Broken Window Glass

Feb. 20, 2012

My wife and I were walking our dog one evening. In the neighborhood we were walking, a significant number of homeowners had replaced their front doors from the tract home flat panel doors to decorative wooden doors with leaded glass in various sizes and shapes. The neighborhood was quite with few cars, tree lined winding streets and cul-de-sacs.

 About halfway into the walk, we passed a house having a double door entry where one of the pieces of glass appeared to be broken. I pointed out the non-obscured opening and noticed that few lights were on. However, someone was walking through the interior.

We continued our walk as I began to wonder. Poorly lit home. Apparently broken glass pane. Burglary?

OK, what if it was a burglary. The first thought was to call the police. OK, what if it wasn’t a burglary. While debating with myself I looked for an address painted onto the curb as there was no address on the house.

A few seconds later, Barbara called my name letting me know a neighbor two houses down was sitting on his front walkway stroking his dog. We hurriedly went up to him and told what we had seen. With a look of disgust, he said his home had been broken into a number of times in the last several years. As he was speaking, he got up, put the dog into the house, went running to the house, and banged on the door.

Things worked out well as the homeowner answered the door. A quick explanation and an even faster answer as I noticed that a clear piece of glass was installed in place of the crinkle glass, a souvenir of a previous burglary.

The clear glass in the dark at the sidewalk appeared to invisible. The homeowner thanked his neighbor and me. As we departed, I said goodbye to the neighbor and we continued our walk.

But I was left with an unsettled feeling. If the neighbor was not out with his dog, would I have called the police, knocked on the door or just walked away? What would you have done?