Burglary is one of the more challenging things we go through in life, some of us will get away with never having to deal with it but many do. Those who suffer from burglary not only face losing their belongings, but sometimes they can lose their piece of mind and at worst they could even lose their life. Obviously, the chances of a criminal committing such a crime when committing burglary is thankfully fairly low. However, you should bare in mind exactly what you should do should you be unfortunate enough for this to happen to you. This is a small guide on what to do before they get in, once they’re in the home and if you come face to face.
Before They Get Into Your Home
Many will use burglar alarms to catch criminals in the act and warn off others. But for those who perhaps cannot afford an alarm, or those who have a broken alarm, burglary can be all too easy. Should any alarms be ignored, on or off, you need to know exactly what else you are able to do lawfully. You cannot, for instance, cause deliberate harm to a burglar by placing dangerous objects in their path (such as broken glass) as you can in fact be sued under the Occupier’s Liability Act 1984. This is effectively an occupiers “duty of care” to trespassers, however this can be reconsidered should you leave signs saying “Keep Out” or “Attention – Electric Fence”. If you leave warnings to potential hazards , and do not purposefully harm them, trespassers are left unable to sue you for any injuries sustained.
Police however do warn against these higher levels of home security, such as barbed wire and electric fences, as they can pose a danger to not only your guests but the general public. They advise to use friendlier options such as prickly bushes around potential entry points and trellis fencing.
When They Are In Your Home
There are of course many different scenarios you could be in when your home is being burgled. The most common is being burgled during the night time when everyone is asleep (as it means you are out of the way and unlikely to fight back). This is a perfect time for criminals to strike as there are less people around to witness the crime. When they have entered your home the first thing you need to do is hide in a secure place, with a mobile phone if possible. The same goes for anyone else in the property at that time.
You cannot legally fight a burglar, as we’ve already established in the first part of this article. There are many rules around self defence which could leave you paying horridly high fines. It is best to avoid this, no object is worth risking your life. So if you’re hidden with a phone, you can use your phone (silently) to inform the local authorities. Police stations will actually take texts so you do not have to call them, perfect for situations like these. If you do not have a phone on you then you must stay hidden until you are 100% certain the burglars have left, then call the police. Try to remember their faces should you see them, this will help with police investigations immensely.
When You Are Face To Face
This is where burglary gets extremely dangerous. If you come face to face with a single burglar on their own, the chances of them attacking you are greatly decreased. You must, however, remain submissive and do exactly what they ask of you. Even if they are just one person, they could still cause you serious harm. Many lone burglars will simply flee the area, rather than fight. However, should they stay and become hostile towards you you need to remain calm. Try not to talk to them, the less you talk the quicker the burglar will be on their way and the less likely you are to be harmed.
If you come across a group of people, the same applies. You need to be 100% submissive, do exactly what they say and make it very clear that you’re not going to cause them any harm. They want to be sure that you’re not going to attack them, so show them that you’re not by calming sitting down with your hands behind your head. Once they are finished you can then inform the police.
If you’re attacked at any point, you must try to refrain from fighting back by any means. Should you fight back, and cause them serious harm, you could be sued. Self defence should only be implemented should you feel your life is in serious danger, and you believe that they are armed and are willing to take your life. Then, and only then, you can fight back.