Theft & Burglary

Burglary is one of the most common types of crime. A burglary is when someone breaks into a building with the intention of stealing property.

Burglary occurs when a person enters a building or part of a building without permission and steals items from inside. For many people, this means someone has entered their house without permission and stolen their property. The burglary doesn't have to occur in just a house itself. Reports of thefts from gardens, outbuildings, sheds and garages are an issue too – particularly in rural areas - and will also be treated as burglary.

Theft is a crime of dishonesty and involves taking the property of another person whilst not intending to give them it back. A person commits theft if they dishonestly take property belonging to another intending to permanently deprive them of it.

It isn't always a one-off event - some people may be burgled several times, or be affected by other crimes as well, such as harassment or hate crime. The impact of burglary isn’t just financial; it can also have a significant impact on a persons emotional well-being and sense of security. There is support practical and emotional support available to help victims of burglary.

Emotional support

Even if nothing has been stolen, the thought of a stranger being in a persons home can be very distressing and feel like a violation of that persons security. Some people blame themselves if they forgot to secure a window or door, or if they were tricked by the burglar, but it’s important to remember that it’s not the victims fault.

Children in particular can be very frightened and may need reassurance, even if they don’t talk much about what’s happened. Not all stolen goods are replaceable and some people may lose items of significant sentimental and personal value – this can be very upsetting.

Emotional support can be accessed through the Victim and Witness Hub, who may also refer on to more specialist services such as the Bobby Scheme.

Practical support

Some organisations such as the Bobby Scheme may also be able to offer practical support, fitting security equipment and giving advice on securing the home.

Some victims may not want to seek help, in which case there is information about practical steps that can be found online, on the local Police website or national sites such as Secured by Design.

Some top tips to help reduce the impact of a burglary and to improve your home security include:

  • Try to get your home secured as quickly as possible. If you’re in rented housing, tell your landlord about any repairs you need. If you own your home, you’ll need to make your own arrangements.
  • Look into ways of making your home more secure for the future. Some security measures can be expensive, but there are other things you can do that cost much less, such as leaving lights or a radio on when you go out and checking that all doors and windows are properly closed and locked.
  • If important documents have been stolen, you’ll also need to let banks, government departments and other organisations know. Things to check for include bank cards, cheque books, passports, benefit books, mobile phones, birth certificates and driving licences. It’s important to tell banks and building societies as soon as possible so that they can stop fraud and any further theft.
  • If you have home insurance and want to make a claim, you will need a crime reference number from the police.


Anyone who suspects they are being burgled should call 999 straight away and wait in a safe place for help to arrive. People should not enter a property if there is a chance the suspect is still inside. Someone who has had an item of property stolen or witnessed a theft can report it to the police online or by calling 101. A Police Officer will them make contact to:

  • Take details including any missing items
  • Assess the scene for forensic opportunities
  • Give advice about securing your home

Cambridgeshire Bobby Scheme

The Bobby Scheme is a charity in Cambridgeshire which offers security equipment and safety advice to those affected by burglary.

The scheme works alongside Cambridgeshire Constabulary officers to provide free and immediate help for burglary victims who are elderly, disabled or at risk of domestic abuse.

For a small charge, the charity also offers security assessments to those who haven’t been a victim of crime to reassure them and help prevent them from falling victim to burglary.