Something to think about this Halloween…
‘Dad. Dad. I think there’s someone in the house downstairs’. It’s 3.20am and the house phone next to the bed where I sleep had just rung. My son David was clearly panicked, as he quickly whispered these words.
Without thinking clearly, I jumped out of bed, my wife Soli in quick step behind. As I flew down the two flights of stairs from our loft bedroom, I remember feeling a little scared. What if they had a knife or a gun, or were crazed killers waiting to pounce or… I don’t know what I was thinking.
But it felt like I was not in control of the situation.
The front door was flapping open in the breathless early summer morning air. There was a strong scent of cigarettes, which was most odd as we don’t smoke. I entered the living and there was nothing. No one. They’d been and gone in what seemed like a heartbeat.
We looked around and noticed that our flat screen television and laptop were missing, but that was all. My son was the last to bed that night and had left a small fanlight window open, which is how they must have got in. To this day its seems incredible that this was the point of entry. They must have been so skinny and dexterous.
Over the last 28 years or so I’ve dealt with 1000’s of theft claims and can count on the fingers of one hand the number of arrests that have been made. Fewer still the times the stolen property has been recovered. Yet this was one such occasion.
These intruders were not the sharpest tools in the box.
After they escaped via our front door (keys left in the locks on the inside in case of a fire!), they deposited the TV and laptop in a hedge over the road. They then walked down to Mill Hill Broadway Station, got in a mini cab and returned to the hedge to collect their booty.
What they hadn’t bargained for was the off-duty police officer, on her way to the airport. To her highly trained eagle eye, she suspected these two miscreants were up to no good, and ‘called it in’, and moments later two arrests were made.
You couldn’t make it up…
These two criminals were known to the police and responsible for around 60% of the crime in the area at that time around 10 years ago. They were drunk and high on crack most of the time, so I am rather relieved I didn’t meet them at the foot of the stair, that day.
Who knows what would have transpired. Many years earlier, a friend of mine from our Uni days, confronted a burglar, who broke into his flat in London, whilst he was asleep with his girlfriend. Mark confronted the drug crazed knife wielding thief, and tragically lost his life that night. I was luckier. Way luckier. Unlike Marks family, we soon got over the shock of having intruders in our house.
I couldn’t care less about a TV or laptop.
Very easily replaceable. In fact, on this occasion, I didn’t even have to make an insurance claim, as we got our items back, with a few scratches, but otherwise in good working order.
Research conducted by Insurers has shown that the week from 30th October to 5th November, sees a significant rise in the number of burglaries. Shorter days, families out ‘trick or treating’ for Halloween, or at fireworks parties, all present wonderful opportunities to the opportunist burglar.
None of us knows what lies in store for us, but you can reduce the risk.
So, take care as your having fun this Halloween.