Today, I’ll walk you through what to do after burglary at your home, keep reading for more…
The emotional toll of a burglary can be overwhelming, especially if burglars get away with most of your valuable items. You might end up feeling vulnerable and violated. But it’s worth noting that you can take steps to regain a sense of security and get back on your feet after the agony associated with burglary.
In this article, we will point out the steps you should take immediately after the invasion of your personal space. We will also provide practical advice on securing your home from burglars to prevent future occurrences. This should help you to start rebuilding your sense of security and navigate the aftermath of a burglary. Read along!
What Is Burglary?
Burglary is the unlawful entry into one’s property with the intent to commit an offense, typically theft. Arriving home to find a break-in can be unsettling and confusing. Below, we discuss the psychological effects of home burglary. Keep reading for more clarity!
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Home burglary can be a horrific event that can cause the development of post-traumatic stress disorder. Victims of a home burglary might experience nightmares, intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, and extreme emotional distress long after the invasion.
- Fear and Anxiety
A home burglary creates heightened fear and anxiety. Individuals’ sense of security and safety within their homes is diminished, leaving them susceptible and always on edge. Fear of a reoccurring event or the presence of a perpetrator can trigger increased stress levels and sleep disturbances.
- Loss of Safety and Trust
The invasion of your personal space can significantly impact your sense of safety and trust. It can cause profound anxiety and a loss of trust in others, leading to feelings of suspicion and difficulty developing a sense of security in your surroundings. You might become hyperaware of your surroundings, frequently checking windows and doors and imagining worst-case scenarios.
- Depression and Emotional Distress
Feelings of sadness, helplessness, and depression are common in the aftermath of a burglary. You may drop interest in activities you once fancied the most and a general decline in overall well-being. The emotional distress brought about by a home burglary can impact your relationships and promote withdrawal from social interactions.
- Hyperarousal and Startle Response
After perpetrators have invaded your home, you may become hyper-aroused and exhibit an exaggerated startle response. You may become easily frightened by random noises or movements, constantly on the lookout for potential threats. This can further contribute to anxiety and unease.
Note: The psychological effects of home burglary vary from person to person. If your home ever gets robbed, seek professional assistance from counselors, therapists, and support groups to navigate the emotional impact and encourage healing.
What to Do After Home Burglary
Home burglary is the worst experience in the life of a homeowner. You will face the burden of replacing lost valuables and experience psychological problems like having intrusive thoughts about the incident.
Knowing what to do after a home burglary can make the situation safer and less stressful. So what steps can you take after arriving home and discovering a break-in? Find out more below:
- Leave the Scene and Contact the Law Enforcement
Once you discover that your home has been embezzled, the first thing you should do is leave. Do not enter the premises if you’re still outside and notice a broken window or door. The perpetrator might still be inside, and while some people would want to enter the house to defend their valuables, most burglars can become violent if they encounter resistance.
Additionally, you don’t want to compromise any evidence the police may use to address the incident. If you’ve already accessed your home after the burglary, leave immediately without touching anything.
There are many options. You can go to your car and contact law enforcement from there or go to your neighbor’s house. You’ll definitely feel on edge and panicked from the invasion of your personal space, so having a friend nearby to help you contact the police can help you feel safe.
When you contact the police to report the incident, calmly convey your details and let the dispatcher know if the break-in is still ongoing.
- File a Report
While police will probably arrive at your home right away to clear the scene, there will be a few follow-up steps. Police will access your house to ensure nobody is still inside. After that, they will process the scene, take photos, gather evidence, and collect fingerprints.
You’ll need to wait elsewhere during this period. After the police have finalized their investigation, you must file a formal police report detailing how you left the house, what you noticed when you returned home, what you touched if you entered, and any missing items. Filing the police report may seem inconvenient, but you need one to make insurance claims for lost items.
- Document the Scene
Once you’re allowed to access your home, you should get to work. Begin by taking photos of everything, no matter how significant it appears to be. Although the police will take photographs (and your insurance company will take more), you should keep your own records.
Next, please list missing and damaged items, including their estimated value. Take your time and think hard. You can add to this list later if you find out that more items are missing. However, it would help to make the list as comprehensive as possible from the beginning.
