Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"We Were Robbed Once"

“A home is burglarized in this country every fifteen seconds…”

is an automated call I frequently receive, as I sit at home writing this blog, awaiting my turn. 

I don’t know where that jarring statistic comes from.  It seems rather high.  I mean, I go for walks every Wednesday.  You would think with a burglary occurring every fifteen seconds, I would occasionally spot somebody, climbing out of a window, hefting a sackful of swag, like a reverse Santa Claus. 

I haven’t seen anyone!

Could I be living on the only safe street in America?  If I walked one street up, would they be making up for our good fortune with burglaries every seven-and-a-half seconds?

Why would anybody live on that street?

“Every time I look around, somebody’s climbing in our window.  We’re like the people on Halloween who run out of candy.  ‘I’m sorry, there’s nothing left!’”

Maybe that’s why they’re so fast.  They’re hitting a lot of “empties.”

Now before I get too “They’re scaring us for no reason”, as the above post title indicates,

We ourselves were robbed once. 

I didn’t put that up there simply to get your attention.   (Though if I were inclined that direction, I would probably have more readers.  “I SHOT BILL CLINTON!’”…with a camera.  Yeah, that’s why I don’t do that.)

Today, there is an octagonal sign on a tall stick embedded in our front garden that says, in vividly dark blue printing, “Protected By Paragon Security.”  We put in that security system after our house was robbed, a little over twenty years ago.  We have not been burglarized since. 

A testimonial?  Perhaps.  It is possible that the burglars, pressed to maintain their schedule of robbing a house every fifteen seconds, pass by houses with Security signs displayed out front.  (In which case, why not forget the security system and just buy the sign?) 

On the other hand, we may have been lucky for the past twenty-plus years.  The truth is, we almost never turn on our alarm system, except when we’re on an extended vacation.  Okay, sometimes, we do.  And you burglars are never going to be sure which times those are!  (Actually, we almost never do that.  Hopefully, blog-skimming burglars robbing houses every fifteen seconds, will be too busy to read the brackets.) 


Back in 1991, my stepdaughter Rachel was looking at colleges.  One under consideration was Lewis and Clark, which is in Portland, Oregon.  Portland’s not far from here, so we all – meaning, Dr. M, myself, and eight year-old Anna – decided to fly to Portland one weekend, and see the college together.

An Interesting Historical Note:  Rachel ultimately decided against Lewis and Clark, opting instead for Skidmore, in upstate New York.  However, if Rachel had chosen Lewis and Clark, she could have wound up rooming with Monica Lewinsky, who did choose Lewis and Clark, before moving on to a noteworthy adventure as a White House intern.

Returning home Sunday evening, we discovered that the window next to our front door had been broken – we actually found blood spattering among the shattered glass, offering us the glimmering hope that the burglar may have severed an artery breaking in, and subsequently died.  (That may be too harsh, but there’s a primal sense of violation attendant to a burglary that elicits a vengeful streak in the victim.)

Irreplaceable jewelry was taken.  Items of clothing, amongst them, a buttery-soft, red leather jacket, purchased on a recent visit to Florence, Italy.  And two VCR’s, or tape decks, as they used to call them.  (An Interesting Side Note:  The pilfered VCR’s were of the Betamax variety, a mode of machinery driven into obscurity by the rival VHS system.  Years later, I learned that in certain countries south of the border, the “head-to-head” had gone the other way.  There, Betamaxes were the “recording devices of choice”, thus pointing to the nationality of the burglar(s).  Our sole VHS machine was left alone.)

A police report, an insurance report, and a call to a security system company followed.  And as I said, we were never robbed again.  If you don’t count the monthly payments for the past twenty-plus years for a security system we almost never turn on.  (I said almost never, burglars.)

We were only robbed once.  (And most likely not by a pro, but rather someone working on our concurrent house remodeling, who would know we were out of town.)

I may have to amend that to, “We were only robbed twice.”  As research for this posting, I just went outside to double-check on the exact wording on the security sign in our front garden.

And I discovered it was gone.

When they talk about the burglaries every fifteen seconds?

That apparently includes signs.


Ben Kubelsky said...

Hahahaha great twist at the end with the sign. By the way, when DO you turn the security system on? And what's your address? JUST CURIOUS.

Fernando Severns said...

It is quite alarming that the rate of burglaries nowadays is increasing, with one case happening per 15 seconds. But what's more alarming is that most cases happen at late morning and early afternoon, and that it would only take around 90 seconds to rob a house. Though the police and communities are surely cooperating to ensure the safety of the people, homeowners can help ensure that by installing security systems in their own properties.