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House broken into, what now?

AridholAridhol Registered User regular
edited April 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
So last night our house was broken into. The police said it looked like a quick cash grab for drug money as there have been a couple similar in the area this week.

I have a list of what was stolen and thankfully it's not much and we have notified the Police and our condo strata council and taken some measures to secure where they got in. We also changed all online banking and website passwords (they stole a laptop) such as ebay and facebook.


My question is what else should we do?

Are there any things that should be updated or checked into or anyone else notified?

I've never been robbed before so....

Aridhol on

Posts

  • Shark_MegaByteShark_MegaByte Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Change email passwords too, in case those got left on the laptop one way or another - they could use email password recovery.

    Do you have renters' insurance? If so, think about filing a claim. If not, think about getting some.

  • AridholAridhol Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    I have renters insurance and I'll be filing a claim tomorrow.

    The deductible is $300 (I think) but they stole about $1500 worth of stuff so it'll be worth it.

  • VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    The other thing to do is, if you don't have it already, get an alarm system on your house if possible.

    It sucks, hardcore, but once you've been successfully broken into the odds of it happening again (and again) increase unless you take steps to stop it. Once someone knows your house has no security system and is easy to get into, they often (A) come back in a few months or (B) tell their ruffian friends who then come and do the same.

    Unfortunately, this happened to some friends of mine. They got broken into during christmas break one year. They never got security for the house though, and sure enough next christmas it happened again. And then again just this last christmas. The cops told them that they were probably known as an "easy" house to break into, and that they should get some security if they want it to stop happening.

    Anyways, the moral of the story is to get a system if you can, and display proudly that you have such a system (sign on lawn, whatever you have to do). Get bars for windows if it seems really likely to happen again. You basically have to make sure that they don't consider your house to be an "easy" house anymore.

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  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited April 2008
    Aridhol wrote: »
    I have renters insurance and I'll be filing a claim tomorrow.

    The deductible is $300 (I think) but they stole about $1500 worth of stuff so it'll be worth it.

    They will ask you for the prices of the items. Give them the original, new prices of all the items. Don't try to estimate how much the laptop was worth; that's their job. Tell them however much you paid for it, even if it was years ago.

    When I got 30+ games and three consoles stolen, I figured it would cost $800 to replace it all. Due to how they did the math, they gave me $1300, and that's after my $500 deductible was counted in.

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    install secondary locks on all entry points (windows as well as doors).

    security systems can be expensive, but if you can get the window stickers and a fake security camera with a light placed in a position visible when people look in through the window, that may serve as a deterrent.

    scary looking dog that barks?

    these are all impediments to help the theif decide to skip your house/unit and move to the next one.

    if stolen for drug money you might want to call around to pawn shops and see if anyone has hocked your laptop. you might be able to recover it.

    edit: yeah, don't get a dog just for home security. i didn't mean to imply that.

    edit2: floodlights that activate via motion detector is also good, you can get them for under $20, but you'd have to talk to landlord before installing. perhaps you can replace an existing exterior light ficture.

  • AtomBombAtomBomb Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Another thing to check with on the insurance front: When my house was broken into the insurance company paid my wife and I for the time it took us to clean up after the criminals and the cops. We weren't making a ton of money at the time, but iirc the hourly rate they paid us was around twice what I would have gotten at work.

    I would not encourage you to get a dog as a security device. If you want a pet that's awesome. Now that I have 3 dogs I consider them the most valuable things in my house, and I'd much rather have someone steal all my shit than hurt one of my dogs.

    Window bars are good, mostly because it's a very obvious sign that you've upped your security. That may not be possible where you're at, or they might just be too ugly. A noisy alarm system is good too. I would imagine you could get one of those for pretty cheap.

    When you do replace your stuff, make sure not to dispose of the boxes and whatnot in such a way that someone could tell that you've just gotten a bunch of new expensive items.

    Djeet has a good idea about the laptop. Super likely that it's on it's way to the pawnshop if it's not already there. Also, check craigslist. Common sense but if you do find it on there call the cops rather than trying to get it yourself.

    Sorry that happened to you.

