Burglars leave lasting impressions

Home break-ins can leave devastating memories behind.

I’m a home security expert who’s been working in the security industry in Surrey for 25 years. About 10 years ago I started writing about my experiences in the industry because of a need to share my knowledge.

Folks ask me all the time, “How did you get into Home Security?” I strongly believe I was affected by a life-altering incident that happened to my family many years ago.

When I was a youngster, I experienced a devastating break-in to our family home.

We had just moved into a new house about four blocks from our previous neighborhood. I was eight years old at the time and to this day, I still have a vivid picture of the events that took place that cold November evening.

My mother had taken my sister and I to our old neighbourhood to visit a close friend. My father was attending an evening work-related course so we ended up staying for dinner.

It wasn’t long after darkness fell we decided to take the trek home.

I can still feel the chill in the air as we walked back to our new house. The conversation that transpired between my mother, sister and I is still clear after all these years. Discussions led to my mother’s concerns that she didn’t pull the drapes or leave any lights on.

After all why would she? She wasn’t planning on staying for dinner and certainly didn’t plan on coming home after dark. As we rounded the corner and set sights on our new home, we noticed the lights were on in the master bedroom and the curtains were drawn. At this point there was no cause for alarm because we assumed my father had come home early from his meeting.

When we went around to the back of the house, for some reason my mother decided to ring the doorbell. It’s a good thing she did, because all of a sudden my bedroom window opened and a dark figure jumped out and scaled our fence.

The burglar tripped over a roll of chicken wire that was laying in the neighbour’s yard. I can still hear the thief groaning as he hit the ground. He then picked himself up and disappeared into the darkness.

I’m thankful to this day my mother had the presence of mind not to enter the house before alerting our new neighbour and calling the police. I’ll never forget the terrifying feeling as we walked through the back door with the attending police officer. We immediately spotted drawers pulled out with some dropped on the floor. Every cupboard door was open.

There were burnt matches all over the floor. It was obvious the burglar lit his way through the home until he got brave enough to turn the lights on. I remember every window was unlatched, presumably in case the creep needed a quick get-away.

My parents’ room was ripped apart. Even the bed was attacked, with the mattress and bedding thrown to the floor. Clothes were everywhere, half hanging off the dresser drawers and strewn all over the floor. All their jewelry was gone, including my mother’s precious family heirlooms.

My sister’s room was in shambles with remnants of her ceramic piggy bank on the floor minus the money. My bedroom was for the most part untouched. Possibly the crook didn’t have enough time for the raid or may have even got interrupted by the ringing of the doorbell.

But the scariest part for me was the fact he jumped out my bedroom window when he made his escape. As a young child it took me months before I felt safe in our new home.

So how did the bad guy get into our home? He entered through a window that was left unlocked.

The house was an invitation to a burglar, sitting in the dark with an unsecured window. It’s obvious the intruder checked all the doors and windows before making his entrance.

As you can tell, many years later the image of the break-in is still strongly embedded in my mind.

The impact of a break and enter can have a devastating effect on a young child. As a matter of fact I still occasionally catch myself ringing the doorbell before I slide the key into the lock.

The message is clear: Lock all your windows and doors. The last thing you want is a child to experience the devastation of a home break-in. And remember, Every child has the right to feel safe and secure in their own home.

Frank Fourchalk is a home security expert . E-mail him at Fourchalk@shaw.ca or visit www.yourhomesecurity.ca


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