Leaving the lights on

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October 29, 2012 by Carin

Last Thursday night as Brian and I were sitting in front of the TV, we were visited by a police officer.  He knocked on our door to inform us that the home of our neighbor across the street had been broken into a few hours prior.  Had we seen or hear anything?  No.  Our neighbors had only been gone an hour and they lost so much, but what they lost more than any valuable stolen was their sense of security.  What our neighborhood lost was a feeling of safety.  Every noise we heard for the rest of the night made us pause and listen.  We weren’t scared but we were a little more aware of the noises around us and our home.

Our neighborhood is in a first ring suburb of Minneapolis.  Our city is safe, but we do see crime from time to time.  While we have an excellent police department and great neighbors, we are not immune to crime.  If we didn’t feel safe, we wouldn’t live here.  But it does make you stop and take a look at our everyday actions that might open us to being a victim of a crime.  We have been known to leave our front door open while we play in the basement or backyard or even leave our back door unlocked while we go out for an evening walk or a short run.  We feel our neighborhood is safe.  But now we have to think twice.  It happened to people who did several things right and looked what happened.  Their world was altered in less than an hour.

While I think I might understand the feelings behind the motivation to break into people’s homes; selfishness, desperation, greed, power, ect.  I just don’t understand the WHY?  Why are those feelings more important than all that you take away from those who live there?   As the criminal, is there a lot being gained in the grand scheme of your life?   Our neighbors aren’t flashy and don’t live in a big house.  You wouldn’t look at their house and think “Oh that house would have thousands and thousands worth of goods to steal” when compared to any other house in our neighborhood.

So, like I stated above, we do a lot of dumb things to make our home vulnerable.  Now that has to change.  From now on the front door stays closed if we are not in the room, our doors get locked whenever we leave, windows are closed and locked when we are not home (like in the summer), lights are left on when we are not home, curtains and blinds are diligently closed and some will have to be purchased for exposed rooms.   It wasn’t just our neighbors that have been affected, but all of us.  We are not scared of it happening to us, if someone really wants to break into our home, they will find a way, but we will make it as difficult as possible.

Take a moment today and take a look at your house to see what you can do to make sure you are not leaving your home open to a break-in.  You have every right to feel safe in your home and that comes from doing everything right.

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