July 11th, 2011
Not surprisingly, I watch a lot of crime shows. Which is why, when my neighbor knocked on my door on Sunday and told me that her house had been broken into, I was on high alert. I played out the events in my head. Had I seen any suspicious vehicles? Any unscrupulous characters? Was that kid who rang the bell selling chocolate bars for his band uniform secretly casing the joint?
Now, to orient you – the house where the break-in occurred is the same place where the ex-porn star used to live. Ex-porn star moved out and Somewhat Irresponsible Family moved in. Somewhat Irresponsible Family is named as such simply on merit of their irresponsible cat that likes to poop in my vegetable garden. I don’t know if the cat represents the behavior of the family or not, but up until Sunday, the cat was the only one I had met. To be fair, the human neighbor, owner of said cat, did not look like she was prone to pooping in anyone’s vegetable garden.
It was quite the hubbub all day. My other neighbors – The Might-Be Serial Killers, were on high alert and wanted me to know that my garage door was askew, just in case I was worried. I wasn’t. Anyone who wants to steal anything from my garage will be doing me a favor, seriously.
So, in an attempt to safeguard my house, and all my precious possessions, I looked up some safety tips, which seem painfully obvious. I thought I’d share a few courtesy of How Stuff Works –
1. Lock Your Doors: Okay, so really people? Do we really need to be told to lock the doors of your house when you leave? Really? That was my first reaction – then I thought back to my childhood in the Colorado mountains and remembered that I have never, ever owned a key to my childhood home. Not because my mom chose to lock me out in the cold with the bears…but rather because the door was never locked. Ever. If anyone had ever locked the door, the entire family would have been left to camp with the raccoons for the night. By the way, Mom has changed her habits; I think she’s watched a few too many episodes of I Survived. So, I remind you of this in honor of my naïve childhood safety upbringing – lock your door. By the way, the word on the street is that Somewhat Irresponsible Family with the pooping cat did not lock their door….if only they had checked the Internet before leaving the house that day….
2. Don’t Leave A Spare Key Out: I’ve been tempted to leave a key a few times, especially that time that I locked myself out of the house and slammed my door on my robe and had to run to the local fire station for help wearing only my nothings…wait. That wasn’t me, that was Darryl Hannah in Roxanne – for you kids out there, one of Steve Martin’s finest works from the mid-1980’s. But nevermind. I’ve never actually locked myself out, yet. And if I had slammed my robe in the door in a twist of comedic irony – I would have stayed in my robe and screamed for help from my front porch. In any case, I think it’s safer to hide a spare robe in your front yard than it is a spare key.
3. Trick Your Burglars: WikiHow suggests you leave a light on, make the would-be criminals believe you’re home and they are less likely to want to break in. Malcolm X actually taught me this trick back in college. In The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Alex Haley writes that Malcolm X, back in his crime spree days would never break into a house that had a bathroom light on – Malcolm X also departs the wisdom that for the minimal cost of leaving the bathroom light on at night, potential robbers aren’t likely to risk the possibility that someone is awake and in the loo.
Now, I would go a step further, if you really want to trick your burglar into thinking that you’re home at all times, what you really need to do is buy an extra car to leave in your driveway at all times. Yes, leaving the lights on in the house is a nice touch, but just think how freaked out a robber would be if you had animatronic robots – think Pirates of the Caribbean – moving about your house at all times, so when you were gone, it would create the illusion that you had a band of swarthy pirates hanging out in your living room. Your flat screen would be totally safe then.
In short, if you can’t afford robots, or an extra car, or a spare robe, or a deadbolt for your front door – being careful goes a long way. The other option is to never own any nice things, use a really, really old television set, pull out that antique VCR and line up your VHS tapes proudly in the window to show off to the thieves. Instead of art, collect aluminum cans and carve them into interesting animal shapes. If you’re ever tempted to buy nice jewelry, buy a roll of aluminum foil instead and make your expensive looking bling. The upside is that is you get tired of the style mid-evening, you can just smoosh it into a more fashionable shape.
Or get a security system….In any case, lock your freakin- doors people, you’re not living in the mountains in the mid 1980’s, there is danger out there, and it wants your flat screen.