Experiencing a home burglary is certainly no fun. Aside from potentially having valuable items stolen from you, you also have to deal with the initial steps that follow immediately when you find out about the burglary and then the following process of coping emotionally and psychologically.
If you’ve been a victim of a home burglary, rest assured that there are people here to help you. First start with the following steps:
1. Call your local police department immediately.
Don’t touch anything until they arrive to make it easier for them to lift fingerprints.
2. Contact a carpenter and a locksmith.
You’ll want any broken door or window where the burglar gained entry repaired. In addition, changing or re-keying all of the locks, and possibly adding more locks, could increase your home’s security and your peace of mind.
3. Call a family member or good friend.
Cleanup after a burglary can take its toll on anybody, and being alone could be devastating and frightening. You also might want to consider staying with them just for a few days until you feel a little less shaken by the incident.
4. Call your insurance agent or get insurance.
If you already have renters or homeowners insurance, contact your agent to file a claim. If you don’t, get some. It will replace stolen items in the event of any future burglaries.
5. Contact all of your financial institutions.
You need to advise them of the burglary in case checks, credit cards, or any of your personal information has been stolen. Check your credit score regularly as well to stay on top of it just in case.
6. Prepare a list of missing items.
As you go along with the cleanup process, you may find additional items that are missing. Include a concise description, purchase price, and serial numbers, if available, on your list. Make copies and provide one to the police, one to your insurance agent, and several copies for your files. For the future, taking pictures of the items in your home to include with the above can be very helpful in an insurance claim or in the possible recovery of some of your belongings.
7. Check the pawn, consignment, and secondhand shops.
Take a copy of your list to the local pawnshops to see if any of the items are there. Don’t drop it there though. Be sure to check back on a regular basis to see if anything has shown up. And don’t forget consignment and secondhand stores. They often receive used items from people and don’t even require ID like pawnshops do.
8. Install a security system.
It will make you rest easier, feel safer, and possibly prevent future burglaries. Many new alarm systems these days can even be controlled by your smartphone or tablet for added comfort and security.
9. Buy a home safe.
A safe for your valuables is a good investment in the future. Make sure it’s sturdy and fireproof, so that everything will be protected both from burglars and fire or flood. Put all of your important papers in it along with your valuables to protect them. The size safe you get should be based upon the value of the property to be put inside, as well as the safety of your neighborhood and ultimately your home. Be sure you don’t get one so small that a burglar can simply take it away. That tends to be a common mistake among homeowners.
Surviving the Burglary Emotionally
OK, so now you’ve taken care of the material things. What about the emotional toll that the burglary has had on you and your family? There are a few steps to be taken toward recovery.
1. Stay with friends, neighbors, or family.
To save your sanity and get a good night’s rest, just accept the fact that the material things in your home are less important than your health. Or, if you’re close with your neighbors, perhaps staying with them for a few days would work better, and you could keep an eye on your home at the same time.
2. Clean up.
After the police officers and their team collect the evidence and leave your home and you feel safe again after some rest, cleaning up can be therapeutic. So, why not give it a complete cleaning while you’re at it? It could help you to reclaim your own space and move on.
3. Give yourself some TLC and a few indulgences.
Do anything you can to make this time in your life more positive. A nice bottle of your favorite wine, dinner out, or a night on the town might be just what the doctor ordered to lift your spirits again. Whatever it is that brings you comfort and even a little pampering is much needed at this time.
4. Resolve to get past this.
Getting on with your life may seem difficult at first, but the burglary doesn’t define you and it can’t beat you. Buy some fresh flowers for your home, write yourself some inspirational notes, and keep your chin up.
5. Do some redecorating.
Rearrange the furniture, buy a few new accessories, anything to help you to be excited about your home again and put the burglary in the past.
6. Give yourself some time.
It’s normal to not feel better right away and some nervousness may linger. Let friends and family help by supporting you, or you can even join a support group.