“To get the locksmith in to change the locks you have to pay them upfront, but you don’t have a wallet….and you can’t leave the house because you can’t lock it…
“And you have to get a new driver’s licence so that you can go to the bank and even get cash.”
This is the reality of what ‘home invasion’ looks like for many Australian victims. It’s annoying and unsettling, but generally not overly dangerous.
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It is a topic and a phrase that is big on the news agenda right now, as the country watches the story of the Sydney dad who may or may not be charged over the death of an intruder who died in his house.
Home invasion is a term used in the popular sense, not the legal sense. Often because it sounds a lot more scary to refer to a “home invasion” over a “robbery” or “break and enter at a premise.”
In 2017 there were 176 153 victims of home robberies in Australia… which sounds like a lot. But if you dig deeper into the NSW Bureau of Crime statistics as an example you’ll find that there were 351 incidents of ‘break and enter dwelling’ per 100,000 people in 2018, and only 4.7 incidents of “robberies of a residential dwelling” per 100,000 people.
To explain – the top figure represents non violent burglaries, whereas the bottom figure is ones that might have involved force or a weapon.
As you can see, the latter is quite rare.
Here is an example of what a home burglary in Australia is far more likely to look like;
Emily Khalfan and her husband were robbed while they slept, they didn’t hear a thing.
“My husband had been up and down, in and out of the house all day. I believe someone was watching him. We lived in an open gully and you could see from one end to the other,” Emily told Mamamia.
“We went to bed quite late after watching a movie, probably about 1am. The next morning I got up early at about six, went into the lounge room and noticed the TV was gone and all the rugs were moved,” she said.
Emily, half asleep, yelled out to her husband: “Why did you pack up the TV last night?”
“Huh?!” he replied.
Then she realised…”Oh my god, we’ve been burgled!”
“Most people will never see the perpetrators, that’s their goal – they come under the cover of darkness, when you’re on holidays, or out for the weekend,” Dr Garner Clancey told Mamamia.
Dr Clancy is a former crime prevention consultant and senior lecturer for the University of Sydney.