Written by: Shani Fowler
Sadly, burglary is an all too common crime and there are around half a million homes burgled in England and Wales each year, leaving the victims and families devastated. The thought of someone entering your property, whether you are away from the premises, whether you are at home, or (possibly the most concerning) whilst asleep in bed, can leave you anxious and fretful. So when the unthinkable does happen it can leave you not only devastated but emotionally scarred and lacking in confidence to continue to happily live in your own home. What steps can we take to overcome the heartache and feel safe again?
Try to remain rational
It is natural to worry directly after a burglary; it’s still very raw and feels very personal. Fear that burglars will return or harm may come to you is common. Try to remain the practical person you were before the event. Reassure yourself that although people can be repeatedly burgled, it is rare for a burglar to return to a property and they are most likely no longer even in the vicinity.
Also, though burglary is upsetting in its entirety, aggravated features such as violence in a burglary again are uncommon, and this is a particular feature that concerns many of us. Try to remember that most burglaries can be opportunist and a burglar would most likely rather flee than be apprehended by their victim.
Reassure your children
It’s difficult when you feel panic-stricken to pull on the mask of normality but we have to do this for the children, especially the very young. They soon pick up on our fears and it can manifest in their behaviour. If they have witnessed some of the event, then reassure them that it is rare and you are making it safer. Reassure them that they are not in any danger and sometimes naughty people take other people’s things. If some of their belongings have gone let them know (if you are insured or able to) you hope to be able to replace them.
Although for someone to go through all your belongings feels very invasive, a burglary is rarely personal. Remind yourself that attacks are usually random; someone has chosen to burgle your property often because it has been for some reason seen as “easier pickings” than a neighbouring one. Maybe because it looked like you were out or away, or that your garden privacy assists a burglar to break in without being seen.
The loss of sentimental items is often more upsetting that the loss of valuables. If photos have been destroyed or taken as part of the burglary, try and think of others who may have similar photos where they can share them with you. You will rarely have been to an event where you were the only one snapping away with a camera. Even if your computer has gone and photos were on there, in this day of techno wizardry they are often backed up in the cloud.
Help yourself feel safe
Part of recovering from a burglary is allowing yourself to feel safe again. Once you have been burgled you can feel so vulnerable, your safety has been exposed and although there may be no such thing as a complete deterrent, we can all do extra things to make us feel safer in the future.
Always make sure you have your mobile by your bedside so help is just a swipe of your phone away. Leave it locked onto someone’s number who would be able to get to you quickly if they had to so, you don’t have to worry about fumbling around for their number in the dark.
If you don’t have an alarm try to get one installed and make sure you use it. A surprising number of people who have burglar alarms don’t set them on a regular basis. Noise is a deterrent; no burglar wants a siren blaring out their uninvited presence. Everyone likes their privacy but if masses of shrubs and bushes provide the perfect cloak of cover for a burglar. You would be wise to consider their removal or at least shortening them. However the burglar gained access, try to review the security of this point and assess its vulnerability.
Your home is your sanctuary; don’t allow the acts of a selfish burglar who will have little thought of their behaviour, spoil how you enjoy your home. It is important to remain rational, review your security and have an action plan for the future, especially for the night. Then you can enjoy your home once more; it is your right and duty.