In a condo I’ve always felt perfectly safe. Not only is it rather difficult to climb eleven floors up, the building has cameras by the front and back entrance, as well as surveillance equipment in the lobby and three elevators.
Over the past months that secure feeling has somewhat wavered.
First a woman was attacked under the canopy of the building. She was not seriously injured, but the experience rattled to such an extent that she moved out the following day.
Next a pizza delivery man was robbed of the dinner he was bringing to someone in the building, along with any money he had on him.
After a camera was installed under the canopy of the building, as well as a huge floodlight, there were no more incidents. Incidents outside that is, because it seemed the criminals moved their business indoors.
Over the next few months we heard of condos that were broken into. All of them happened at night, except for one, when a woman came out of her bedroom in the morning and found a man going through her living room closet.
The latest series of break-ins happened just yesterday. Thieves tried to gain access to two condos and failed, but were successful with a third one, on the floor where I live no less.
It would seem that the thieves favor corner units. Logical as corner units are closest to the stairwells.
This worries me. Not only didn’t anyone see or hear anything last night, I live in a corner unit too. How long before the burglars target my home?
I know firsthand what it’s like to be burgled.
Some 17 years ago, while still living in South Africa, we came home from work to find the living room in an absolute mess. Beer bottles littered the coffee table and cabinets, cookies and crumbs were trampled in the carpet, and the remains of other food items were visible here and there.
“Were you home today and had a party here?” I turned to my husband?
“No,” he said, “but I was about to ask you the same thing.”
That’s when it dawned on us … we’d been burgled.
To cut a long story short … after speaking to our neighbor, we learned that two young men had knocked on his door that morning, stating that they were painters contracted to paint our house. The unsuspecting neighbor had told them that we both had jobs and wouldn’t be returning home until after 6:00 p.m.
That gave the two men the green light to smash one of the back windows and make themselves at home for the rest of the day. As we found out, they ate just about everything in the fridge, then moved on to what was in the cabinets and washed it down with over a dozen beers.
At first glance nothing was stolen, the TV and the hi-fi was still there, but upon closer inspection the video and clothing iron were missing.
We thought that was all the thieves had taken, but later on we found out they had walked out with more.
When I expected guests and wanted to make up the spare bedroom with my best sheets, sheets that were still in plastic, those were gone. Not one but several sets.
When I wanted to set the table, I found that my best tablecloths were missing.
In addition they had taken leather jackets, electronic toys, and of course the ever popular jewelry.
While the experience was far from pleasant, the thieves did have some good in them. They had locked up the cats in my bedroom, so they wouldn’t hurt themselves attempting to jump out the broken window.
So now we’re once again in danger. Burglaries in the building, on the 11th floor no less, and nobody has seen or heard a thing.
Needless to say, I jumped into action. I drafted a letter, calling for an emergency Board of Directors meeting during which we will press for cameras in all corridors on all floors and a security guard. Next I spent considerable time getting the necessary signatures from other residents authorizing such meeting.
Everyone I approached was more than willing to put their name down.
In the meantime, plenty of residents had ideas on how we could protect our home.
- Get a private alarm system.
- Get a dog.
- Leave a light on.
- Leave the TV or radio on.
- If you prefer to leave your house in darkness, throw a handful of marbles on the floor.
- Upon leaving, call a goodbye to someone, thus giving the impression that someone is still in the house (you never know who’s listening).
- We already have two locks on the front door, but to feel at least a little safer, tomorrow we're installing a third one.