1. evileener
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    evileener New Member

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    Describing a home Break in

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by evileener, Jun 26, 2013.

    I am writing a story where I hear a break-in at my home. I can not see anything only hear it. Can anyone give me some idea of what sounds I might hear?
     
  2. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    what can you hear?

    Burglars tend to be quieter than church mice for fear of capture, you might not hear a lot/
     
  3. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    double post
     
  4. huntsman40
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    huntsman40 Active Member

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    To be honest in most cases a thief will tend to target an empty house to rob rather than one with someone inside it. The reason being that they limit the rooms they can look for valuables in, and often bedrooms hold valuable items like jewellery. Not to mention they will stand more chance of being caught.

    However, that said it does happen of course. As to what you would hear it would depend a lot on how good they were. A good thief might pick a lock to get in, and a poor one may break a small pane of glass to gain entry. If you are awake you may hear things like creaking floorboards that you know squeak only when stepped on. You may hear drawers perhaps being shut or internal doors being opened as they drag over the carpet.

    Other than those you aren't likely to hear too much, as they really don't want you to hear them and will be being as quiet as possible.
     
  5. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This depends largely on the type of house / apartment you live in. If the noise insulation is good, and the thief is skilled, you might not hear much. If it's a smaller abode with thinner / flimsier walls, and the thief is a klutz, you could hear anything from an opening door / window to breaking glass, bumps, creaking floor boards etc. If I want to move quietly, I move along walls because the floor has less "bounce" or "stretch" there and is less likely to creak (not that I've ever broken into anyone's, but my own home when I've forgotten my keys). Oh, and where the house / apartment is affects this a hell of a lot: if there's constant traffic outside, it's more difficult to hear quiet sounds whereas if it's a quieter milieu, you're likely to hear a pin drop, so even a skilled thief could be heard (esp. if the house isn't big / the thief's entry isn't far from you / sound insulation is poor). In my first apartment, I could hear my neighbor receive text messages.
     
  6. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    It would be the same sounds you'd hear if there were one or two or three people in your home. You might hear footsteps, floorboards creaking, drawers opening, things being moved around, someone bumping into a room.

    Surely you've experienced being in one room and hearing the presence of people nearby.
     
  7. Anthony Martin
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    Anthony Martin Active Member

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    You might be able to find YouTube videos of home invasions or robberies.
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Strangely enough, if the burglar is a pro, it's also for their personal and legal safety. Burglarizing an occupied dwelling opens the burglar to retaliation from the home owner. At the moment of a burglary, the home owner is not thinking as to the legality of what s/he is legally allowed to do to the intruder. It's a 'maximum force' kind of moment. Also, a pro knows that the legal repercussions for burglarizing an occupied dwelling are far more severe as compared to an empty dwelling because of the possibility of bodily injury to the innocent home owner.
     
  9. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    A friend of mine here in Scotland was burgled some years ago. He and his wife live in a tall sandstone semi-detached house, and he woke up in bed, upstairs, in the middle of the night, and heard the sound of breaking glass downstairs, followed by stealthy footsteps and rattles, etc. He lay in bed, trying to think of what was best to do (no bedside phone) ...and fell asleep again! When he woke up in the morning, sure enough, they'd been burgled, and he'd slept through most of it. Was a bit red-faced, explaining all this to the police.
     
  10. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Dude, I'm trying hard not to laugh so I don't wake up the Mrs, but that's just... :D

    This reminds me of a great adage I saw somewhere online: what happens to paranoid people? Usually very little.
     
  11. ithestargazer
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    ithestargazer Active Member

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    Visualise the house you're writing about. What do the floors sound like? The walls? The kitchen utensils? The plumbing? Imagine closing your eyes in the house and hearing someone walk through it. Is your thief quiet or loud? What are they taking? If they're going after the electrical things like the TV or laptops, they'd probably go for a living area or study. What objects in these rooms make sound, if any? If they're going for jewelry they might head toward a bedroom.
     
  12. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    Most thieves are very particular about where they break in. They prefer the path of least resistance. They typically just want to get in and out without notice or harm done to themselves or the homeowner. It's a lot easier to get away with a crime if you aren't seen committing it. So all that being said they will go after homes that don't have any obvious signs of a security system, no dogs, unlocked windows, no one is home, etc.

    That isn't to say some people aren't amateurish and stupid. There's plenty of that to go around as well. I would suggest thinking about what you would do if you were breaking into a house. How would you do it? What would be the best way? Different houses have different points of entry that are easier than others.
     
  13. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    If the thief expects somebody might be home you should have a lot of time between the noises heard. The thief is trying to be as quiet just as hard as the person is trying to listen. If the floorboard creaks, there will be two reactions: the person being quiet waiting for another sound and 2, the thief waiting until the awareness of the sound has subsided.
     
  14. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    Depends on the thief and the neighborhood. If you're in a poor neighborhood you might have thieves that don't particularly care, or aren't too smart about doing their action, making a lot of noise.

    Or, silent types dressed like ninjas.

    If they think no one is home (lights out, probably unoccupied), as opposed to people asleep, they smash a window to gain entry, in a smash and grab type deal. Speed would matter.
     
  15. u.v.ray
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    u.v.ray Member

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    On a side-note... Burglars also will use the cover of windy or stormy nights. As has already been said, they can be unbelievably quiet but any noise they might make can be assumed to be wind or suchlike.
     
  16. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    This all also depends on who is breaking in and for what purpose. It's not always burglary -- it could be something worse, such as rape or murder. That intruder wouldn't care as much about waking someone, although I'm sure they'd prefer not to until they were already upon the people inside.

    Also, not all burglaries are committed by professionals. Sometimes it's just some idiot neighborhood kids, who can get any kind of goofy idea about what might be in the house. They aren't necessarily going to know how to stay "ninja-like" or take into account all of the same sorts of things a "professional" might.
     
  17. ithestargazer
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    ithestargazer Active Member

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    I feel so naive because I never actually thought about that. Not that I ever plan to rob a house. But if I did, it makes sense to do so on one such night. Also, I know a lot of burglaries here are committed by junkies, even in nice areas. Desperation is powerful.
     

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