My house was robbed a few weeks ago. When we came home in the evening we found our house ransacked from top to bottom. Nearly every inch of the place was turned over – anything of value was stolen, and it left us with an uneasiness of what we thought was a safe neighborhood. Today, let’s talk about some ways that you can help from being robbed. We made a lot of mistakes, and I believe anyone can learn from them.
Keep Your Windows Locked
While this might seem like a no-brainer, it’s so easy to forget to keep your windows latched, especially when the weather is nice. We’d left ours open so our cat (Benedict Cumbercat) could lounge on the window sill and feel the wind in the afternoons. This was a big mistake. The robbers easily popped off the screen, lifted the window and crept in unnoticed.
Home Security Systems that Use the Internet
While I won’t go into details on the brand we used, we purchased an in-home security system that you monitor with your phone. If motion is detected, it sends an alert to your phone, and you can check what’s going on. About 99% of the time, it’s the cat or a shadow created by a nearby tree, but that 1% of the time can make all of the difference. Unfortunately, the first thing our robbers did when they entered the property was cut the internet cord, which meant that my home security system was blind and useless. They cut the internet before moving into the view of the cameras. To add insult to injury, they stole the security system – a great example of situational irony.
While I thought I’d save a few bucks with a self-monitored system, it ended up costing me more in the end. There are some options for security systems that don’t require your internet service to work, and instead use nearby cellular towers. I also learned that if you’re going to have a security system that runs off the internet, don’t have the modem sitting out in plain sight.
Storing Valuable Items: The Power of IKEA
When the robbers ransacked our house, they were meticulous about it. They looked through every cabinet and drawer, every nook and cranny – they even searched in sewing kits and each of the Russian dolls sitting on our bookshelf. I was amazed at the places they overturned. They thought of secret hiding places I would have never dreamed of hiding things.
Before this happened, I figured that my computer would be safe beneath my bed. But they probably found that in the first five minutes. If you’re going to put a contingency plan in place – in the event that someone breaks into your house – make sure you have hiding places that can even stump the most experienced thief. Having a safe that’s bolted into the floor would be a better option than sticking your prized possessions in the back of an underwear drawer.
The only thing that our robbers didn’t get into was our IKEA couch, which has an unusual compartment hidden inside. The cushion compartment had hinges on one end, which most people would never know how to open (unless they spent the better part of a weekend assembling it and cursing). Unfortunately, we’d only stored blankets in there, but now we consider it one of our safest spots in the house.
The Dummy with the Dummy Camera
I planned to buy a security camera to go on the outside of my house, but while I was still weighing my options for which one to purchase, I settled on a temporary fake camera that would go on the front and back porches. It looked real enough, but it didn’t actually have any of the practical perks of a security camera, like capturing video. So sure enough, it didn’t capture any of our robbers in action. In the future, if you’re going to threaten potential threats with a camera, be able to back it up. And if you do decide to install a camera, make sure that the video being recorded is in a safe spot.
A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words
Now that we’ve been robbed, we’re going through the exciting process of working with the insurance company. Before they will reimburse us for our losses, they request some proof that we actually owned the items that were stolen. We didn’t take photos of anything that was stolen – not the television, the computers, the four pairs of men’s Jockey underwear – none of it. And sure, we can look up receipts and credit card statements, but it would have been easier if we just said, “Here are pictures of the 20 things that were taken.” It’s sure to save you a headache in the end.
Cleaning Up and Moving Forward
Being robbed is, as I’m sure you can imagine, a horrible feeling. But in reality, it does happen. In fact, in the U.S. alone, a burglary is happening every eight seconds. Give yourself peace of mind by being prepared for the worst. Use these tips to make you and your family all the safer.
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