Wednesday, October 31, 2012

People Who Live In Glass Houses

Around this time last year, I put on a happy face trying to make light of a scary situation-- Burglaries in my neighborhood, in THIS POST.  At that point in time, 15 house had suffered "smash and grab" robberies and I was pretty freaked out about it.  So, for peace of mind, I wore and literally carried around with me my most cherished jewelry and possessions for SEVEN months.

I did my due diligence as well to ensure our home was as safe as possible, and I talked with my security alarm company, the Homeowners Association, our Councilman's office, the police Watch Commander and all of my neighbors.  In short-- I was obsessed about making sure robberies in my 'hood did not happen again.


But they did happen, despite our living in a "safe neighborhood".  One house after another was robbed with the same actions--  Smash a back door or window for entry, grab as much loot as time allows, then run to the corner and get picked up by a waiting vehicle.  Despite so many people's best efforts the "robbery ring" continued. 

Friday it was our turn.

Very shortly after I turned our alarm on and left our home, our glass back door was broken-- the exterior door leading to our bedroom-- the 1/4 inch, super thick, glass door we had to take advantage of the beautiful view from our yard...


...was shattered to smithereens leaving our home wide open to robbers.  And rob they did.

The bedroom was methodically ransacked until they found the "mother load of loot" then it appears, they decided to leave the bedroom to explore other areas of our home.  That's when our so called "state of the art" motion sensor burglar system kicked in and the alarm blasted them right back out the broken bedroom door to disappear into the infamous LA traffic.

Our bedroom door.  Gulp.   The one place we thought we were the absolute safest in our home turned out to be the most vulnerable.  If the robbers had actually opened the door an alarm would have sounded but glass isn't "alarmable" and so they removed it.


Days later the sick feeling in my stomach is still very present.  The bedroom door is still boarded up awaiting the replacement glass and is a stark reminder of the destruction and angst caused by a very organized and skillful group of @#$%&! gang members.

I have since learned of newer, more modern "shatter detectors" for glass and, since the entire back of our home is floor to ceiling windows, they will be promptly installed.  Once again, I have made the rounds through our neighborhood distributing information and literally begging homeowners to use their alarm system (the other two houses robbed the same day did not have their alarms on).

Our alarm company representative has been to our home to review our system for recommendations on how best to "arm" our home (short of a gun which I do not want).  And I just spent an hour with the police fingerprint officer-- his black and white police car parked in front of our home brought a momentary calmness to my racing mind.

I see the horrible destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy on the television and know that millions of people are in a much, much worse place.  I'm ashamed to be so upset over a situation that clearly is minor in the scheme of things.  But still, sleep is hard to come by and I am shaken to my core.

Tonight I will be the Halloween Scrooge and not pass out candy-- The thought of opening my door to strangers is too frightening.  And, the knowledge that neighbors will ask if I heard about the burglaries means explaining I not only heard but I SAW--  I love Halloween but my yard full of decorations have been removed and the front of our house will be dark.  The window-filled back of my house will, however, be lite up like a Christmas tree so there is no doubt we are home.

My sweet husband will hold down the fort here, and tomorrow I'm running away from home-- to my first home-- in Ohio.  I.  Want.  My.  Mommy!  Soon I will be eating the worst homemade meatloaf you ever tasted but it will be my Mother's meatloaf.  As odd as it may sound, I find great comfort in that. 

Stay safe, my friends.  xo jj

41 comments:

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

I'm so sorry you've experienced this terrible event, Joanna, and am so glad you'll be going back to Ohio for the comfort of Mom and meatloaf! While the devastation of Sandy has, indeed, upended many lives, your event is life-changing, too. When someone invades your private space, it's truly traumatic and it takes a time to heal.

In 2003, we had a major home invasion robbery by a gang when we were living in Valencia (north of L.A.).
It was a few weeks after I had had thoracic surgery and I was supposed to be home recuperating, but got called back to work early that day. I was angry about having to go to work when I was still in such pain, but grateful when I got home and saw our front door literally hanging by shreds on its hinges and the whole house trashed. We lost some valuables -- my laptop computer, a few pieces of good jewelry, some electronics -- but our two most valuable treasures -- our cats Timmy and Gus -- were alive and trembling behind the one towel still left in the linen closet. It took a long time for them and for us to feel secure again. As in your case, this gang targeted our neighborhood for several months, hitting corner houses. They were finally caught several months after our incident and they were armed with guns and knives! So I was very thankful that my boss had been such a jerk and forced me to come back to work so soon after my surgery!

