Discovering your home has been burglarized is a sick feeling. In addition to losing valuables, a home burglary leaves you feeling violated and vulnerable. Someone has ransacked your belongings and taken things that matter to you. Could the thief be cashing in on your things right now? Worse, will they come back? Take a deep breath, then use this action plan.
Call the police before entering your home
If you arrive at your home to find you’re a victim of a home burglary you may not know whether the break-in has just occurred or happened hours ago. Since the perpetrator may still be in your house, gather your family, go to a neighbor’s home or some other safe place, and call the police.
Report the home burglary
It’s crucial to file a home burglary report to answer all their questions when law enforcement arrives. Be sure to note the exact time you discovered the burglary. If neighbors saw anything, connect them with the police to give a statement.
Once it is safe to enter your house, first determine whether any pets escaped during the home burglary and promptly search for those that are missing. Then use your cell phone to photograph every part of your home affected by the break-in. Take pictures of the burglar’s point of entry, any damage to the door or window used, and the broken locks or glass. Photograph every drawer, closet, piece of furniture, or file cabinet the culprit ransacked in the burglary.
Notify your insurance company immediately
Contact your insurance company to file a home burglary claim. Provide them with photographs, an inventory of everything you discover missing, and the police report if you have one or its number if you don’t. The insurance company can get a report with the report number.
If you have pictures of any goods that were stolen, provide those. Tip: Photographing your valuables and saving the pictures for just such a situation is a big help to your insurance company.
Protect banking and investment accounts
If credit cards, checkbooks or statements relating to any of your financial accounts were taken, contact each institution as soon as possible to report the theft.
Put your home back in order
Clean up the damage and secure the point of entry, but only after the police have finished their investigation and your insurance company says you can.
Thinking ahead to prevent a home burglary
You can help your neighbors and yourself avoid future break-ins.
- Form a neighborhood watch committee. Your local police department will gladly send a community relations officer to speak at a neighborhood meeting about starting one.
- Take photos or a video of your home, cataloging your belongings. Etch identifying numbers on the underside of your electronics. Keep firearms in a gun safe. Invest in a video doorbell such as Ring and a home security system with monitors.
Related – How to Increase Your Home’s Security