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  • ThomamelasThomamelas “Three films a day, three books a week and records of great music would be enough to make me happy to the day I die.” Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Djeet wrote: »
    install secondary locks on all entry points (windows as well as doors).

    security systems can be expensive, but if you can get the window stickers and a fake security camera with a light placed in a position visible when people look in through the window, that may serve as a deterrent.

    scary looking dog that barks?

    these are all impediments to help the theif decide to skip your house/unit and move to the next one.

    if stolen for drug money you might want to call around to pawn shops and see if anyone has hocked your laptop. you might be able to recover it.

    Do not under any circumstances put a fake security camera in place. The effectiveness of it as a deterrent is non-existent and it opens up legal liability for the home owner.

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Thomamelas wrote: »
    Do not under any circumstances put a fake security camera in place. The effectiveness of it as a deterrent is non-existent and it opens up legal liability for the home owner.

    I think that's FUD, this is a residential not a commercial application. If you have any links to lawsuits or any kind of prosecution related to this please post or PM me. I'd be interested in reading that.

  • ThomamelasThomamelas “Three films a day, three books a week and records of great music would be enough to make me happy to the day I die.” Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Djeet wrote: »
    Thomamelas wrote: »
    Do not under any circumstances put a fake security camera in place. The effectiveness of it as a deterrent is non-existent and it opens up legal liability for the home owner.

    I think that's FUD, this is a residential not a commercial application. If you have any links to lawsuits or any kind of prosecution related to this please post or PM me. I'd be interested in reading that.

    It falls under "Implied Security". If something happens with in the field of view of a camera and someone requests the video and it can not be produced then the property owner can incur liabilities. You'll find it often with apartment situations but the basic theory holds true for property owners. I'm not saying that his odds of being sued are massive but given that the benefit is non-existent for dummy cameras it's not worth the extra list.

    I'm not proposing he replace the dummy cameras with real ones either. The deterrence benefit to CCTV is next to non-existent unless your using it for active monitoring with a security guard. And I think we can all agree that for this it's massive overkill.

  • AridholAridhol Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    I've purchased a magnetic alarm for my sliding door which when not disabled by me goes off when the 2 contacts no longer meet. I also got a piece of wood to block the opening of the door from the outside even if it is unlocked.

    There was no mess and nothing broken besides the window screen when they stole the shit so I don't need compensation for that.

    The shittiest things that were stolen were all my girlfriends ID and bank/credit cards (all cancelled asap, passwords changed etc..) and the digital camera. We're going away to disneyland in a month and now we need a new camera.

    I can't install bars on the windows or external lights (condo stratta rules). I feel that the window/door alarms will be enough at this point.

    I spoke to the insurance place today and they said an adjuster will call me. I'm not sure what to expect, I have receipts for everything that was stolen except for the camera (ARGH!) and her cell phone.

    I found out they stole my Mac mini that was attached to the TV and the ipod connected to it as well.

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    you could get to know your neighbors, let them know when you're leaving for vacation so if they see guys taking stuff from your place they know to call the cops. a trusted housesitter who could occupy your residence while you're away would be nice, or a friend w/a key who could drop by regularly to check on things.

    edit: or timers for lamps and tvs.

  • AtomBombAtomBomb Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    The alarms you picked up sound like they will work well.

    I'm glad they didn't wreck your place. Ours was fairly messed up. They threw everything on the floor as the rifled thru it, and then the police used fingerprint dust on some of the crap on the floor. They also did shit like trying to pull cords thru an entertainment center without unhooking them (lots of wood splinters and torn cables). They got in thru a crank window that was slightly open by pulling really hard and stripping out the gears.

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  • shutzshutz Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    It depends on your insurance (and on the adjuster) but usually, you don't need receipts for everything. If you claim something that seems out of the ordinary (for instance, very expensive jewelery that you have no proof of ever having owned, or one-of-a-kind items that are worth a lot, or even items not commonly found in a residence, such as rare musical instruments) or if you claim something that might seem excessive (for example, you live in a dump but claim an XBox 360 and 80+ games plus a huge 1080p HDTV) they will raise some eyebrows.

    Sometimes, just digging through a photo collection (printed or digital) and producing something that shows you really owned some of what you're claiming will go a long way.

