Monday, February 08, 2010

The Internet And Home Security

A blogger friend of mine said that she and her husband were going on an extended weekend trip somewhere, mid-week! So more like between two extended weekends then? I thought it was a rather funny way of putting it. This coming weekend I myself am going to France to burn up a lot of firewood in the wood-burning stove and just chill out. That would constitute two extended weekends AND the days in between.

Have you noticed how I have not mentioned who this blogger friend is? I have done that out of consideration for her security. One should not let the whole world know when one's house is empty so web-surfing burglars can plan their activities and serve up a surprise for when you return. That seems to be common-sense advice in most people's minds.

However I have a somewhat different situation, living on a NATO base. It is populated by military and attached civilians of various kinds, among them teachers. Security is high, as you might expect, and burglary is almost unheard of. Although the roads actually are German public roads, the armed guards at the gates require you to identify yourself and state the purpose of your visit.

There is a German bus service which terminates here. The front of the bus displays "Hauptquartier", so it is no secret what this funny place is, but every bus passenger has to be questioned by the guard who walks down the aisle checking IDs.

Every time I return to base (ha ha), after having been into Germany proper, I have to produce my special ID or my passport. Sometimes the guard says "Boot 'n bonnet, sir!" Which means I have to personally open and show I am not hiding anything dangerous. Likewise all delivery vans have to be searched for obvious security reasons.

Both German police and British Military Police patrol the area, as well as a security force whose vehicles regularly come down even the smallest side street. So we should be able to feel extra safe and protected. Therefore I don't mind mentioning that I am going away, being under the protection of armed guards!

So even if you should forget to close your front door properly, the only real concern would be stray animals having taken up residence in your house while you've been out.



oreneta said...

There are advantages.

I would love to see the look on my face if someone tossed boot 'n bonnet at me. NO idea what that would be without a quick accent based review....a telling pause, no?

Anonymous said...

I hope you have a good stay in France with no "Boot n bonnet,sir"
check points. Very interesting post, Expats! :) The Bach

Lynda said...

The whole time my sister was here over xmas, she constantly updated her Facebook page... telling all and sundry what she was doing..much to the horror of her security conscious husband. He was convinced they would return home to an empty house... they didn't, but he had a good point.

Protege said...

A great post.;) I bet you live in avery interesting part of Europe and have a cottage in the most beautiful pat as well.;) All I can say I am envy.;)
Enjoy your *chilling*.;)

swenglishexpat said...

Oreneta - No footwear or headgear, no shoe bomb or machine gun in your turban! ;-) But "hood" and "trunk(s)" might be misunderstood as well. :-0

Bachelor - Thanks, just the neighbours keeping an eye out.

Lynda - Facebook? Scary!

Protege - Thanks, chilling yes, but mot as in "freezing"! ;-)