It’s one of those things that is always on our minds when we go on vacation, but a home burglary can happen when we’ve only been gone for a few hours. And dreadfully, sometimes while we are at home. Being broken into is an incredibly traumatic experience. It makes us feel incredibly vulnerable. Mentally, it is devastating but if you can follow a few simple steps, you may be able to get back a small sense of control thereby making it easier to move on and get back to normal.
If you are to ever suffer a home burglary, what should you do right away?
Get To Safety And Call The Police
You’ve got to be as calm as possible and get out of the property as quietly as you can. Don’t try and be a hero in these situations. If you can barricade yourself in a safe spot in the house or get to a safe location you can call the police and give the 911 operator as much information as possible including your home address and everything you know about the person or people breaking in. If you are still in the house you have got to be as quiet as possible while you wait for the officers to arrive. Don’t be tempted to call your spouse or anyone else first. The police need to be contacted immediately in case the burglars are still on scene or in the neighbourhood.
Once safe to do so, locate family members and pets that live with you to make sure everyone is accounted for.
Make An Inventory & Document Events
It’s at this point that you can start assessing the damage and start to look for missing items including jewelry and cash. It’s a good idea to make an extra copy of this list so when it comes to contacting the insurance company you’ve got all the information in one useful place. It’s a good idea to take photos of the crime scene at this point as this can also help the insurance company. And when you call the insurance company it is crucial to do it within 24-hours. If you need to secure the property right away they could send a locksmith or you could contact one yourself. Once you’ve got the ball rolling with the insurance company a claims adjuster may come and look at the property.
Be sure to take pictures of any damages and don’t throw anything out or clean up until you get the green light from the police and your insurance company.
You will be asked to make a statement to police but you should write down everything for your own reference too. Be as detailed as possible with dates, times, and anything you noticed or caught your attention in the days before or after the break-in. Also, record the name of responding officers with badge numbers and who you spoke to at your insurance company as well as when and what was discussed.
Prevent Future Break-Ins
No doubt you’ve learned from what has happened. You may have been lax with security or you may live in a bad neighbourhood. Whatever it is, you will no doubt be more protective of your property and loved ones in the future. You have to keep in mind that it’s the first few weeks after you suffer a break-in that you could have another one. Burglars tend to wait for all the items to be replaced before they try their luck again. This is why it’s crucial for you to invest in a proper security system but also take extra steps to prevent feature break-ins.
If you have never done so before, it is important to have a list of valuable items in your home, including serial numbers if applicable. Your insurance company should get a copy of this as well. It ensures that you have the right coverage. Plus, if you ever get broken into again, you can easily inventory what was taken and it may also be helpful for the police when attempting the recovery of your stuff from places like pawn shops or online seller markets.
You may want to provide instructions for each family member and set up escape routes. But there are also other approaches that you can do to feel safer in your home. One of the best approaches is to join a neighbourhood watch scheme. When you live in an area that’s been subject to a few break-ins it’s crucial for everybody to put their heads together so everyone is vigilant.
Regardless of whether or not there is a neighbourhood watch in your area, it is a good idea to talk to all your neighbours and let them know what happened and when.
Talk to Someone
If you are having a really hard time sleeping and getting back to your regular routine, do not hesitate to get some therapy to help you get over the trauma from a home burglary. If you don’t, you will be continued to be victimized by the break in over and over again. You don’t want that.
The hours and days after you’ve suffered a break-in can be confusing and incredibly busy. You may have to liaise with the police and the insurance company numerous times but you also have to try to wrap your head around what has happened. It is is something that can make us feel violated but we should take solace in the fact that we’ve learned how to better protect ourselves against future attempts.