Friday, October 21, 2005

A Different Angle On: It Takes A Thief

Have you ever watched "It Takes A Thief" on the Discovery Channel? I will explain just in case you haven't.
The show is a reality program about and starring two former thieves, Matt Johnston and Jon Douglas Rainey. These two dudes roll around a neighborhood looking for people to rob. They lightheartedly argue and compete with each other. Then they pick a house and Matt proposes to the owner that they allow Jon to break in and rob them. (I can only imagine how many people say no, but the only ones they show are the yesses.)
What makes the show so cool is this guy Jon. He obviously works out, so he's climbing all over the place, breaking windows, throwing mattresses and wreaking havoc in these houses while the owners sit and watch on little screens in a van across the street.
Oh, man, people wig out. "oh my god, i can't believe he took my crystal chandelier!" and such other comments resound as this man steals just about anything hockable. He has stolen cars and SUVs, light fixtures, paintings, jewelry, raw cash, house keys, even a golden retriever. On one episode, Jon made off with just over two million dollars worth of property in about ten minutes!!
When the robbery is over, Matt walks the residents through the wreckage of their house and shows them everything Jon did up close. Then, they get to meet Jon when he brings their stuff back to them. People look like they are going to kill him, and he's doing them a favor!
Then, the good part happens. They give the people in the house a complete security makeover. They replace windows, give them safes, security alarm systems, you name it. They do it all so you can see what happens when a real thief breaks in.
The final test is when Jon and Matt come back unanounced to test the house and make sure it is being locked up and protected as it should be. I always like to guess if Jon's going to be able to break in again. Anyway...
Let's look at "It Takes A Thief" from a different angle.
How many times have you been complacent about your property? Come on, be honest...
Yeah, me too. I will sometimes find myself leaving a window open in our shielded, tree shaded backyard. For the entire time we've lived here, we never locked the tool shed, or even wondered what would happen if the wrong person took interest in it.
It didn't even occur to us that we might need a security system when the neighbors across the street from us suffered a break-in. These guys backed a van up to the front of the house, got in through the back yard, took the front door off of it's hinges, and went to town. They stole two televisions, clothes, all sorts of things.
Why are we so lax about protecting ourselves, even when it happens in our neighborhood? My car was broken into, and thankfully the guy was a complete idiot and couldn't hot wire the car, so I still have it. Regardless, I got an alarm/engine kill system installed, and it has made owning my car not only more secure, but also more convenient.
I have a friend who has an alarm system on his house and security film on the windows because he has some expensive electronic equipment. The alarm is an infrared detector, and since he has a cat, it is set for anything over fifteen pounds.
Are we too attached to our physical belongings? Perhaps we are not attached enough? What is the right thing to do? I say an alarm is a good idea, because thievery is never right, and your family will be safer with the alarm on.
How tense is too tense? And when does it cease to be a precaution and become a nightmare?