There’s a reason doors have locks

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 24, 2011

With headlines about ninja burglars and vigilante grannies, it seems like crime is running rampant.

While crime is not “rampant,” per se, I do think it’s on the rise. At the newspaper, we do our best to make sure our readers are armed with the information they ened to protect themselves and their valuables.

I spent a good part of yesterday afternoon with those at the Andalusia Police Department to get a better picture of the “ninja burglar” (my name, not theirs) who dropped from the ceiling of a local convenience store and stuffed pockets full of “fake dope” (A.K.A. synthetic marijuana, and again, my words, not theirs).

It’s a great headline for an unfortunate story. It’s a story that’s proves times are tough and people are looking for easy money wherever they can find it – or in this case, steal it.

Same goes for today’s story about the vehicle break-ins near the high school.

Earlier in the morning, I’d gotten a news tip about how three cars were broken into and valuables stolen. Actually, the term “broken into,” is not entirely accurate in these type cases. It should be “opened the door of an unlocked car and stole X,Y and Z.” But again, it was a case of someone looking for easy money.

I think it’s time for the people to take responsibility for their possessions. I’m not advocating standing on the front porch with a spot light and a shotgun. You should, however, lock your doors – both the car doors and the front door. The days of trusting in the basic goodness of human nature are over.

That might sound a little harsh, but I know what I’m talking about. I have been a victim of a car burglary. There is nothing more frightening or frustrating than knowing that you’ve lost not only your sense of safety but also your valuable property.

We lived in Florala at the time, and it was shortly after Thanksgiving. I had $200 in my wallet because I’d planned a weekend trip to do some Christmas shopping.

Unbeknownst to the populous, there was a guy making the rounds all over town. His M.O. was the same as those in Andalusia – walk the neighborhood, check all the door handles. If it’s locked, move on to the next one. If not, bye-bye goodies.

I was furious to have my hard-earned money stolen right out of my front yard.

But on the other hand, I was lucky. The police were able to take prints from my van. My wallet was found in a ditch and returned to me. The money was gone, but my driver’s license and such were still there. We had a new baby at the time, which had me awake at all hours of the night and early morning and just in time to watch the guy making his round through the neighborhood. I think he’s still in jail, too.

After it was all said and done, I’d learned a valuable lesson: Lock your doors.