A break-in is putting it mildly. The burglar who chose our house two weeks ago KICKED-IN, breaking our door in half. We had our alarm on when the criminal came in. And while the police were there within a few minutes, the scum bag squeaked in enough time to break a lamp, gouge our hardwood floors, destroy a beautiful door, and escape with both of our Mac laptops and their chargers. He also decided to poke around in my panty hose and spanx drawer and a few closets.
Since the incident, everyone keeps asking me how I feel about it: Did I feel violated?
No. I don’t at all. Violated is too strong a word for how I feel. What I do feel is VULNERABLE.
And that is a far cry from invincible, which I guess I didn’t realize is how I used to feel.
You see, sometimes you don’t realize you feel invincible or immune. I didn’t think I felt immune to this sort of thing ever happening, but it never happened to me before so that was enough to keep the reality of it totally out of my realm of possibility. It’s hard to articulate. But I am sharing this for 1 reason, to maybe help you fortify against this in your home/neighborhoods.
TIPS FOR SAFE GUARDING AGAINST BURGLARIES
1) Always set your alarm. Always. I was the last to leave that morning and I did set it. I have hesitated out of pure laziness before, but it’s ALWAYS set. Now, even when we’re in the house just hanging out, we’re going to set it.
2) Give your alarm company a close neighbor’s phone number (SOMEONE WHO WORKS FROM HOME OR IS HOME ALMOST ALL DAY) … when you’re out of town or in general. Most of our neighbors are stay-at-homes or work-at-homes and if ADT had called one of them at 10:06 (like they called us and we didn’t answer), our neighbor could’ve maybe done something to catch the suspect for the police or to have scared the criminal off without taking anything. Instead, we didn’t answer our phones, so ADT dispatched the police and they showed up just a little too late … the crook was gone. No witnesses. (Fortunately, there were lots of clues!)
3) Don’t keep valuables in plain sight, if you can avoid it. My laptop might as well have been sitting on the backdoor steps waiting for the guy with a red ribbon and note saying, “TAKE ME!” It was literally the first thing the guy prob saw when he kicked in the door and looked to his left and into the house.
4) Don’t keep valuables in the top drawers. Apparently, burglars are most likely to look in top drawers and night stands for valuables. Get creative when organizing … I know it’s a bit paranoid, but a fellow Little Rock woman who I met on a crime watch site after our breakin told me the person who broke in at her house only opened the top drawers, and she lost thousands of dollars in jewels.
5) Don’t be so obvious. If you can’t hide jewelry and guns in a gun safe or similar – something they really aren’t going to be able to get into or take – you need to get creative. Where is the last place a burglar would look for your jewels? Where is the last place they’d look for electronics?
6) Be aware of who and what is in your neighborhood. Watch out for your neighbors and help them. We have the best neighbors in the whole world. They are always keeping us and each other in the loop about car break-ins, suspicious activities and people … they’re very alert and aware. We’re going to be too going forward!
7) Don’t take your home’s location for granted. Just b/c you’re in a nice neighborhood, doesn’t mean you’re exempt. In fact, you’re more likely than those who are in worse neighborhoods.
8) Fortify. Walk the perimeter of your home. What are the easiest points of access for burglars? Where would they most likely choose to come in at based on not being seen by neighbors or you? Do you have alarm signs out in prominent places. We have 3 ADT signs in our yard. So, that clearly wasn’t enough. We’ll be adding video cameras, signs that we have video cameras and probably getting a new garage door. No more carport. We lock our gates … we don’t do hide-a-keys. And again, the ALARM is always set and the gun always loaded.
Have you ever been burglarized?
Do you have tips to share?
I have never been burglarized (thank God), but I did have a police officer come out to our house one night when I was hearing loud banging outside. He told me to make sure all the door locks (the female part) has 2 inch screws to secure it in. It makes it a little bit harder for them to get the door open sometimes. Also- make sure to not have any heavy objects by a point of entry that they can use to smash the window or door in with. Also- lighting is important, and even if you don’t have an alarm system get a little sign that says you do if you can!
