monday started off good, but then tuesday afternoon rolled around and i got called around 3p to hear les say that our house got robbed. wonderful news on top of everything else going on lately. everyone is safe, but the house is thrashed as these hoodlums emptied dressers and closets looking for goodies. since we’re pretty modest, we don’t really have a lot of expensive stuff. furthermore, a lot of our stuff was already packed in the garage because we’ve been staging the house for sale. the single most expensive thing missing is my digital slr camera, 3 lenses and the camcorder, which was all conveniently packaged in my camera bag. bummer. they did leave behind a laptop and my exchange server. i suppose it was a smash-and-grab job so maybe their hands were full already.
our homeowners insurance will take care of some things like the camera, the wife’s purses and jewelry, but the toughest part to deal with is the violation factor that strangers were in our house and going through our stuff. they left behind some tools and i think some house keys, although they’re pr0bably useless clues as to who did it. they came in through a back window they had busted open. we’re usually good about locking the windows and doors before leaving.
as i thought about it, some of these things may have helped:
- leaving a car parked in the driveway, even an older one. since we normally park our cars inside the garage, it’s hard to tell if we’re home or not unless you look in. lately, since our garage is full of our stuff, we’ve been parking in the driveway and so it’s obvious when we’re home and not.
- Â having a working alarm system. the house came with an older alarm system but we never hooked it up. the thieves still tried to disable it because the alarm box inside was all torn apart. it shows that they’re worried about it. we had an adt alarm system at our old condo and it was like $10 a month to operate. the squealing alarm might be enough to discourage actually entering the house, or maybe not giving them a lot of time to go through and grab stuff.
- considering what was taken, i came to the conclusion that they grabbed what was small and most available. for example, they still missed a few things that were “one layer deep” meaning not right out on a countertop or something. considering they probably were there 5 mins at the most, they’re not going to dig deep. if you have some valuables, put them a couple layers deep in a container in the closet. for really valuable things, something like this would be unbeatable. never would a house burglar go through every can of food you have in your pantry to find it.
- keep good records of your purchases and things. i can already tell i’m going to have to fight to get our stuff reimbursed properly from the insurance company. i kept some of the camera paperwork and things, but i don’t have the physical receipts at the ready to show the claims adjuster. scan the receipts and post them to a flickr account or email them to yourself. that way, they’ll always be there.
considering what i do, i can say that it’s almost easier to keep out digital thieves with the use of firewalls and encryption, compared to keeping people outside of your house. no matter what sort of security you have in your home (alarm, security cameras, window locks), it would not have stopped what happened in my house yesterday. the police take some time to get there if the alarm were to go off, they probably wore a hat or hoodie and they can bust through a window if necessary to get in.
my last thought would be to say just save your money and don’t get really nice stuff at your house – or at least don’t get really attached to it. keep your really sentimental and irreplaceable stuff in a safe inside the house or a safe deposit box at the bank.