On a Wednesday afternoon, a woman in Naples, Florida left her home with her three-year-old. She returned an hour later to find her house a mess and items missing. She commented, “There was stuff all over the floor right here and at first I thought my husband came home in a hurry, and then I walked over to our master bedroom and saw stuff all over in there.”
During the short time when she was out, burglars shattered a glass door and entered the home. The burglars left with $2,500 in cash and $20,000 worth of jewelry. One of the pieces of jewelry the thieves stole was a 22-carat aquamarine ring.
The victim said that her home had a security system, but she had failed to set it on Wednesday. She had been in a hurry and would be back soon, so setting the security system slipped her mind. “You just don’t think something like that’s going to happen in your neighborhood. You really don’t – and in the middle of the day,” she said. “I want other people to learn from our mistakes, you can’t be too careful. Set your alarm and lock your jewelry up.”
There are a few things you can do to keep your cash and jewelry safe from burglars. Most burglars have two main goals: steal money along with other valuables and get out of the house as fast as possible. Most home burglaries occur in less than ten minutes. Thieves begin their search in usual places like dresser drawers, the master bedroom closet, desks and jewelry boxes. A former burglar said that when he did not find valuables in these normal areas, he continued to search and tear the home apart. He said, “Remember, the first rule is to steal money and valuables. We’ll keep looking until we find something.”
Because of this, burglars can cause costly damage. The former burglar recommends that house owners leave a small amount of money in an obvious place. When a burglar finds a stash of cash in a dresser drawer, for instance, he may believe that is all that is hidden and leave without finding a larger stash of hidden money. When asked how much cash should be left for a thief to find, the former burglar said, “It depends on the area where you live. If you are in an upscale community and only leave $100, I would assume there is more and keep looking. In a different part of town $100 would convince me I found all the money that was there and leave.”
Keeping money and valuables like jewelry in a safe can also deter burglars. However, the safe needs to be professionally bolted down and/or hidden. Like the woman in Naples, you may think you’d never be a victim of burglary. But you never know.