The Impact of Burglary on the Individual

The Impact of Burglary on the Individual

Studies report that burglary is one of the most emotionally impactful crimes to be a victim of. The prevention of being succumbed to it is always at the back of our minds – is anything on show? Are all the windows closed? Did you definitely lock the door before you left? However, burglary sometimes just cannot be prevented, and in its lingering gloom, it leaves you feeling vulnerable and unsafe. The most obvious impact would be the financial impact that the theft of tools and material items have on the business, not only because the tools need to be replaced, but also the damage caused to sheds, vans, and outbuildings causes even more expense in addition to the cost of the tools taken.


Progression on jobs is also hindered through the lack/absence of tools to actually complete projects – it financially hits businesses and workers from different aspects – not only by having to replace the tools and to repair the damage, but also by not being able to carry on with a job, which is costing time, and consequently, money.


However, my main focus in this article is the psychological impact that burglary has on the victim. This is obviously linked to the inability to finish jobs and projects due to lack of equipment – causing stress. But I wanted to really think about the emotional turmoil burglary can cause.


There are different points of view that can be taken after being the target of a burglary, especially as a business owner. The first would be the feeling of being violated. We often see the places that belong to us or in which we spend the most of our time as little bubbles. Be it our homes, tucked away from the stress of the working day and the natural elements, warm and cosy, as well as safe, but also the office, where people come and go on a daily basis, or vans that are driven by different employees, places that are yours. However, when the realisation strikes that a window or possibly a door is open when it shouldn’t be or that something is missing, it takes a while for the panic to sink in. You look around to see if there may be an explanation to why the tool isn’t in the right place, or how that door may have not been shut properly. But the drop in your stomach that follows when you realise that it wasn’t a mistake, but someone has been inside your familiar space, this bubble is popped. The instinct to protect what you have built for yourself kicks in. The thought of an intruder, a stranger, gaining entry to the vehicles you drive on a daily basis, walking around the office where your employees occupy during the day, or even in your home – creates a very strong sense of violation.


Consequently, though, your mind starts to wonder – have I seen anyone suspicious around lately? Isn’t it a known fact that the majority of burglaries are conducted by people who you know? A disillusionment with humanity starts to creep into your thoughts. You may have been a trustworthy person, a boss who gives their workers the benefit of the doubt, but now you’re kicking yourself for not thinking about the repercussions this could have. After all, everyone is in it for themselves these days. This paranoia progressively develops – who could it have been? Do I really know them? Will they come back now they know the layout of the shed/office/van? Is that noise I can hear the noise of someone trying to break in again? Maybe I should get out of bed to investigate. Or maybe we should sleep with the lights on just in case. This anxiety takes its toll – the individual becomes weary of the people who surround them, they are in constant fear that it might happen again, always prepared to confront the criminal. These kinds of subconscious emotions take over and can sometimes lead to the need to take medications to help sleep in some cases. In a lot of instances, studies have shown that the emotional impact of the burglary tends to be more important than the financial loss itself, that the intrusion is more disturbing than the damage caused to outbuildings, vehicles or living spaces.


It’s cliché to say, but you never expect it until it happens to you. A quick slip, an easy mistake can cause more damage than you would think. And sometimes, those mistakes happen, it shouldn’t be a case of beating yourself up about it because you forgot to lock a door or didn’t have double glazing. Insurance, tagging, and extra security such as a CCTV camera from Amazon or even just an action-activated flood light could make a long-term difference. Protect yourself first and be aware. It’s always worth it.


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  • Great article.  I do think however that individually we can teach ourselves not to let the impact of theft have such a psycologically harming impact on us.  I myself have had my only work vehicle stolen twice in the last 12 months, the 2nd time it didn't return and the insurance company paid me peanuts.  This has had such an impact on my business that i may not make it uot the other side due to the inabililty to be able to afford to replace the vehicle right now.  Tools have to come before vehicle replacement and that is where my finances had to go.  Psycologically, however, it has made me stronger and more vigilant in other areas of my life in which i could be a victim of theft.  Of course, everything is subjective and theft will affect us all differently.  I recently saw the partner of a guy who was a roofer and had his tools stolen post this on a crowd sourcing website, hoping to raise £3000 to replace hit tools.  The target was reached in a matter of days.  This gave me confidence that the World is still full of good people and helped me make peace with the psycological impact of my own experience.  The selfish side of me also wished someone had done something similar for me!  Well, none of us are perfect...

    • PRO

      I admire your outlook as it's definitely a difficult issue to detatch yourself from. I do agree that crises cause change which in turn allows growth, and that is a good thing to keep in mind after being a victim of this kind of crime. But it's also very difficult to see the wider picture when you are left with a very difficult issue to overcome, which makes it very difficult to see the broader picture, especially when the question 'Where do I even start?' poses itself.

      Thank you for your comment, it's important to have these kinds of discussions!

    • Please keep us updated as to how things work out for you, Saul and with the positive attitude that you have now, having had to endure two thefts in such a short time frame, I sincerely hope that you do make it out the other side.Good luck from us all at LJN.


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