What to Do After a Home Burglary
Discovering that your home has been burglarized is an awful experience. It is not only that some of your belongings have been stolen that is upsetting. It is also that your privacy has been invaded, and that hurts. And then, of course, there is the mess that burglars leave behind that you must clean up.
We all like to think that our homes are our castles, and we do what we can to keep our homes secure. Even so, despite the increasing use of home security systems, there are still around 2.6 million burglaries every year.
If you come home and find that your house has been broken into, you will feel shocked and distressed. Even so, there are steps that you must take that will help you get through the experience and deal with the practicalities that must follow the break-in.
Here are the steps that you should follow if you find that your home has been burglarized.
1. Get You and Your Family to a Safe Place
If you think that a burglar is in your home, the safety of you and your family must be your priority. You do not know how many intruders there might be, and you will not know if the burglars are armed. So, do not attempt to tackle home intruders yourself. Get you and your family to a safe place and then call 911.
2. Report the Break-in to the Police
As mentioned above, you should call the police immediately if you believe that an intruder is in your home. Even if you do not require immediate assistance, you must notify the police if your home has been burgled.
3. Do Not Touch Anything Until the Police Arrive
Try not to touch anything until the police tell you that it is OK to do so. The police officers will want to see your home just as you found it. Police investigators may want to dust for fingerprints, and they may want to look for other evidence, such as footprints or other forensic evidence.
4. Check Your Security Camera Footage
If you have security cameras inside or outside, the police will want to see the footage. Remember, too, that footage from smart doorbells or driveway security cameras might reveal the identity of the thieves as well.
5. Stay Clam and Cooperate with the Police
It is only natural that you will feel upset and flustered by the events. Even so, you must be patient with the police and try to answer all their questions. You will probably want to get on with cleaning up the mess that the burglars left. Even so, giving the police as much information as possible may help the investigators tie down the time of the break-in or uncover clues that you thought were unimportant.
6. Make an Inventory of Stolen Items
Once the police have said that it is OK to do so, you should begin assessing what has been stolen. Make a detailed inventory of all stolen items giving as much of a detailed description of each item as you can. You will need a list of missing pieces for your insurance claim. Your list of stolen property may also aid the police in catching the perpetrators, and possibly help the police recover some of the stolen items.
7. Make an Inventory of Damage
You will also need to make a list of any damage caused to your home or belongings. You should also take photos of the damage to back up your inventory. A list of the damage caused during the break-in will be needed for your insurance claim. Evidence of damage may also be helpful to the police.
8. Contact Your Insurance Company
You should contact your insurance company within twenty-four hours of discovering the break-in. The insurance company may send a claims adjuster to assess any damage to your home. So, it would be best to wait until after that visit before you make any repairs unless those repairs are essential to secure your home. The insurance company will want a full list of what has been stolen or damaged, and they will want to see a police report. Remember to keep copies of correspondence regarding the break-in and keep copies of any receipts that you send the insurance company to back up your claim.
9. Cancel Credit Cards and Notify Your Bank
If you have been burgled, the thieves may have found paperwork in your home that gave them your credit card numbers and or bank details. Even if you had your credit cards with you when the burglary occurred, it would still be wise to cancel your cards and tell your bank about the break-in. Check that no keys are missing, especially car keys. It has been known for burglars to use a spare set of keys to steal a car or come back and burglarize the same property again.
10. Secure the Property
Make sure that your home is secured as soon as possible after a break-in. Get any broken windows repaired, get broken doors replaced, and change the locks on all the doors. And it would be best if you changed any security codes for alarms and electronic door locks. You might also want to buy or upgrade your home security system.
If you do have to face the horror of being burglarized, you do not have to face it alone. If you do need help with dealing with crime, there are victims of crime support organizations that can help you, so do not be ashamed to ask for help if you need it.
We hope that you have found these tips on what to do after a home burglary helpful. If you did, please do share this page on your social media accounts. If you would like to learn more about home security, visit our Home Security Hub.
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