Has your home ever been broken into?

(38 Posts)
felicityscully Tue 13-Nov-12 10:09:45

Just moved to a new house and worried about burglary, especially as there have been a couple of news stories recently involving break ins at night when the occupiers were in.

Have you ever been broken into? Was it day or night? Were you in at the time? How did they get in and what steps have you taken to make your home more secure?

Just want to make home as secure as possible, without going OTT

Thanks

felicityscully Tue 13-Nov-12 10:14:23

Also if you have been broken into, what area do you live in? Ie nice or dodgy area, urban or rural

iseenodust Tue 13-Nov-12 10:15:50

No. We have a dog that barks grin

GobblersSparklyExplodingKnob Tue 13-Nov-12 10:17:57

If you call your local police then they will come out have a look round your property and make suggestions as to what you could do to make it more secure. Often they will give out window locks/carry out some work for you for free too. It's a really good service and rather reasuring.

Poledra Tue 13-Nov-12 10:21:04

Not in this house but yes in previous one. We were burgled 8 weeks after we moved in - the police reckon they watched us move in, gave us a few weeks to get unpacked and then did us over. Unluckily for them, it was DH's and my first proper house and we didn't have much worth nicking! We were out at work, it was a winter afternoon so not many people around and the garden was very overgrown. So, they went into the back garden, were hidden from view then jemmied a window and got in that way. They were very tidy, even closed the window on the way out (though the police said that was so nobody would notice, as it was far too cold a day for anyoen to have their windows open!).

We immediately got a burglar alarm and window locks. The garden was cleared so that it wasn'y such good cover. When we moved into our current home, we intended to install an alarm straight away, but there was one there already so we just got it serviced and changed the security code. Current house also has window locks, and two locks on each external door (one Yale type, one mortice, all locked at night and when leaving the house). Burglar alarm can be set so that the downstairs is covered when you're in bed but TBH, we don't often do that as sometimes the children get up before us and we don't fancy a rude awakening! Fronst windows give onto the street, so unlikely to be used for entry but we also have some nice jaggy plants under them grin this is the Met Police's list of anti-personnel plants

Poledra Tue 13-Nov-12 10:22:39

Oh, and we lived in quite a 'nice' area, urban but the houses were small, mostly couples who were all out at work during the day.

PigletJohn Tue 13-Nov-12 11:07:41

never my own house, but when young, parents house.

Summer evening, an upstairs window had been left open, next to downpipe and a canopy that made it fairly easy to climb up. Family was downstairs watching TV. Burglar took loose cash and jewelry, went through the upstairs rooms, was wearing gloves so no prints.

In my own house, windows have metal locks with removable keys, no upstairs windows are easily accessible as there are no pipes, porches, or extensions you can climb up, nor garden walls or fences close enough to stand on. Back door is generally locked when unattended, front door automatically locks and always needs a key from outside. Side gate is full height and padlocked.

Burglar alarm is set so that it chimes when back door or garage doors are opened, even when alarm is not set, so you know if someone has opened it even if you are upstairs.

I once had someone unsuccessfully try to force the garage door at the back of the house, alarm went off and he scarpered before police and keyholder arrived (it is a monitored alarm). He would have gained access through neighbours back garden which at the time had an open gateway. I subsequentl put barbed wire on top of the fence and neighbour fixed his gate shut. My back and garage doors are equally sturdy and fitted with good locks and alarm sensors.

I did once leave my garage open when I was in the house after working on the bike, and heard someone in there. I went down and challenged him, he said he hadn't taken anything but wanted to borrow a screwdriver. I now see no doubt that he was looking for something to steal and had taken advantage of the open door. I expect I was quite threatening.

evenkeel Tue 13-Nov-12 11:25:41

We've been burgled. Lived in an area routinely described as 'leafy' and prosperous, but in a fairly small house. They broke in during the small hours while we were upstairs asleep, and I probably disturbed them because I worked an early shift and got up, had a shower etc before noticing a draught coming up the stairwell - which was wafting in from the open front door. They rushed out when they heard me moving about, we think. I was astounded that we heard nothing while they were breaking in and roaming round downstairs.

They went through everything downstairs, took my bag with my purse, keys, cheque-books, phone, a camera or two (not massively expensive ones however), but evidently didn't want our ancient telly and DVD!

However, because they had my keys, they stole our car, which was parked right outside.

Long story short, the police found my bag a week or so later, chucked into a garden round the corner. My purse was still in there with my credit cards & cheque book - money still there too. They dumped the cameras as well, along with other bits of swag from other houses. And about 2 months later, the car turned up, completely unharmed, after someone reported it as abandoned in a less, ahem, salubrious area a few miles away.

So all they got was my phone and an electronic organiser-thingy (pre-iPhone days), and created massive hassle because having been told by the insurers to replace things like my lost purse, they then refused to pay out when the items re-surfaced. It was probably kids.

We immediately got the best burglar alarm we could, and never left things like bags or keys downstairs overnight. We also got a massive bolt for the front door - they got in by fishing through the letterbox with a coat hanger and slipping the catch back on the door, which is a common dodge, apparently.

