So, you’ve enjoyed the perfect summer holiday with your family in a far-off country. You’ve made countless precious memories with your loved ones and picked up a few souvenirs for your friends and colleagues back home. You feel relaxed and rejuvenated and are all set to resume your daily life.
But then you return home and realize everything isn’t quite how you left. Perhaps the lock on the back door is broken or a glass window is shattered into pieces. Worse still, you step inside and can’t find the crystal vase you bought as an anniversary gift for your spouse. Or perhaps you find out that the safe in your bedroom is wide open. Your worst nightmare seems to have come true. Someone broke into your house while you were away. Whether you’re living in your own place or rented property, a home burglary can be one of the most devastating experiences, both financially and emotionally.
Unfortunately, the rise of security cameras and automated alarms can only do so much to protect you from burglars. Even though the frequency of such incidents has decreased, there were more than 380,000 burglaries in England and Wales in 2019. However, despite going through an utterly distressing experience, it’s crucial for you to remain calm and pragmatic after a home invasion and burglary. Following the right protocol to report the incident and submit an insurance claim can go a long way to help you deal with the financial ramifications.
Also, you need to be proactive and use your presence of mind to ensure your family’s safety after the burglary. This involves helping them deal with the trauma, as well as adopting the right preventive measures to prevent such incidents in the future. In this blog, we’ve outlined a step-by-step guide you should follow after your home has been broken into. Let’s take a look.
1. Find a Safe Place
Your natural instinct after a home invasion would be to go inside and put things in order. Depending on the time of the burglary, the intruder might still be hiding in a corner of your home. If you don’t want to risk the safety and wellbeing of your loved ones, the first thing you should do is step away from your home. Ideally, you should seek shelter in a neighbor’s house until the police arrive. If this isn’t possible, the next best thing is to hide inside the car and wait for the police. If you have kids or pets, it’s wiser to drop them at a friend’s place until you know for sure that your residential premises are safe.
Irrespective of the hiding place you find, make sure you observe your surroundings. Try to notice any people or vehicles that are atypical to the neighborhood and immediately write down the details. Likewise, if you observe someone escaping from your property, make sure you pen down their description, including their gender, height, body type, clothes, complexion, and other identifying parameters. Keeping these details handy can go a long way to help the police identify the intruder and make it easy for you to submit an insurance claim.
2. Report the Incident
Once you’ve found a safe shelter, the next step is to call the police and file a report. Wait for the police to arrive before you step back inside your home. Resist the temptation to touch any object inside the house and start organizing your living space. Otherwise, you risk tampering with the intruder’s fingerprints and other evidence. Once the police arrive and start collecting evidence, make a list of all your belongings that are missing. Take pictures of empty rooms and spaces as evidence for missing items. Check for valuable items, such as checkbooks, credit/debit cards, electronic gadgets, jewelry, and other valuables. Next, you need to inform your insurance provider about the burglary and submit an insurance claim. The inventory of missing items will come in handy at this stage. Also, ask the police for a copy of the report they’ve created.
3. Change the Locks
Dealing with a home burglary isn’t just about recovering from the financial setback. The aftermath of such a harrowing incident can trigger anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Don’t be surprised if you find your mind constantly going into overdrive imagining all the worst-case scenarios for your family. An effective way of avoiding this stress is to get new locks installed on your front door. If your home has multiple entry points, you need to change the locks at each one. Make sure you consult a professional locksmith service that is familiar with your neighborhood. You can click here to learn more about the different home security solutions offered by professional locksmiths.
4. Stage a Scene
The next time you leave your home for a holiday, make sure you avoid letting outsiders know that the place is vacant. Start by canceling your milk and newspaper deliveries while you’re away. Also, you can ask a neighbor to change the position of the curtains every day to create the illusion of people living inside the premises. Likewise, setting automatic switch on/off times for the lights, television, and radio is a good idea. Lastly, don’t forget to install security cameras and automatic alarms before you leave your home. Have you ever experienced a home burglary? What approach did you use to recover from the incident? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.