I hope you find comfort and healing during your visit home, Joanna. And don't underestimate the magnitude of this event. It's huge for you and that's totally understandable.

Hilary said...

Oh Joanna.. I'm so, so sorry you went through this horrible experience. I wonder how one neighbourhood can be hit so many times without police being very much a steady presence. I hope you will find some calm back home and that this horrible event can be eased from your every thought. Hugs to you.

Christine said...

So sorry to hear this terrible news Joanna, it's just awful. They obviously planned it for when you were out!

Ami said...

I'm so sorry. How scary and how angry you must feel! I'd be FURIOUS.

Please try to rest and relax in Ohio.
(((hugs)))

Brian Miller said...

ugh jj...this is sickening...i hope they get caught....thrare are few things that make you feel as vulnerable as someone breaking in...have lived through it twice....go home...let mom love on you....frig...i am so sorry...

hugs

Relyn Lawson said...

Oh, no. I am so sorry this happened. Of course you are upset. Your home was violated. Your safe place. There is nothing wrong with being upset and shaken. I will be praying for peace for you, though.

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

My heart goes out to you. I can't imagine being violated like that. If you had a protection dog like a german shepherd, would that help scare away thieves? We have the alarm system AND our dogs, so I feel doubly protected. Now I'm wondering... I hope peace returns to you soon.

Live High said...

I am so sorry Joanna. You feel violated and that will take a long time to overcome. You will find comfort in the familiarity and warmth of your mother's arms.

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

Oh sweetie, how very violated you must feel. It's an eerie feelin' to know that someone had been in your 'safe' place. 'Been there, done that clear out here in the middle of Nowhere USA.

Go take comfort in your Mamas lovin' arms and stinkin' meatloaf! I'm so sorry this happened to you my friend.

I'm flyin' some special prayers of peace and sweet rest your way...ASAP!

God bless and have a great visit with 'MOM'. :o)

Taradharma said...

that sense of violation is terrible, and takes a long time to lessen. Damn those people -- I hope you have a great trip to be with your mom. Sounds like COMFORT and SAFETY is what you need right now. xxoo

Betty WSch. said...

I'm so sorry Joanna!! You know we went through the same thing just this year and it's still very much in my mind. I know how you feel and it's good that you are going away for a while.
I sincerely hope they catch that @#$$%^$%^ gang!!

DJan said...

I had my car window broken into last Christmas Eve, my purse stolen, and the sense of violation after they used my cards and checks was huge! It took weeks for me to stop crying, and the cops said I should be happy that it was just "stuff." I'm sorry, it was MY stuff and MY car that was violated, and I need time to heal. You will too but you will heal, as will all those on the East Coast too. Hugs to you!

Jeanie said...

You are right that those on the east coast are suffering horribly, but I think a human violation leaves us feeling differently than an act of nature. I hope you find some peace on your visit home and that when you return the thieves have been caught. I am so sorry you have had to deal with this.

Sweet Tea said...

That.Is.Just.Awful.
Plain and simple AWFUL!!
Sure hope they catch those doing this soon. It's a sad thing when one doesn't feel safe in their own home...The NYC situation is horrible, but it doesn't negate your bad situation. I hope getting away to your mom's brings you some peace.

VM Sehy Photography said...

Sorry to hear this. You should be freaked out. I'd hate to be home when this happens. Sounds like no one ever is. Possible inside job or inside information? Can you have the police patrol your neighborhood? It would seem that if the thieves are so methodical and continue to hit your neighborhood, it shouldn't be that hard to catch them.

bill lisleman said...

You do have every reason to be very upset about this. As the other comments before mine correctly say - it's a violation of your personal space.
Hope things get back to normal quickly.

Jen said...

My home is my sanctuary. I would be incredibly angry.

I'm glad you're ok.

Simone said...

Your home is supposed to be a place for you to relax and breathe. I hope that you find peace hanging with family and that you are reminded of how loved you are.

Hoping that the police will catch those thugs that took away your vulnerability and changed up your comfort zone. Take care of yourself, JJ.

ladyfi said...

Oh gosh - how awful! Sending you good thoughts.

Eva Gallant said...

How terrible! I can't imagine the sense of violation you feel! My son and his fiance had their home broken into last spring. The culprits were caught, but still, it's upsetting.

Formerly known as Frau said...

omg I'm so sorry and so pissed off that people think they can do this to others. I'd be freaked out too...I'm so sorry!

Angela said...

