If you follow me on Twitter, you may already know that our apartment was recently broken into. We were very lucky – the only things that were stolen were some of my purses (only the fancy ones, although the thief is in for a rude awakening when he or she realizes that most of them were fakes), two pairs of my shoes (I think…or maybe the dogs just sequestered them), and my box of costume jewelry, which unfortunately included my wedding headpiece (which I had been hoping to pass down through my family). I wasn’t going to write about this, but then I received an email from a reader that got me thinking:
hey there jordan,
I am sorry to hear you got robbed recently! That’s horrible and probably feels like a personal violation almost. I guess I am writing because I wanted to know somethings about the robbery, if it’s not too personal to share. Do you think you were robbed because of how much you share about your home life online? People always talk about oversharing on the internet because they think it could leave you open to things like robbery. I dunno, I just thought I would ask to hear your thoughts on it.
Very good question. And the answer: I really don’t think so. First, like most bloggers, I do my best to not identify the building or apartment I live in (our name isn’t even on the door or mailbox), but unfortunately I suppose I’m not 100% successful at this 100% of the time. Sure, shrewd potential criminals with a direct line to NYC PR firms could figure out where I live. And I suppose that someone could see pictures of things I own online and decide that they want those things for themselves. This is a good wake-up call, actually, for anyone who posts personal photos on the Internet, whether on a blog or just on Facebook: if you put yourself out there, there are probably ways to figure out where you live…and this should serve as a reminder to be extra careful.
But! The facts, in this case, don’t really seem to suggest that the break-in was the work of a reader. I got all Clarice Starling-y…and came to the conclusion that the person who came into our apartment is someone we know personally. Scary, right?
Want to play detective with me? OK!
1. I was out of town when the break-in took place, and yes, anyone who reads my site or my Twitter would have known that. But they also would have known that Kendrick was not with me (and was thus very possibly at home).
2. Kendrick left our apartment to meet a friend and accidentally didn’t turn the catch all the way (we’ve since replaced the locks, obviously), leaving the door to our apartment open for about six hours (he feels very bad about this, so let’s not harp on it. Mistakes get made).
3. A few days after my return, I noticed that some of my purses weren’t in their customary spot, and I asked Kendrick if he had been straightening up while I was gone. He said no, but I figured maybe I had put them away and forgotten. I started thinking that someone might have broken in, but since such obvious things to steal were still there (TV, stereo, Wii, what have you), I thought it was probably my imagination.
4. A few days later, I went to my costume jewelry box to get a necklace, and found it empty.
Now, what I think:
1. The person who broke in was a woman. They bypassed various electronics and went straight not only for purses and jewelry, but for good (albeit mostly fake) purses and jewelry. A man looking for stuff for his girlfriend would have known to take Gucci (fake), but probably not Dooney & Bourke (alas, real, and my favorite purse ever)…and would have taken at least something for himself. Like, oh…the laptop sitting in plain view in the living room.
2. The person who broke in was at least relatively well-to-do. Not only did they bypass the “boy” stuff…they bypassed the more expensive stuff. Things that could be easily sold on eBay for much more money than a couple of pairs of Aldo shoes. Like said laptop.
3. The person who broke in knew me personally. I say this because of the intensely personal nature of the things that were taken. Also, if you take a look at that picture up there, that’s where my costume jewelry was…in a crappy, ugly box under a stack of books. My “real” jewelry box – the one without my wedding tiara in it – was much more obvious and much more accessible (I didn’t say this was smart; it’s just true).
4. The person did not come to our apartment intending to break in; it was a crime of opportunity. I say this because I am so sure it was a woman who broke in, and because it’s my belief, based on my extensive readings of John Douglas novels (and my college research, which focused on women and crime) that women – especially relatively affluent women – do not go to people’s apartments intending to break-and-enter, especially when there’s likely to be a guy there to stop them. The only case in which there may be an exception is if the motivation is particularly strong, but it’s not like I have The Heart of the Ocean (or anything of real value at all) lying around.
What I’m taking away from all this:
1. Get freaking renter’s insurance. It’s not that expensive, and it’s worth it.
2. Lock doors, even when just running down to walk the dog.
3. Be extra careful about posting photos that identify where we live, in case my theory is wrong.
So…what do you think? A) About my theory, and B) about blogs and privacy issues in general?