It’s never a good thing while traveling to get a call from your local police.
That is the call I got last night. The police asking if I’d please return their call. And yes, it meant what I am sure many of you are guessing. My house had been broken into.
I am glad to share that this ended in the best possible way. Hmmm … wonder if I should be insulted by the fact that the burglars didn’t think I had anything worth stealing??? No, in all seriousness I was lucky. The camera equipment and laptops were with me, the valuables I’d hidden and neither myself or my friend checking up on my place walked into a dangerous situation or one that would have made us feel vulnerable.
So what happened? I live in side-by-side townhouses and my direct neighbours were away and let their papers pile up. Due to a wind storm, they all blew in front of my place, making the place look abandoned. So the thieves scaled a fence, and removed the sliding glass door to my office. The only reason anyone knew I’d been broken into, was thanks to the thieves leaving by the front door and leaving it wide open. Other neighbours knowing I was away, kindly called the police, and either the police or the buildings caretaker fixed the sliding glass door. I was lucky. I live in a generally save neighbourhood and have good neighbours. I owe several people a thank you on my return.
I learnt several things from this though, that I’d like to pass on so other travelers don’t get a similar phone call.
First, it would appear that the burglars were only interested in things of value that they could stick in their pockets. They rivaled through any purses in the house, but focused their main attentions on two rooms, the two bedrooms, looking for jewelry. What they rivaled through was my bedside table, dresser drawers and under my mattress. So if you think your money is safer under your mattress than in a bank, it’s not. It’s the first place robbers will look, followed by your underwear drawer.
So here is my list of tips when leaving home for an extended period of time:
- Cancel the paper.
- Post a note on the door saying, “No papers or flyers please.”
- Put extra security measures like pieces of wood …etc. on your sliding glass doors. (Mine was double bolted on the side and at the bottom and that wasn’t enough.)
- Set-up timers for lights and music in your house. Get whomever is looking in on your place to occasionally change these.
- Don’t leave anything expensive and portable lying about.
- Don’t leave extra keys on the hallway table.
- Lock expensive jewelry away in a safe or safety deposit box.