Jewellery, electronics, and other valuables are the primary targets, but consider other things that benefit a thief. This includes your files. Has the perpetrator rifled through your bills? Are your credit cards, passports, and birth certificates missing? The invader might have made away with items that will offer them access to your identity.
Lastly, consider what files might have been on any missing electronics. Although you may be devastated by the loss of precious family photos, the tax returns on your laptop pose a more significant threat in the possession of a sophisticated thief. If you have saved passwords on your computer, you will want to remember them and change as many as possible.
- Contact Your Insurance Company
Following filing a police report, your next call should be to your renters or homeowners insurance company. Your inclination may be to begin cleaning up, documenting what is missing, and securing doors, but your homeowner’s insurance adjuster needs to inspect the damage before you begin fixing it.
Immediately filing a claim with your homeowner insurance company serves multiple purposes. First, if the adjuster sees the damage in person, they will convey it to your home more clearly. Also, most insurance companies offer benefits that cover immediate door and windows repairs and a caseworker to guide you through the remaining claims and recovery process.
Therefore, make that connection as soon as you can.
- Contact Your Bank
Whether or not actual bank cards, credit cards, or checks were taken, skilled thieves can use identifying documents or statements to access your accounts. This can be dangerous, particularly if the laptop you use to access your bank account has been stolen.
Inform your bank of the robbery and give them the police report as soon as it is available. You can also put a red flag on your credit reports to deter new accounts from being registered in your name.
- Find Proof of Ownership for Lost Big-ticket Items
Your insurance company will launch an investigation, confer with the police report and your list, and offer you a benefits summary outlining what they’ll cover, how they’ll cover, and the amount you’ll pay for your deductible. The coverage will be based on the missing items you’ve shared, so they’re placing a certain amount of trust on your list.
If you can offer receipts or invoices showing when and how much you paid for each item, you can make it convenient for the company to cover expensive items or recently bought at close to the replacement price. Sift through your files for paper copies of receipts, and go through your email and credit card statements to get copies of shipping notices, etc.
Receipts will help you get the most favorable coverage for obvious things like electronics. However, pay attention to other big-ticket items. For example, if your new sofa was damaged by a perpetrator breaking a window onto it, the receipt that indicates the purchase date and cost can mean the difference between bargain shopping or replacing the sofa with something of the same value.
- View Footage of the Burglary
The police can assist with this step; if not, talk to your neighbors. They’ll be eager to speak with you because an invasion next door means their homes are also at risk. Ask them if they noticed a strange car or person in the neighborhood.
If they have cameras, ask for footage of your yard and provide any evidence to law enforcement so they can involve it in their investigation. It may be heartbreaking to watch the actual break-in, but once you have the footage, share it with the police.
- Repair Broken Entry Points
Once the insurance company clears you, repair of damaged entry points must be completed before staying in the home. The insurance company can recommend a company to help you with repairs. Alternatively, you can employ your own contractor.
When buying new doors, windows, and possibly locks that were entry points for the perpetrator, consider upgrading the quality of these items to avoid future occurrences.
- Eliminate Signs of the Break-In
You’ll have to begin reorganizing your home, which is the initial step to enjoying life as you once knew it. This can prove challenging, particularly if your possessions were extensively damaged. Sometimes, a homeowners insurance company may cover a restoration service.
If you’re doing it yourself, ask a friend to assist you. Some homeowners like to completely transform their homes by cleaning and repainting, while others need it to feel like home again. No matter what you prefer, eliminating the signs of the break-in may help you resume normalcy faster.
If you come across any strange items while cleaning, contact the police. The robber may have left something behind, which can be used as evidence against them.
- Invest in Better Security
After a burglary, feeling safe and comfortable in your home takes time. Children are more susceptible to the fear and disruption associated with burglary. After all, no one is immune. Strengthening your home’s security can make you feel more secure going forward.
For example, you can install outdoor lighting to deter perpetrators from targeting your home, as motion sensors will alert you to their presence. Security cameras can also do the trick and, in many cases, minimize the likelihood of a break-in.
