Having someone let themselves into your house and help themselves to your stuff is obviously violating, but it’s also surreal.
The reality that the criminal element that you sometimes see on the news or on social media actually walked into your house and affected your life personally is something hard to accept. Being in the insurance business, I have seen a lot of burglaries and fancy myself as being relatively knowledgeable about burglaries in general. Two weeks before my burglary, I literally made a video called “What you need to know about hiding valuables in case you are burglarized” (despite the catchy name this video did not go viral).
Some of the advice I gave, like never keeping super valuable items in your closet (if it’s that valuable, keep it in a bank safe deposit box) I followed myself – sort of. The reality is I learned a few super surprising lessons during my own break in that I wanted to share because I think it will help others. Here is a list of the lessons I learned being a burglary victim. Better to know these things before you become a victim.
Lesson #1: You can’t rely on Ring or other Wi-Fi cameras. Ring cameras are good to see when a package is dropped off or what cat is in your backyard at night but not effective for professional burglars. The burglars that hit my house had something called a Wi-Fi blocker. Once your Wi-Fi is blocked your cameras will cease to function. They won’t record or notify you of motion. My recommendation is to create redundancy by adding hard wired cameras, some of which you want hidden so they can’t be disabled.
Lesson #2: It might be time to upgrade your alarm system. Alarm sensors on your doors are great unless someone goes through your door. Most burglars know how to get into your home without technically “opening” a window or door.They just break enough glass to fit their body through. Having glass break detectors and interior motion detectors is a must.
Lesson #3: You need an easy lazy-proof way to store your valuables. Like I said before, I knew better than to hide things in my closet, but what about the watch I wear daily, an old class ring not worth a whole lot or cufflinks I wear every few days? Those items are worn too frequently to store at a bank, so I just kept them in my closet and now they are being worn by the Hamburglar in some criminal lair somewhere. For the expensive items you wear often store them somewhere like a cereal box or other innocuous place. It doesn’t have to be a super strong hiding spot, just something nobody would think to look at.
Lesson #4: Take more photos of your stuff. When someone turns all your drawers upside down and empties the contents of every cabinet it can be super tough to know what might have gone missing. Pictures of your household items will help police return items to you if they are recovered and will help when it’s time to file an insurance claim.
Our LAPD in the West Valley have prioritized stopping these burglaries and I believe our police department to be the best in the world. The reality unfortunately is that home burglaries have been around as long as the ski mask and unlikely to stop completely anytime soon. A few lessons from here can help make your house a harder target and minimize any loss that could occur. By the way, if your holiday gift from your spouse is an old gold ring with “Tim Gaspar ECR Class of 1999” engraved in it please let me know.
Tim Gaspar is the founder of Gaspar Insurance in Woodland Hills. To reach him call (866) 624- 4012 or visit gasparinsurance. com.