    Also, one thing that can really help secure your place, and keep some burglars away, for a pretty small amount of money is to replace all your locks with deadbolts (if that's not already the case.) If anyone here is not clear on what a deadbolt is: it's a lock that requires a key on both sides of the door to lock and unlock. So there's no knob that you can use to unlock the door from the inside. If the burglars have to come back out through whatever window they broke, and they know it, they might not steal as much, or they might not steal anything, as they'll find it not worth the trouble.

    I've had my apartment burglarized twice (I've told the story on these forums a couple of times already) and it turned out it was my neighbor. The first time, he broke in by breaking the window above my well-installed AC unit (there was no way to pull out the AC unit without breaking the window because of the way I'd installed it. Once the window was broken, it wasn't too hard for him to remove the AC unit, however.

    The second time was less than a year later, and I'd recently reinstalled the AC unit, after straightening out the frame I'd used to install it the previous year. This time, the parts that had been twisted by him the previous year weren't perfectly straight anymore, so he was able to just pull the unit out and come in without causing any further damage. Since I didn't have deadbolts, once he was in, he was able to unlock the door that opens in front of his own apartment door (indoors, with a stairway that goes down to a door that leads outside.) I believe he unlocked that door, then went back into his place and called the cops to say that someone had burglarized my place (I wasn't there at the time) the cops came, noticed the AC unit had been removed from the window, took a look around, left a card that read "someone broke into your place, let us know if anything's missing." Once the police left, he was able to take whatever he wanted into his own apartment, and no one would have seen anything. The note the police left tells me that they probably didn't notice the huge holes where my HDTV and my PC had been, so they were probably still there when the police went through. Which is probably why they came in and arrested the ass hole a week later.

    If you have more specific questions about dealing with insurance, just post them, I'll answer what I know.

    Oh, by the way, if you're like me and you have the bad habit of keeping the packaging and boxes for stuff (especially electronics) you buy, yes it piles up over time, but it really comes in handy for insurance claims, even without receipts.

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  • AridholAridhol Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Well the insurance adjuster called and was very nice.
    She offered to give us full price we paid (no depreciation) on the stuff we lost.

    I just have to fax in receipts for things I can and then the manual cover for the camera.

    I now have $1900 (money after deductible) to spend on a new laptop and new camera for disneyland.

    Thanks everyone for the advice.

    Should I make a new H/A topic or is this more of a moe's tech question?

  • shutzshutz Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    So your insurance didn't direct you towards a specific store or vendor?

    In my case, for most of my electronics, I was sent to a specific store. I could have refused, but the money they would have offered me would have been less than the retail value of what I got, because the insurance company and the store work together.

    For instance, my almost new 23" LCD HDTV, Insigna brand (Best Buy's "house" brand) was replaced with a 26" LG (I could have gotten an equivalent Sharp model, but I've had good experiences with various LG products.)

    My oXBox was replaced with a 360. The second time, my 5.2 MP Fujifilm Finepix was replaced with a much better 7MP camera.

    If your insurance points you towards a specific business for some items, unless you have very good reason to avoid that store (in which case they might propose a few other places) you should go there, you'll get more, and you won't have to shop as much.

    And you can still negociate for some items: for instance, if you had a computer with certain special capabilities (for example, an analogue capture card) then you can insist on the same capability in the replacement.

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  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    AtomBomb wrote: »
    The alarms you picked up sound like they will work well.

    I'm glad they didn't wreck your place. Ours was fairly messed up. They threw everything on the floor as the rifled thru it, and then the police used fingerprint dust on some of the crap on the floor. They also did shit like trying to pull cords thru an entertainment center without unhooking them (lots of wood splinters and torn cables). They got in thru a crank window that was slightly open by pulling really hard and stripping out the gears.

    Not sure if you ever saw this, but on the Discovery Channel show "It Takes a Thief" one of the guys was able to open a crank window from the outside when it was slightly open by rocking it back & forth - the crank would turn slightly more open each time.

    And yes, this is what is sweet about renter's insurance - for the most part they give you the actual replacement value of whatever you had, not a bullshit amount of money "because it's old."



    More seriously, can anyone recommend a good renter's insurance company? Who do you guys have?

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  • PirateJonPirateJon Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Get new toothbrushes.

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