We moved a while later and the first thing we did was upgrade the alarm, always use it - even at night - and had window-locks installed everywhere possible. It cost a lot but is worth it to feel safer.

CMOTDibbler Tue 13-Nov-12 11:30:24

We were burgled a couple of houses ago - slightly dodgy area, row of terraces with low walls between gardens. They'd get over the end wall and then go along trying all the doors, and forced ours. Came in in the night when we were asleep, took some stuff plus keys and apparently they'd come back next day and use the keys.

These days we have much better doors !

PigletJohn Tue 13-Nov-12 12:18:24

good point about the letter box. If you can (e.g. I have a side-light) put it beside the door, on the hinge side, so that it is as far as possible from the locks. A nightatch than can be opened with a knob or handle is very easy to open with a simple home-made tool through the letterbox.

One of the many advantages of a mortice deadlock, provided that you take the key with you when you go out, is that even if someone enters through a window, they can't walk out through the door carrying all your belongings.

ValentineWiggins Tue 13-Nov-12 12:23:59

We got burgled overnight while we were in the house - they obviously slipped the lock with a credit card, took handbag, DH wallet, laptop. Thankfully not phones though - just what they saw on the hall table. Most annoying thing - we had an alarm that we hadn't set!

now we deadlock external doors, leaving the key somewhere easily accessible by us in case of fire but not reachable through letter box. Always set the alarm overnight and when we go out - even for 10 minutes it's easier to always do it. I do leave the deadlock keys in the house when we go out though because if they manage to get in past the window locks, door locks and alarm we are in trouble anyway!

ouryve Tue 13-Nov-12 12:27:41

I was broken into years back when living in a terrace in a rather dodgy area. I was only out for an hour. They broke a front window and climbed in and out that was. This was in the middle of the afternoon. I suspected some neighbours because these break ins stopped when they were moved to another area because they were being "victimised" hmm

OwlLady Tue 13-Nov-12 12:32:40

yes years ago and we were sitting in the lounge atthe time
bloke was an idiot obviously hmm

this house has apprently been broken into in the past but not recently

ethelb Tue 13-Nov-12 12:35:16

yes, while we were asleep upstairs.

Thumbwitch Tue 13-Nov-12 12:38:24

Yes, 3 times in the UK (same house).
Apparently the problem was the high hedge that hid the side of the house from the road; and the deep porch that hid the front door from plain sight.
We had a mortise lock on the front door - they smashed the window and went in through that.
The 3rd time, we had an alarm with police call-out - that scared the 3rd one off before he got further than taking the video out from under the tv. But apparently, didn't make enough impact on the builders across the road for them to notice anyone fleeing the scene hmm.

My next house I discovered how easy it was to break into the day I locked myself out - hand through the letterbox, drop the latch, in. Took the next day off to fit a mortise lock.

The house I'm in now hasn't been burgled itself but we've had our car stolen (hotwired) from the front and bike stolen from the garage (also at the front and both a good 20' from the actual house).

I fucking hate thieves.

cathers Tue 13-Nov-12 12:39:05

Deco second what gobbler said. Ring the non emergency police number and ask for the crime prevention officer to visit.

We moved into a new house a few yrs ago and he was fab. Highlighted all the weak points obvious to a burglar, then the less likely, but also possible entry points. Really interesting and informative and was able to tell us about crime levels in our new area, average times of break in etc..

Was absolutely free, except for the tea and biscuits, and probably only cost £50 at b and q to enhance the 'weak' points.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 13-Nov-12 12:39:55

Yes, more than once, in a scruffy area with high density terrace housing. The only things stolen were computers. This was about opportunistic burglars, probably drug users, wanting money quickly, so taking something they could sell fast for cash. It felt annoying, rather than invasive.

Alarms can help but does anyone react when they go off? Some connect to the police station. Others are just noise pollution, giving burglars some sense of urgency.

Good window and door locks help. The last time they just smashed my back door in though. (Having neighbours at home other than the deaf one could have been helpful).

Points of access and egress are important. How visible are they? Would invisibility at the point of entry buy a burglar time to get in? How well defended? How difficult to get past? Your house only has to be harder to get into than others nearby.

PetiteRaleuse Tue 13-Nov-12 12:41:58

When I was about 7 my parents' house was broken into while we were all upstairs, asleep. It was my mum who heard them, and thinking it was one of my older siblings up too late went down to give them a bollocking.

Oe of the burglars shone a torch into her face and they legged it, but not before one of them shat on the carpet (according to the police this is quite common as they get stressed!)

She was lucky they were unarmed and quite literally bricking it. The rest of us slept through the burglary and were only aware in the morning when the police were dusting the window frames for prints etc. Tehy got away with a charity box and my mum's empty purse.

The police commented on what a mess they had made but my mum was embarassed to have to tell them that she had four messy kids and that was why there were toys everywhere.

