Recent Burglary Attempt at The Cloister

A Burglar has little chance at The Cloister

A Burglar has little chance at The Cloister

Nashville Police arrested a 35 year old man who attempted to burglarize one of our Cloister homes.

In this case a caregiver across the street from the victim’s home noticed the stranger entering the home, the police were called and arrived almost immediately. They discovered a man inside the home who claimed he was the grandson of the homeowner who had left the home on an errand. The burglar was arrested along with a pillowcase stuffed with various valuables belonging to the homeowner. The Cloister is such a close knit community that the burglar had virtually no chance of success. I get the impression that residents know everything happening at The Cloister. And when I listen to my wife’s conversations with our neighbors I am certain that all is noticed in the neighborhood.


There are some actions we can take to improve our safety and security. Here is a list of some things that can be done.


  • Keep all doors and windows closed and securely fastened, including garage doors. An open window or door is an open invitation for burglars. Thieves are also quick to spot weak locks that may be easily forced open.
  • Doors should have deadbolt locks with a one-inch throw and reinforced strike plate with three-inch screws. All windows should have window locks.
  • Secure sliding glass doors. Place a metal rod or piece of plywood in the track and install vertical bolts. These will help prevent burglars from forcing the door open or lifting it off the track.
  • Always lock the door to an attached garage. Don’t rely on your automatic garage door opener for security. Update locks if necessary.
  • Burglar alarms – Not necessarily a deterrent for the “professional”, but more for peace of mind. Can reduce the amount of time thieves are in your home, and help to notify the police of a problem.
  • Keep shrubbery trimmed away from entrances and walkways. While large, ornate hedges may be beautiful, they also provide a hiding place for burglars who need only a minute to break in through a window or door.
  • Secure your valuables in a home safe or lock box.
  • Photograph your valuables and log their serial numbers.
  • Apply a personal identification number such as your driver’s license number on your valuables by engraving or with a permanent marker.
  • Lights with motion sensors are a great way to keep the perimeter of your home well lit.
  • When vacationing, create the illusion that you are home by using timers on lights, radios and TV’s.Making your residence appear occupied, even when no one is home, will deter criminals.

Vehicle Checklist

  • Always Lock it, Lock it, Lock it!!!
  • Roll up windows.Leave in a well-lit area.
  • Do not leave valuables in the car! Especially cell phones, GPS units, satellite radios, money, purses, and laptops

When you see something that looks suspicious call the police immediately.

We may not be prepared to act on all of these suggestions but even one or two might improve our security.



Stand your ground lawTennessee’s Stand Your Ground Law is similar to Florida’s where the Zimmerman trial was held. This information may be of interest to those Cloister neighbors who keep, or are considering, firearms in their home for self-protection.

Friday, April 20, 2012

“Self-defense is the clearest of all laws, and for this reason: lawyers didn’t make it.”

~ Douglas William Jerrold, English writer and playwright (1803-1857)

On April 11, a special prosecutor charged 28-year-old George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Florida, with second degree murder for the February 26 and killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

The 7-week-delay in charging Zimmerman with murder was primarily due to the initial determination by local law enforcement that Zimmerman’s actions fell under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law – which allows people to use deadly force anywhere they feel a reasonable threat of death or serious injury. The special prosecutor determined that the facts of the case caused Florida’s Stand Your Ground law not to apply. (The Governor’s appointed Special Prosecutor tried the case in Sanford near Orlando )

The Hendersonville Standard is a once a week community newspaper serving Hendersonville, Tennessee. This is what they say…..

Tennessee also has a “Stand Your Ground” law. The Tennessee Legislature passed a version of such law in 2007. Part 1 of this column discussed the creation and passage of the law. Part 2 takes a look at the language and operation of the law.

Q.        What exactly does Tennessee’s Stand Your Ground law say and mean?

First, the words “stand your ground” do not actually appear in the law, which is simply titled “Self-defense” as it appears at Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-11-611.

Until the passage of Tennessee’s “Stand Your Ground” law in 2007, state law historically required that persons who were legally at home must not use deadly force on an illegal intruder if he or she could safely retreat.

As of 2007, Tennessee’s “Self-defense” law now expressly states as follows:

  • A person who is not engaged in unlawful activity, and
  • Who is in a place where the person has a right to be,
  • Legally has no duty to retreat before threatening or using force against another person
  • When and to the degree the person reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful force.”

Q.        Does the law have a special provision in the case of forced entry into a residence, business, dwelling or vehicle?

Yes.  Tennessee’s “Stand Your Ground” law also says:

  • An occupant of a residence, business, dwelling, or vehicle is legally protected
  • And is allowed to use force intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily injury
  • Against another person who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence, business, dwelling or vehicle
  • When the person using defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred.

The law states that the person who is using defensive force in such a situation “is presumed to have held a reasonable belief of imminent death or serious bodily injury.”

