Security and prevention and fight or flight

There are in home and on the street security problems.

I will focus first on home security and home invasion problems.

These are some observations  suggestions from what I have seen and has  happened in my neighborhood, 7 home robberies in the last three years in my immediate area.. I am focusing on the expat style homes.  Maids are also part of the crime scene as they can call their friends to come when the expat leaves for a while. Their friends either enter the house or products are thrown over the wall/fence to their friends.  Boys hanging on the street in groups also watch who come and mostly go in their cars and they know the house is unattended.  So be alert, always.

The best prevention to start off with is to have a night Security Guard. However even the security guards have been compromised in many home invasion robberies and found to work with the criminals.  In my opinion the Security Guard is not much of a deterrent except as a witness to  problem or in between hour long naps at night can deter the borderline individual and the "honest" criminal from entering the property.

Locks on doors and widows that are secure by key or double bolt is weak security (like a four digit code1.2.3.4). You need a crossbar across the widows and doors and hand locks up and down the widows and doors- all old style but very secure.

Good to have bright lights all around your property at night and security cameras.
Good guard dogs can be a first alert if you are sleeping.
Cement walls with barb wire on top of glass shards and widows covered with rebar.
All of which becomes close to useless for the crooks wait for rains and the noise of the rains that block out the intruders actions and thus electric is turned off by jiro or the crooks and dogs are feed beef laced with poison, barb wire clipped and blanket thrown on top and rebar quickly cut for access to the interior of the house.

Expats owning guns is an issue and has been mentioned that the shotgun can be legal for hunting so that means hand guns are illegal though I was introduced to an arms merchant that wanted to sell me a pistol for $900 dollars without any bullets.  The pistol was crap and looked handmade and thought it might explode in my hand.
Best you build your own one shot slam gun for $30 but you need to find the bullets first,- Slam gun instructions can be found on you tube and built in 4 hours.

Build a extra security door to your sleeping quarters. The noise of them trying to break in will put you in the fight position rather than woken up with a knife or gun to your head.

Water guns can be filled with toxic sprays from acids to  red chili seeds boiled in water and filtered down to pure spicy hot water to provide a spray similar to mace and directed  to their eyes, and even wasp spray found in the market can shoot about 10 feet to slow down the criminal.

spears can be made from grinded down rebar to a point and knifes and machetes are a given. 
A practiced escape route for the family perhaps on the roof,  is also important especially when the attack is by 7 or more men/boys.

If you hear a weird noises and activities outside your door---Do Not Open Your Door and Think you will go outside- you will be overpowered. 

Have several whistles or a noise machine and alert the neighborhood, keep the police number on your phone, call and hope this is the evening they are in the mood to take action and be prepared to pay for what they say is their gasoline. 

What else?

This is--- What else?

Very important for English Speakers such as Americans, British, Aussies, South Africans ..etc to speak in English in your first encounters with Malagasy even if you know French- such as tourists and ex pats to let the community know who you are< Not French>. Reason being is that you want to separate yourself from the French community. The Malagasy Community in general do not like French people because of the French Attitude treating Malagasy as "Dogs"  Not my expression but a Malagasy expression which is about as bad as saying you are under my foot.  The Malagasy people do not like this attitude that the French project that they are superior with "delusions of  Grandeur & Glandur" towards the Malagasy girls.   Not good to mess around with young girls and acting as a sexual tourist/expats and Malagasy Men do not like this dishonest action.
All attacks in my area are with French ex pats except one Merina which is considered a hostile tribe in the Sakalava tribe part of the island but they do have money.  They all had cement walls Barb wire and bars on the windows and dogs.
I do not have barb wire on my short walls nor steel wire ( rebar) on my windows as I am not in a self imposed prison. I do have a close connection with the community, contribute my dues to the president of the neighborhood and say hello to all I meet  and if they know me I speak in Malagasy, If they are new to me I first speak in English even though they will try French--- Bonjour then I say I am not French I am an American and proceed to speak in polite Malagasy to show respect. 

Is my system perfect---Maybe not, but I have not had any problems in my 15 years here and that counts for something.   

It is very important that English speaking citizens separate themselves from the French ex pats and their colonial  influence in Madagascar. The French are the main reason that the Malagasy have been driven into poverty at the number around 85 to 90%, examine the last Coup d' etate for example , 8 years ago.   All for the sake of big business and threaten external influence from Germany and China and USA in the form of a free market, but the local French expats who live here on their small pensions ( 500 to 1200 euros per month) act like big fish in a small pond.  In  my 15 years here I can say most are like this but certainly not all.
The French are murdered in their beds, on the beaches and poisoned by girlfriends. And when the French go back to France for what ever reason,  their Malagasy girlfriends have no respect for their French boyfriends which are at times 30 and 40 years age difference, the Malagasy girls take on Malagasy boyfriends--a sick relationship. My Malagasy sister in law who went for the money at 18 years old has a French Boyfriend of 70 years old.  French are considered butterflies which means they will ask for another girls phone number in front of their girlfriend on the street. It happen to me more than once and I was there when these butterflies did this action to my wife- My wife and I both wear rings of marriage for 14 years.
You can see why the French men have a bad reputation.   

