A poll by UIA Insurance to mark their 125th anniversary has shown the lasting effect of burglary on those whose homes are targeted. The insurance company surveyed 1,000 British adults who had been affected by the crime.
The survey found that the vast majority of respondents were left feeling insecure in their own homes subsequent to a break-in and even after seven months (on average) a quarter of the respondents said they needed to move house after being burgled.
However, six out of ten said that they retained permanent negative feelings about their home, whether they moved or not.
The stress and upset that accompanies a burglary was found to have a far larger impact on victims than the loss of expensive or sentimental items. This said, the type of items stolen also had a major effect on victims’ feelings. People experienced more emotional distress when items of sentimental - rather than monetary - value were stolen.
However, the most common items stolen in home break-ins were generally high-value. Jewellery was the most taken item, followed by high-value electrical goods like games consoles and laptop computers. By contrast, heirlooms were the most upsetting item to lose.
One in three people said that being burgled had a serious effect on their confidence, with one in five agreeing that they were not happy being at home by themselves. However, fury was the most common reaction, as over 50 per cent said they were angry for months after the event.
Ian Cracknell, chief executive of UIA Insurance, said: "The emotional impact of a stranger entering your home uninvited can outweigh the physical losses that take place and, as the results show, getting that feeling of security back again can be challenging. The feeling that your home space has been violated or in some way tainted can make it hard for homeowners to ever feel safe again.”
He added: “Having the proper measures in place to ensure you're as protected as possible can make the difference in gaining peace of mind around your home."
Sadly, over 60 per cent of reported burglaries do not result in a prosecution, which means a clear resolution to the unpleasant experience can be hard to come by. However, upgrading your home security options can be a helpful way to take back a sense of control.
It’s also important to consider the ways in which burglars can target your home when doing this. The most popular method of entry for thieves is via a broken window, followed by forcing open a door, so set up your alarms accordingly. Also, see if you can invest in features to strengthen these areas, such as sturdier locks and laminated glass, which holds together when someone tries to smash it. All windows, however small, should be fitted with locks. In addition to this, you should get into the habit of securing all your doors and windows when you leave the house as a matter of course.