I live on Capitol Hill. It's a decent area, and incredibly convenient. But it's also in the heart of a city, and it's close to some poorer and more dangerous areas. As such, it's very common for property crime to spill over into my neighborhood. Friday night, for the second time, our car was broken into. The first time was already a couple of years ago. I don't know whether we had left the car unlocked by mistake or the thieves* were good at picking the lock, but the window wasn't bashed in, which is common in our neighborhood. The thieves acted quickly -- they grabbed the couple of dollars worth of change that was in the car, didn't immediately see anything of value, then split. In their haste, they left a cheap pocket knife. The knife offered a fairly even exchange for the change, though we probably never would have traded if given a choice.
This time, again no windows were broken, but the thieves were much more methodical. They opened up the glove compartment, pulled stuff out of the car side pockets, moved stuff around, and even opened up Emelia's portable changing pad, which we had left in the car. After all that, we could only determine one thing missing -- a cassette adapter that lets you play things like mp3 players through your car's tape deck (if you've never seen one of those, this is one such device). That's it. There was also plenty of stuff that's of value to us, that evidently offered nothing to the thieves. Things such as the changing pad, a baby-carrying backpack, Emelia's car seat, and the nice umbrella stroller and umbrella in the trunk. They also left old tapes and a nice tire gauge that were in the glove compartment, and other miscellany. Even some loose change (total value of less than a dollar) was left behind. It took about five minutes to put the car back together, but it was much cleaner as a result -- all the junk was conveniently lumped together for easy disposal.
For what it's worth, the cassette adapter was old and doesn't work very well anymore -- we had been meaning to replace it in the car for some time. Now we'll remember to take the new one we had gotten a while ago on our trip to Connecticut next week. So between the sort-of cleaning, and the disposal of the adapter so we'd bring the new one, again it seems like we ended up with a reasonable exchange.
* - I don't know how many of them participated in either break-in, but in both instances I picture there being two of them.