It is very unlikely that you will be confronted by a burglar breaking into your home, as most break-ins happen when a house is empty. However, it is always best to be prepared for the worst case scenario. In 28% of burglaries someone is thought to be home when a burglary happens, this can be an extremely traumatic experience and you might not know what to do. We detail below our suggestion paths to take should this happen to you.
Burglar in your Home? Get to a Safe Place outside your Home
Plan A should always be to escape, in most cases a burglar will want to be in and out as quick as possible, and will have the most easy exit route in mind. Information from ‘Safe’ says ‘burglars will have a clear exit to the rear of the property through the back door before heading upstairs to check the bedrooms’ so if you can, try to avoid this route out of the house. It should be the last resort to confront a burglar as this can invoke a violent reaction. Nothing they are taking is worth your life.
Activate Your Burglar Alarm System
Plan B would be to use any alarm system you might have, especially if you have one with a panic button, if you don’t have an alarm system like that then try the alarm button on your keys. Anything that is loud and will bring attention to your house will spook a burglar, hopefully enough for them to leave.
Hide and Try to Call the Police
Hide. Grab your mobile phone if you can and get somewhere safe, the best place to be is somewhere you can either lock the door or barricade yourself in. Call 999 as soon as you can and explain that someone has broken into your home. It will be difficult but try to be calm and explain what is happening in short and concise words. However if you feel that speaking or making a noise would endanger your life or give away why you are hiding then you can stay silent and press 55 (silent solutions) and this will alert the police that you need help but cannot make a noise. Keep the line open so they can hear what’s happening and sit tight and wait for the police.
Be Calm, Collected and Compliant
However you could be in the situation where the other plans fail, so you arrive at plan D. You come face to face with the burglar. Easier said than done but it’s very important that you stay calm, the calmer you stay the calmer the burglar will be. Don’t shout or scream, keep your voice as normal as possible. Don’t make any sudden movements or move towards the burglar, hold your hands up and be compliant; tell them that you are cooperating and they can take whatever they want, nothing you own is worth your life. Whether or not the person’s face is covered, it’s advised that you don’t make eye contact with the burglar, it could be interpreted as a sign of aggression and the burglar might feel like you would be able to identify them afterwards.
What to Do After a Break-In
First things first you need to call the police, if you are sure the burglar is out of the house then call 101, but if you are in doubt then call 999 from a safe place. It is important that you don’t touch or move anything, as the police forensic team will need to look for fingerprints or footprints. The police should arrive within a few hours if the situation is non urgent, they will take a statement from you or anyone else that may have seen anything suspicious. You will then be issued a crime number, this is important as it’s essential to have one when making an insurance claim.
What am I allowed to do if someone breaks into my Home?
If someone has unlawfully entered your home, you are entitled to act in self-defence using reasonable force. The CPS has cleared that you do not have to wait to be attacked to defend yourself, but you must only take actions that are deemed necessary to the situation. The general rule of lawful self-defence is that the more extreme the situation the more force you could reasonably use.
However, it is strongly advised that you never actively try to confront an intruder but rather firstly get to a safe location and then call the Police through 999.
How do you Report an Attempted Break-in?
Calling 999 is reserved for when you or another are in immediate danger or if the crime is currently in progress. If a break in has been attempted but you do not feel in immediate danger and it is not an emergency then we suggest calling 101 which will send you through to the non-emergency Police line.
What Attracts Burglars to Homes?
The biggest thing that will attract burglars is the belief that they could break in without getting caught. This may be because you have areas around your home they could use to hide and remain unseen; such as overgrown bushes and trees or houses with no external lighting, or your home may be seen as to hold lower security so they believe they could easily gain access. 47% of burglars are ‘spur of the moment’ so it is really important that you take the time to secure your home so as not to give the impression that you are an easy target for a burglar that might pass by.
Leaving valuable items in plain view is also what can attract a burglar to your home. Clearly visible valuables can be a cause of why opportunistic burglars might target your home as most will want to be in and out and grab as much as possible, so if they know what already might be on offer they are more likely to target that house.
Do Burglars Come Back After a Failed Attempt?
There are a number of things that thankfully could have prevented a burglar from entering your home; however this doesn’t mean that they won’t try again. Unfortunately the burglar thought that they would have been able to enter your home and would have targeted you for a reason, there is a chance that they still could think they may be able to do it successfully at a later date.
How to Protect Against Future Burglaries
Consider Installing a Burglar Alarm
The physical sight of an alarm is a great visual deterrent to ward off any burglars scouting the area but also provides the sense of peace that if someone was to enter your home the alarm would sound alerting people in the area of a break in and scare off the burglar.
Act like More People are Home
If you are home alone and the doorbell goes you should always try to make it sound as though you are not home alone, you could do this by shouting “Can some get the door please” before opening the door yourself. Deterring burglars is all about appearance, giving the facade that your home isn’t easy to break into, that there are multiple occupants in the house are factors that would be considered when a burglar is choosing a target.
Teach Children How to Respond To Strangers and Intruders
A knock at the door can be exciting for children, running up to see who it is and want they might want, but this can be partially dangerous if they were to accidentally let in a stranger. Teach your children to never open the door, especially if home alone, but instead turn on a light somewhere in the house and notify someone that there has been a knock at the door.
Invest in a Few Simple Items to Make your Home Less of a Target
There are multiple things that you can do to make your home more secure and a less attractive target to intruders. Simple things such as motion flood lights, thorny bushes and anti-climb paint are all blockers that you can implement to secure your home. To find out how to secure all the different aspects of your home head over to our Ultimate Home Security Guide.
Change your Locks after a Burglary
Once the police have left your property then you should call a Locksmith, if any doors or windows are damaged, or if you need emergency boarding up services. Keytek® Locksmiths has local Locksmiths available 24/7 so we can help you out whenever. 28% of people will get burgled for a second time at the same address, so it is important that your house is secure. Burglars will often target the same house again because of ease and familiarity. They might think they have been successful once, so they can be successful again, so it is imperative that you engage a fully accredited, trustworthy Locksmith to make your home secure again.
For more info on what to do after a break in visit our Burglary Page.