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Howard League blog · 28 Nov 2018

Why I’d like to meet the man who burgled my home

This is going to be personal. I was burgled a couple of weeks ago.

I got home on a Friday evening and couldn’t get into my house because the lock had been deadlocked. I had to get a locksmith to come out and drill the lock out. Then we found that the chain had been put across and my lovely neighbour came with bolt cutters so I could get in.

The burglar had smashed his way through my back door, leaving shattered glass all over the kitchen and outside. My cat was hiding upstairs.

I know it was a man because he left huge muddy prints on the bedroom carpet. He had emptied all the small drawers in the bedrooms on to the floor, apparently looking for valuable jewellery. He was disappointed; I only have stuff from Accessorize. He took nothing, as I have nothing portable worth taking.

He simply violated my home and caused damage and cost me upset and distress. I’ve had to take time off work to get things mended.

Anger is a legitimate and reasonable response to being a victim of a crime and expressing that anger is also legitimate

I posted a picture of the smashed door on social media on the day with the epithet – don’t read this if you are of a sensitive disposition – ‘bastards’. Interesting that the chair of the prison officers union and a handful of prison officers posted personally insulting comments insinuating that this showed I was hypocritical. Anger is a legitimate and reasonable response to being a victim of a crime. Expressing that anger is also legitimate.

Of course, if in the extremely unlikely event that my burglar is caught, I would like to meet him and express that anger in person. I am an advocate of restorative solutions so I would like something transformative and positive to happen from my experience.

This is the third time I have been burgled, although the previous times were much more distressing as my child was very young when we discovered the crime.

I would like something transformative and positive to happen from my experience

I have had my purse lifted a few times, experienced sexual assaults in the street and on the Tube as a teenager, and about ten years ago a man punched me in the street and took my handbag. I still fret when I hear someone coming up behind me in the dark. The common thread, in line with most crime, is that my criminals were all men.

I have to say my experience of the police has been good. This time a lovely officer came round to dust for non-existent prints and I got phone calls and leaflets through the door with information about crime prevention.

I have a burglar alarm and am now going to get cameras and have fitted new locks. I still have nothing to steal.

Being a victim of stranger crime like this is invasive and upsetting. If anyone reading this has suffered anything similar, I sympathise and am sorry. This is partly why I do what I do – I want to stop it happening. Our vision is Less Crime, Safer Communities, and Fewer People in Prison.


  • Brian McGivern says:

    Frances, for anyone who is a victim of crime, the aftermath is often worse than the actual crime.
    I have worked in Prisons for over 26 years, and I do actually believe in restorative justice. Quite often the perpetrator of the crime does not think about “victims” and this is where RJ comes into play.
    It is certainly something we should be looking to expand.

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