A Baltimore Guide to Not Getting Broken Into

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My house got broken into the other day. We lost a laptop, desktop, a couple of Mac chargers and an amp. That was Saturday. Monday, we got broken into again, and they took another laptop, a bike, more chargers, our TV, a bunch of guitars — basically everything of value. One of my housemates said he felt like a Who after the Grinch came, but minus the Christmas cheer. And, you know, if it happened twice. Anyway, getting broken into is no fun, and it happens a lot in Baltimore, so I thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve learned about how to not get all your stuff jacked.

Fences are good, walls are not. 

The first time whoever it was broke in, they came through an open door. That was a stupid mistake on our part, but afterwards we kept everything locked up. The second time, we got our dining-room window busted open. The thieves felt safe enough to do this, the security people explained, because we’ve got an eight-foot brick wall around our back yard. Eight feet is as high as city regulation will allow, but still low enough that anyone over 5’8″ can pretty easily climb over. And once they’re over a wall, they’re hidden from view.  So make sure your robbers-to-be don’t have any good spots to hide.

Window bars are awesome.

If your windows and doors are barred, you’ve probably deterred 95 percent of people wanting to steal your things. We didn’t do this until after the second time we were broken into, but we haven’t had any trouble since then. (Though I’m not sure if it’s the window bars or just that we don’t have anything left to steal.)

Location, Location, Location

Most parts of Baltimore are at some higher risk of break-in just by virtue of being in the city, but there are places and there are places. I live in a technically nice area – Bolton Hill – but I’m in the last remnant of affluence/security before North Avenue devolves into abandoned homes and run-down bodegas. Our alley opens right onto it, and we’re sure our unwanted visitors came and left (pretty freely) through there.

That’s all I’ve got.  Stay sort of classy, Baltimore!

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