy made it work to her advantage instead. It’s a great thing that she’s safe after what happened.
Despite the traumatic event that Kim Cernigliaro had to endure, she stood firm with her strength. In fact, she ended her viral Facebook post with a defiant threat by saying “I have a GUN and I know how to use it, just FYI, I out-shot my husband the last time we target practiced, so believe me, I will use it.” It would be a good thing if any thieves followed her social media account but it’s unlikely. If they did, surely they’d be too scared to pursue their evil plans. No burglar would attempt to break into somebody like Kim’s house!
Nevertheless, Kim’s Facebook post immediately went viral. The tale of rubber-banded door knobs circulated around social media as a tough warning to everyone, particularly kindly homeowners who might assume it’s someone in need of help at the door. Consequently, the viral story reached several local newspaper companies, creating headlines in no time. What’s in the rubber-banding of doorknobs that caused its popularity? Has Kim experienced other scary things that day aside from the rubber band hooked on her doorknob and the pounding of the door? The mystery seems so real that the local community was engrossed with this event.
The ripple effect of Cernigliaro’s post was felt in various social media sites as some took it too seriously and conducted their own investigations and indicated that these criminals were apparently casing houses in advance. The rubber band technique was sensible as any thief would actually target homes with an owner inside in the hope of them opening the door for them.
Cernigliaro’s statements were not taken lightly as the articles published about her story were received as gospel. Who wouldn’t when their safety and security was being compromised and the comfort of their own home disturbed? Anybody in their right mind would quickly adhere to her warning.
With a number of social media networks and several local newspapers running Kim’s experience of attempted burglary, the story reached greater heights. The Facebook post gained attention across the United States and the rubber band became a symbol of threat. If you see one hooked on your door, its innocence belies a chilling message: you’re about to be robbed.
Does this mean that rubber bands should be banned as they become an object of criminal activities? What if somebody tries to prank you with this simple material? Do you have to call 911 immediately after finding one on your door?
As the tale of rubber band skulduggery reached a wider and wider audience, many online and print articles had the same warning to homeowners: if they chance upon the elasticated fixture on their door, they should leave their house immediately. They were also advised not to answer a strange knocking immediately so as not to compromise their safety. Moreover, residents were instructed to arm themselves and contact the local police to ensure their safety.
It’s interesting to note that different communities collaborated to ensure every homeowner’s security and to prevent any potential burglaries but are these safety precautions enough to stop thieves from committing crimes?
While everyone was talking about the latest technique in the dangerous world of stealing, an issue with the original story started to emerge. After the initial hubbub died down it started to occur to some people that the whole thing might be a big lie that nobody had thought to question. If that’s the case, did Kim Fleming Cernigliaro make up her Facebook post just to go viral and become famous?
How could something that seemed so real end up being fabricated? Did the publishers and readers of the rubber band articles exaggerate the story so much that they forgot to gather enough evidence to prove its credibility? So many questions yet no answers… Keep reading to know the truth about the rubber band hysteria.
Truth be told, there are in fact deniable points in Cernigliaro’s viral post. The first questionable part has something to do with the doorknob. Analyzing her description of the rubber band attached on her doorknob, one can actually doubt its authenticity. Why?
As pictured on her social media post, if a burglar really intended to break in, his stealing skills would have directed him to just use his thumb to push the latch down. Hmmm… it makes sense that a thief is an expert in his craft, right? But why would someone attempt to leave fear at Kim’s doorstep with a plain object like a rubber band?
She also noted on her Facebook post that “It’s been happening all of a sudden,” as the sheriff had apparently told her. That said, Kim and the rest of her followers were quick to believe that there had been other instances of this type of burglary. However, the urban myth debunking site Snopes, identified zero records of home invasions being carried out in this manner.
It goes to show that a claim of rubber band burglary could very well have stemmed from an exaggeration. Does this mean that Kim possibly made up her now-viral story? Could it be that she was the one who placed the rubber band on her doorknob? Is this going to end like a Scooby-Doo mystery?
Snopes even claimed that Kim’s Facebook post was probably 100% made up. Regardless of the legitimacy of the story, the ultimate truth lies in the reality of burglary and how to keep your family, yourself and your house safe from criminal activities. Apparently, homeowners are aware of the factors that could invite any thief to target their property.
Even if the rubber band theory wasn’t true at all, it still serves as a warning that homeowners should be extra careful when opening doors to strangers. The fact that nobody corroborated Cernigliaro’s story means it’s safe to say that the post is, at the very least, not verified and that people should not jump to any conclusions right away without seeing or hearing any legit evidence.
