Tenants often ask me this question; however, it’s not a question that I can answer. One thing I can and do tell all my tenants – a home security system is not a substitute for common sense. That means:

1. Lock your doors and windows when you are not home. About 1/3 of burglars enter their victims’ homes through unlocked doors and windows.
2. Don’t discuss your travel plans on social media web sites until you return. 4 out of 5 professional home burglars check Facebook, Foursquare, and Twitter regularly to find out who is on vacation.
3. Put a lamp on a timer while you’re away. Even a dim-witted burglar can figure out that nobody is home if there are no lights on in the early evening night after night. I will give you a lamp timer if you don’t have one.
4. Don’t let mail and parcels pile up on your porch while you are on vacation. Have the post office hold your mail and have a friend check your porch daily.

Occam’s Razor. I am a big believer in Occam’s Razor which states that the most obvious solution to any problem is usually the correct one. Burglars use this principle to their advantage. Example – Why would a burglar try to get into somebody’s house by picking the front door lock if he can see that a ground floor window in the house next door is wide open? A burglar wants to rob a house, but he doesn’t want to get caught. What is the most obvious solution to the burglar’s problem?

I once had a tenant in Oakland who left her front door wide open while she went to the laundromat a few blocks away. This was back in the days before I put washers and dryers in all my units. She was robbed more than once by people who simply walked into her living room and took stuff. She thought that her problem was that Rockridge was a dangerous neighborhood. I tried to get her to see the connection between leaving her front door wide open and these robberies, but I was never able to do that.

Internet Companies Finally Discover Oakland.

I have been wondering for a long time when internet companies were going to discover how much cheaper it is to do business in Oakland than San Francisco. Commercial office space in downtown Oakland is half the price of comparable space in San Francisco, just 10 miles away. It seems like that day has finally come. When Capwell’s department store in downtown Oakland opened for business 85 years ago, it was the biggest and most beautiful store in the East Bay. The Beaux Arts building featured an 85 foot high atrium with a domed stained glass roof. After Capwell’s went bankrupt more than 20 years ago, it became a Sears store, but the building was so large that Sears never used all of the space, and they covered up most of the building finer architectural features. After Sears moved out, the building was vacant for many years. The Capwell’s building is now undergoing an expensive renovation. It is being converted into office space for internet companies. Part of the building has already been leased to Uber, which will move 600 employees there from San Francisco. Ultimately the building, renamed Uptown Station, will house about 3,000 high tech workers. The ground floor will be filled with stores and a food court. The roof will become a garden and picnic area. The 19th Street BART station is right next to the building, and there is a direct entrance into the building from the subway station. That is probably the building’s single most valuable asset.

Free Junk Removal

Junk haulaway services are always busy in college towns at the end of the school year. Hauling away bulky items, like furniture, can be very expensive, but did you know that the cities of Berkeley and Oakland offer free bulk junk removal? Every house and apartment in Berkeley and Oakland is entitled to one free bulk waste pickup a year. They will take away almost anything, including mattresses, box springs, sofas, and other things that are too big to fit in a garbage can. This is a really valuable free service! If you live in Oakland, give me a call if you want a bulk junk pick-up. In Oakland, the owner of the property has to make the appointment. If you live in Berkeley, go to: Berkeley Free Bulk Waste Pick-Up. At this web site, you can make an appointment yourself for a free pick-up and see a complete list of what they will take away and what they won’t take away. For example, they won’t take away boulders, explosives, or plutonium. Hopefully, you don’t have any plutonium in your apartment, but this is Berkeley, so one can never be sure.