The emotional cost of burglary

April 29, 2013

By Christine Keighery

With every passing week it seems another household falls victim to burglary or theft. It has become such a common occurrence that often the victims of a break-in are forgotten and the impact such a crime has on them is overlooked.

The emotional toll of cleaning up after a burglary can be devastating for many, with research showing that many victims of burglary continue to suffer long after the event. Feelings of mistrust, isolation and fear can pervade, along with depression, anxiety and panic attacks.  Victims often report sleeplessness, a lack of confidence and feelings of vulnerability.

While it is virtually impossible to predict the trauma a burglary can bring on the residents of the home, especially if they are children, there are usually serious side effects.

One woman, whose home was recently ransacked by burglars, shared her story with us, conveying the real emotional cost of being victimized by a break-in.

The Ravensdale resident’s home was burgled for the second time in two years at the end of last month.  This time the intruders completely ransacked her home, smashing patio doors to gain entry and tearing through rooms mindlessly causing untold destruction and damage.

In addition to loss of what the thieves took – most of which were cherished Christmas presents belonging to her ten year old son, the burglary has completely devastated the woman and her family.  A month later, she finds herself still trying to come to terms with the intrusion.

“This burglary was so destructive, it took me a month to clean up the house. The impact on us is incalculable,” said the mum.

“I was just defeated after this second robbery. My morale was so low that my neighbour had to call the police for me, I had given up.”

Slowly rebuilding her life, she is now eager to see the perpetrators brought to justice.

“I need to be able to put a face on these people,” she added, “I need to know the problem lies with them and let them know what they’ve done to us – that my son is not sleeping at night and it’s their fault, that I won’t replace the glass on the patio doors because I live in fear of it happening again.”

“They invaded our lives and our privacy yet, when they stand in front of a judge they will be protected by the law, their privacy taken into account while we as victims have no such protection; our homes and our privacy were not respected by these people. I just want to take that power from them. I want the power to remain with householders and for these criminals to be brought to justice. ”

The woman also made a heartfelt plea for the return of the items as many were Christmas presents belonging to her young son.  She believes it is vital that people who have information about her burglary or other burglaries in the area come forward to police. Appealing to the conscience of the thieves or those involved with them, she urged them to return the stolen items to the police.

“As I try to get my life back together again, someone is watching my TV, someone is using my laptop, children are playing with my son’s Christmas presents.  The aftermath of this burglary has been extremely traumatic for us and I just want someone to do the right thing and return our belongings.”

The stolen items include: Laptop Packard Bell Dot.s Notebook, Cherry Red Colour (contains a large quantity of essential college assignments, model: PAV80, PN: LU.BPQOD.021. SN: LUBPQ0D02103901B881601, Panasonic TV, iPad, Blackberry, iPod, Watch, Wii, Playstation.

Anyone with information on the burglary, which took place in Ravensdale on 23rd March 2013 should contact the PSNI or Louth Garda office.