We treat domestic burglary very seriously. We understand that burglary can feel like a personal crime and an invasion of your personal space.
If you find that your home has been broken into, by following these steps, you can help us bring the offender to justice and potentially recover items stolen. Many burglaries in Northern Ireland are committed by opportunistic criminals who take advantage of poor home security.
- Limit what you touch around your home. It is tempting to try and establish exactly what has been taken, but every surface you touch may be destroying potential fingerprint or DNA evidence.
- Broken windows should be left alone. Intruders have been known to leave DNA evidence on broken glass. If you clear the frame of broken glass prior to police arrival, you will also have cleared the potential for evidence to be obtained.
- Limit walking about within your home. Intruders can leave footwear marks which can be retrieved by our Crime Scene Investigators.
- Any items or tools discarded by the intruder should be left where they are. If you see anything which does not belong in your home, leave it alone and let the officer know about it.
Following a report of a burglary, we will appoint an Investigating Officer (IO) who may take some or all of the following steps during the investigation:
- Obtain a statement from the victim and any other witnesses who may be identified.
- Conduct door to door enquiries in the area.
- Take photographs of the scene, point of entry/exit and any damage.
- Establish the presence of CCTV footage in the area and take steps to preserve that evidence.
- Task a Crime Scene Investigator (CSI) to attend and search for fingerprint or other evidence.
- Follow lines of enquiry to identify the intruder.
- Make attempts to trace stolen property through appeals and other channels.
This list is not exhaustive.
Burglaries can be reported to us by dialling 101, however if you are unsure whether the intruder is still on the property do not attempt to enter and confront them. ALWAYS dial 999 in an emergency. REMEMBER: Your safety is the most important consideration.
The best way to prevent burglary is to follow our crime prevention advice which can be found here:
Following an investigation, you may be required to attend court to give evidence.
The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) can apply to the court to have special measures (such as putting up screens so you don’t have to look at the defendant) put in place to make this process easier for you. If you have any concerns or fears about attending court, bring them to the attention of the Investigating Officer who will talk you through the process and can apply to the PPS for special measures on your behalf.
Burglary can be hard to deal with emotionally, Victim Support NI have volunteers who offer emotional support, information and practical help to people who have suffered from any type of crime.