How to Secure Home From Burglars
Burglars are unlikely to target your home if it’s outfitted with security measures that slow them down. Therefore, don’t make your home an easy target for burglars.
By following the clever tips outlined below, you can keep your belongings safe while saving money on insurance premiums.
- Install Motion-Sensing Lights
With options available at a reasonable price, motion-sensing lights will shine a bright light on those trespassing into your home. No intruder would want to invade your house when he’s in the limelight.
You can program motion-sensing smart lights to activate when an unauthorized person enters your home. This is a good deterrence against uninvited guests.
- Keep Curtains and Blinds Closed
Windows provide a view of the world, but it does so in both directions. Perpetrators can look through your windows to identify valuable targets or to determine whether residents are present. For this reason, you should pull down your curtains or blinds in those rooms where you are not currently enjoying the sunlight.
This also applies when leaving the house for vacation, work, or trips. You should also avoid placing valuable items in plain sight close to windows.
- Avoid Being Obvious With Routines
There is a reason most burglars invade your home during the day. That’s when most people are not around. While your work schedule may be predictable, keep your comings and goings unknown. You’ll also want to avoid sharing your whereabouts, even with friends that matter the most.
- Keep Big-Ticket Purchases a Secret
Have you recently bought a new flat-screen TV or high-end electronic equipment? If you leave the empty cartons by the curb, burglars will notice you have valuable items in your home. As such, you should break down the cardboard boxes and wait for recycling pickup. By doing this, your more expensive purchases will remain a secret to potential burglars.
- Close Your Garage Door
An open garage door invites burglars who might want your tools, lawn-care equipment, bicycle, and other pricy purchases. So make it a habit to close the garage whenever you access your house. Consider installing an automatic opener if you often forget to close the garage door. You can also obtain a smart garage door that you can control from your phone.
- Install Security Cameras
Burglars will go to any length to steal your valuables, except a security camera that’s peering them in the face. Consider placing outdoor security cameras close to your home’s entry points. If unauthorized persons approach, you’ll watch them in real-time on your integrated monitor. You can also review the captured footage and share it with the police if necessary.
- Upgrade Doors and Locks
One of the most typical techniques burglars use to enter a home is to kick open the door. Make it challenging for perpetrators by replacing your exterior doors with metal doors and installing a deadbolt with a throw or bolt length of about an inch.
- Install Interior Hinges
If your door hinges are on the outside, thieves could detach the hinge pins and enter your home. For peace of mind, ensure you rehung your door so that the hinges remain inside the house where intruders cannot tamper with them.
- Use Multiple Locks
Make it difficult for skilled thieves to enter your home by installing several locks on your entry door. You should have at least two door locks at primary entryways. This means either a single lock on one door combined with a locking storm door or two locks on one.
- Use Smart Products
Home automation can be costly and vulnerable to hacking, but installing a few low-cost security-enhancing smart-home features can do wonders. For instance, you can install smart door locks, which let you to open and close the door remotely and grant access to visitors.
- Protect Your Windows
Prevent thieves from breaking in through the windows by placing window stops on your windows. Such mechanisms deter criminals from sliding the window open to enter. They also allow you to keep your windows partially raised for ventilation without worrying about break-ins.
- Cover the Wires
If an intruder is undeterred by the sign of security in your home, he may try to disable your security system by cutting the wires. Covering such wires in electrical conduits can make it challenging for burglars to identify and snip them.
- Avoid Advertising Your Name
Putting your name on your house may seem fashionable, but burglars can take this advantage to check your phone number and call to see whether or not you’re at home. They can also persuade neighbors that they know you, obtain your information, or even access your house if your neighbor keeps your spare key.
- Take Out Trash
Burglars often watch for homes where the garbage truck skips on trash pickup, indicating the owners were away from home to take out the trash. Tell your neighbor to take out your trash cans (and return them in) while you’re not around to give aspiring burglars the impression you are present.
- Reinforce Your Sliding Doors
Sliding glass doors create a flawless visual link between the indoors and the outside. However, they are a weakness in your home’s defenses. They are always located in the backside of the house, where intruders can enter unnoticed. Their locks are often weak, and the glass can be smashed.
