I received a call from my parents this afternoon to inform me that their house had been broken into while they were out. Apparently, a couple of guys smashed down one of the doors, went inside and calmly carted out their widescreen TV, laptops and myriad other electronics in broad daylight during the middle of the day. Although a very cool neighbor (a former military man) called the cops and even got the perps’ license plate number as it happened, the stuff has not been recovered and, as of right now, there is no resolution. Just a whole lot of broken glass, missing stuff and frayed nerves.
This is a huge shock not only to them, but to me as well. I grew up in that house, after all. The neighborhood isn’t the greatest in the world, but it’s hardly a war zone. In fact, the accepted stereotype of the area where my parents live is probably a lot worse than it actually is; in all the years I’ve lived there we’ve never had anybody break into the house. Once, in the early ’80s, our car was stolen out of our driveway overnight; even then, we got it back in near-perfect condition in a few days. But nothing like this, that I can recall, has ever occurred.
As a result, I don’t have much personal experience to draw on when trying to evaluate how I should feel. I don’t even live there anymore, and I feel like my own personal space has been violated. Now I have a better idea of how my friend Forster must have felt a few months back when a prowler broke into his truck and made off with some personal effects. What disturbed him and his wife most wasn’t the missing stuff or the broken truck window, but the mere idea that some ne’er-do-well was right outside their house while they slept. I think I can empathize with those feelings a bit more today.
Coincidentally, it was just yesterday evening that my wife and I booked tickets to visit my parents later this year. The thought of staying in that house now, in that neighborhood, is no longer quite so pleasant. It’s a sad way to feel about the place where you grew up, even though statistically I’d guess that the likelihood of this happening again to the same home anytime soon is infinitesimal.
The current economic situation is probably acting as a strong catalyst for this kind of behavior all over the country. As the victim of such a crime, there’s little else to do but repair the damage, beef up doors and locks where you’re able, replace the stolen goods and get on with your life. You’re doing pretty well if you can take an incident like this and turn it into an opportunity to make improvements that might prevent future break-ins, or make the recovery process easier.
Speaking of which, I’m already doing some thinking for our own benefit here, particularly with regard to safeguarding data. At first it looked like the thieves might have taken every computer and every backup drive in my parents’ house, and since my dad works from home, that would have meant that all of his work data would have been gone. As it turns out, his backup drive wasn’t taken, so he should be able to get some of his data back once his computer can be recovered or replaced. But I work from home too, and mere idea of total data loss really gave me pause. I have local backups on external drives and discs in case of failure, but what about thefts, fire or other incidents where all of those things may be lost as well? I may need to look into an online backup solution. Right now I’m evaluating Mozy, but if anyone has specific recommendations, leave a comment below.
World’s full of crazy shit, that’s for sure. Sometimes it’s just easier than others to ignore it.