I can’t believe that happened to you! It’s good that you weren’t home!
Good tips! Thanks! Our ADT security advisor is coming to the house today to REINFORCE our system and secure our home 5X better than before. We’re taking this very seriously. So many people don’t, and really should.
1. TURN ON YOUR LIGHTS/install motion lights. That is the first thing the cops will tell you. Criminals are more likely to go to a house where they can’t be seen if a neighbor looks out the window or a car drives by at night. If it’s lit up like Christmas they probably won’t want to risk it. 2. Cut back your bushes… they are good hiding spots for someone on foot. 3. Don’t leave trash cans, etc. near any windows. If there is something leaning against your house that can be climbed to get to a window, they will be climbed to get to that window. 4. Use “beware of dog” signs. 5. Take any mismatched security stickers off of your house and replace them (on EVERY window/door) with the security system you do have. And use yard signs. 6. Chain/use locks on your gates.
Michelle Howard with LRPD came to my house and told me all of these things. She said the more work someone would have to do to get into your house the least likely they are to target you. So don’t give them easy access by leaving gates unlocked, stacking stuff outside your house for them to use to gain access, etc. These are all the things you can do for little to no money… If you are willing to spend some moola – steel frame doors are a good option! Sorry about your hizzle. I know the feeling x 2! 😦 And if only Clair would have driven by about 6 minutes later………………
Also, I called ADT and asked them to send me more signs and stickers and they sent me A TON for free. Just FYI.
The ADT guy is headed to our house TONIGHT! Great tips. We still need to replace our door … I will be looking into the steel frame doors. Interesting…
Also, consider installing “Prey” or “Hidden” on your laptops. If they are ever stolen, you can activate the software remotely and it records keystrokes, takes a secret photo with the webcam when logged on, takes screenshots, and records the IP address when it pings a wifi tower.
WOW! Wish we had done this before the break-in. Thanks for the tip. Doing that tonight when we get home.
That is an awesome tip for laptops! Never heard of it before, but it is good to know!
Wowowow….I think they used a lot of force to break in. I am glad you were NOT at home. Good tips ! ! ! Glad nobody was hurt. What kind of door instead of wood – steel? And then it would be a window instead.
I”m so sorry this happened to you! Like you said, probably the worst part is how vulnerable you feel afterwards. I’m glad you and your family are safe and that you are thinking about how to make positive changes!
Vulnerable is the perfect world. If it’s done one time, it can happen again. I also felt betrayed when I experienced something like this. It can happen but you can always take precautions. Sigh.
You’ve made some very good points about break-ins. First thing I did in my home was go get rid of all doors with half glass. Yes, I would rather have the light coming in but…
Back in 2009, I moved in with my boyfriend in his house. One day when I was getting out of the shower, I heard our back screen door click. I yelled “Hi Honey” – – no answer. I said it again, then I heard another click as the back screen door closed. Someone had entered our home and I was just standing around the corner bare naked. That scared the heck out of me and when my boyfriend arrived home from work, I told him to check the house. Never do I leave the doors open without locking the screens. You only have to have something happen to you once before it scares the life out of you. I am sorry that your house was broken into. It is not a good feeling at all. Also, BIG BIG BIG TIP if anyone breaks in while you are home….. keep a can of hornet/wasp spray by your doors on the counter. This “IS” your “WEAPON”. It shoots 20 feet and it blinds your intruder when they are shot in the face with it. Time for you to get away, or call the police. If they drop to the ground, you can at least beat them up (cause that is what I would want to do) or if you had a chance, to tie them up and await the cops arrival.
I’m so sorry to hear someone broke into your home. Sending lots of positive thoughts your way!
Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about that 😦 Glad you weren’t personally harmed though!
The number of home burglaries traditionally spike in the summer months. Light timers and Fake TV are excellent solutions to deter burglars. Also, playing anti-theft home occupancy sounds MP3 or a CD (sells on Amazon or at http://www.webensource.com/burglar_deterrent_cd/ ) in home while away is a great way to trick burglar that someone is in.
Oooooh wow!!!! Never heard of the sounds! Cool. Thank you!!!