This is NOT a sponsored post.
I feel like I need to say that up front so that you don’t assume it is, tune out, and stop reading.
Because I think this is something everyone needs to know about. And if you do find it helpful, I hope you will share this with others. Which I usually never ask you to do.
But that’s how important this is today.
At the same time I met my sister-in-law Kristi, I also met her best friend Lorena. Which is to say that I’ve known Lorena for almost 20 years. Which is weird because we’re only 25 and met post-college. But whatever. Anyway, I know Lorena and she’s awesome and I remember when she first starting dating her husband. He wasn’t her husband then. But he is now. And they have two super cute little boys.
A couple of weeks ago, I was at The Nephew’s Little League game when Kristi pulled out her phone and showed me a video Lorena sent her. It was the video from their Ring Home Security system.
(Yes, I’m adding a link, but if you click it I get exactly ZERO DOLLARS.)
Ring is a home security system that includes a video camera connected to your doorbell. When someone shows up at your house and rings the bell, you get a notification on your smartphone and can see who’s at your door. Whether you are at home, or sitting at a cafe in Paris with a good WiFi signal.
Anyway, so Ring is pretty popular and, frankly, pretty awesome. Because I am one of those people that NEVER answer the door unless I know someone is coming over. I just don’t. So someone comes to the door and rings the bell and you get a notification and look to see who it is. If you’re home, you can ignore it, or talk to them and see what they want. If you’re not home, you can still answer and they have no way of knowing if you’re home or not.
So here’s what happened at Lorena’s house.
She and her husband Jonathan were both at work. Their boys were at daycare. No one was home in the middle of the day.
Yeah. It was that easy and that fast.
This guy rang the doorbell, knocked, and got no answer.
But how could that happen? Didn’t they get a notification?
Well, Lorena is a teacher and Jonathan was also at work. In the middle of a meeting. He was in a situation where he couldn’t just drop everything and check his phone. And why would he even think he needed to? Who ever really thinks this is going to happen to them?
Which is why Ring is a good idea. But it is absolutely not foolproof.
So this guy (who is still out there somewhere, by the way), donkey-kicked the door open, ran into the house and made off with several things. I won’t go into details of what he stole from them. It was not thousands of dollars worth of things, but also not stuff they were happy to part with.
He was in and out in three minutes.
Here’s when he left.
If you look closely, you can see that he left in a decent-looking white car. That he had parked IN THEIR DRIVEWAY.
Lorena is funny because when I talked to her, she said that was the most disturbing part of it. It really bothered her. It’s so familiar. And it honestly is probably what made this whole thing even less likely to stand out to any neighbors that might have been watching. If someone parks in the driveway, it’s usually because they know you.
Anyway, I want you to know all of this because it really can happen to anyone. Lorena and Jonathan live in a decent house in a decent neighborhood. They don’t live in some scary neighborhood with bars on the windows and giant fences around every property.
After all of this happened, I asked Lorena if I could share her story and she was happy to provide the videos. She also shared a few things she learned from the experience, including a few tips that will hopefully be useful for you all.
Tips for Preventing a Break In
First off, YES, they had a deadbolt and it WAS locked.
However, like most people, their striker plate was a pretty standard one. Most likely, you’ve got the same striker plate on your door frame. It’s only about 3 inches long. Which meant, when the guy kicked the door, it easily gave way.
Lorena’s door now has an extra long striker plate that’s about 12 inches long. This makes it extra difficult to damage, making it hard to get the door open.
In addition to the longer striker plate, they also replaced the screws. The regular screws were only 1-2 inches. But by replacing them with screws that are 4 or more inches, it makes it almost impossible to kick the door open.
Do not wait until you have to fix a kicked-in door. Go out and replace your striker plate and screws today. You can seriously do this yourself for under $10.
Tips for Protecting Your Stuff if They DO Get In
Obviously, we’re talking about this because that creepy guy who smiles right at the camera DID break in. He was in and out in three minutes and was very methodical in how he did things.
He pulled beds away from walls, in what looks like a search for a safe. They didn’t have any. But he seemed to be looking for one.
He also ran his hands under the mattresses. Seriously, do not think keeping stuff under the mattress is going to be a smart hiding place. It isn’t. That is literally one of the first places they look.
Lorena and Jonathan had a drawer in their headboard. The guy went right for it and found something there that he took. So if you have drawers in the headboard of your bed, don’t keep valuables there either.
Basically, thieves know that people tend to hide valuables in their bedrooms. So Lorena says that you should only leave everyday things visible like that. Other things she be kept in other parts of the house.
For example, if someone is working quickly, they are probably not going to look in the garage for your jewelry. Just as an example. I’m just saying, put it somewhere that isn’t so obvious. Closets are another place thieves look for stuff.
And if you have the means to buy a safe, make sure to get a good one. Preferably one you can bolt to the floor so that they can’t take it with them and crack it open later on their own time.
These are things you can do right now today. And for not a lot of money. You can take care of that immediately, without hiring an expert.
Lorena and Jonathan did go a little further, though.
Since Ring didn’t turn out to be the best for them, they’ve now signed up for home monitoring with ADT. They have cameras inside and outside their home, that they can (and do) look at throughout the day. But they also have a company monitoring when they can’t. Because, like a lot of people, they don’t have time to just watch their house all day long on their phone.
They’ve also found some pretty interesting products like shelves, lamps, and tissue boxes that are specifically created for hiding things (like weapons, etc).
So…has this ever happened to you? Do you have any tips to add?