How To Cope After A Burglary
When an individual is subjected to any sort of crime, it can be a harrowing experience, regardless of your age, gender or mentality.
One of the most difficult crimes to cope with is burglary or home invasion. This is because the crime has taken place in your own home where you should feel safe, where you spend the majority of your time and where you sleep at night.
People who have been mugged or assaulted on the street will naturally shy away from crowds and public places in the aftermath of such events, until they start the recovery process. It is the same for victims of burglary but intensified by the fact that the place that they fear is the very place where they should feel most secure, their home.
It is easy to understand how the effects of unprovoked violence and crime have a lasting effect on the human psyche, in recent decades this has been given the name PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). The damage this can do to an individuals quality of life can be truly devastating and should never be underestimated, but there are ways of bringing back the confidence and peace of mind that were taken, no different to the material possessions that were lost but can be replaced.
If you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD as a result of a crime then its really important to address two issues. The first and most vital thing is to address the psychological aspect, there are some fantastic charities out there who would love to help, why not give the lovely people at Mind a call to get the ball rolling?
Most burglaries are committed without premeditation and are crimes of opportunity. Perhaps you have never been burgled and are reading this to get one step ahead of the curve, if you are, I applaud you.
If you are in the unlucky minority that have had firsthand experience of a burglary then you are actually in a great position to take the initiative and make changes that will greatly reduce the likelihood of this happening again. Chances are, after reporting the event to the police, you will know where the point of entry was, be it an open window, front door or garage. So what do we do about that?
Its good start to think like a burglar, take a look at your property from the nearest pavement or road; does it look like an easy target? Do you often leave windows open? It is recommended that you NEVER leave any windows open, even if you have restrictors to stop the window opening fully and even if they are on the first or second floor! It is enough to give the opportunistic thief the encouragement to take a closer look at the house, and maybe find a means of entry that you have overlooked.
Here are 5 things you can do to ensure your home security is up to standard without spending a fortune:
1) Front and Rear Doors: Are your external doors in good condition and free from rot? If you are a bit dubious then its sure worth making the effort to replace these as soon as your budget allows. A good quality wooden or UPVC door with the bare minimum amount of glass and should ideally be fitted with a viewing hole. I would strongly recommend getting a model that does not have a letter flap and instead fit an external letterbox. A common trend with thieves is to fish through the letter box in an attempt to either drag out anything of value or to look inside to see if there are any valuables in plain sight.
2) Door Locks: Make sure that your door locks are up to the task. If your locks are worn it would be prudent to replace them as soon as possible. Most UPVC doors come with multipoint locks which run the whole height of the door and have between 3 and 5 locking points up and down the door, these types of lock are very strong and in most cases are insurance approved. If you have a standard wooden door then make sure that you have either a British Standard BS3621 rated 5 lever lock OR a high quality deadlock case with an EN1303 rated cylinder. A cylinder rated to this specification has some very advanced features and are practically impossible to pick, snap or bump. Add multiple dead locks to the same door for enhanced protection.
3) Do Be Alarmed: A visible burglar alarm is a known deterrent and they are becoming increasingly popular with some very cost effective option on the market. A 120 decibel alarm sounding in a small community is going to draw attention very, very quickly no matter what time of day. If your budget is stretched thin then I would recommend fitting a dummy bell box including the adjoining cable to give a much more realistic appearance.
4) Let There Be Light: High powered halogen flood lights fitted with a proximity sensor are really great idea and budget versions can be acquired very cheaply. Once set up, the sensors can be set to become active during the hours of darkness and by planning the field in which each unit operates, can cover every inch of your surrounding property and driveway. These can also serve the purpose of alerting you silently to someones presence during the night time.
5) Everybody Needs Good Neighbours: If there isnt already one in place, why not form a neighbourhood watch group? The police can assist you in setting up a scheme and are able to offer advice if you are unsure of where to start. There is obviously commitment involved in running such a scheme but dont be afraid to break away from the mould and make it fun and entertaining for everyone involved. Combining meetings with a sweet smelling barbeque or a cocktail party never fails to spark an interest. Dont forget to make sure that everyone involved displays their NW stickers in prominent places so that the criminals know not to trifle (forgive the pun) with the folks in your street!