Sheesh. I am so sorry to hear about that. I'd have a hard time sleeping, too, and would no doubt be running home to my mom for a little reassurance.

Tammy said...

oh JJ I am so sorry that you had to go through this. It's a major violation of what we hold dear and scared - our home. I can't imagine how you feel, but please know my heart goes out to you and I hope that being home in Ohio is helping you to deal with this. Big Hugs my friend!!

CiCi said...

Unfortunately, there are always some people who have a weakness of spirit and enjoy taking what is not theirs. It takes some time to recover from the revulsion and shock of strangers ransacking your belongings. The people who disrespected you and your property must not be wise enough to know about karma. Someday, somewhere they will learn that lesson.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I feel sick for you--what a terrible feeling to be violated like that. Hope they catch the creeps--and I hope you and your house heal, because it's got to be tough to not be scared after such an experience.

diane said...

What you are feeling is normal considering the circumstances. Hope you can come to terms with it, and feel safe in your home again. Nothing like a trip to mom's.
I'm glad you weren't home when they broke in. xo d

Ms Sparrow said...

When someone violates your very HOME
they have committed a crime against your sense of security. The place you hold dear as a safe refuge has been compromised and tainted. I hope you can recover soon.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Bad things going on somewhere else do not diminish a bad thing happening to you. I'm sorry that happened. The sense of violation is awful.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Bad things going on somewhere else do not diminish a bad thing happening to you. I'm sorry that happened. The sense of violation is awful.

Paula Wooters said...

That's horrible, Joanna. I'm so sorry that happened. Even the smallest robbery leaves you feeling violated, but this is over the top. Stay safe and enjoy the meatloaf!

Beth Allen said...

I'm so sorry this happened, Joanna. Stay safe and well, both of you, and know you are in my thoughts and prayers. Hope the meatloaf, and your mom, gave you the comfort you needed.

Mel said...

It's like a rape..you have been violated. I am going to check into the glass alarms. Same deal here.

We do have a gun..and I know how to use it...and I would.

I hope you find respite in Ohio.

I am so sorry to hear such awful news. hugs!

jane said...

i´m so sorry!i know the feeling. it does wear off- that feeling in your stomach. big big hugs jj.
jane

Suldog said...

I'm sorry to hear about this. That absolutely sucks. I'm becoming more and more of the mind that no punishment is too severe for those who break into homes. And I am becoming closer and closer to arming myself (and no pun intended.)

Rebecca Klein said...

Hi Ms. Jenkins,

My name is Rebecca Klein and I work for the Huffington Post's section for baby boomers. Huff/Post50 would like to include your blog in a guide for our readers of best midlife blogs. Would you be able to email an image of you to go with our story? (Something informal and unposed would be ideal; it can be you alone or with family or friends -- just please send caption information if you decide to do the latter.) My e-mail is Rebecca.Klein@huffingtonpost.com

Thanks so much!

Connie said...

Oh My Dear...I am so so sorry to hear this. It shakes us to the core when our homes are violated. I had been burglarized several times when I lived in the city. Hoping that a sense of peace will soon be restored to you!

Zuzana said...

Sorry to hear about your ordeal.:( Our car got recently burglarized. It was completely new, we only had it for less than a week. So I can relate, although a burglarized car and break in can hardly be compared
Hope you have enjoyed being home.;)
xoxo

Mrs4444 said...

I'm very sorry to hear you went through this. One summer, as we slept, burglars snuck into our garage and stole everything they could, including my purse from my car. They did this while the Neighborhood Watch sign hung from our mailbox. It's an unsettling feeling. I hope you're feeling better these days.

Fireblossom said...

How horrible! Having one's home, one's sanctuary invaded this way is one of the worst things that think can happen, emotionally, not to mention the material loses and destruction. Don't feel like you shouldn't feel what you feel just because Sandy victims or someone else has it worse. Your home is your home. How could you not be feeling jarred, attacked, sad, angry, vulnerable, and everything else?

Maria said...

I'm so sorry that you were rob, I think a security cam will really help to keep your homes safe.

Lois said...

Our next door neighbours had their house broken into last Dec, just before Christmas. The neighbours behind the house, across the alley saw it happen and called the police. The theives were caught in the house. It was very close. I hope that you begin to feel more secure as time passes. And we had a 'critter' living in our garage one whole winter, the damage it did by March was incredible! We think it was a 'pet' that was released into the alley. It died of a large tumor on it's head, really disgusting. I tried to trap it but kept catching squirrels...