VICTIMS of burglary can be affected for years after the event, with women struggling the most, new research shows.
More than half (56 per cent) of the women surveyed who had been burgled said they felt unsafe in their home after the break-in, while 45 per cent said it had affected their sleep and more than a third (34 per cent) no longer wanted to be in the house alone.
Men, on the other hand, were less distressed overall with two fifths (40 per cent) confessing to feeling unsafe after a burglary, less than a third (32 per cent) experiencing problems sleeping and only 13 per cent feeling ill at ease on their own – almost a third less than women.
One in six women (17 per cent) said they had become more nervous as a result of the burglary, with over a quarter (28 per cent) admitting to becoming more likely to mistrust people they didn’t know.
Overall the feelings people were left with following a burglary were considered worse than the practicalities of clearing up or replacing things, or even the fact that they were not able to replace sentimental items. Two thirds of women (67 per cent) said the feeling of someone having been in their home was the worst thing about being burgled, while over half of men (52 per cent) said it was having their privacy violated. Some people said they were so badly affected by the break-in that they had to move home.
Ten top tips for beating the burglary blues
• The first important step is to recognise that nearly everyone experiences a sense of vulnerability after a break-in and to be aware that this feeling will fade over time, so don’t rush into doing anything drastic like moving house.
• Take back control – focus on the things you can do to make your home more secure. For instance, make sure your window and door locks are up to today’s standards, as there are much stronger options available nowadays and just knowing you’ve upgraded them will help you feel more secure.
• Of course, fitting strong locks is the first step – but you have to make sure you use them too!
• Use light sensors and timer lighting to make it look like people are home even when they’re not.
• Crunchy gravel around the house is noisy when people walk on it so it will alert you if someone is outside and will act as a deterrent for anyone trying to gain access unannounced.
• Plant spiky plants under windows such as berberis or holly bushes, which make it harder for intruders to gain access.
• Don’t publicise details of your holidays or prized possessions on social media.
• Disable the location option on your mobile phone so people can’t see where you are.
• Dogs are a great deterrent – just having a ‘beware of the dog’ sign is likely to put potential burglars off your property.
• Finally, remember to focus on the security at the back of your house as much as the front.