How to Help the Police Catch Your Burglar

When it comes to protecting your home, deterring burglars from breaking in and protecting your belongings in the first place are both key in keeping your home secure. However, it’s always best to be prepared and bear in mind how you can help the police catch a burglar. From CCTV to marking your property, there’s a wealth of things that you can do to increase the chances that your burglar will get caught and your belongings returned to you.

Caught in the Act

Install CCTV:

The beauty of having an interior CCTV system means not only will it notify you that someone is in your house when they shouldn’t be, but it also records their activity. This interior Yale Wi-Fi enabled camera starts recording when motion is detected, allowing you to watch the footage remotely on your smartphone, as well as control the camera.

Positioning your CCTV:

The positioning of your cameras is key to providing useful evidence for the police. If placed in the correct locations, you should be able to catch the intruders’ faces as they wander around your property.

Interior cameras should face the inside of the front door, the back door and any vulnerable windows. These are likely entry points for burglars, so covering these areas at head height will make catching their faces on camera easy. Try placing a camera on a bookshelf aimed towards the door.

If you’re placing a camera to point at a window, then ideally it would be at an angle to the window itself to avoid light flooding the image and obscuring faces. Place the camera at an angle, away from the window, but check to make sure that you’ve still got good coverage of the area.

TOP TIP: Don’t forget the thoroughfare rooms. Cameras in hallways are likely to catch people as they make their way to staircases or plot their escape route.

Exterior cameras should face doors, windows and other entry points. If you can cover the approach to your home without covering public areas (filming public areas means you must comply with the Data Protection Act), then you’ll have a good chance of catching their faces on camera.

Alarming your property

House alarms should be visible on the exterior of your house. If installed prominently, their presence can deter thieves or disturb burglars during a robbery, causing them to flee.

Set up door sensors around vulnerable doors and windows and when the alarm is armed and the sensor contact is broken, the external siren will sound.

PIR motion detectors should be placed in any room that an intruder might want to investigate, such as living rooms and bedrooms, especially if there are valuables within.. Place the motion detectors high up to ensure a wide angle that covers the whole room.

Be Neighbourly

The Neighbourhood Watch is a scheme that encourages a sense of community where people are friendly and active, and therefore anti-social crime is less likely to happen. Membership of a scheme has been proven to deter burglars* and it can help in the event of one too. Having neighbours that will keep an eye out for you may mean that you have eyewitness accounts of a burglar.

Mark Your Property

Marking your property could mean that, in the event of a burglary, your items are recognised and returned to you, and the thieves caught too.

UV Pen. There are a number of different ways that you can mark your property, the easiest being with a UV pen. They can’t be seen without a UV light, which means the appearance of your belongings will be kept intact. Other ways to mark your items include engraving or writing your postcode onto their surface. This method will act as a deterrent too, because the thieves may see the markings and be wary of taking them. Things like microdot, chemical and DNA marking are much more advanced methods of property marking, so are more expensive but can be extremely effective.

Register your belongings on immobilise.com and if they’re lost or stolen, you have a better chance of recovering them. It’s free, and you can use it to report registered items lost or stolen. This information is made available to all the major UK Police forces, who can check recovered property and find its rightful owner.

What to do if you get Burgled

Getting burgled is an awful experience and if you get caught out, you can forget what to do.

  1. The first step if you think you’ve been burgled is to report the crime to the police. They may not come out to see you, but if you have caught intruders on CCTV make sure that you tell the police. You should also receive a crime reference number.
  2. Next, take a note of any stolen or damaged property. Get in touch with your insurance company and let them know you’ve been burgled.
  3. Once emotions have levelled and you’ve taken all the necessary steps to report the crime, have a think about how you could potentially improve your home security to prevent another burglary in the future. Peruse our posts on Security at Home for ideas.
  4. If you need to, don’t be afraid to seek help from Victim Support. Many people are left with a feeling of vulnerability after a burglary that can be difficult to get over. Victim Support can help you feel safer and put your mind at ease.

Has CCTV ever helped you catch a burglar in the act?? Let us know on Twitter @talkwithsafe

*Bennett, T.H., Holloway, K. and Farrington, D.P. (2006)”Does Neighbourhood Watch reduce crime? A systematic review and meta-analysis”

Published: June 15, 2017

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