However, Kim’s post is only one of the countless unverified Facebook posts that have been trending across the internet. Indeed, the power of social media is shown in viral posts which spread like wildfire, regardless of whether they offer truth or fabrications. Anyone can exaggerate and even make up stories for a wide variety of reasons, from protecting people to deceiving them; anything can really happen in the wild and uncharted territory of the internet.
This tricky situation is basically beyond Facebook’s control. Although the company has set rules to their users in terms of privacy and safety, they cannot control the thoughts of the people who posts on random subjects. And, at this stage anyway, no fact-checking bots have been deployed.
For example, the 20 most popular Facebook posts about cancer spread like crazy, but did you ever think that the information contained in them could be misleading? Unfortunately, yes. More than half of them have found to contain factually inaccurate lies and exaggerations. That said, we should not take seriously all the articles that we read on Facebook, especially those that are trending.
Before believing any news, make sure that the facts are included in the report and sources are properly cited. Moreover, do your research to check further that the articles are based on facts and not hearsay, assumptions and fabricated stories.
Note that a trending post that does not come with a clear introduction is one giant red flag that it isn’t entirely reliable. An example was a rumor said to be based on a story that Mark Zuckerberg’s monolithic company assumes ownership of uploaded photos, prompting Facebook users to start posting “copyright notices.” Using a person or company’s name without permission is easy, especially on the web where trolls are rampant.
That’s why it’s important to be cautious on what and who you believe since fake news is common online. Fail to take proper care and you’ll end up sharing inaccurate information to others and you may find yourself a victim of certain accusations.
Although it’s annoying that this was another case of fake news that went viral rather than an actually truthful and useful story, it does provide a pertinent reminder of the sad reality that we have to be cautious about. To end the false claim, Facebook released a press release and announced the truth. It also reassured all users that any photos posted on profiles set in private mode don’t show up in searches.
See, even Facebook has been victimized by malicious posts caused by some of its users. Not even the top companies in the world can escape the downside of social media. We just have to be cautious and be responsible in regards to the content of our posts as influencing other people with the wrong information can cause a lot of trouble.
One of Facebook’s popular features is unlimited posting which allows us to share our personal and professional stories, photos and videos of our random days, to big celebrations like birthdays, graduations and Thanksgiving. As with Kim Cernigliaro’s case, it could be possible that she posted her admonition with good intentions.
The attempted burglary may have actually been real but the rubber band strategy is a different story that didn’t sit well with a lot of people in the long run. Although it earned national attention, it ended up worrying a lot of people. Still, it goes to show that prevention is the key to keep yourself and loved ones safe. Although no one was physically hurt on her viral post, many were heavily disappointed with the dishonesty.
With criminals freely roaming around in different parts of the world, it’s best to take necessary steps in protecting your family and your house. How do you do it? Note that you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to burglar-proof your home. A bit of common sense and some practical tips and tricks will effectively keep home invaders away.
Also, it is important that you spend time in determining what makes your property attractive to burglars and assess whether your home security is weak or not. Interested to keep your family and house safe and secure? Read on to discover the top home security tips recommended by leading experts.
Fool Thieves With Dummy Cameras
According to studies, thieves are less likely to break into your house when they see installed cameras or other surveillance equipment. Security systems like these can cost thousands of dollars including installation but they’re a good investment for your sanity and safety and your family’s too. If you don’t want to break into your savings, you can opt for dummy cameras.
Aside from their affordable rates, they are effective in deceiving thieves into thinking that they are real and that every movement in and out of your house is carefully monitored. Extra tip: Don’t let anyone outside of your family circle know that they are dummy cameras, otherwise, the news could spread and reach a would-be thieves’ attention.
Be Aware of Landscaping
Per a report from the Department of Justice, homes are found to be at greater risk for burglary when they’re concealed by huge, thick trees, hedges and shrubbery. Instead of hiding your house with the intent of keeping unwanted thieves out, you are actually inviting them to be curious about your property while also giving them cover as they venture in; hence your house becomes a target of stealing.
How about spending an hour or two every weekend to pursue yard work. You’re not only pampering your landscape garden, but you are also treating yourself to a calming recreational activity that will promote your health, along with the safety of your family and the security of your house.
Put an Affordable Timer on Your Television
Research reveals that about 60% of burglaries happen during the day when homeowners are out of the house running errands, working or studying. As such, installing a cheap timer on your TV or radio is a brilliant way to fool the unwanted burglars with a feeling that your house is occupied so they’ll drop their evil plans. With the noise created by the radio and television, they would be trapped by the (false) belief that someone (or a lot of people) are inside the house.
