David Camp­bell re­lives his feel­ing of dread at hear­ing five aw­ful words: “Some­one is in the house.”

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents -

“Some­one is in the house” was not what I was ex­pect­ing my wife to say to me while I was stranded in LA , havin g missed my con­nect­ing flight by 30 min­utes.

I could feel the panic hit me like an earth­quake as I checked my phone. It was 9.15am in Los An­ge­les. Which meant she was call­ing me at 2.15am Syd­ney time. Lisa and our three kids were not alone.

It’s hard to de­scribe the amount of adren­a­line and feel­ing of hope­less­ness that were bat­tling for supremacy in my stom­ach at hear­ing those five words.

We had moved house six months prior. Other places we lived in had old alarm sys­tems with codes that were long for­got­ten or never handed over, so we never used them. Be­sides, we were in the ’burbs now, not the city.

So when speak­ing to a se­cu­rity guy, I’ll ad­mit I shuffled my feet a bit at the thought of putting an alarm in the house. We’d never needed to use one be­fore. But he was very per­sua­sive.

“Mate, you don’t want to be in your bed­room and some­one is there. POP. You have no time to re­act.”

His tone re­minded me of a re­tired spe­cial forces guy in a TV movie. “So when I put this sys­tem in, get used to arm­ing cer­tain ar­eas when y ou go to bed.”

“All right, all right,” I said and we prac­tised arm­ing our new alarm.

So here is what hap­pened. At 2.13, the beep­ing started. Lisa woke think­ing it was a watch alarm. On re­al­is­ing it was the house alarm about to go off, she raced to dis­arm it be­fore it woke the kids.

It sounded a few loud whoops when she put in the code, and then she heard the sneak­ers squeak­ing. More than one set. Lisa started yelling, “Get out of my house!” Thank­fully, they ran.

She di­alled triple zero and then called me. Within min­utes of be­ing on the phone to me, the po­lice showed up.

It seemed there were a few dis­tur­bances that night, which they be­lieved was a group of young teenage boys. Maybe six. They were try­ing doors all over the quiet neigh­bour­hood and got lucky with a side door we hadn’t checked in months.

It could have been so much worse. We were lucky. It was ran­dom and they got scared. Lisa and

the alarm scared them off. But I keep com­ing back to what could have been… I was (of course) re­lieved ev­ery­one was safe. The po­lice were amaz­ing in this sit­u­a­tion, putting my wife at ease. Part of me was glad I’d missed my flight, which

meant when it hap­pened I wasn’t on a plane for an­other eight hours with no way of Lisa con­tact­ing me.

Most of all? We were us­ing the alarm – and it worked! The amount of peo­ple we have told this story to who have alarms but never use them is, well, most of them. It’s hu­man na­ture to be­come com­pla­cent with your home. You feel safe. At my work, we lit­er­ally re­port on bur­glar­ies every day. You never think it can hap­pen to you. Then it does and it’s too late.

So I want to thank my se­cu­rity guy, who made me ner­vous enough to lis­ten to his sales pitch. He was so right.

My fam­ily is safe. The sys­tem worked.

Now we are get­ting a dog.

David co-hosts To­day Ex­tra, 9am Mon­day –Wed­nes­day, and Week­end To­day, 7am week­ends, on the Nine Net­work.

“Within min­utes of us be­ing on the phone, the po­lice showed up”

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