I spent the rest of my childhood scared it would happen again, on top of being scared anyway as the house was supposedly haunted. Even now I compulsively check and double check locks and windows before going out or going to bed. I have never quite got over the horror at someone coming uninvited into our home and looking through our stuff.

Woodlands Tue 13-Nov-12 12:44:46

We were burgled twice within a couple of months a few years back, in a previous house. The first time we were on holiday and they smashed an upstairs window and messed the place up, but only took a couple of things - a CD player and a ring. We had friends keeping an eye on the place while we were away so luckily they were able to call the police, get the property secured again and, bless them, cleared up loads of stuff so it wasn't horrendous when we came home. The second time we were asleep upstairs and had (foolishly) left a window open downstairs. It was only a very small one but somehow they got in. Literally all they took was cash from my purse which I had left downstairs - only about £25. I was on the phone to my bank to cancel my cards before I realised they hadn't even taken the cards!

it just feels so intrusive, someone coming into your property.

WordsPuttingIntoSentenceDoing Tue 13-Nov-12 12:56:03

Yes, when I lived in student halls.

It happened 3 times, twice during the day and once at night. It was a ground floor flat with very bad window locks and the burgulars knew it. Everyone of the ground floor got burguled at least once, it had been going on for years.

I have never been broken into in my current flat but I do worry about it a bit as I live alone with my 2yr old dd, although I live in a nice area I am tucked in alittle corner that isn't overlooked and it is very dark and quiet. Every night before I go to bed I check and double check that all the windows and the door is locked. I also leave the hallway light on (it can be seen from outside). I also keep my keys and bag next to my bed, so if anyone did come in me and dd could just jump out of the bedroom window and leg it.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Tue 13-Nov-12 12:58:22

Yes, twice sad

The first time they kicked the door in when we were away for the weekend - it was an old wooden thing with a yale lock, so it wouldn't have stood up to much force - and took our stereo, about 200 vinyl albums (it was the 80s), a sandwich toaster, the bread bin (?) and a very expensive, handmade, leather jacket of mine. They were caught because of the jacket. One of the burglars gave it to his girlfriend (who lived in the same village), and I saw her walking around in it. The police who visited her, and because the jacket was unique it was hard for her or the boyfriend to claim they'd come by it legitimately.

The second time, someone climbed onto the shed roof, jimmied my son's bedroom window open while I was on the school run, and took about £15 and a game console. They were never caught, but the police did say I wasn't the only, and they thought the culprit was watching to see who was out at that time of day.

I'd definitely recommend getting a good, strong door, with sophisticated locks - back and front! And the same for windows, and make sure all your windows are closed and locked before you go out. And a dog. I know alarms give peace of mind, but people don't seem to take any notice of them. However, three years ago when someone tried to break into my neighbours house, it was the frantic barking of my dog that alerted us and the other neighbours. Also, having an angry boxer trying to leap the fence did put the burglar off for some reason, can't think why grin

MrsJohnDeere Tue 13-Nov-12 13:01:00

Never in my own house, thank goodness, but it happened quite a few times to my parents when I was growing up. They lived in a very dodgy area (adjacent to a huge sink estate) and more totally naive/head in the sand about access amd security - no front gate, no side gate on the passageway between the garage and house to the back garden. A few times it was while we were asleep, other times when we were on holiday.

Best thing to deter burglars is a dog IMHO.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Tue 13-Nov-12 13:04:16

One more thing - beware strangers who knock at your door for odd reasons!

The man who was trying to break into our neighbour's house was caught and had form. He'd knock and if someone answered he'd ask for directions, or a glass of water or something other random thing. If no one answered, he'd try to break in.

felicityscully Tue 13-Nov-12 13:07:29

Interesting about dogs. I actually read recently (I think it was in the Telegraph) an article written by an ex-burglar and he said dogs don't put burglars off as if you have a dog it means the alarm won't be set when you are out as the dog would set the alarm off. Although I can see that a big loud dog would scare them away

riveroise Tue 13-Nov-12 13:13:09

I used to live in a "dodgy" urban area and got burgled during the day in the summer. I lived in an end of terrace next to an alley.

As I walked to work in the morning, I had the strangest feeling that I was being watched, I obviously was, as when I got home the front door had been bolted from inside and the back door was smashed. The burglar took an Apple mac, jewellery, music centre, all my CDs (was in the 90's) and duvet covers to stuff the swag in.

My elderly neighbours saw him break in and called the police, who turned up after he'd gone.

The police advised on how to reduce the risk of being burgled again, no.1 get a dog!

I had a new secure back door installed, a "London bar" fitted to the front door (to make it more difficult to "kick-in") and made sure that the window locks were always on when the house was empty or at night, and the doors deadlocked. The police gave me the name of a super carpenter who did the work.

A year or so later, two burglars tried to break in to the back of the house in daylight, (as spotted again by my neighbours). After failing to claw-hammer the door open, they climbed over the garden wall and burgled the house behind mine.

After I found out that there was a bail hostel next to the local pub, a brothel 1/2 a mile away with a drug rehabilitation centre opposite it, I relocated to the leafy suburbs.

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