Dealing with The Aftermath of a Home Burglary
Unfortunately, there are roughly 2.5 million burglaries a year, 66% of which target homeowners. Arriving home to find out you have become a victim of a home burglary is devastating. The initial shock of the whole experience can be hard to swallow, especially if you were home during the burglary. By preparing yourself, you will be able to respond quickly and increase your chance of retrieving any stolen items. Here are a few tips on how to properly handle the event of a home burglary.
Upon discovering your home has been broken into, the situation can quickly get out of hand due to the initial shock most homeowners experience. Dealing with the fact that someone has invaded your personal space is unsettling and can be difficult to process. At first you are likely to feel a variety of emotions, such as anger, fear, helplessness, and anxiety. While these emotions are common, trying to remain calm is critical if you wish to regain any stolen items. Time is key in trying to resolve any burglary, so step away from the affected area and catch your breath before re-entering your home. Once you have calmed down you will then be able to proceed effectively in the following steps.
Children will have their own unique reaction to the incident and will likely mimic your emotions. So before dealing with the situation, it is important to step aside and let them know that it is okay to express any concern they may have. Answering their questions and reassuring them that they are safe will help them process the event.
Contact the Authorities
Now that you’re calm, your next priority is to contact the authorities immediately. The longer you wait, the more your chance of catching the burglar(s) and retrieving any stolen items decreases. So, it is vital to contact the authorities as soon as possible and get them on the case before it is too late. Most importantly, the police will help you fill out a victim’s report which is necessary if you plan to file an insurance claim.
Take Notes- But Don’t Touch Anything
After you have contacted the authorities, you need to go around your home and evaluate the damage. It is important to take pictures and detailed notes of any missing or broken items. As time passes your memory is likely to cloud so having detailed documentation is a necessity. In addition, try to put together a time frame of the burglary. Ask yourself questions such as, when did you leave your home, how long were you gone, and did any friends or family stop by while you were out. If you caught a glimpse of the burglar, write down specific details such as estimated height, weight, age, gender, and hair color. Any description can help aid the authorities in their investigation.
While evaluating your home, try your best to not touch anything. Moving items or cleaning up the mess before authorities arrive could impede their investigation and decrease your chances of regaining stolen items.
If there’s a chance the burglar got away with any credit or debit cards, call and have them cancelled immediately. If any personal identification was stolen, have all of your accounts frozen until the situation is resolved.
File an Insurance Claim
It’s important to file a police report before contacting your insurance agency because they will need the report number along with other specific details located within the document. So, once you have your police report in hand, contact your homeowners/renter’s insurance immediately. You will also need to put together an itemized list of every item that was stolen or damaged during the burglary. Once you have submitted all of your information, your insurance agency will then send an insurance adjuster to your home for additional investigation. Upon their arrival try to have as much proof on hand as possible with additional copies in case they ask to keep them.
Get to Know Your Neighbors
If you haven’t already, get to know your neighbors. They can prove to be of great help in situations like a home burglary. So, talk to them about whether they saw the burglary happen or if they encountered anything suspicious in the days before the break in. Having their input might help police locate the burglar(s) and any stolen items!
The best way to regain your sense of safety within your home is to reinforce your security measures. The first step is to replace any locks, doors, or windows that were damaged during the burglary. By replacing any non-functioning points of entry, you are likely to discourage criminals from targeting your home. The next and most effective security measure is to have a home security system installed. By installing a security system, you are 300% less likely to be targeted by criminals due to it being the best tool for preventing home invasions.
The most important thing to remember is it is okay to feel uneasy in the days after a home burglary. Allowing yourself to feel these emotions and letting them run their course is another important step in regaining confidence within your home. So, if you feel an extreme level of stress or anxiety, seek help. It is okay to lean on those around you for support, whether it is family, friends, or a therapist. Next, try to stick to your normal routine. Continuing with your daily schedule can help assist you in settling back into your home.
The best way to ensure your family’s safety is to be proactive with the security of your home. Criminals often seek out an easy target, don’t let your home become one. The professionals at Fleenor Security can help put you back in control of what occurs within your home. Contact us today and request a free system quote!