During the autumn and winter months, when it is more likely that burglaries will occur due to the late night and reduced visibility, the police are very active in the fight against burglaries. Preventive and proactive efforts include targeted patrols and an increased police presence at key times and places. Reactive and repressive efforts include, among others, the search for the perpetrators, neighbourhood investigations, the seizure of traces by the technical police, investigations by the criminal investigation department or the organisation of undercover or uniformed units.
In addition, raising awareness among the general public plays an important role in preventing burglaries.
On the average, the duration of a burglary does not exceed 5-10 minutes ( break-in and searching the home). Burglaries can take place during the day as well as at night. It is important to know that a burglar does not normally seek confrontation with the resident and flees when he notices that the resident has seen him. However, if the resident notices that a burglary is in progress, it is not recommended to confront the burglar directly. Instead, immediately alert the police through the emergency number 113 and let the burglar know that he has not gone unnoticed, for example by making noise, shouting or turning on the lights.
In 2020, some 1080 burglaries in inhabited buildings were reported to the police (completed acts). This is a significant decrease of 23% compared to the previous year (1400 completed acts in inhabited buildings), which is certainly linked to the pandemic and the related governmental measures (confinement, curfew, home-office).
Traditionally, burglaries are particularly frequent during the summer holidays and during the darker winter months. Thus, half of all burglaries in inhabited buildings in 2020 occurred in January, February, October, November and December, with a considerable drop in spring and a significant upturn in the summer months.
All of these are reasons for the police to be particularly active in the fight against burglaries in winter.
Advice and preventive behaviour
The police would like to remind that a good mechanical home security system, an alarm system, but also individual vigilance considerably reduces the risk of becoming a victim of a burglary.
In addition to electronic and mechanical security measures, the following behavioural measures help to protect you against burglary:
- Close all your windows and doors when you are away, even for a short time. A tilting window is an easy access for burglars. If your windows are equipped with a lock, do not leave the key in the lock.
- Don't forget to activate your alarm system when you leave your house or appartment, even for a short time.
- Some burglars avoid light. When the days are shorter and the nights longer, it is therefore advisable to keep your home lit.
- Make sure you also lock your garage and cellar doors. Make sure that no unknown person can access shared garages or cellars. Also remember to secure your bicycle when it is in a shared garage or lock it in your private cellar.
- Also remember to minimise the risk of theft from your car when it is parked outside: avoid parking your car in a dark place and lock it, even if you are only leaving it for a moment. Do not leave valuables in your car, especially not on the seats or in other areas visible from outside.
- If you are going to be away for several days, inform your neighbours so that they are aware in case they notice anything suspicious.
- If you are going on holiday, inform the police by filling in the form "Going on holiday" (available on the e-Police station). The police will carry out occasional prevention patrols as part of their general surveillance, day or night, at your home.
- Report to the police any suspicious person or car that is likely to be spotting in your street or in your neighbourhood by calling the emergency number 113 of the police. The effectiveness of arresting criminal gangs specialised in burglaries depends on the quality of the information provided by the public. While any tip can be valuable, it is important that information on potential perpetrators or suspects is as accurate and complete as possible.
The police website offers a wide range of practical advice on prevention, including recommendations for the mechanical and electronic security of a home.
Free personalized preventive advice for citizens
In addition, the National Crime Prevention Service (SNPC) is available free of charge to provide tailor-made advice to citizens. By appointment, SNPC officers can visit people's homes to provide advice.