Steve Jobs, LL Cool J and Paris Hilton– what do a deceased billionaire, a rapper turned actor and a socialite all have in common? Well, besides the fact that their homes are located in so-called nice neighborhoods, each one’s home was also broken into. LL Cool J even had to fight an intruder with his bare hands since a criminal broke into his home as his family was sleeping in the wee hours of the morning.
Live In a Nice Neighborhood?
This blog post is dedicated to everyone who believes they live in a nice neighborhood; to everyone with neighbors who look out for one another and, especially, to homeowners who feel that they are the least likely candidates for a break-in. A bury-your-head-in-the-sand mentality could very well be making you a target. Allow us to help you adjust your thinking before it’s too late.
Your Home Is a Perfect Candidate for Burglary
See, the truth of the matter is that you may live in precisely the type of neighborhood that a burglar prefers. Think about it, if you were a thief would you prefer breaking into a home in a nice, quiet neighborhood or a home in a run-down, noisy neighborhood, instead? Which do you think is most likely to be relaxed about security? Which is likely to have items you’d like to steal? Speaking for myself here, but if I were a burglar and I were risking my freedom by breaking into someone’s home, I’d much rather make it worth my while and break into a house where I’m likely to score items of value as opposed to one in an undesirable and, likely, low-income neighborhood.
A False Sense of Security
By now, you may be wondering if any of the celebrity homes mentioned at the top of this post were equipped with an alarm system. While, we’re sure they all were (at least we hope that they were), you should note that home security systems can’t work if they’re not properly armed. And, as may be the case with some of you reading this, a false sense of security sometimes accompanies home ownership in upper-income neighborhoods and many residents do not bother to turn their alarm systems on.
Getting back to our famous burglary cases here for a moment, let’s take a closer look at how each one could have been avoided. Hopefully, you’ll glean a few tips that you can apply at your home.
Security Mistakes at Steve Jobs’ Home
The Jobs’ burglary may have surprised many, but the details of the break-in were not at all unusual. While his home was being renovated and his widow was temporarily residing elsewhere, a down-on-his luck criminal was able to waltz right into the house. See, the thief got on the property’s fence by climbing scaffolding left behind by a work crew. Next, he managed to discover an unlocked garage that also contained a key to the billionaire’s home. With unfettered access, the burglar was able to take his time in leisurely sifting through Jobs’ personal effects before loading the billionaire’s luggage with jewelry, multiple computers and other digital devices, as well as a few household appliances. He even rambled through Jobs’ wallet and stole his state-issued identification!
Obviously, the security mistakes here are many. First, the alarm system, which hopefully included surveillance cameras and alarm monitoring, should have been armed. Second, a key to the home should never have been left on the premises and, third, someone should have made certain that renovation crews didn’t leave unattended equipment behind that would have tempted a burglar. At the very least, the scaffolding used to scale the home’s fence should not have been there.
Lessons From LL Cool J’s Break-In
In LL Cool J’s case– which is perhaps the most frightening of all since he and his family were at home and asleep at the time of the break-in– we learn a few things. Obviously, a monitored alarm system should have been in place and activated. Also, something that isn’t discussed too often in these conversations is that a house should be silent at night. LL Cool J, fortunately, was able to hear an intruder in his home and reacted quickly. People who sleep with a radio or television on, or even with the constant whir of a fan, may not have heard a sound in the middle of the night, however. Another thing the NCIS: Los Angeles actor may have benefitted from is a device like the Fake TV Burglary Deterrent Device, which gives the illusion of a television being on, but without sound which may interfere with a sleeper hearing things that go bump in the night.
What We Learned From Paris Hilton’s ‘Bling Ring’
For Paris Hilton, it appears that her home’s break-in was highly targeted. In fact, the criminals accused of burglarizing the heiress’ house were a part of a celebrity burglary ring who not only targeted Hilton, but also the homes of other celebrities including actors Orlando Bloom and Lindsay Lohan. Perhaps the most surprising of all, however, is that some of the gang’s members, including its female mastermind, came from affluent families.
What we learn here is that criminals come in all genders and from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds. Also, they are sometimes the people we least expect them to be. One of the women in what the media has named the “bling ring” was so tiny in physical stature that she was used to give the group access to one victim’s home because she was able to fit through the house’s pet door. Who would have ever expected such a petite woman of burglary?
So, the next time you try to justify your lack of home security by believing that you live in a safe area, think about each of these cases and the scores of other nice neighborhoods where break-ins have occurred. For your sake and for the security of your family, please face reality and opt for a complete home security system, instead. As experts report that home burglaries continue to rise throughout the country, you cannot afford to hold a low expectation of a burglary happening to you.