I know you are rolling your eyes. I did it myself. And yet, two weeks ago it happened to me. As a matter of fact - as much as I try to believe in humanity - it happens to more people than you might think.
When I arrived home around midnight, I didn’t notice anything unusual at first. I spent the evening with close friends of mine and looked forward to continue work on the new branding of my creation business.
I opened the door, stepped inside, closed the door behind me, said hello to my pet-rats, took off my coat… Then I noticed the floor tiles. I know I've had my shoes on when I went into the bedroom before I left, but they were definitely not that dirty… That was my first thought.
At first I struck myself with anger. Then my eyes wandered to the bedroom, following the tracks. As they had adjusted to the darkness in the room, it hit me: The window was open!
Two steps back and a look into my living room proved my fear right. My Macbook was gone. The Laptop I call 'my office' for good reason. It's hard to imagine this feeling when you haven't experienced it before. At first, I tried to find a more comforting answer to what I saw, then I started thinking about all the data I hadn't backuped. After that, I realized my camera was gone too. Only then I noticed all the open wardrobes and drawers in my flat…
I was completely blown away. I never thought this would happen to me. Especially because I had felt pretty secure in my bungalow apartment.
Because almost everybody I know seems to think the same way, I give you the 10 things I have learned from the burglary in my apartment:
1. Insurances aren’t so bad after all
Just a few days before the break-in, I sent my mum this text message: “You know, the one time I can’t afford it, what comes crawling out of the darkest corners of hell, growling devilish and lusting for somebody to drain dry? The insurance company.”
I know, they are annoying. And since you think the evil things never happen to you, insurance is the next best evil thing to blame for stealing from you.
I’m still no big fan and I will probably never have too many contracts, but in this case, I have to admit it. It's a nice feeling, knowing my insurance gives me a new Macbook and Camera to work with.
Don’t forget to take pictures of your devices in your room every now and then and to keep receipts of all expensive items!
2. $15,- a month for Dropbox Unlimited is NOT too expensive
If you haven’t experienced it yourself, you can only guess how much it hurts if your work of 5 months has just disappeared into thin air.
I may get my equipment back from the insurance company, but the work I haven’t backed up has gone to hell. LOTS of work.
I’m still not eager to make a hard drive backup every time before I go to bed or shut my Macbook into sleep mode. So I have come to the resolution that from this moment, everything I work, will automatically be saved online. $15,- monthly for a Dropbox account with unlimited space is not as much of a loss as a one time robbery. Trust me.
3. Big windows are awesome, but don’t make them a shop window
It’s a pain in the arse to put your expensive stuff out of sight every time you go out, I know. Believe me, I’m just as lazy as you when it comes to stuff like this. But it probably took the burglars only one look inside my living room to know which bungalow to tackle.
If I’d have taken the time to put the camera to it’s actual place and the Macbook inside the desk drawer, my apartment would have looked far to minimalistic to be worth a break.
4. Video Beamer 1:0 TV of same cost
I love my video beamer. Before I even noticed the empty camera bag, I looked up to the ceiling if it was still there. And now I love it even more.
A TV of the same price (not to mention picture dimensions) would have been gone with my other expensive stuff. The tiny video beamer on the ceiling they hadn't noticed.
5. Don’t touch anything when you find somebody broke into your place
I totally understand the police woman’s rolling eyes when I told her I closed the window, confused as I was in the first moment. I’m a very energy savvy person.
If you find yourself in the middle of a crime scene: Don’t touch anything!
6. Pet-Rats are no great security guards
The little bastards didn’t do anything. I like imagining them with little flags and blow-up hands, cheering for the burglars. Just to not think of them as the scarred little bastards they are. The poor things.
7. Be a good neighbor
My neighbor and I might not always have the same opinion, but this night we became great friends. She distracted me from the loss and poured champagne into me until the shaking of my hands stopped.
Also, it was great to have her tell the police about the fairy lights in her garden. The burglars ripped the wire to cover my windows in darkness.
Break-in or not: Be a friendly, thoughtful human being.
8. Haven’t got money for proper security? Use trickery!
Since the incident, I keep the blinds of my bedroom shut and have a lamp inside, that turns on automatically when it get’s dark outside.
That’s probably the most obvious trick there is. But how about a sensor that triggers an audio of angry dog barking, if somebody's in front of your window or opens your door?
Be creative and make it a game to scare burglars!
9. Be an unsatisfying target
I keep saying it, but minimalism makes your life easier. Most of the things you own just weigh you down in so many ways.
If you don’t have much to take away, you’ll only have a tiny loss when somebody steals from you. Also, you won’t be as emotional about the few things you’ve lost. And the probability of somebody thinking about robbing you becomes increasingly smaller.
Still, somebody stole from me even though I’d say I’m a minimalist. I’m sure it wasn’t their most profitable break, though. I’m referring to point 3 again.
10. It can happen to ANYBODY. Even to you.
It's likely, you will not believe it anyway, just as I always rolled my eyes when I read stuff like this. And it’s not my intention to scare you.
But it CAN happen. There are no magical exceptions.
11. Life goes on
I still catch myself checking the darkness outside my windows every now and then. And yes, it’s all annoying, stupid and pitiful.
But you know what? It’s just stuff and a few files. I’m still alive and in good health. Luckily I’m well insured and I wanted a fresh, unrestricted start for my company anyway.
My rats have survived the shock (it's likely they didn’t care about the strangers at all...) and I was thinking about restarting my life as a nomad anyway.
Life goes on. Get over it. It’s just stuff. Go with the tips above and you should be just fine.
I don’t want to scare anybody and I still haven’t lost my faith in humanity (I’m sure they had desperate reasons to steal from somebody...)
Don’t turn your home into a fortress and don’t sleep with one eye open from now on. This whole security thing can easily turn on you.
But I think it’s important to have a reminder about these things every now and then.
After all, I rolled my eyes on scary robbery stories one time too often.
PS.: 12. A fixed home isn’t safer than travelling
If I ever hear the words “I envy you for your nomadic lifestyle, but I need the security…” I'll break down laughing.
I’ve settled only one year ago. Within the two years of travelling, I never had any problems like this.
Security is an illusion.