Your home should be the safest place for you and your family. Having a burglar break into your home is extremely traumatic and devastating. You feel anxious, violated, and unsafe. Not only do you have to deal with theft as well as property damage, there’s the added stress of being a victim of crime.
Here are five steps to take to help you and your loved one deal with the aftermath of a break-in as well as help you avoid being victimized again in the future.
- Leave your house and call the police: While most burglars won’t stick around and wait for you to come home, some will hide inside, posing a very great risk to the safety of your family. So if you think your home has been burglarized, get out immediately. Then call 911 from your cellphone once you’re outside or ask to use a neighbor’s phone. It’s not necessary to determine if any items have been stolen before you notify the police.
- Don’t touch anything: Although some bad guys wear gloves, not all of them do. That means they could have left fingerprints or other forensic evidence like strands of hair behind. So don’t go checking the safe or your jewelry box or anything else inside your home. Let the police crime scene investigators do their jobs. If you see something that a burglar may have accidentally left behind, such as a cigarette butt, don’t pick it up. Tell police what you’ve found.
- File a police report: Be sure to file a police report with 24 hours of the burglary if you want to file a claim with your insurance company. Walk through your home and make a detailed list of everything that’s missing or broken. Take pictures of the damage. If possible, look for photos you might have of the items that were stolen. This step can be difficult, but it’s necessary to help you reclaim your property.
- Clean up to restore order: Cleaning up and putting things back where they belong will help you regain a sense of normalcy and control. This will be a difficult and emotional task, ask friends and family to help.
- Take action to prevent future break-ins: If you don’t have a home security system installed, be sure to install one. If you do have one, ensure your home security system provider has also installed perimeter sensors on the windows. You should also change the locks on your doors.
While it’s hard to know exactly what to do after you’ve been burglarized, these five steps can help you work toward recovering from a break-in.
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