So protect yourself from these internal hostile aggression and present yourself as an English speaking culture and that you have no ties to the colonization of Madagascar that continues to this day.

The Malagasy people do respect the English speaking culture in this country ( we try to learn the language and customs) and English speaking cultures  will be like a breath of fresh air from the hostile forces of the French community who have live here for 20 pus years and make no attempt to learn the Malagasy language but expect the Malagasy to knell to their language and customs.
From this you can see the violent under current actions towards the French in the dark of night.

Speak English and learn the local language and dialect for best relationships with the Malagasy people and respect their customs and culture. Malagasy have much to teach us............................And you will live in Madagascar in a more secure and safe environment.

Two new attacks that did not make the tv or radio news and in my neighborhood here.  I got the news from two different  very young Malagasy wife of  old Frenchmen who were waiting for their children at college french  and their houses that were attacked were a  1/4 mile from College French  and President Neighborhood and a small police area <---all next to each other.

Still, 7 men with masks went into protected tall cement walls. One last Sunday night where they held the guardian and broke open the door and took the family hostage till they cleaned the place out at 2 am in the morning.

Second incident. Also at 2 am on Monday night.  The live in maid opened the door to let the crooks in and the crooks  took the owners gun, money and all electronics, TV, etc.  and their large dog which as the story was told they tried to sell the next day for $400 ( somewhere???--not really clear).   Also the live in  maid had visited her family on Sunday and she was accosted by men who as she said asked her to give all information about the house and what was inside. When she said she did not want to talk she was given electric shocks to her body and made to talk. 

Another robbery in the area to a Malagasy Guardian who is there in a hut to protect the land. He had a fight with his wife, they split sheets and since there was no one around in day, as the story goes someone broke in to his house in day and took all his pots and rice by breaking into the window.   This was last week and property just opposite mine. Found this out today as he was filing a report today with President Neighborhood. 

Crooks are at large as far as I know so nights will be restless for me for a while now--- very early to bed and very early to rise.  Not a big deal for me as I am a early riser anyway and enjoy the quiet and cool of the night.   

What are the stories in your neck of the woods.

I'm Australian and spent a month recently in Mada with my Malagasy wife- I wanted to get a Tshirt that said "I'm not French!" - I so picked up on the bad feeling towards French and loathed the sight of horrible old men with young Malagasy women - and could see that Malagasy people appreciated the respect I showed them and my preference for learning and speaking Malagasy rather than French, even though that would have been easier.

Beautiful country (although sadly degraded) and beautiful people - rich in spirit if not financially - would love to contribute to the country sometime in the future-

An update as of today on the news for my neighborhood, Ambondrona in Mahajanga-an upper scale neighborhood is under red alert. People have to be in their homes before 8:30 at night and if you are on the street you need your identity card or risk being thrown in jail.
I also heard the other day that there was at least 17 attacks at night but I think there is more for many fear making their name known or their situation.

Absolutely right! Please people, take this seriously!

Nothing happened to me either during the 11 years I lived in Mahajanga and had a company,
but your stories are very typical: Even if the guard or housemaid are absolutely loyal - when they are  threatened at knife- or gun-point them to kill them or their family, they will tell the bandits all they know. Wouldn't you?

I am really shocked to read this, but not astonished at all, and it confirms my decision to leave - although it almost broke my heart.

PS: I lived in Mahajanga all the 11 years and had many friends from the University of Ambondrona.
I was there during the time when there was the riot (always politically stirred up)  and 13 students were shot. I visited them in hospital and brought them credits for their phone and fruit.

If this continues, the Malagasy from Mahajanga might use their typical weapon to defend themselves: Andriamasom-pokonola (young men of the quarter will act as watch-guards, during the night, they will be paid and fed by the neighbors. Everybody who enters the quarter and is not known to them or has no ID, will be fixed. If they find a bandit "in flagranti", all people will come out of their houses and beat the guy so that he flees to the Police.

Once when insecurity became too much in Mahajanga, they caught a thief and put a nail into his head with a hammer. Thereafter everything was quiet for months. The guy did not survive.

Beware of the Malagasy when their tolerance is overdriven - these patient, obviously totally passive people can become extremely violent - they even attack Police stations with a crowd to force them to deliver bandits to them to apply "La Justice du Peuple" which they will not survive (and no corruption can free them...).

As I revisited this thread I see Salsera has posted comments in August at a time when I was in the USA.  Salsera comments are all true and to the point.  These last few weeks around the holidays there has been extra break ins in the Area around College Francaise in Mahajanga.  Many of us who have security, still need to stay vigilant and awake at night especially when it rains.  Two punks were around my gate and when they saw me around midnight they went off.  I did hear about an hour later whistles sound not far away.  My security had the night off because he wanted to go to seaside with his family.
There have been attempts to have night time security  by  hiring extra security but that falls short from lack of organization.  The police have patrolled for a couple of nights, but only on foot because they don't have transport.  It appears at this time that the criminals are better equipped than the police. 

It is so true that the community is tired of criminals,( dahalo or mafia) and are killing them more when caught these days, even though the police and politicians say do not do this.  The people are frustrated by the fact then when these criminals go in front of the courts they are released after a short time in jail, maybe a month or three and then to be recaptured again and shown on T V.

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