PREVENTION OF UNLAWFUL ENTRY WITHOUT FORCE aka HOUSE-BREAKING

Read on to know how you can deter a potential house-breaker from committing a crime at your house

Unlawful entry without force is when an offender finds illegal entry into the premises of an owner of the property by virtue of a window of opportunity presenting itself due to certain flaws in the physical structure of the abode or in the owner’s behaviour and daily routine. This could be as simple as an unlocked window or an open door which is unnoticed or neglected by the home-owner.

The Indian Penal Code in its Section 445 terms it as ‘house-breaking’. Legally, a person is said to commit “house-breaking” aka house-trespass if he effects his entrance into the house or any part of it in any of the six ways hereinafter described; or if, being in the house or any part of it for the purpose of committing an offence, or, having committed an offence therein, he quits the house or any part of it in any of such six ways, viz :

1. If he enters or quits through a passage by himself, or by any abettor of the house-trespass, in order to the committing of the house-trespass.

2. If he enters or quits through any passage not intended by any person, other than himself or an abettor of the offence, for human entrance; or through any passage to which he has obtained access by scaling or climbing over any wall or building.

3. If he enters or quits through any passage which he or any abettor of the house-trespass has opened, in order to the committing of the house-trespass by any means by which that passage was not intended by the occupier of the house to be opened.

4. If he enters or quits by opening any lock in order to the committing of the house-trespass, or in order to the quitting of the house after a house-trespass.

5. If he effects his entrance or departure by using criminal force or committing an assault or by threatening any person with assault.

6. If he enters or quits by any passage which he knows to have been fastened against such entrance or departure, and to have been unfastened by himself or by an abettor of the house-trespass.

 Further explanation is done by illustrating some examples below:

 a) A commits house-trespass by making a hole through the wall of Z’s house, and putting his hand through the aperture. This is house-breaking.

 b) A commits house-trespass by creeping into a ship at a port-hole between decks. This is house-breaking.

 c) A commits house-trespass by entering Z’s house through a window. This is house-breaking.

 d) A commits house-trespass by entering Z’s house through the door, having opened a door which was fastened. This is house-breaking.

e)  A commits house-trespass by entering Z’s house through the door, having lifted a latch by putting a wire through a hole in the door. This is house-breaking.

f) A finds the key of Z’s house door, which Z had lost, and commits house-trespass by entering Z’s house, having opened the door with that key. This is house-breaking.

g) Z is standing in his doorway. ‘A’ forces a passage by knocking Z down, and commits house-trespass by entering the house. This is house-breaking.

h) Z, the door-keeper of Y, is standing in Y’s doorway. A commits house-trespass by entering the house, having deterred Z from opposing him by threatening to beat him. This is house-breaking.

BURGLARS ARE JUST LIKE YOU & ME!

A burglar is glorified through entertainment mediums as wearing hoods, all black clothing, gloves, black boots, carrying big haversacks or sports bags; using ropes and glass cutters; applying all sorts of gizmos which throw thin beams of red and green which help him to gauge, measure and move towards his intended target. In reality, the criminal does nothing of this sort. The criminal tries to blend in with the population, appear harmless as a passer- by or a person who is lost or searching for an address. He will not carry his tools of trade in heavy bags or wear military style boots, he will keep his attire simple, his lock-picks, hammer or screwdrivers hidden in his clothes or a small pouch or bag which he finds easy to sling around his shoulders; passing him off as a salesman or a repairman at best. At times, some burglar gangs do have a typical modus operandi which can range from smearing their bodies with grease to deter dogs and slide through narrow openings, to impersonating as handymen, bill collectors, municipal inspectors and other identities which generally are ignored by people because they are so ordinary. 

SIMPLE HANDY TIPS:

Any house is generally broken in through doors, windows or rooftops. A burglar thoroughly scouts for entrances and exits around his targeted house before initiating the crime. Keeping this in mind, following are certain simple tips that can prevent burglars from targeting your house:

1. Make the home look occupied: Keep a white night-light or a fan on in one of the rooms of the house, which makes the house look occupied from the outside.

2. Lock openings to the house: Lock all your doors and windows before going out or going to bed. These cause delays in the burglar’s entry to your premises and more the delay caused by them, the more the burglar loses confidence in keeping the elements of anonymity and invisibility as he risks getting discovered or surprised by neighbours or passers-by.

3. Don’t allow deliveries to pile up: Arrange for a neighbour or relative to pick up your daily deliveries of newspapers, mail or flyers placed in at your front door. Before moving out of station inform your milk man, newspaper man or postman to hold the deliveries or to hand over these items to your neighbours if there is an urgency of schedule after you again come back home.

4. Darken the inner sections of the house: Use laminated or glazed window panes to prevent outsiders from peeking in the house. Use thick curtains which do not allow people to see movement or shadows within the house and draw them close whenever leaving your house.

5. Secure your Sliding doors: Sliding doors given at the ground floor or on balconies of the flat are required to have deadbolts or locks along with fasteners required to close them. The burglar in this case will have to break through a portion of the door to gain entry which can cause alarm and response from the neighbours to the glass or other material being broken.

6. Use potted plants to your advantage: Cover your balcony frontage with bushy or thorny plants, same can be done for windowsills. These plants not only obstruct the view from outside but also cause obstruction to a burglar in entering the house from outside as well as makes him lose time if he decides to quietly remove them to gain entry through a window or a door. In both cases he is losing out on time which increases his chances of being spotted or caught.

7. Make objects on the outside near windows and doors redundant for being used as climbing aids: Use industrial grease or glossy paint which does not allow firm grip to cover water or drain pipes running close to your balconies or windows. Remove ladders or ropes used by maintenance workers from the property as soon as the work is completed. Fix the screws of the dead-bolt locks or balcony sliding door openers towards the inner side of the house which does not allow the burglar to use tools easily to pry them open. Hooks or beams for hanging flowerpots or swings in the balconies should be avoided as they would allow burglars to fix climbing aids like ropes to secure their entry or exit from the premises.

8. Keep a dog as a pet: Canine lovers have an advantage over others as the dog also marks his territory within the house on his own. This marking of territory causes overlapping of human and animal areas which increase territorial reinforcement for the house. Dogs not only serve as deterrents but also as disruptors to attempts at entering the premises by burglars. No criminal wants to be startled by loud barks and wounded by deep bite marks of an angry dog.  

9. Do not use ‘secret’ hiding places: Don’t leave your keys under doormats, on top of your doors, in your letterboxes or flowerpots adorning your doorway. Burglars know where to look for keys in places which seem innocent but can be probable hiding places.

If you keep your belongings on obvious display to strangers, they may be tempted to take it from your possession without your consent. One should curb the tendency of taking one’s space and belongings for granted which inevitably lowers one’s guard towards the security of these things. This gives a big window of opportunity to criminals to invade your privacy and remove these valuables from your personal space which not only causes a financial loss but also bruises your psyche of taking responsibility towards overall safety and security of your own and your family’s well-being.   

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