I went back to college following the game on Super Bowl Sunday. It was a boring Super Bowl and my life hardly seemed impacted, but little did I know that it was about to be shattered within the next 12-14 hours. My classes on the snowy Monday morning that followed were canceled, but by the end of the day I certainly wished there was no snow and that my life could have proceeded as normal. That is because my home was burglarized on that snowy morning of February 3, 2014, with thousands of dollars of valuable equipment, along with priceless mementos carrying both intrinsic and sentimental value being stolen.
The perpetrators were never caught due to their shrewd operational tactics; they went out on that snowy Monday morning under the ruse of being snow shovelers. The group went door-to-door knocking on each door and asking if the inhabitants of the home needed snow-shoveling service and if no one answered, they had the almost iron-clad evidence needed to break into the homes without resistance, fear of being caught, or retribution. This tactic proved successful, as a vehicle described as a “dented, dirty, white van” was found at four different burglary sites that day alone. Given those descriptions, it is very unlikely that four different “dented, dirty, white vans” were found at burglary sites within an hour’s drive of one another. This illustrates the simple science that these criminals have their craft down to and that the onus is on us, the public, to prevent these tragic acts of disrespect. Statistically, the Monday following the Super Bowl is the day of greatest absenteeism from work/school in the nation. The idea that four burglaries would be able to be executed without an arrest on that day, especially when snowfall was bound to increase absenteeism further, creates a startling, but telling truth that these criminals are very good at what they do and private citizens need to take action to protect themselves.
Unfortunately for me and my family, our residence was the one in which no one was home to send away the ‘shovelers’ and we were targeted. I lost a 24-inch, HD television, a PlayStation 3 slim and an XBOX. These items being stolen is alarming enough, but unfortunately pales in comparison to what was seized from my mother, which was the most prominent target for burglars everywhere: jewelry. My mother lost large quantities of jewelry which, as mentioned before, carried a great deal of value both intrinsically and emotionally. The physical damage to my home was also dramatic, which combined with the lost items caused a significant financial burden on my family as well. The financial burden was also hardly buffered by the presence of insurance coverage, as the coverage covered just one-third of the cost of all financial damages incurred as a result of this fiasco. All of this was caused for no worthwhile reason (unless you consider a criminal wanting your stuff a worthwhile reason).
A burglary will also cause a great deal of emotional distress amongst all members of the family enduring the act. The emotional pain of a burglary runs deep and can cause a rift amongst members of one’s own family especially when the reactions amongst the members of said family do not mesh. Everyone has a different reaction as to how to deal with something like this. I saw members of my family withdraw and give up on the situation; I saw others do nothing because for whatever reason they did not feel the same emotional strain as others. It creates a terrible situation, causing everyone to be upset and causing any feelings of harmony within the household to be diminished or to disappear altogether. Once something like this happens your ‘home’ becomes merely a damaged house. My reaction was to fight and I spent countless hours on the phone with the police, gathering information to help them with the case. I spent a great deal of time and effort attempting to get them to track my PlayStation 3 via its MAC Address, as a way to track down the criminals with it. We had written down the serial numbers, so finding the MAC Address and thereby the system should not have been difficult, but there is one obstacle: the police don’t care. They need everything brought to them on the proverbial silver platter and even then they fail to give a good-faith effort toward solving the case. The police detective actually told me that Sony did not have a legal department, which is impossible, because they have to have gotten sued at some point in their 20+ years of existence while making high quality entertainment equipment. I even found the phone number through the Better Business Bureau website for all legal inquiries related to Sony and the police still did nothing of substance with the information. Upon my mother informing News 12 New Jersey of the burglary, the police actually scolded her for doing so. They actually attempted to cover up these crimes that are supposed to be public knowledge. I learned that like anything else, the police system is all politics and unless the case can help the officers advance their political career, they will do nothing.
The only person who can do something to stop a burglary is the homeowner. My family, after the burglary, got ADT security, which included cameras, motion sensors and more. In truth, that is the only way to stop burglars because unless the case falls into the lap of the police, as it does when they are signaled by an alarm, they will not make any real effort to solve a burglary case. Because of this, I ask all of the people who read this article to install a known-brand home security system. My situation was bad, with large quantities of money being taken, but it could have been even worse. Some burglars are brazen and will simply kill anyone in the house and steal that way. By having an alarm, the police will automatically be summoned and you will not have to worry about calling the police, rather you can just focus staying safe.
If you are a child, ask your parents and tell them to read this article so that they can see the pain inflicted on residents of a burglarized home. If you are a parent, consider your children and spouse. No one should have to go through the nightmare of having stuff taken and wondering if your life might be next. There are many high-quality alarm companies, so please get one. If finances are your issue, just remember that it might cost you just as much money to put your life back together and replace your items. Worse, you could be buying a casket with a large portion of that money. A home security system is a much better way to spend money, as you will be spending it on peace of mind, rather than the horror that my family had to spend it on.
ADT once aired a commercial with a mother and her daughter and the mother stated: “The time to think about a security system isn’t after something bad happens, it’s before.” Truer words were never spoken.