What to do if you suffer a burglary in rural Suffolk
It is unlikely that you will meet a burglar in your home or office because most break-ins happen when a property is empty. It is always best to prepare for a burglary or break-in however. I myself had to go see an elderly couple in August to repair the damage to their locks that had occurred after their Woodbridge home was broken into.
Carry an alarm and make lots of noise.
Always ensure you have a good property alarm system and CCTV, a personal alarm in your pocket, (not your handbag as it can be ripped away from you) always keep your mobile near or carry it around with you and don’t be afraid to make as much noise as you can possibly make if your home is broken into. Scream, throw things, shout, call for help, call the police and try to make any locals aware that something is happening. Anything that is loud and likely to make people pay attention can scare burglars away.
Always have an escape planned
Always have an escape route, talk to your neighbours and ask if it’s possible to run to their property if you feel threatened and scared. Always keep exits clear and run through what you would do. This is also lifesaving if you have a fire in your property. If you have children always ensure you make provisions for adequate escape.
Most burglars will try to access a property via a back door or window and then try to leave via the back door as they are less likely to be seen that way. They will usually head for the bedrooms for jewellery and electronics. Never try to confront a burglar, they may panic and become violent, they may have sharp weapons and there may be more than one of them.
“If in doubt – head out” is the motto here.
If you suspect a burglary or break in is in process and you feel you have no escape route or are stuck upstairs, try to attempt to hide somewhere, take your mobile phone and find somewhere to safe to wait it all out. Call 999 or text someone as soon as possible to call on your behalf if you don’t want to make any noise. It will be a scary situation but try not to panic and don’t speak if you feel this may put your life in danger. You can press 55 if you want to remain silent and this will inform the police that you cannot speak. Always keep the call open so people can hear what’s going on.
If you come face to face with the burglar
If you cannot do the above and come face to face with the burglar, don’t panic and remain calm. I know it’s easier said than done but above all do what the burglar says. Don’t make any sudden moves, shout or get angry. Put your arms up and try to be as calm and gentle as possible. Try to move away from the burglar if you can whilst showing you are cooperative. Do not make eye contact with the burglar and do not stare. Try to treat the situation as you would if you were face with a dangerous deadly animal.
If all else fails
It might be that you have no option but to defend against the burglar, especially if they have become aggressive and are attacking you. Note however you do not have to wait to be attacked to defend yourself, especially if you feel your life or wellbeing is in imminent danger. By law you can defend yourself in your own home, but you must use force that is appropriate for the situation, this is called reasonable force. So, for instance you cannot continue to baseball bat someone around the head until they are unconscious or in danger of passing away or have stopped breathing due to your defence. You must only use the force that is necessary to either restrain the burglar, arrest them or make them leave your property.
You also cannot keep attacking if the danger has passed or the burglar has left the scene, because that then turns from defence into attack which is illegal. If you believe the force you are using is reasonable and justified then the law will protect you.
The CPS says that reasonable force is a rugby tackle, restraint or a single blow to restrain someone. You are allowed to use further reasonable force to make a citizen’s arrest or chase a burglar to restrain them for the police, but you must not attack them with undue force.
If a burglar is injured by your defensive actions, the police by law have to investigate, if you have used reasonable and appropriate force to restrain or defend yourself the investigation will usually be over quickly.
I would always recommend trying to leave the property if possible for your own safety, things can be replaced, life cannot.
What Should I do after a burglary?
Always phone the police as soon as you possibly can, if the burglar has been and gone use 101 as its now non-urgent, if the burglary is in process, ring 999. Do not touch anything in the house so as not to disturb any evidence or fingerprints. If you don’t feel safe, leave the property and go to a relative or neighbours.
The police will arrive and investigate then issue you with a crime number which you should use to inform your insurance company of what has occurred. Keep the crime reference number safe.
If your locks are damaged call a locksmith, some insurance companies may insist you do this to ensure your locks are professionally repaired as per clauses in your insurance policy and it’s probably prudent to do so as you can ensure your locks are repaired and changed to a standard that will help prevent any further intrusion. A good local locksmith can also make suggestions on additional security and the types of lock you can additionally fit to ensure yours and your properties security.
A burglar will always try to revisit a property if they think that security is lax and they have burgled it before, so it’s critical to ensure that any locks or additional security you fit after the break in are visually and mechanically of a type that deters any would be intruder.
I am Paul Montgomery and I provide 24-hour locksmith services throughout Suffolk and North Essex, my work generally takes me within 20 miles of Ipswich to places such as Woodbridge, Felixstowe, Bramford, Bury St Edmunds, Hadleigh and other towns and villages along the A12.
I have been a locksmith for many years and I am a completely independent company, I am not part of any large national chain and have lived in East Anglia all my life. My company is family run and owned and I never outsource any work to other companies. I am the locksmith that will arrive at your property to carry out the work. I always provide free quotes and will always do this before any work is carried out.
I don’t use drills and try to be careful to not damage any existing locks by using what is known as non-destructive entry. This means I will use professional locksmith tools to gain access without resorting to drills and hammers.
I have many 5-star customer reviews on Google and Facebook, so please do read them before deciding as it will show the quality of my work and how I like to leave my customers feeling pleased and glad they gave me a call. I have profiles on all major social media platforms so please do feel free to take a look.
I have a fully stocked van with all the latest professional locksmith tools, so you can be assured that I can give an experienced and quality service.
Please be safe and protect your family especially now the long nights are fast approaching, and winter is a few weeks away. Remember, burglars and thieves are much more active on cold winter evenings when they can hide in the dark.