The Lasting Effects of a Burglary

Often when we think about the aftermath of a home burglary, the focus is on the tangible effects of the crime. It’s devastating to lose property, deal with filing a police report and pick up the pieces of a damaged home. However, the psychological effects that come along with a burglary are often the most severe, long-lasting results of a burglary. It’s common for victims of a burglary to experience fatigue, loss of sleep and a loss of appetite after a burglary. Also, the heightened level of vulnerability that one feels after a burglary can often lead to depression and anxiety.

anxiety after a burglary

“The majority of (burglary) victims say they will never have the same feeling of security and inviolability that they had in the past,” said Billie Corder, a University of North Carolina School of Medicine psychiatrist in Psychology Today.

This is exactly what home security companies are trying to prevent from happening. Losing a feeling of security in your home is an unfair and extremely harsh penalty to pay as a victim of a crime. The Electronic Security Association (ESA) reports that 90 percent of convicted burglars said they want to avoid homes with alarm systems. The ESA also reports that those same burglars also said if they did encounter a home with an alarm, they would abandon the attack on the home.

burglary prevention

The National Center for Victims of Crime published an in-depth piece entitled “The Trauma of Vicitmization” and it contains some very valuable advice about how to cope with a burglary if you do happen to experience one. Here is a rundown of some of their most useful tips below:

Tips for Coping

Don’t put off or delay filing the police report. Most people naturally dread any interaction with the criminal justice system. While dealing with the criminal justice system can be the most stressful part of a crime, it’s a necessity. Filing a police report and following the proper legal steps after experiencing a burglary can be the first step in rebuilding a normal life.

Allow yourself to experience shock and numbness after a burglary; they are natural human emotions to have in the initial stage of crisis reaction. It’s completely normal to be in a state of shock after experiencing a crime that is out of your control. Although a burglary is out of a homeowner’s control, as we stated above, arming a home with a security system substantially decreases the odds of being victimized.

Open up. Don’t be afraid to talk to a close friend, family member, clergy or psychiatrist about your feelings after experiencing a burglary. One of the worst mistakes people make is keeping their feelings to themselves after experiencing a crime. It’s good to express your worries and concerns.

Re-establish a normal routine as soon as you can. Dwelling on the damage in the wake of a burglary can cause even more damage.
Try to avoid the “why me?” mindset. As the old saying goes, “there’s no use crying over spilled milk.” Avoid replaying the event over and over again in your head at all costs; this is almost never a good coping mechanism.

Accept the reality that crime is often a random and senseless event. Blaming one’s self can result in depression. If you or someone you know has experienced a burglary, use these tips to move on in life. Because burglary is unpredictable, it just makes sense to arm your house with an alarm system.

According to the Electronic Security Association (ESA), homes with alarm systems are three time less likely to be burglarized. Knowing what you know now about the psychological damage that a burglary can cause, if you have the opportunity to triple the security of your family’s home, why wouldn’t you?