I am sure as you read the headline above the expression on your face is very similar to the expression of the woman in the photograph above. If "that don't make no sense" had a facial expression, this would be it. But there is a very serious side to this seemingly whimsical tale.

Picture this scenario, you're about to take a step out of your front door and right there on your porch, someone has spilled a can of beans. I would imagine for most of us the reaction would be slightly stronger than "jinkies", a phrase made popular by Scooby Doo's Velma Dinkley. But just as in the popular detective cartoon those beans are more than a mess. Those beans are actually a clue.

According to law enforcement officials from around the country and around the world for that matter, strange messes that suddenly appear out of nowhere on your front porch, patio, or under your carport may be a sign that you are being watched.

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The tactic of spilling beans, leaving trash, placing a coin on the threshold are all tactics used by burglars to see if someone is home. Think about it, if you had a can of bean spilled on your porch you'd clean it up fairly quickly. However, if you weren't home the mess would remain leaving would be bad guys a message that your place is unoccupied and primed for a crime.

A recent post on Facebook out of the UK suggested that burglars don't just spill the beans to identify their targets. They will use any item that can't easily be washed away or removed by nature. In other words, a human being or in my case a hungry dog would have to come along and remove the mess.

Burglars look for the path of least resistance. An unoccupied dwelling is a perfect place to commit a crime. They look for other signs too like an overstuffed mailbox or newspapers that haven't been retrieved for several days. Also, an unkempt lawn or minimal outside lighting can be seen as an invitation for uninvited bad guys.

Police agencies are always preaching vigilance. That means you need to pay attention to not only what's happening at your house but at your neighbor's homes too. Are there strange vehicles suddenly parking on your street? Are there lights on at a neighbor's house when you know they are out of town?

Attention to little details like this can make a difference between preventing a crime and becoming a victim of a crime. So the next time you see something highly unusual, like a can of beans spilled on your porch just know that by cleaning up that mess you could be preventing an even bigger mess from happening to your family.

Since we're on the subject of things that can seem kind of funny, you might want to consider this.

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