Empathy for intruders

We had our third breakin this week. At this point, the intruder didn’t even take anything. After some walking around and some basic investigation, this is what I surmise:

The intruder hopped the wooden fence in the backyard. Footprints didn’t come from the alley, they came from the east, along Calumet. The entry point is the same point that it has been which tells me that this is probably the same person doing the intrusion.

Only one footprint (a left footprint) led from the fence in back up to the brick porch. This means that the jumper possibly twisted an ankle and hopped up to the brick wall.

The footprints are small: Possibly men’s 7 or 8, doing a non-scientific judging by my size 10.

The person climbed the wall up on to our back porch. They then forced the door open (not an easy feat, as we had jammed many heavy things in front of it). The gap between the barricade and the doorway was pretty narrow; the intruder is clearly thin and nimble enough to scale a wooden fence, a brick wall, and is able to squeeze into tiny openings.

The intruder didn’t take anything, but they did open both of the front doors wide open (the interior side). They also left through the front door and left the front door closed but not all the way; whether this means they meant to return through the front door is only speculation.

Now, the pattern fits a previous intrusion (one where a $250 paint sprayer was stolen), so I’m not going to claim innocence on the part of the intruder, but a neighbor brought up the scenario that this is possibly a squatter who has been in this house many times before, and who maybe was just trying to stay warm. It’s a possibility I’m willing to entertain, and believe me folks, I’m trying to be as Buddhist as possible about this, but the fact remains that it was a home intrusion.

These intrusions are definitely happening at night. Our neighbors are trying to keep a lookout (my next door neighbor seemed pretty upset and apologized to me today), but of course if somebody is intruding in the middle of the night, there’s not really anything our neighbors can do.

At this point, all we can do is wait until DTE gets the electricity turned on. That will increase our security considerably (lights, etc.). A dark, empty house is pretty much a sitting duck.

We’ve secured the back door even better. Tomorrow our contractor is coming out to see what he can do about sealing it up for now. This crime is so minor that I’m convinced at this point that if we just make it annoying for the intruder they’ll give up.

There’s really nothing worth stealing, but the intrusions are still very, very unsettling.

14 thoughts on “Empathy for intruders

  1. Oy vey.. Good luck. It can only get better. And it actually will. A house with people in it is far less likely to get broken into as well. Porch light always on at night. Good locks on the doors. You'll be fine.
  2. Yeah, in talking to the neighbors, nobody who lives there ever gets broken into. These crimes seem almost... pathetic in their minimal lack of effort. Like the spirit of malaise in Detroit is taking one last weak swipe at the new residents and energy that is invading.
  3. The intruder sounds like a child - a teenager that sees opportunity. If u haven't ask for special attention on yr address at the precinct and talk to yr precincts community relations officer for more suggestions
  4. The locks had all been busted out. Installing locks was a lot more complicated than just "installing a lock". Broken wood on the door jambs, etc.

    Tonight the back door was secured by a new deadbolt and a new mortise lock.
  5. The intruder sounds like a child - a teenager that sees opportunity. If u haven't ask for special attention on yr address at the precinct and talk to yr precincts community relations officer for more suggestions
    Hi Sylvia,

    I actually have been in contact with Wayne State Police, they've been out to the house a few times and I've made them aware that we're moving in and renovating the place. Tonight my neighbors told me that the police had come by to check on the place, so that's encouraging :)

  6. I've thankfully never had my house broken into, but I have had my truck broken into 2 times in the past few years. Both times they didn't take anything of extreme value, but it what pissed me off was I just felt violated, each time. It's the concept of it - some one else was in MY shit. Do not like.

    Once you get power I bet that will help drastically. Go to HomeDepot and get 2-3 of the super bright motion activated security lights, which should fix the problem. Now if *that* doesn't stop them, then your intruder has some balls and you have a bigger problem ...
  7. Correction: The intruder did take things. Two containers of caulk & painting supplies were stolen. Probably $100 worth of equipment.
  8. Double Correction: Somehow, for the last week and a half, none of us noticed what REALLY got taken: Our brand new dishwasher.

    For real. They stole the dishwasher, and none of us noticed until yesterday. Empathy meter depleted by 90%.
  9. I was going to say that your investigation sounds like a Sherlock Holmes story, but in reality, he probably would have noticed the missing dishwasher.

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