WHAT TO DO AFTER A BURGLARY
What happens after a house burglary? The most common reaction after the discovery of a burglary is one of disbelief. Once the reality of the situation has sunk in, it is not uncommon for victims to tell themselves that "I never thought it would happen to me". Following this initial disbelief, feelings of shock, anger, confusion and fear may arise. These feelings may persist and at the same time, the victim also has to make a report to the police, make a list of stolen property, contact insurance companies and organise any repairs. For those whose stolen property was uninsured there are added concerns about whether or not they can afford to replace what has been stolen. For some victims of burglary these tasks can be difficult and confusing.
The important thing to remember is to stay calm and report the burglary to the Police as soon as possible. Once you realise that you are a victim of a burglary, there are several helpful things you can do to simplify the reporting process. Use these tips to learn how to report a burglary in your home or business, and how to go about preventing it happening again.
1. Avoid entering your home or business if you notice a door or window that is open (and wasn’t before) or one that is damaged.
By entering, you may be placing yourself in danger if the burglar or thieves are still in the building. Stay outside and collect your thoughts.
2. Call the Police immediately
With the nature of any injuries or dangers that exists as a result of the break-in; include a description of vehicles, persons or other evidence involved in the crime.
3. Allow the Police to investigate your home or business location before you enter it.
They can be sure the building is safe and clear before you enter. They may choose to examine and dust for fingerprints before allowing you back inside. It is important to let them do their job.
4. Make a list of missing or damaged items.
If your home or business is a mess after a burglary, it may be difficult to notice all of the missing or damaged items immediately. However, continue making the list for as long as you notice items that are gone. If you have serial numbers for any missing or damaged goods (such as electronics), find these in your records and report them to the police. This information is extremely helpful in identifying property, should the Police locate any stolen items. Unfortunately, burglaries are infamously hard to solve. On average, only 13 percent of burglaries are cleared up by police, and recovering victim’s property is even less likely to happen.
5. Contact your insurance company and report the burglary.
They can help you through the insurance claim process, the same information given to the Police is always helpful, but a crime number should provide all the necessary information if a Police report has been filed.
6. Repair or replace any damaged windows or doors immediately to avoid further burglaries or intrusions.
Call a local locksmith and request that all locks be changed in case the burglars were able to take your keys or obtain a copy of them. Warn your neighbors and other businesses in the area to be on the lookout for anything suspicious. They may also be inclined to report anything suspicious they have seen or heard.
7. Get in touch with the credit agencies, mobile phone companies and your bank to ward off any charges to your accounts.
It may take a while to notice that credit cards, phones, phone cards or cheques have been taken. It is very important that you do this immediately as you will be taking a massive preemptive step towards avoiding any fraud committed in your name.
And Finally Beware: It isn’t uncommon for a burglar to break-in to a home more than once. After all, they already know the layout of the house and have discovered where the “goodies” are kept. It’s a fact; an overwhelming majority of convicted burglars say that they intentionally avoided homes with good security. If you’re the victim of a break-in, get advice from your local locksmith on home security ASAP, and make your home or business as unappealing as possible to deter the bad guys from returning.