We recently moved from a 3rd floor apartment to a ground floor house. And before any of the neighbors had a chance to introduce themselves, we had a different kind of welcome, we were burglarized. It was the first time either of us had been broken into and it definitely gave us a scare.
We wondered who it was, how they did it and if they were going to come back for more. They really only stole video game equipment and a wireless internet card and overlooked a laptop, a giant flatscreen and didn't even go upstairs. That's why it took us about 24 hours to realize we'd been burglarized. The only tell, at first, was that they let the cat out.
We filed a police report and, miraculously, the police arrested the guys and got back our wireless card. But mainly they gave us piece of mind because we knew that no one was 'casing our house' and we found out how they got in. Um, we hadn't locked the back door.
Turns out it's pretty common for people to ring the doorbell at houses that look like no one is home and when no one answers, they go around to the back to see if they can get in (this is all in broad daylight, btw). Since we had just moved in, we weren't in the habit of double checking the back door.
How to prevent a break in
• Do the obvious - According to WikiHow 2 in 10 burglaries don’t involve force of any kind. Make sure that windows and doors are locked and remove spare keys from their usual “hiding place.”
• Install double key deadbolts: the kind that open with a key on the inside too. This way even if someone gets in, they can't get out with much. UPDATE: keep a key in the lock on the inside when at home so that it isn't a safety issue if there's a fire, etc.
• Keep shades drawn when you're gone. We have a pretty big flatscreen in the room right by the front door so we try not to flash it by keeping the shades drawn just in that room and definitely when we're gone so no one can come and do any window shopping.
• Know your neighbors. Since we're new in the neighborhood we didn't know anyone and no one knew us. Now we know the old man that lives next door (and is home most of the time) and the other neighbors, a nice couple with a baby.
• Motion Sensitive Lights: This helps deter people at night since they can't skulk around in the dark, unnoticed.
• Install an alarm system: or do what the BF wants to do: put fake signs in the yard. But if you're really concerned about a break in, consider getting an alarm system through a place like ADT.
What Have You Done To Prevent Break Ins?
(Image: Ella Mullins Creative Commons License on Flickr)