This is a personal account of a burglary that took place in the last year. The views in this post are purely one persons’ experience of what happened, how they felt at the time, and how they felt in the days, weeks and months that followed.
I returned home from work after a long day, it was dark and had been snowing and I was looking forward to settling into my warm house and relaxing for a few hours before bed. As I came in through the front door I picked up the mail and headed straight to the kitchen to put the kettle on. It was a good five minutes until I noticed muddy footprints on the carpet and although I found this unusual it wasn’t until I went into the lounge and felt the crunch of broken glass that I realised something was wrong. I then realised that the back window has been smashed and was open. I walked through the dining room as I noticed the back door was swinging in the wind. My first thought was to check upstairs but quickly realised that there could still be someone in my house so I went outside, called the police and knocked on a neighbours door.
The police arrived quickly and searched the house, confirming that there was nobody inside. We walked around the house together and they took note of any missing items. The shock of seeing the upstairs of my house ransacked and my personal belongings strewn across the floor made it difficult to process what had happened. Having looked around, the police realised that the intruder had smashed the back window to gain entry and then let themselves out of the back door which had the key in it.
Once I was alone in my home I felt very vulnerable and as it was late in the evening. This meant it was a struggle to find someone to make the back window secure and it was the early hours of the next day before I finally went to bed. Although didn’t sleep much as thoughts of who had been in my house were going through my head and I was worried they would come back.
The next day the clean up began and it was heartbreaking to see the damage that had been done to some of my most personal possessions, the mud and glass were easily cleaned up and the window replaced but the feeling of someone being in my house took a very long time to subside. Several days later I was still noticing things that had gone missing, many with huge sentimental value. I regularly woke in the night if I heard a noise and suddenly my house didn’t feel like my home any more. Dealing with the insurers was an added stress, even though they were excellent, as it was difficult to find receipts for many items and impossible to place a monetary value on many items.
Over time I began to feel more at ease and the police gave me some great tips on home security. They said that the intruders will have most probably walked past the front window and seen that nobody was at home, probably watching my movements for a few days previously. This was very unnerving, and I quickly had shutters fitted so that I could have them half closed when I was away preventing anyone from seeing in. I also had lights on timers coming on and off and different times. One big lesson I learnt was not to leave the keys in any windows or doors as this tells any intruder that as long as they can get in through a window they have an easy exit point for a quick escape with any larger items.
I have realised that you can’t underestimate the emotional effects of burglary and I feel much safer now that I have had security plantation shutters installed. They are light and modern and they prevent anyone from seeing in with the added bonus of being secure. Now, even if anyone gains access through a window, they can’t get any further. Regardless, after a burglary, your home will always feel different so anything you can do to prevent burglary is well worth the time, effort and expense.