Burglary victims left ‘scarred’ and don’t hear back from police

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MORE than half of burglary victims did not hear back from police after reporting a burglary, according to new research.

And one in four victims have experienced mental health issues, such as anxiety or symptoms of depression, after a break-in.

The research also found that one in four adults felt their ability to keep their family safe was affected by a break-in.

Victims also experienced a heightened fear of becoming a victim of other crimes.

The research, carried out by charity Victim Support and home security specialist ADT, surveyed 1,000 burglary victims.

They found despite victims’ concerns, more than half of them surveyed (52 per cent) said they did not hear anything back from police after reporting a burglary and fewer than one in 10 knew that their burglar was arrested and their case heard in court.

Victim Support and ADT are calling on police forces to make sure they are doing everything to meet their responsibilities under the Government’s new Victims’ Code, which says that crime victims have a right to clear communication and updates from the police.

ADT’s residential business director Mark Shaw said: “This new research shows the kind of emotional and psychological scars that burglars leave on their victims and highlights the significant number of victims who are left in the dark by the police.”

He said taking steps to make homes more secure might help reduce victims’ anxiety.

Adam Pemberton, of Victim Support, said: “Burglary victims could get more peace of mind if the police kept them updated regularly on the progress of their case.

“This research indicates that the police’s obligation to do this, set out in the Victims’ Code, is not always being met.

“After a burglary, people can contact Victim Support for free help and advice as well as emotional support.”

The research was carried out as part of Take No More, a campaign by ADT and Victim Support to run free crime prevention schemes for householders, increase awareness of support services for burglary victims, and try to ensure that those victims get justice in court.

Burglary victims Leigh and Kate Sutton from Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, suffered a break-in just before Christmas in 2012.

The thieves broke in through conservatory doors and the couple and their two children slept. They took electrical goods before escaping in the family car, later found abandoned.

What really upset the family was the theft of two pedigree Birman cats, Zuma and Ruble. Thankfully, the cats were found after a poster and media appeal.

Mr Sutton said the break-in prompted him to seriously beef up house security.

He called the police response “a real disappointment”.

“We didn’t hear anything from them - we had to chase them for any information. We found some kitchen knives had been disturbed by the burglars, so took them to the police station. We never heard a thing from it. We never got a phone call and we never got them back.

“The safe return of the cats was down to help from the media and the public.”

Mrs Sutton said the break-in left her feeling “paranoid” but only for a week or two. Their children still occasionally refer to the burglary and the “baddies” who did it.