• Last modified 2755 days ago (Jan. 4, 2012)


Home intruder is a scary prospect

There was a rather unusual case of home intrusion that came to light between Christmas and New Year’s in Marion. A family getting settled in at their mother’s guest house while visiting found evidence that someone had been staying in the house, and for long enough that they needed to wash a load of towels.

The unusual part is that the intruder bothered to wash the towels in the first place. Furthermore, the house wasn’t vandalized at all, nothing was stolen, and nothing was left behind.

“Jane Doe” said she and her family felt “violated and nervous” over the situation. That is a completely natural and understandable reaction. A person’s home should be the ultimate bastion of privacy. Even the U.S. Constitution addresses the sanctity of the home, prohibiting the government from forcing people to house soldiers and prohibiting searches without good cause.

The unknown motives of any strange invader are scary to consider. While Doe’s unwelcome guest was apparently a relatively benign intruder, there are many whose presence would be much worse. Meth labs and drug dealing are just a couple of the dangerous uses that could befall a vacant home out of the public eye.

The family involved in this intrusion had good ideas to keep their house protected: lights on timers and a caretaker randomly checking on the house, to name a couple. But there was clearly a failure along the way. Notably, they had a spare key to the house outside, where it was apparently found and used to access the home.

Good neighbors can also be a good defense for a house. If neighbors know one another well, they’re more likely to notice when someone unfamiliar is on the property. But if your neighbors don’t even know your face, what’s the difference to them?

So if you don’t already, take the time to get to know your neighbors. When the weather is warmer, maybe have a neighborhood cookout with burgers and hotdogs. Maybe you’ll make some new friends. If not, maybe you’ll at least have neighbors who will notice and do something when there is an intruder in your home.

— Adam Stewart

Last modified Jan. 4, 2012