This tip is easy as pie, right? In fact, it’s kind of reminiscent of the old Home Alone movies! Interested in more safety tips to prevent thieves from breaking in your house? Keep reading and make sure you apply these expert insights.
Install a Motion Sensor Light
Although most cases of burglary occur during daytime hours, be extra cautious even at night. If you fear any potential burglary during the night, it is suggested to install a motion sensor light. Don’t worry about the price as one will cost you only about $20 to $30. Indeed, sanity has a price, and the good thing with a motion sensor light is it’s affordable.
Also, outside lights on your entryway have the benefit of sparking visibility to both your incoming guests and strangers who are hoping for darkness in which to steal some precious things from your house. That way, you’ll easily get a view of any suspicious movements outside your home.
Modify Your Routine
Research shows that thieves (creepily) study the daily activities of their potential victims so they’ll know when to attack the house without the fear of being caught. That said, make your routine unpredictable and modify it occasionally. Change your normal hours and days when doing your errands and leaving for work.
A change in your usual schedule will confuse the burglar and make it harder for him and his accomplices to identify your movements. Consequently, they’ll give up on their plan of getting inside your house and move on to another target (who’s hopefully also protecting themselves by reading this list). A routine modification could be a tad challenging but for your safety, it’s worth it.
Upgrade Your Locks (and use them)
Did you know that about 30% of thieves enter a house via the front door and 23% of these burglars opt for a first-floor window for entry? That said, consider upgrading your locks to ensure your family’s and your safety.
No matter the age of your house, whether it’s an ancestral or a modern house, changing your locks often and securing the entry and exit points will make it hard for the thieves to gain access to your home. Don’t let these criminals ruin your sanity and security; do your part by furnishing your house with the necessary safety equipment.
Display some catchy security signs
While an advanced alarm system won’t fit every homeowner’s budget due to its expensive price tag, you can trick a burglar into an impression that your house is equipped with a state of the art alarm system with some fake yet catchy security signs. With a sign displayed on your gate like “Warning: Security cameras in use” any thief would discard their silly dream of gaining access to your house and belongings.
Now, head on to WalMart or Lowe’s and buy one or two of these effective signs for about $12 each. This incredible tip is not only cheap and practical, it keeps your house protected from intruders.
Don't Advertise Your Wealth
When you flash your wealth like luxury cars and motorcycles, you are actually inviting burglars to target your home thanks to your free ads of your family’s riches. As such, don’t display any signs of your wealth in the public eye and stow them instead in a garage to keep burglars from listing your address among their potential victims.
It also helps if you stay discreet in regards to your enviable status in life to avoid being a subject of burglary or kidnapping. It’s a fact that burglars will choose rich people as they obviously own expensive items that these criminals can profit from.
Get to Know Your Neighbors
When criminals learn that you recently moved to a new area, they can include you on their target list. Why? Because thieves assume that living in a new neighborhood calls for weak ties with nearby households, hence they can make up stories if they’re spotted by a neighbor, like pretending to be your relatives, so that they can fool any potential good Samaritans when you’re away from your house.
With that being said, build healthy relationships among your neighbors. A good start would be saying “hi” when you see them. Aside from earning friendships, you can rely on these people when you need someone to look after your house while you’re out for a vacation or a business trip.
Adopt a Dog
According to research, more than half of burglars admitted that they’d reject the idea of breaking into a house that has a dog. If you’re a pet lover, you can use your dogs for security purposes. The thing is, owning a dog is an investment that requires you to pay for its purchase and registration. Not to mention all the ongoing costs. If you’re on a budget, you might opt to foster a dog as a budget-friendly option.
Typically, rescue organizations cover all the costs of veterinary care. Sounds interesting, right? Aside from doing a good deed to animals, you are also doing yourself a favor by having a security team that consists of your alertness and your adorable dog.
Or Pretend You Have One
If fostering a dog is a far-fetched option on your end, you can still be an effective scarer of burglars by putting some cheap “Beware of Dog” signs outside your house. The art of deception still works and when these home-intruders attempt to get inside your house, they will not push through with their plan once they see this worrisome sign. It works best when thieves have fear or trauma of dogs.
Lesson learned: there are options always, just use your common sense so you won’t be forced to break your savings account in buying security equipment or a real dog to guard you and your house.
Conceal Your Valuables
The top things that interest burglars are cash, jewelry, and gadgets (among others). That said, hide your hard-earned valuables, preferably in a safe with a security code where a thief can’t find them. Also, don’t put your safe in obvious areas like drawers or under your bed because these spots are the first places expert thieves will look.
A small safe, at around $100, is worth your savings and your safety too, so start setting a budget now for a sturdy lockbox to conceal your precious items. Never let anyone destroy your fruits of labor. These people don’t have the right to ruin your happiness and sanity; just be cautious.
