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“Hitting Home” – Interview with a Burglary Victim


As the financial system in the United States becomes more unstable, it seems that more people are being affected by burglaries. Burglaries are now becoming an issue even in reputable neighborhoods, or communities that have never had previous issues with crime. Raleigh, North Carolina is no exception, as the city has seen a marked increase in the number of burglaries over the past several months.

Jessica (who asked that her last name be omitted for privacy reasons) never thought she’d be the victim of a burglary. Her neighborhood is very close-knit, with most of the nearby residents being good friends. Every other Saturday, someone in the community has a barbeque, and most families from her street will attend.

Several weeks ago, Jessica was picking her two children from day-care, after a long day at work. She’d only been gone from 9am – 3pm. She usually worked short days so that she could pick up her children before the day-care charged her for extra time. After pulling her car into the driveway, Jessica removed her children from their car-seats, and made her way up to her front door. Here’s her recounting of the events, from an email interview.

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It was so weird. I could tell right away that something wasn’t right, kind of a strange feeling. I was carrying Amy, since she was tired, and needed a nap. Joshua immediately ran up to the door. “Mommy, our window is broken,” he said. As soon as he said that, I stopped, and called for him to get back in the car. I put Amy back in her car seat, and then walked up to the front door.

The glass on the door was broken. I didn’t even think – I went inside. I know you’re not supposed to go inside, but I wasn’t thinking straight. My home was a disaster. All of our electronics were gone – television, dvd  player, our Wii, stereo… even all of our dvds, including our home movies. Why would they have taken our home movies? I went into my bedroom, and the little ceramic container I keep my jewelry in was smashed on the floor. Nothing was left. The television from my bedroom was gone as well. They even took the baby monitor – which had a video screen, so I guess they thought it was valuable.

I ran outside, and drove to my neighbor’s house with my kids. I finally called the police. They came, and I filed a report. Not one of my neighbors remembers seeing anything unusual. I don’t even know how the burglars carried out two televisions and so many electronics without someone noticing something. I’m still working on the insurance claim, but it’s so hard explaining this to my kids. They don’t really understand the whole concept of “theft” yet, or where all of their movies went. The police told me that there’s a very poor chance that any of our belongings will ever be recovered. I don’t really care about the other stuff, we can always buy a new TV. But our home movies are irreplaceable.

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Jessica’ s story is a solemn reminder that burglary can be a devastating experience for any family. Also, it occurred in a very close-knit community, with no history of burglaries (as far as Jessica can remember). It also shows just how little power the police actually have when it comes to theft. Only a very small percentage of burglaries ever resolve with the items being returned. In Jessica’s case, no amount of insurance money could replace the home videos that were taken from her home.

The best way to deal with a burglary is prevention. Once you’re a victim once, you’ll probably want to make sure that it never happens again. Having to walk into your home after it’s been burglarized can be a very traumatic experience, one that will leave long-lasting emotional scars.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you take steps to burglar-proof your home. Install secure deadbolts, and buy a home security system (even a basic, inexpensive model). Install window break sensors that will detect any unwanted intrusion into your home. Make windows inaccessible by planting thorny or dense decorative plants. These steps will help you to make sure that your home (and family) will remain safe, even when burglary statistics are rising.