November 30, 2020
Being victim to a burglary is both jarring and emotionally taxing. Your home is supposed to be a safe haven, a place of rest and security, so when an intruder with dark motives breaks in to steal your valuables, you may feel violated and afraid.
Here are a few tips to help you recover or replace possessions, catch the thief, and secure your home for the future.
Seriously, hands off. Instead, whip out your phone and dial 911 immediately. The sooner you call the police, the sooner they’ll arrive, and more likely you’ll be able to retrieve stolen possessions and find the culprits.
Then turn on your phone’s camera. Take as many pictures as possible and save them in a secure place. Don’t move anything. Take photos of damages, evidence of things you’ve lost, or anything else that looks out of place. These pictures will be useful to both the police and your insurance agency.
If you have a security system with video surveillance, consult the footage from the break-in. If you or your security company installed cameras correctly, you should have footage of the perpetrators’ faces, which will make it easier for authorities to identify and prosecute them. Access and save the footage so you can use it as evidence in the future.
File a victim’s report
Once the police arrive, they’ll survey your home and might even be able to tell you how the burglars got in. More importantly, they’ll help you fill out a victim’s report, which will put the incident on file. The police might be willing to take a file of your security camera footage, but if not, make sure you record the sex, approximate age, race, and clothing of the burglar(s). If you happen to be outside your house when the burglary occurs and see the burglars, don’t intervene, but record where they went.
File an insurance claim
Take a copy of your police report to your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance company immediately after talking to the police. You’ll need an itemized list of everything that was stolen, so record as much as you can remember. Also, keep a tally of anything that broke during the burglary, including windows, doors, and furniture.
After you file a claim with your insurance agency, they will send a claims adjuster to your home to investigate in person. When the adjuster arrives, be prepared to explain the break-in situation and provide as much proof as you can. It’s not a bad idea to stay in a hotel or with a friend or family member until after you’ve met with the adjuster, so you don’t inadvertently tamper with the scene of the crime and potential evidence.
If you haven’t already, get to know your neighbors. Talk to them about the break-in. You may be able to help them prevent the same situation. They might also offer to keep an eye out if they notice anyone suspicious in the neighborhood.
In the future, your neighbors might help your home look lived in while you’re away. Consider setting up a mutual relationship with a trusted neighbor where you take care of each other’s yards or trash whenever the other is gone.
Your neighborhood might have a watch program set up as well. If so, be sure to join your local network and help keep an eye out for suspicious activity.
This can be the hardest part. It’s natural to feel distracted or hazy during the days and weeks following a burglary. If desired, seek the support of family and friends. Clean up the mess left by the burglars and do your best to bring your home back to normal. Over time you should be able to make your house feel like home again.
Also, it’s not a bad idea to check local classifieds ads and pawnshops to see if any of your stolen items have surfaced. If you find any of your stolen possessions, be sure to alert the police. You might even be able to get stolen possessions back and help locate and prosecute the thief.
If you don’t already have a home security system, now is the time to get one. Most top-rated security systems come armed with door and window sensors as well as video cameras to keep tabs on entryways to your home. Many also allow you to record surveillance footage to a cloud storage system for later reference. Home security systems can even decrease your homeowner’s insurance cost by up to 20% per month, depending on your carrier.
When you install a monitored home security system, you’ll have a team of professionally certified security experts on your side 24/7, even on holidays.
Contact Brinks Home™ for assistance in choosing and installing a home security system to help prevent you from becoming the victim of a break-in a second time.
Jason Stevens is a senior writer for Brinks Home. He is a "tech guy" who enjoys sharing home security and automation tips with others.
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