Rent Out Your Driveway Space
Burglars have designed strategies to make their missions easier and more successful. They know the best time to break into homes: when nobody is around, bonus if the entire family is away for an out of town trip. So, if you’re planning to pursue a holiday vacation or a business trip, have a friend or a neighbor park in your driveway or consider renting it out to those who are in dire need of a parking space.
This brilliant idea will give the thieves an illusion that owners of the house are present. Did we mention that you also earn extra bucks for this security plan? Wins all around.
Secure Sliding Glass Doors
Apparently, sliding glass doors are eye candy to thieves since they make the job of burglarizing easier than other types of doors. If you have a sliding glass door(s) in your home, secure it by inserting a wooden dowel in the track. This security application will make opening your glass door more difficult for any intruder. Another good thing about this dowel is that it’s affordable.
Now, ensuring your house’s equipment and your safety is no longer an option, it’s a necessity that won’t break your budget. Want other security options? Check out our favorite of the tips that are sure to keep you sane and your house safe!
Don’t Announce Your Vacation Plans On Your Social Media Accounts
A study reveals that almost 80% of burglars utilize social media to study the routine and activities of their targets. This allows them to create their stealing strategies easier. If you’re the type of Facebook user who’s fond of posting all your activities day in and day out, please stop. Do yourself a favor and save your personal events to yourself.
Don’t feed these criminals with the necessary information about your lifestyle, making it simpler for them to break into your house. As such, refrain from announcing any vacation plans so as not to give them any hint of your whereabouts. Sharing personal contact details and even your birth date publicly can give mail thieves an in to steal your identity. Amp up your privacy settings and don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know in person.
Close The Blinds or Curtains
One Australian study shows that 29% of thieves revealed they picked a specific house because its owners left their valuables in plain sight. No matter how busy you are, take time in closing your blinds or curtains, especially when you’ll be gone for a while. Leaving a clear, attractive view of your living room (thanks to your glass windows with blinds up) is an automatic invitation to housebreaking.
Sometimes, we can only blame ourselves for being careless, even on little things like closing the curtains. That’s why we have to do our part and protect our property; an investment made from our hard work and big dreams.
Put Your Spare Keys In a Safe Place
Hiding your key under your mat is a popular strategy that most homeowners apply when they leave the house. In the aim of concealing it, they are giving easy access to burglars instead. If you want to prevent these criminals from breaking in, choose a strategic place to hide your spare keys where they cannot be found by thieves.
Almost 11% of burglars said they have successfully robbed somebody’s house because keys were recklessly hidden (per an Australian study). Don’t be too generous folks, prioritize your safety and apply logical thinking (always!), otherwise, you’ll find yourselves on a burglar’s Christmas list.
Don’t organize the mess of your kids
Having kids in the house means chaos and mess. This reality can cause you headaches and frustrations but hey, these adorable children can serve as your barrier from burglars who target your house. What we’re trying to say is, you don’t have to pick up after your kids. Don’t feel guilty with the pretty chaos that they leave after play or a sibling fight. Let their toys sit on the front lawn.
Why? Signs of a greater number of people living in a home is a red flag for burglars, especially if they’re operating a one-man show. He wouldn’t risk himself battling with a lot of people in the house in case he gets caught.
Secure your ladders
Most thieves prefer to enter a house through the ground floor level for their comfort and convenience while others opt to gain access via the second or third floor. If you reside in a two or three-story house and you have ladders, make sure they’re kept in a secure place.
Such equipment is an accessory to the crime that’s why it’s a must to lock up your ladders to prevent thieves from gaining more entry points. It’s not a good idea to offer them these items to steal your valuables, is it? We’ve got more effective tips guys, keep reading!
Install a Driveway Alarm
If your house is built away from the main road, it creates an invitation to burglars due to its lack of visibility. Aside from placing security warning signs on the driveway or installing a camera, it is also suggested to install a driveway alarm.
Buying one will only cost you $20 and the fact that it alarms you when someone is approaching your property is such a great help to identify whether your guests are invited or not. This is one of the most incredible tips that we’ve read and we’re sure you feel the same. $20 for your safety is a great deal!
Arrange a Free Home Security Inspection
Burglars become invisible when they see police officers and other officials in your area. Obviously, they don’t want to be caught and locked up in prison. As such, you can request local police to conduct a brief security check in your house. This will help you identify the weak security points in your home and you can score safety tips from them to make sure your property remains burglar-free.
Moreover, when thieves spot a police officer in your house, they will have the impression that law enforcement is in order in your place and that they should abort their mission. Sounds amazing!