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Lessons learned following our home burglary | Letter
Our home in the Everest Neighborhood was broken into Nov. 13. Unfortunately, a work colleague just informed us that his home in the Rose Hill neighborhood was broken into Tuesday in a similar manner.
Because we no longer feel that Kirkland is the sleepy, safe city we once thought it was, we would like to share information on what happened, and the lessons we learned, in order to help you protect yourself and your neighbors.
1. About noon on Tuesday, Nov. 13, a dead-bolted door on the side of our house was broken down by a series of hard kicks that broke the frame.
2. The perpetrator carried a garden trowel, found outside, into the house and left it in a back room (as a weapon)?
3. The perpetrator went into every room on the main and second floors. Areas hardest hit were the office and master bedroom – all drawers, cabinets were ransacked and contents strewn.
4. The perpetrator mainly took cash, jewelry and small electronics (I’m guessing the perpetrator was on foot and took all he could carry).Lessons learned:
1. Install/activate a security system! We calculated that the amount that was stolen was a greater cost than 15 years of a high-end security system with a monthly monitoring subscription.
2. Take photos (or videos) of valuables, open cabinets, open drawers, rooms in general. This will not only help you to document what was stolen for the police and insurance reports, but also help you remember what was there, especially if the entire area has been torn apart and scattered.
3. Don’t hide valuables in your clothes drawers (based on what was ransacked, it must be a common hiding place).
4. Insurance only covers a tiny amount of stolen cash.
5. Make sure you have insurance riders to cover valuables.
6. Pay attention to unusual noises at your neighbor’s houses. A neighbor heard our door being smashed in, but didn’t realize what it was. Better to call the police and have them find a dog knocked over the garbage than to find out later it was a home invasion.
7. According to police and a security system representative, nearly all break-ins occur in the middle of the day (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) via kicking in a back or side door where they won’t be seen from the street. There is lots of online information on how to make these areas less vulnerable.
8. Take down license numbers/car ID of any strange cars in the neighborhood.
9. Take photos of any strangers in our neighborhood that just don’t seem right, and call the police if they frighten you, or make you feel uncomfortable.
10. I highly recommend that if you don’t already have a neighborhood wide email distribution list or neighborhood Facebook page, one where neighbors can freely correspond with neighbors, you spend time this weekend gathering one!
11. Set up or re-energize your Neighborhood Block Watch (contact the police department for more information).
If you are victimized, I highly recommend reaching out to others who might have gone through a similar event. As numerous people have shared with me: “Until you go through a home invasion, you cannot comprehend the intense feelings of vulnerability, fear, humiliation, along with loss, sadness and anger.” It really helps to know that you are not alone.
Beverly Gilbert, Kirkland