The law also expands the physical areas where the law applies:

  • The term “business” includes the interior and exterior of the business.
  • The term “dwelling” means a building or conveyance of any kind that is designed for an capable of use by people, such as an “RV” (recreational vehicle used for camping or travel lodging), and any attached porch to a building or conveyance.
  • The term “residence” also includes any dwelling, building or other structure within the yard, or “curtilage” of the residence. (“Curtilage” means “the area surrounding a dwelling that is necessary, convenient and habitually used for family purposes and for those activities associated with the sanctity of a person’s home.”)

IMPORTANT NOTE: The law does NOT allow defensive force to be used in several key situations:

  • Against a person who has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, business, residence, or vehicle; or

  • Against a person who is attempting to remove his or her child or grandchild, or who is attempting to remove a child for whom he or she has lawful custody or guardianship; or

  • Against a law enforcement officer who enters or attempts to enter a dwelling, business, residence, or vehicle in the performance of the officer’s official duties. James B. (Jim) Hawkins is a general practice and public interest law attorney based in Gallatin. This column represents legal information, and is not intended to take the place of legal advice.  All cases are different and need individual attention.  Consult with a private attorney of your choice to review the facts and law specific to your case.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -  Officers in South Precinct are contacting all apartment communities to encourage them to start neighborhood watch groups.

Officers in South Precinct are contacting all apartment communities to encourage them to start neighborhood watch groups.

George Zimmerman was a Coordinator for the community “Neighborhood Watch Program” sponsored by the local Sanford Sheriff’s department. Here’s more about that program.
Neighborhood Watch Program

Most of us will never need to know this but…..What To Do If Stopped By Police

ACLUThe Police does not stop someone to present them a “Safe Driver” award. Dealing with the Police is a serious matter and whatever is said can possibly cause problems. I recently came across this interesting and potentially useful information.


1. What you say to the police is always important. Everything you say can be used against you.

2. You have the right not to speak. To exercise this right, you should tell the police, “I would like to remain silent.”

3. You never have to consent to a search of yourself, your belongings, your car or your house. If you do consent to a search, it can affect your rights later in court. If the police say they have a search warrant, ask to see it. If they don’t, say “I do not consent to this search.” Police cannot arrest you simply for refusing to consent to a search. This may not stop the search from happening, but it will protect your rights if you have to go to court.

4. Do not interfere with or obstruct the police—you can be arrested for it.


1. Police may stop and briefly detain you only if there is reasonable suspicion that you committed, are committing or are about to commit a crime.

2. You should ask if you are under arrest or free to leave.

3. In New York, you are not required to carry ID, and you don’t have to show ID to a police officer. If you are issued a summons or arrested, however, and you refuse to produce ID or tell officers who you are, the police may detain you until you can be positively identified.

4. Don’t bad-mouth a police officer or run away, even if you believe what is happening is unreasonable. That could lead to your arrest.

IF YOU ARE STOPPED IN YOUR CAR:police-officer-issues-ticket1

1. Upon request, show the police your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. In certain cases, your car can be searched without a warrant. To protect yourself later, you should state that you do not consent to a search.

2. If you’re suspected of drunk driving (DWI), you will be asked to take a breath-alcohol and coordination test. If you fail the tests, or if you refuse to take them, you will be arrested, your driver’s license may be suspended and your car may be taken away.

3. If you are arrested, your car will be subject to a search.

IF POLICE COME TO YOUR HOME:police in doorway

1. The police can enter your home without your permission if they have a warrant or if it is an emergency. If the police say they have a warrant, ask to see it. Check to make sure the warrant has the correct address.

2. If you are arrested in your home or office, the police can search you and the area immediately surrounding you or where evidence of criminal activity is in plain view.


1. You have the right to remain silent and the right to talk to a lawyer before you talk to the police. Don’t tell the police anything except your name and address. Don’t give any explanations, excuses or stories. You can make your defense later, in court, based on what you and your lawyer decide is best.

2. If you have a lawyer, ask to see your lawyer immediately. If you can’t afford a lawyer, you have the right to a free one once your case goes to court. You can ask the police how to contact a lawyer. Don’t say anything to police without speaking to a lawyer first.

3. Within a reasonable time after your arrest or booking, you should ask the police to contact a family member or friend. If you are permitted to make a phone call, anything you say at the precinct may be recorded or listened to. Never talk about the facts of your case over the telephone.

4. Do not make any decisions in your case or sign any statements until you have talked with a lawyer.


  •  Stay calm and in control of your words, body language and emotions.
  • Don’t get into an argument with the police.
  •  Never bad-mouth a police officer.
  •  Remember, anything you say or do can be used against you.
  •  Keep your hands where the police can see them.
  •  Don’t run.
  •  Don’t touch any police officer.
  •  Don’t resist even if you believe you are innocent.
  •  If you complain at the scene, or tell the police they’re wrong, do so in a non-confrontational way that will not intensify the scene.
  •  Do not make any statements regarding the incident.
  •  If you are arrested, ask for a lawyer immediately.
  • Remember officers’ badge numbers, patrol car numbers and physical descriptions.
  •  Write down everything you remember ASAP.
  • Try to find witnesses and their names and phone numbers.
  • If you are injured, take photos of the injuries as soon as possible, but make sure you get medical attention first. Ask for copies of your medical treatment files.

Source: American Civil Liberties Union