I have neighbors that have just experienced a burglary. They have two little girls and the family is just on edge. I feel so horrible for what they have experienced and I want to help them feel safe again. Everybody in the home is acting somewhat differently and I don’t know what to tell them. I’m thinking of talking to them, but I don’t want to embarrass them or overreact if they will get over this in time. Do you think I should offer my help and friendship as a listening ear, or just give them some space?
After someone goes through a burglary, there can be emotional turmoil, but there is recovery for people who have been robbed. It’s not an easy process, but it will definitely be worth the trouble to take the time to get over this pain.
First, the family should really allow themselves to grieve. Emotions are a natural human behavior and we need to express our emotions. Second, people should determine what the robbers stole from them. If they can’t afford to replace what has been stolen, they might be able to find a friend they can borrow from or rent something until they can replace the lost items so that the place feels like home again.
Third, the family should buy some type of home security. Fourth, the family should somehow stop worrying that someone will rob them again.
Since all four of these steps will take each family a different amount of time, it may also help to get an outside source to move the process along like a counselor.
I think it's important for them as a family to find their own way and I also think that burglaries are traumatic enough events that seeing a group counselor would be a great idea. There are some people that bounce back from burglaries quite easily, but if you see that your friends are all changed in some significant way, that could be an issue.
It might offend them if you speak to them directly about this, so I suggest that you spend time with them first. Hang out with them and maybe bring some food by and scope out the situation. Do they seem to want to talk with you about how they're feeling? If they do not, then bring it up in a way that does not make them feel victimized. Talk to them about positive efforts in the community to prevent more crime, like more police patroling or a more robust neighborhood watch. This should give them a way to speak with you without feeling victimized all over again. If they still do not talk with you about it, you risk offending them if you bring it up again. Give it 3 months, it they still do not look healthy and healed, speak with one or both of the adults directly about your concerns and offer them real advice.