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

digerd Tue 13-Nov-12 21:17:33

When I was 14, I woke in the night and thought I heard strange noises, but assumed it was cats. In the morning parents found we had been broken into, can't remember if anything was taken as we didn't have anything in those days of value, except our rented TV.

RandallPinkFloyd Tue 13-Nov-12 17:40:46

Yep, opportunistic like most cases tbh. Didn't take much, think they were just looking for money but made a hell of a mess.

They turned the whole house upside down, even rifled through my bed <<shudder>>

Terraced house, not posh by any standards but not massively rough.

Very secure house, all upvc doors and windows locked. They smashed the back door in with a hammer.

Bottom line is you protect your house as best as you can but then just have to put it out of your mind. If someone really wants to break into your house they will whatever precautions you take. It's shit but true.

It's just a crappy fact of life, don't let yourself get paranoid about it. (Asking for horror stories on here really won't be helping either wink )

I still leave the keys in all my doors. To me it's more important that I can get myself and DS out in an emergency then it is to cause a burglar to take an extra 5 minutes (and cause a fuck-load more damage) getting in.

I've also had a house fire and I know which scared me more!

Beanbagz Tue 13-Nov-12 17:35:37

No but the neighbours have - twice!

Both times they broke in through a window that was hidden from the other houses on our cul de sac. Stupid thing is they have an alarm which they never bother setting. They also had a sat nav stolen out of their car which they'd left unlocked on the drive hmm

I'm surprised at the times i go to my mum or my sister's house and the front doors are unlocked. Plenty of opportunity for burglers to just walk in. This happened to a friend of hours who lost all his work on his computer (he's self employed and not great at backing up stuff) plus loads of photos from his DD's early years.

We have a super secure scandanavian front door which has a metal plate in so no letterbox (outside post box instead). Plus all keys/phones are kept out of site and we have a monitored alarm. DH works away a lot so i need to feel secure.

PickledGerkin Tue 13-Nov-12 17:23:31

No but the neighbours have, in fact where I lived before the police were trying people's front doors and if they were unlocked they would shout through the open door saying lock your front door!

It is a typical newish build estate and the police say if you live in a nice area people come to it to nick your stuff.

We are a bit secluded and after my car was professionally broken into on my drive we fitted CCTV cameras ourselves. We also have one by the front door and I can look on my mobile phone in a couple of seconds to see who is there. We usually have deliveries sent to DH's work so I don't have to answer the door.

If I do ever answer the door I shout "I'll get it" so that whoever is at the door believes I am not alone.

We have a metal plated front door and back door and I never leave them unlocked.

BarbecuedBillygoats Tue 13-Nov-12 15:05:02

I don't think a burglar would risk out dog even thinking an alarm may be off. The postman is petrified of her

In fact we have a cage in our letter box because of her so that solves that problem too

lottiegarbanzo Tue 13-Nov-12 14:59:07

Another thought is that is does help to know your neighbours. Then they're more likely to know what is usual and unusual round your house and more likely to notice odd goings on or help. Mine were helpful, albeit mostly in the aftermath but one did notice and surprise a burglar, who got away but was seen.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Tue 13-Nov-12 14:49:54

Adding to what lottiegarbanzo said - gravel is supposed to be a good deterrent too. It makes so much noise it's hard for someone to sneak up undetected.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Tue 13-Nov-12 14:46:30

PetiteRaleuse It is scary! The same man had knocked at our door a few years before - I did answer (he asked if John was in, there is no John here), quite glad I did.

You might be surprised at how your dog will react. I thought mine was a big softy, and he was, just not if you were a burglar grin

DesperatelySeekingSedatives How awful! Being burgled is horrible at any time, but when you're alone with a new baby it would be terrifying.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 13-Nov-12 14:44:49

On making more secure, the police advice people are helpful.

Look carefully at doors and windows. I had patio doors which looked ok but hadn't been fitted properly, so the metal rod that is supposed to run top to bottom wasn't fixed in place. The lock was really simple too, so those doors were an obvious weak point.

It was after I replaced those that the panelled back door was smashed in. There are stronger, one piece, doors.

Outside lights with motion sensors can be off-putting. I'd also recommend spiky plants. Anything to make access to vulnerable points of entry difficult and those points more visible.

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Tue 13-Nov-12 13:30:39

Been broken into twice. Once when I was 15 and living with my mum. They didn't nick much but only because there wasn't much to nick! Bastard was caught. got another jail term. Out early and back doing it again or so I heard.

Second time I was asleep on the sofa with newborn DS in the carrycot asleep next to me. They came in through the back door and nicked my (empty) purse and a bottle of vodka. I was I have to admit more upset about the vodka than the purse once I'd cancelled my cards blush Not half as upset though at the idea some stranger was in my house, feet away from me and my baby and I was so out of it they could probably have taken him too if they wanted to.

I've heard that dogs often aren't a deterrent for bastard burglars. However, Anothe house we lived in was nearly broken into. A neighbour knocked on our door not long after we'd come back one evening to say the dog (german shepherd) had been growling snarling and generally behaving out of character for her while penned into the back garden. Why? because 2 young men were attempting to break into our garage (was detached from the house) and the dog went understandably mad. They apparently tried to shut her up (we even found a trainer in the garden that must have belonged to one of them lol) but gave up when the gate started to give under the dog's weight and legged it before they were eaten The neighbour rang the police but didn't care as there was no actual break in hmm

EldonAve Tue 13-Nov-12 13:24:39

yes, at night, we were home and they woke me
didn't get to meet them as they legged it
they took my handbag etc
police were round v quick but they never caught anyone

we got a new front door and more locks and we always lock them all now

FairPhyllis Tue 13-Nov-12 13:22:22

Yes, someone tried to break in through a back door at about 3am. They didn't realise it was actually a roommate's bedroom - they woke him up, and ran off when confronted with 6ft+ of annoyed man.

We have a very large dark back garden with lots of tree cover which is wide open at the back boundary and accessible at the side through a knee high picket fence. But we rent, so it is up to the landlord to make it more secure. Small leafy American town.

The police arrived within about 60 seconds because this is a tiny town and they have literally nothing to do, then very helpfully went out and arrested the first black man they could find. Except we had already told them that the break-in-er was white confused. Because of this they never caught the actual guy.

Our neighbours have also had break-ins - or walk-ins, more accurately, because they are idiotic students who don't lock their doors and leave computers lying around.

PetiteRaleuse Tue 13-Nov-12 13:15:17

Saskia that's scary. I regularly don't answer my door unless I am expecting someone because I'm scared that it will be a burglar or worse. It would be horrible not to answer the door and then have someone break in anyway.

I have a big dog but he is as unscary as it's possible to be, and would lick a burglar to death before raising any form of alarm. I suppose someone might be put off by his presence but they'd have to not see the wagging tail and general dopiness.

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.

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

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.

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 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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

yes, while we were asleep upstairs.

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