For many people, this means someone has entered their home and taken their valued possessions. A burglary in your home can be very upsetting and distressing. It can also leave you feeling vulnerable in the place where you should feel safe.
A person commits burglary when they enter part of a building as a trespasser with the intention of:
- Causing damage
- Inflicting serious injury
- Committing theft
This includes burglaries where somebody may have conned or tricked their way into a home or broken in while you are asleep or away at work or on holiday. The burglary doesn't have to occur in just a house itself. Reports of thefts from gardens, outbuildings, sheds and garages are an issue too – particularly in rural areas - and will also be treated as burglary.
While efforts to crackdown on burglaries have been successful it remains a common crime. The Office of National Statistics reported that, for the year ending September 2014, the Crime Survey for England and Wales estimated that were 789,000 incidents of doemstic burglary.
Theft is a crime of dishonesty and involves taking the property of another person whilst not intending to give them it back. A person commits theft if they dishonestly take property belonging to another intending to permanently deprive them of it.
Find out more about Identity Theft here.
How can I protect myself?
Burglary and theft can be financially costly and very upsetting. We understand how upsetting and frightening being burgled can be. However, by taking just a few simple measures you can dramatically reduce the chances of it happening to you.
Most burglars pick houses that look empty or insecure. You can help keep your home safe by:
- Locking your windows and doors when you go out or go to bed.
- Using your house alarm if you've got one. Light timer switches are a good idea too.
- Making sure you lock your UPVC door properly if you have one - remember to lift the handle, turn the key and then remove it.
- Keeping your valuables out of sight, away from your windows and doors e.g. car keys, laptops, mobile phones, purse/ wallet.
- Locking your shed and/ or garage if you have one.
- Fitting a letterbox restrictor to your front door.
- Using a UV pen to mark your valuable items with your postcode and house number. This will help us to return these items to you, should they ever be stolen and later found.
- If you are in rented housing, tell your landlord about any repairs you need.
If you have been the victim of a burglary it is also really important to protect yourself from on-going fraud or forgery (including identity theft). You can do this by checking if any important personal documents have been taken. This can include your passport, bank details or cards, information relating to credit cards or your benefits and any identification documents, such as your driving licence. You should also alert your bank and building society as soon as possible.
Watch these short videos to help protect yourself further:
If you want to get more involved in helping to prevent burglaries, consider joining your local Neighbourhood or Home Watch scheme. These schemes play a vital role in detecting and preventing crime and increasing community safety.
In Merseyside there are almost 2,000 schemes. Find your nearest Neighbourhood or Home Watch scheme.
Where can I get help or further information?
If you suspect you are being burgled, you should call 999 straight away and wait in a safe place for help to arrive. Do not enter your property if there is a chance the suspect is still inside.
If you have had an item of property stolen or witnessed a theft you can report it to the police on-line or by calling 101.
You may also need a crime reference number from the police in order to make a claim from your home insurance policy.
You can also use the national property register Immobilise to register stolen electrical items including mobile phones and iPads.