I was on my way to my friends’ house on 9th Avenue after the Ohio State game against Cincinnati when I got a call from my roommate’s boyfriend.
He asked me when I was last at my house. He and my roommate had just gotten back and the door was wide open.
To be honest, even though I hadn’t been at my house since 1:30 p.m. and it was now about 10, I was only a little bit concerned. I try not to get too worried about things like this to prevent myself from overreacting, so I just told him to call me when they had talked to my other roommate. Maybe she’d gone home after the game — I knew her parents were in town, and it seemed reasonable that they might’ve stopped by and accidentally left the door open while they ran to the car.
But then he called me back what felt like less than a minute later.
My door had been kicked in and at least our TV had been stolen.
Panic set in.
I ran home, the police were there, we filed a report and our landlord came to “temporarily” fix the door frame. The police told us we have to be extra careful, especially because we’re three women living there — as if there was anything we could’ve done to be more careful besides locking the door. Our landlord rambled on for an hour about campus crime and how really nothing can be done to prevent this from happening — as if we were supposed to then feel safe sleeping in a house that clearly doesn’t have enough locks on it.
My laptop, which was upstairs in my room that doesn’t have a lock — but at least the door was closed! — was taken along with its charger. And the TV, which was my roommate’s, is gone.
Mostly, I’m angry. And stressed. And scared.
I never realized what an invasion of privacy it is to have your house broken into. To sit in your living room with the blatant absence of a TV and know someone was there just a few hours earlier taking it. To go into your room and see your laptop gone and your closet door open and know someone you probably don’t know was in there that day.
It’s pretty much a nightmare realized.
Especially when you take into account that there isn’t anything else we could’ve done beyond locking our doors and windows (which we had), and the fact that these break-ins happen a lot.
In fact, just last week The Lantern ran a story about break-ins around campus. There had been 47 burglaries in the off-campus area between July 24 and Sept. 21, Columbus Police Deputy Chief Thomas Quinlan said. He called it “a stunning increase from last year,” and said that almost all of them happened in houses with unlocked doors or windows where the thieves let themselves in.
I edited that story. Texted my friends to be safe and lock their doors. Didn’t really consider my own situation because my roommates and I are all on top of it when it comes to locking up.
Yet here I am.
It makes me think landlords need to do more. Mine is now replacing my crappy door, which I think is some kind of wood, with a steel one. But why didn’t we have that kind of door in the first place?
And because I live in an apartment complex, why isn’t there at least one camera watching the alley?
And how did someone take off with our TV without someone else stopping them or at least calling the police?
I have an endless number of questions and I feel like none of them will be answered anytime soon. So for now, as the police told me, we just have to be extra careful.
Whatever that means.