Indicators of residential break and enters in your community:
- Doors and windows to homes that have been left open or may have been forced open
- Individuals or groups of people knocking on doors to check if homeowners are away
- Unfamiliar vehicles parked outside neighbours homes while they are away
Signs of criminals in your neighbourhood:
- People you do not recognize lingering around your neighbourhood
- People walking up and down driveways during the day or at night
- People you do not know walking into your neighbour’s back yard
Take these precautions to protect yourself and your valuables from criminals:
- Lock it or lose it – lock your parked car in the driveway, parking lots and even inside your garage
- Do not stand idle – do not leave your car to warm up with the keys in the ignition in your driveway while you wait inside your house.
- COMMON REACTIONS AFTER A BREAK & ENTER
Break & Enter (B&E) crimes are known as the most serious property crimes in Canada today. B&E crimes involve individuals breaking into a home, business, or other property with the purpose of stealing or doing damage. As a result, victims of a B&E can suffer more than the loss of their property. They may experience strong feelings such as anger, fear and a sense of personal violation. As a victim of a B&E, you may experience emotions that are difficult for you to deal with and you may feel confused and frustrated by the police and court system. You may also want to know how to protect your home, business or property in the future. This booklet was created to answer some of your questions. It will reassure you that what you are feeling is completely normal and tell you some of the ways you can help yourself cope with what has happened. It will also tell you how to increase the security of your property and where you can get more help or information.
- SOME THINGS YOU MAY EXPERIENCE
Shock and Disbelief You may experience shock and disbelief that your property has actually been broken into and that your possessions have been gone through and stolen. A sense of Violation After the initial shock of becoming the victim of a B&E, you may experience a sense of violation. This sense of violation and loss is both financial and emotional. Not only have your possessions been stolen from you by unknown individuals but they have also managed to take away your privacy and sense of personal security. Fear Once you have been the target of a B&E, you may fear that your home or business is no longer a safe place. You may feel uncomfortable being alone, or worry when you are not there. You may be afraid that someone could break in again. Asking your local police or Victim Services about crime prevention can help decrease the chances of another B&E happening. You may also find yourself feeling suspicious and fearful of strangers in and around your community. Some people fear that they are being singled out, but thieves usually want your possessions and do not break into your home or business because of who you are. Anger and Frustration Anger at the criminals is a very normal feeling. You may feel frustrated because you are not able to express your anger directly at the person or people responsible for the crime. You may also feel frustrated and angry at the police especially if they have not been successful in finding the criminals or your stolen items.
Stress Following a B & E, you may experience signs of stress and may develop physical symptoms, such as sleeping or eating difficulties. Fear and anxiety may also increase your stress level. If you have children affected by the B&E, dealing with their feelings can also be stressful. Guilt is often another common reaction. When someone else commits a criminal act by breaking the law, it is not the victim’s fault. Anxiety You may find that you startle more easily at little noises or abrupt movements. Isolation You may feel that you are the only one having reactions to the break-in. You may feel isolated from family, friends and co-workers and feel that no one can understand what you are going through.
HOME AND BUSINESS SECURITY
Although Break and Enters may seem random in occurrence, they often actually involve a selection process. The criminal’s selection process is simple. Choose an unoccupied home, business or property with the easiest access, the greatest amount of cover, and with the best escape routes. There is no such thing as a criminal-proof home or business. However, there are homes and businesses that are too difficult to break into. The enemies of the B & E criminal are time and attention. The longer it takes to enter and the more noise he/she makes increase his/her chance of being seen and caught. Homes and businesses not easily and quickly broken into are most often bypassed for easier targets. What follows is a list of suggestions to minimize your risk by making your home or business unattractive to potential criminals. The first step is to harden the target or make your home/business more 6 difficult to enter. Remember, the criminal will simply bypass your home/business if it looks like it requires too much effort or requires more skill and tools than they possess.