The first time I remember our house getting broken into was when I was about 8 years old. We lived in a nice middle class suburb in Brisbane and we all got home from school one afternoon and noticed the back door open and all of the draws and cupboards in our parent’s bedroom had been gone through. It wasn’t a nice feeling, and I remember mum being pretty upset, not only at the invasion of privacy but some heirloom jewellery had also been stolen from her room. As an 8 year old my solution was to run around the local neighbourhood with my friend trying to track down the robbers.
Then there was the time my sister and I were teenagers at home during the holidays by ourselves. Some people were going around the street doorknocking. Neither of us wanted to answer the door when they knocked so we sat quietly in my sisters bedroom hoping they would go away. After they knocked and left we thought “that was done” however one of them (I think they were teenagers also) came round the back of the house and walked in the back door. I went downstairs hesitantly and squeaked out in a pre-pubescant voice “what are you doing?”. Upon seeing me the boy said “oh just looking for a mate”, and walked back out the door. We called the police and our parents straight away.
My third “Break-in” experience was when I was 23 years old and flatting in the inner burbs. I was out for the morning and arrived home at 11am. I opened the front door of our house and from the front door I could see through the kitchen and into my bedroom. There were two guys going through my room looking for valuables. Suffice to say they were surprised to see me and quickly bolted out of the side door of the house and off into the street. Luckily the side door was how they broke in and was still open, so they could go out that way and did not have to come back past me through the front door. I think I called the police and then my dad straight away and had a small freak out. They stole my cd player and about $400 cash from my other flatmate.
At our current house we’ve never been broken into as such, but have had two bikes stolen from the front of the house. One of those bikes happened to be a motor scooter worth about $3000.
Having your house broken into is not a pleasant experience and for some can be very traumatic. Besides the financial loss that can occur there is the feeling of being violated, that your home, the place in which you are supposed to feel most safe and secure, has been entered by strangers and that some of your most personal items have been gone through without your permission.
It can happen to anyone, anytime and while we can’t control if it happens to us there are a few things we can do to lower the odds. A recent article posted on the ABC America website asked some inmates in prison for burglary how they broke into homes.
We thought we’d give you a quick summary and tell you what we learnt from the article about some of the best ways to help your home stay secure from break-ins. This list is in no particular order.
- Make sure the area around your house is open and visible. Avoid high fences, hedges and bushes that are easy to hide behind. If your house is visible then it’s hard to hide while trying to break in.
- Bars on windows. Especially if you have older windows that are less secure make sure you have security bars. Burglars look for older windows that are easy to open and climb into.
- Leave a radio or television on. The noise from inside the house provides enough doubt in their mind for them to avoid taking the risk that no-one is home.
- Large noisy dogs are a deterrent but small dogs weren’t that much of an issue.
- Having a car in the driveway usually indicated that someone was home, so that is also a deterrent that creates doubt in any potential intruders mind.
- Home alarm systems, especially those with a loud siren were an excellent deterrent unless they were easy to disarm. If an alarm went off the burglar would generally leave straight away.
- Know your neighbours and look out for each other. Report anyone suspicious hanging around.
- Get a security camera and make it visible. Once again an effective deterrent
N.B. Apparently one thing not to do (if you live in America) is have an NRA sticker on your car. This meant that the home owner was likely to have guns and they were valuable items to steal. lol!!