Domestic burglary cases presented on the news have become more and more distressing in the last few months. We can’t help but feel worried about our safety, but at the same time, breathe a sigh of relief that it wasn’t our home that was targeted. Unfortunately, this is not the case for some Asian families living in the UK. With all the disturbing news about houses being ransacked for Asian gold, you only have one question on their mind: What if we’re next?
A mother of two children returned home from work only to discover that their house had been ransacked, and thousands of pounds of Asian gold were stolen.
Another victim, Vikram Sinha, who resides in Cardiff, had around £30,000 worth of gold stolen, as well as hundreds of pounds worth of cash when his house was burgled earlier this year.
What is even more concerning is that the police are doing their best to prevent such burglaries and catch the thieves when they do strike, but gangs are increasingly operating in a very organised way. One particular group were targeting Asian households in North Wales, Shropshire, Merseyside and Cheshire – they were arrested following a thorough investigation, but only after more than 40 burglaries were carried out, with the stolen gold worth over £100,000.
Asian gold burglaries don’t just happen at night!
It is clear that the Asian gold remains the primary focus of thefts, considering its high purity and great value. However, owning such treasure means that Asian families’ day-to-day lives have changed completely. According to the victims of break-ins themselves, these burglaries mostly take place during the day rendering them fearful that something may happen to their house while they are at work, or running errands.
One particular robbery involving the mother of two occurred sometime between 8am and 4pm while she was at work and the children at nursery. Another victim felt that it was too much of a coincidence that all of the burglaries in her neighbourhood were being carried out at the same time, usually when people attended various religious functions.
In most cases, burglars will take their time in getting to know the surroundings and people’s daily routines before planning a strike. The gangs that target Asian families for their gold are sure to be monitoring their victims’ movements, houses and the entire community, sometimes for weeks before they ransack their homes.
Can people recognise patterns beforehand?
It’s possible to research the crime statistics for your area, or even try to walk in a burglar’s shoes for a day to check your home for potential weaknesses. However, police reports show that there is no pattern in the thieves’ modus operandi. One of the victims, a 45-year-old hospital consultant declared that a couple of days before burglars raided his house, he received a visit from two men asking if he wanted work done to his driveway. In another case, the victim told the police that his neighbours had seen a silver Mercedes car dropping off three smartly dressed men at his house; because of their appearance, the neighbours thought they were his friends and didn’t take any action.
When it comes to avoiding certain patterns or routines that can attract thieves’ attention, you would be advised to be more wary of the way you display your lifestyle. You may think that nobody cares about what you wear, or what kind of things you own, but this is not the case with potential thieves. You should never brag about a holiday on social media, as you can never know who will see it and take action against you. Last but not least, if you own an expensive car, try to keep it in a garage when not in use.
What can you actually do to protect your home?
One thing that most of the burglaries mentioned in this article had in common was that the thieves made a relatively easy break-in through a window or a door – it seems from the victim’s declarations that their home wasn’t physically protected.
In the robbery case that involved the mother of two, the burglars broke in through the rear patio doors of the property, leaving broken glass on the floor. In the second case, the thieves used the downstairs window to enter the property. The police also reported that in a more recent example, the burglars went through the back of the property, where they used a crowbar to lift a door off its hinges, after failing to force open the front door of the house.
It is now widely accepted by crime prevention officers and the insurance industry that the only way to stop domestic burglaries is to physically protect the doors and windows.
Paul Warner, the managing director of Safeguard Security, explains that people need to be more proactive when it comes to their safety – they need to act before something happens in their neighbourhood or, in the worst case scenario, to their homes.
“People need to pay more attention to what is going on around them, especially when they own such a treasure like Asian gold. Undoubtedly, it would be easier for them to remove the jewellery from their house altogether and keep them in a safety deposit box, but that’s not always an option.”
Therefore, the most straightforward and cost effective option is to physically protect the doors the windows of the house, by installing an extra barrier. Domestic security grilles are fixed in all four corners to form a continuous frame, for added protection against forced entry. Furthermore, security grilles are usually fixed closed behind the window frame, while other security systems are generally installed externally, which means they can be more easily removed.
Paul urges Asian gold owners to be “extra vigilant” about suspicious individuals that could be sizing up properties, or about any unusual activity in their neighbourhood.