What is burglary?

A burglary is when someone breaks into or attempts to break into a building with the purpose of committing a criminal act, usually theft.

Distraction burglary

Distraction burglary is when offenders trick or dupe an occupant or distract them to gain entrance. They may say they are from a utility company such as the water board, or ask for a glass of water to gain access to the property and commit burglary. They may be working alone or with someone else.  The elderly are particularly vulnerable to this type of distraction burglary.  

Support for victims of burglary

Burglary can have a significant impact on victims, both financially and emotionally.  As well as losing items of value, some of which could be personal or irreplaceable, victims may feel a violation of security and distress that someone unknown has been in their home.  

Some people blame themselves, particularly if they forgot to secure a window or door, or if they were tricked into letting someone in their home but it isn't your fault. Children in particular can be very frightened following a burglary and may need reassurance even if they don’t talk much about what’s happened

If you or anyone in your family, including children, need further support following a burglary contact Victims First.  This support can involve emotional support, practical support with completing forms and insurance as well as advice on security systems and repairs.

We also have some practical advice below on what to do following a burglary.

 What should I do after being burgled?

  • Report the burglary to the police and make a note of the Crime Reference Number. If you have home insurance you will need this number to make a claim. 
  • Try to get your home secured as quickly as possible. If you’re in rented housing, tell your landlord about any repairs you need. 
  • Look into ways of making your home more secure for the future. Some security measures can be expensive, but there are other things you can do that cost much less, such as leaving lights or a radio on when you go out and checking that all doors and windows are properly closed and locked. Remember don't leave valuables on display.
  • If important documents have been stolen, you will also need to let banks, government departments and other organisations know. Things to check for include bank cards, cheque books, passports, benefit books, mobile phones, birth certificates and driving licences. It’s important to tell banks and building societies as soon as possible so that they can stop fraud and any further theft.

 There is some practical advice on things you can do to help protect your home from burglary on our prevention page.