Be prepared for a robbery

Natalie Moses

Read related story about off-campus burglaries.

You know what’s really fun? Going out on a Thursday night without a care in the world. You know what’s not fun at all? Waking up to a phone call from your crying, panicking roommate Friday morning and finding out that your house was broken into and robbed. Even less fun than that is walking into your unrecognizable, violated bedroom and finding item after item missing.

Picture this: Everything is gone. Stuff you depend on every day, from your computer to textbooks to items of both monetary and sentimental value such as designer goods, cameras and every piece of jewelry you ever owned. They took personal items like cosmetics, makeup brushes, medication and glasses. The more you look, the more you find missing. As the days go on, you figure out more and more was taken.

I won’t go into detail about how emotionally disturbing this is, but I can promise from first-hand experience that this is the most frustrating, unsettling experience one can face. While these situations can’t be entirely prevented, everyone can take measures to protect themselves. Don’t be naïve. These things happen. Follow this list; in case you’re targeted, you’ll be more prepared than most.

1. Don’t let your guard down.

Lock your doors, lock your windows and always double check, no matter how long you’ll be out. If they want in, they’ll find a way in even if everything is securely locked. So don’t make it easy for them by forgetting to lock up.

2. Get renter’s insurance.

It is extremely cheap compared to what you’re already paying in rent, and extremely worth it if something like this happens. If all of your valuables are stolen and you are uninsured, you’re back at square one. And broke.

3. Back up all of your files.

Invest in an external hard drive. Back everything up, and hide it. Worse than losing your replaceable computer is losing every photo you ever took, every note you ever typed in class, every paper you’ve ever written, etc. If you have a Mac, enable the “find my Mac” option. This allows you to pinpoint the computer’s location if the thief connects it to the Internet.

4. Act immediately.

Call the police. Write a list of what was stolen and its approximate value. Take pictures of the scene before you move anything and search the place for evidence. Go online and change any passwords to bank accounts or anything private.

5. Don’t leave your belongings in a thief-friendly spot.

The thief’s extra step of having to search your room for items adds time, which could be the difference between getting caught and getting away with it. When you know you’ll be gone for the night, don’t leave your computer sitting right out in the open. Unpack bags that are a gold mine to a thief. For example, my school bag had a computer, charger, textbooks, sunglasses, glasses and a wallet when it was stolen. That made their job nice and easy.

6. Look for your stuff.

Don’t write everything off as gone forever. Call pawnshops, check Craigslist, look at eBay for recently posted items. This may not only lead you to your stolen goods, but also to the one who stole them as well.

7. Talk to your landlord.

Tell them you want to feel safer. There’s nothing to lose by asking for a security system, barred windows or even just a dead bolt.

Maybe your friends will laugh at you for being paranoid, but your house getting broken into is no laughing matter. Always remember you can’t be too safe.

Contact Natalie Moses at [email protected].