Can Neighbor Burglary Happen To You?

Neighbor burglary is more common than you might want to believe. While you may think it can’t happen to you, ask yourself how well you know your neighbors. How well do you know their secret habits, their criminal histories or their trustworthiness? What about your neighbor’s teenagers and their friends?

Who is in a better position to observe your daily habits? Who has a front-row seat to your comings and goings? Who is most likely to watch you as you load your luggage into the car and pull away for vacation?

Are you absolutely certain that neighbor burglary can’t happen to you?

Unless homeless, all burglars have neighbors. Some of these criminals even live in decent neighborhoods where they also have regular jobs and families who love them. I say all of this not to try to paint burglars as upstanding citizens, but to remind you not to let your guard down– not to be so trusting of the familiar strangers around you. Neighbor burglary happens because people who are the most familiar to us are also the ones we least expect to steal from us. Burglars living next door to their victims count on this. See, most of us think of criminal perpetrators as “outsiders”, but that’s not always the case, so keep this in mind when it comes to your own home security strategies.

Recent Neighbor Burglary Stories

One resident in Long Beach, California learned the hard cold truth about neighbor burglary just last week. After 10 years of living in close proximity, Ryan Mitchell Anderson allegedly broke into his neighbor’s home armed with a knife. After the homeowner managed to flee and call for help, Anderson allegedly killed the victim’s dog. The police were called and, after officers fired multiple rounds, Anderson was ultimately killed.

While the details of this most recent Long Beach neighbor burglary are still under investigation, the case is not at all unique. Check out a few other instances of neighbor burglary, which all happened earlier this year:

  • Albuquerque, New Mexico – The Chavez family returned from vacation this past summer only to discover that their home had been ransacked. Luckily, they had surveillance cameras on duty while they were away and were able to identify their neighbors, Rick Baca and Patricia Hererra, as the suspects seen stealing jewelry, electronics, credit cards and other items from their house.
  • Forestdale, Alabama – Daven Witherspoon was arrested and charged with burglarizing his neighbor’s home during broad daylight last spring. After receiving a call that his alarm had gone off, the homeowner was able to make it home in time to see the burglars fleeing and just happened to recognize Witherspoon.
  • Boca Raton, Florida – When Sean Blum left his apartment one afternoon in March, 2014, the last thing he expected was for his neighbors to break in and steal his computers, lamps and bedding. But that’s exactly what he found on his surveillance cameras which captured Claudemir Marcal Da Costa and Valeria Cristina Claudio making multiple trips in and out of his home.
  • Palm Beach, Florida – Just last month, Ja’Cole Whitfield was caught after pawning an air-conditioner she allegedly stole from her neighbor’s house. Police also obtained video footage of her using the homeowner’s credit cards and have evidence of her attempting to open a new credit account using the victim’s name with her own address.

So, in counting the Long Beach case currently under investigation, you now have 5 separate instances of neighbors burglarizing other neighbors. With this in mind, ask yourself: Is your neighbor a burglar? Hopefully, your answer is now, I don’t know, because you really don’t.

To be on the safe side, we suggest you do exactly as some of the victims above did. Install an alarm system, have it professionally monitored so that you are alerted the moment your alarm is triggered and install surveillance cameras in and around your home. These items not only help deter crimes, including neighbor burglary, but if anyone overlooks your home security and breaks into your house anyway, these devices can help catch a thief…neighbor or otherwise. Just think about how each one of the neighborhood burglars described above would have gotten away had these home security devices not been there to assist.

What Say You?

Do you have any stories about neighbor burglary? What are some of the ways that homeowners can be neighborly without becoming vulnerable to burglary at the same time? We want to hear from you, so please leave your comments below.

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