I’ve read thousands of reports on burglaries, and the most frightening ones are those where the homeowner encounters an intruder in the home. Believe it or not, this happens more often than you’d expect: the burglar breaks in when the homeowner is asleep, or, a homeowner comes home to find a burglar in the house. In the latter case, the result can by injury, or even homicide. That’s just one reason why it makes sense to have a monitored alarm system – and use it. If you are one of the 4 in 5 homeowners without an alarm system, you may reconsider after reading this story from Vancouver, Canada.
I recently met with a family that had experienced an especially scary break-in. The couple and their two children live in a gated community. The father works a graveyard shift and always takes his vehicle to work, where he parks in a staff parking lot across the street.
Putting the Pieces Together
After completing his shift around 8 a.m. one day, he noticed his vehicle was missing from the designated parking area. On the slim chance his wife may have picked up his vehicle through the night, he called her to confirm it was not at home. To her surprise, she had discovered somebody had been in their home in the night. The signs were clearly there: the overhead garage door was left open, as was the door leading from the garage into their house. Their dining room hutch had all the drawers pulled open, as were many of the kitchen cupboards and drawers.
So how did this happen? Obviously, somebody broke into the man’s vehicle while parked at work, checked the registration to see where he lived and used his overhead remote door opener located on the car’s visor to gain access into his garage. The unlocked door between the garage and their home gave the crook a golden opportunity to enter quietly into the home while the woman and children were sleeping. Here’s where this incident gets really scary: the thief stole the woman’s watch from her bedside table while she was sleeping. It didn’t appear the thief – or thieves – ventured into the children’s rooms.
What They Stole
They knew which items to pocket and which ones to leave behind. Missing inventory included a flat screen television, laptop computer, jewelry, a small unattached home safe, some cash and the keys to the house. It was obvious the man’s vehicle was used in the theft to transport the stolen items. This would have made the coming and going to the home somewhat less obvious to any neighbors who may have witnessed the event.
Home Security Tips
Perhaps a few precautions would have eliminated this incident from happening. Let’s review the mistakes this family made, starting back at the home before the man left for work.
1) The first mistake he made was to leave the door from the garage to the home unlocked. These doors should always have a deadbolt installed in them and should be locked at all times.
2) The family had an alarm system, but never used it. Like a lot of folks, they felt it was too complicated to arm and disarm, and feared setting it off would disturb the neighbors. An alarm system is a terrible thing to waste! If you have a burglar alarm, make sure you always use it, whether at home or away.
3) The next mistake the man made was to leave his vehicle license and registration in the glove compartment of his vehicle. This is the first place a thief is going to look for the address of the registered owner. Perhaps securing it in his trunk would have been safer. The man should also have had a club or some sort of steering wheel lock as not only a physical deterrent, but a visual one as well. If he’d invested in a car alarm or immobilizer, he may have avoided such a devastating theft.
4) Removing the visor garage door remote control is a given. You should never leave a remote on the visor of your vehicle. It’s a good idea is to invest in a key chain remote to control your overhead garage door. These are ideal because you can carry it with your car keys and have it with you at all times.
The one lesson these folks learned from this devastating burglary was not to assume anything. Don’t think because you haven’t had a burglary, you never will. Often we think because it has never happened to us, it never will. One of the best ways to get yourself into the habit of securing your home and vehicle is to assume you’ll be a victim.
So, there you have it: another example of how an intruder gained entry into a home. But remember, most intrusions are not as elaborate as the one described above: they’re random acts, often committed to feed a drug habit. We know a lot about burglar behavior – such as where burglars break in, and what burglars steal once they’re in your home. All this is very helpful information, and FrontPoint wants to be a valued source of education when it comes to protecting your home and family.
You might also appreciate our Top 10 Home Security Tips – more great advice on how to make your home less susceptible to burglary. For one thing, it’s been shown that a home with a monitored alarm system is only one third as likely to suffer a break-in as the unprotected home next door. And with a burglary happening in the US roughly every 14 seconds (according to the FBI), it amazes me that only about one in five homes has such a system – especially one with safer cellular monitoring, such as FrontPoint sells.
FrontPoint will stay on thecase with systems that are safer, smarter, simpler, and more affordable. As the leader in wireless home security and the #1 rated alarm company in the US, FrontPoint takes residential intrusion very seriously, whether it’s the usual random offense by an amateur burglar, or that rare targeted attack by the “professional.” Either way, you want the odds on your side.