The Gray Area of Breaking and Entering


That was my response to my girlfriend when she called to ask if I was home. She arrived at our apartment before I did and noticed the door was ajar. She entered and described to me a nicely tossed living room. Our place had unfortunately been broken into.

My Xbox One, a few watches, a couple of laptops, and many pairs of sneakers were absent from roll call. I didn’t call the police right away, I called the rental office because I knew they would contact the cop who lived within our community. The local police officer arrived shortly after. He introduced himself, told me he grew up not far from the community and even attended the local HS. He asked me what time I left that morning, what time I arrived that evening, what was taken, and if I owned any firearms. That last part was critical, because he explained to me that often in cases of theft when weapons are involved, the stolen weapons would in turn be used in other crimes. He left his card, then informed me that he was simply responding out of courtesy, and another officer who was formally assigned the case would be over soon.

Another officer arrived shortly. He introduced himself, and asked me if I had any reason to believe I upset someone, anything suspicious that would be pertinent to the case, and of course what was taken. He was very procedural, he fulfilled his obligation to dust a couple of areas for prints, and then of course asked me about any weapons. I answered him the same way I did previously; with the added acknowledgment of the purpose of the question per my conversation with the local cop — to ensure that stolen weapons aren’t used in another crime. Apparently I spoke to soon, because this was not what he intended. He in so many words told me that I should get a gun, and make sure the next person who breaks into my apartment doesn’t ever do it again.

With every objective bone in my body, I tried to determine if this was simply a matter of 2 individuals with dissenting point of views, or was it because the first officer was black, and the second was not. Almost 2 years after the break in, I’m still not sure.