The worst thing has happened. You came home after being out; maybe you were at dinner, maybe you were on a trip. However as soon as you get home immediately know you’ve been broken into. But there are 3 to do after a break in to make sure that everything gets handled okay.
You're in a very emotional place right now and feeling very vulnerable. You don’t know what to do or who to turn to. However as long as you can remeber these things as soon as you’ve been burglarized you will be ok. Acting quickly will be crucial to putting your life back together after such a frightening experience.
Obviously the first thing you need to do is call the police to file a report. The incident needs to be on record for both legal and insurance reasons. However, do note that if you are not in the house when you discover the burglary, do not go inside to make the call. You don’t know if the thieves are still inside and it could be dangerous.
If you see anyone leave your residence, take note of all visual marks you can and tell the police. Any descriptive information such as sex, gender, age, race, clothing, scars, even the direction they left, will all help the police.
Once you’ve notified the police and are waiting for them to arrive, don’t touch anything as they might be valuable clues and evidence to help identify and catch the thiefs.
Once the police arrive make a list of everything that’s been taken with a thorough description and approximate value. If helpful you can draw visuals, show pictures or videos if you have any. This information will help both the investigators when looking for your stolen items and for your insurance company to help recover goods.
Whether you own your home or rent, you should have insurance on the property. If so, notify them quickly of the incident as they might be able to assist you in lost property or damages. Most insurance companies want you to call and report the incident within 24 hours so don’t delay. They will most likely assign you to a claims adjuster to assess the situation, so be prepared to provide all the information they request and have a police report number handy as well if you have it.
It might be helpful to have a running list of all electronic information and product serial numbers to be able to provide in case of an emergency. You could take pictures of valuable items like jewelry or art and keep them on an SD card hidden somewhere in case they take your camera or computer.
Once the reports are filed and the police and insurance company are doing their job all you have left to do is pick up the pieces. Clean the floors, pick up anything that was broken, and determine which items are not salvageable. If you have broken doors or windows call a repairman to come fix them as quickly as you can. The sooner you can get your home back to normal the sooner you can move on from the experience. Besides the pain of losing valuables, it will take time to come to terms with the break in’s emotional damage. Burglaries can leave people feeling very violated and afraid of future robberies. Know that it may take you time to feel safe in your home again. But try to stay positive and know that you will move on from the event.
To help you feel safe and secure in your home again after a terrible incident like a break in, try to identify the security weak points in your home in order to strengthen them. Which items did they get? Can you store them in a better location? For example, avoid a traditional jewelry box which draws easy attention from a burglar and instead secure your jewelry in a more subtle location.
Did they get in your windows? Did they kick down your door? Identifying better, more secure options for your home will help you and your family feel safe. Home improvement stores will have a variety of DIY tools to install, or security alarm systems could be installed for added security if the thieves persist (or if the valuables are too great to risk).
The most important thing you can do after a break in is to stay calm and stay smart. By identifying a strategy now, you’ll be more organized and calm when the stress occurs. And most importantly know that you can recover from the incident!
Like this post? Be sure to check out Communication Skills for Security Guards and Critical Situations You Need to Master As A Security Guard.