Strengthen your sliding door by putting a security bar in the tracks. Alternatively, you can pin lock through the frame to give would-be perpetrators a hard time. Also, think about placing transparent safety film to make it nearly impossible for thieves to break the glass.
- Hire Carefully
Busy homeowners invite many individuals into their homes. Contractors, housekeepers, and laborers always come and go. While most of them are trustworthy, it pays to thoroughly examine them before hiring them. Also, remember that burglars can pretend to be one of these professionals; therefore, if they show up at your house, don’t hesitate to ask for identification.
You should ensure that anyone who accesses your lawn is genuine.
- Be Neighbourly
Strike up a conversation with your neighbors every often. It’s good to know your neighbors to reinforce community ties and watch out for each other’s homes when you are not around.
- Get a Safe
If the worst happens and burglars invade your home, you want your high-value possessions out of reach. Put small valuables like life insurance policies in a fireproof safe, then place the safe under the bed or elsewhere. Avoid storing the safe in the garage because most break-ins begin from there.
- Buy a TV Simulator
Turn on a TV simulator before going to work to fool aspiring burglars into thinking you’re around. These units emit high-intensity light and feature on-screen motion to make it appear like someone is watching TV.
- Setup a Driveway Alarm
Installing sensors that sound loud alarms when they detect motion is an excellent way to deter intruders in your home. Driveway alarms deploy an infrared beam to detect motion across your property line.
- Consider Your Curb Appeal to Perpetrators
We all want our homes to be appealing on the outside, but thieves have different standards. They can be drawn in by shrubs that hide entry points, personal belongings left in the yard, and pricey landscaping features that could point to valuable items inside the home.
Will Insurance Help You After Burglary?
After the burglary, you might be emotionally traumatized by the incident, and you’ll also have to deal with costly repairs, identifying lost items, and more. This raises the question: will insurance come in handy after a burglary?
Well, insurance coverage can offer financial support to victims of burglary. However, the specific benefits and extent of the coverage depend on your insurance policy. Check below to see how insurance can assist after a burglary:
- Homeowners Insurance
Homeowner’s insurance typically includes theft and burglary coverage. This coverage compensates you for damaged property and might also cover your home repairs caused by the burglary. Examine your insurance policy thoroughly to know the specific limits and deductibles linked with theft claims.
- Renters Insurance
This one is intended to protect the tenant’s possessions in case of theft and other predicaments. The renter’s insurance will cover the cost of stolen or damaged personal property resulting from burglary. And like homeowners insurance, the coverage limits and deductibles are highlighted in your policy.
- Personal Property Coverage
Personal property coverage is typically included in homeowner and renter insurance policies. This coverage extends to your possessions, whether or not they were stolen outside your house, like robbery from your car. Check your policy to know the coverage limits and other unique conditions that might apply.
- Compensation for Stolen Items
It is advisable to provide proof of ownership and estimated value when filing an insurance claim for lost items. This includes photos, receipts, and other documentation proving the missing items’ existence.
Insurance companies will always need a detailed list of the missing items and their projected value.
- Deductibles and Coverage Limits
Insurance policies include deductibles, which are the amounts you should pay before your insurance coverage takes effect. Moreover, coverage limits always restrict how much compensation you can receive for robbed items or property damage.
- Contacting Your Insurance Company
You should contact your insurance provider soon after a burglary to process claims. They will walk you through the process, including providing documentation, filling out claim forms, and collaborating with adjusters to evaluate the loss. Follow their instructions swiftly and share the necessary details to expedite your claim.
Note: It must be noted that each insurance policy is different. Therefore, thoroughly read the terms and conditions of your particular policy or confer with your insurance company to find out the coverage offered following a burglary.
While experiencing burglary at your home can be distressing, taking proactive steps can help restore a sense of security. Take measures to make it difficult for intruders to break in. This includes reinforcing entry points and installing enhanced security systems.
What to Do After Burglary at Your Home
You can decrease the likelihood of future incidents by staying vigilant and taking part in community safety efforts. Note that each situation is different, and working with the police and insurance experts can walk you through the recovery process.