Aggravated burglary and burglary with intent to retrieve personal effects or information: in what cases do these occur and how can you prevent these offences?

Here, we’ll take a closer look at both these types of offences, as well as giving you some pointers to help better protect your home.

What are the differences between aggravated burglary and burglary with intent to retrieve personal effects of information?

In the United Kingdom, aggravated burglary is defined as a burglary that takes place when the intruder is carrying an offensive item or weapon. These intruders might attempt to commit and offence of theft on a property while carrying firearms, imitation firearms, explosives or any other offensive weapon.

Clearly, aggravated burglary is a serious offence. Accordingly, a defendant who is found guilty in a court of law will likely be handed a harsher criminal sentence.

On the other end of the scale, burglary with intent to retrieve personal effects or information is often carried out much more subtly.

In fact, it might take you far longer to notice that you’re actually the victim of a theft that has taken place on your property.

In the case of these thefts, burglars will often enter a property to only steal one, small item.

The victim might suddenly notice that their car keys or bank card are missing.

Or, it could be the victim’s vehicle licence details that are missing, or some information they’ve jotted down about their personal accounts.

In these cases, these items might not just have been misplaced: an offence of theft might have been committed.

Why do aggravated burglaries and burglaries to retrieve personal information take place?

Aggravated burglaries are most often carried out with the intent to intimidate the occupants of a property, allowing the thieves to make a get away with the items they want to steal.

In terms of theft of your personal items and information, these offences are less likely to be violent. In fact, criminals that commit these thefts are unlikely to want you to notice that you’re missing something important.

These thefts could involve your car keys, personal documents, passport, bank cards, insurance details… anything that a thief could then use to commit further offences, such as fraud.

What should you do in the event of these offences taking place on your property?

If you’ve been the victim of an aggravated burglary, you may require emergency medical assistance.

First and foremost, ensure you and your family get the attention you may need from the emergency services.

You should report the offence to the police as soon as possible, so that your local police force has the best possible chance of tracking down the relevant offenders.

Then, you or your landlord should take steps to secure your property or building, to prevent future offences or acts of theft from occurring.

In the case of theft with the intent to remove personal effects or information, you should inform the police of the offence as soon as you can.

If you managed to see the thieves clearly in either of these cases, make sure you give an accurate description to the police.

Also, make sure you leave any potential clues on your property untouched. This information could be vital to the police, to help them locate and later sentence the offenders.

How can you avoid aggravated burglary and theft of personal effects and information?

Obviously, offences of aggravated burglary on your property are very unlikely to be predictable.

In terms of preventing aggravated burglary, it’s advisable to install a home security system.

This system could include:

  • CCTV surveillance cameras positioned in useful locations around your property, especially at entry points that may be a target for intruders
  • An alarm system to alert you to movements on your property and also to deter potential thieves
  • Sensors that monitor when your property’s doors and windows are opened by intruders
  • Alarm stickers to advertise the presence of a security system on your property
  • Installing strengthened security glass in your windows and doors, to make it harder for intruders to smash their way in
  • Making sure there are effective security locks on your property’s main doors

In terms of more subtle acts of theft on your property (non-violent theft of your personal effects such as bank cards or car keys, or documentation containing important personal information), the following advice applies:

  • Make sure your personal documentation is securely stored on your property, well out of sight
  • Make sure you don’t leave your car keys lying around close to open windows or other obvious entry points
  • Park your car safely inside your garage (or, if you don’t have a garage, it’s advisable to park your car slightly away from your property, so that potential thieves can’t easily link the vehicle to your home)
  • Make sure you close or lock all doors and windows overnight and when your property is empty
  • Make sure you always activate your property’s alarm and surveillance systems to help prevent thefts from taking place

Does my insurance cover non-obvious thefts on my property?

If a theft has taken place with no obvious signs of forced entry, getting sufficient cover from your insurance can be a complicated process.

You may need to provide concrete evidence that a theft took place on your property.

For example, if a thief stole your car keys by taking them from the countertop through an open window, there would be no clear signs that an offence had occurred.

In cases such as this one, it would be best for the victim to provide the police with CCTV footage of the intruder on their property.

The insurance payments you receive in the event of a theft might also depend on the security system you have in place on your property.

It’s advisable to make sure your property is adequately protected with security cameras, alarms or door and window opening sensors.

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