What it Feels Like After Being Burglarized

Working through the effects of being burglarized.


September 22, 2020

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Walking into a home only to see belongings thrown about, valuable items missing, and realizing that a stranger was going through your belongings is an unsettling experience.

After getting over the initial reaction to the physical aftermath of a burglary, victims are likely to feel several emotions that won’t go away simply by cleaning up their home and replacing stolen belongings.

When many people think about burglaries, they think about the financial and material losses, but oftentimes the emotional damage that occurs following a burglary outweighs any monetary or material loss.

The emotions victims feel

Most people’s initial reaction to a burglary is surprise and shock. Many people assume that a burglary will never happen to them. This shock is accompanied with a feeling of vulnerability from the realization that a private space has been violated.

It’s common for victims to feel emotions of:

  • Violation

  • Anger

  • Fear

  • Helplessness

  • Sadness

There’s a general psychological discomfort in knowing that an area considered safe — the home — has been exploited and violated by strangers. Burglaries can result in items of sentimental or memorable value being stolen.

Victims must allow themselves to feel their emotions to be able to move forward. These sorts of responses are normal. A report from Mirror.co.uk  reports that for some victims it takes up to seven months following a burglary before they begin to feel secure in their homes again.

Children also have their own unique reactions to a burglary event. It’s important to deal with your feelings in an appropriate manner in front of a child. Children are likely to mimic the sentiments of their parents; so, showing them they can overcome the event of a burglary will be beneficial.

How to feel safe after a break-in

Impulsive decisions should not be made after a break-in occurs. Many homeowners feel as though they should move from their home, and this could be the right decision, but be sure to allow yourself time to understand and grieve the event before making such a life-altering decision. Instead, consider prevention measures you can take to reinforce your feeling of safety at home.

Homeowners are encouraged to talk with police, neighbors, and even form a neighborhood watch group to help cope with the experience. Another important and helpful step is to purchase home security equipment. Burglars are more likely to be deterred if they see home security signs and decals. If they still attempt a break-in, they are more likely to be caught immediately by police that respond to the home security alarm.

While a burglary event can be traumatic, and recovering may seem bleak, know that you are not alone. Be sure to seek help when needed and implement strategies to  prevent any future burglaries. 

Krista Bruton is a DFW-based writer who covers smart home security and consumer protection.

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