A robbery can be a harrowing experience that can leave you feeling helpless and violated. But by keeping a level head and doing some pre-planning, you can s take the appropriate steps to identify the thief and retrieve compensation for your stolen items. To protect yourself after a break-in and keep you and your personal items safe in the future, take a review of the following guidelines, and incorporate them as a part of your action plan.
Call in the Authorities and Check with Neighbors
Before even thinking about looking through your home to see what’s missing, call the authorities. The sooner you make them aware of the break-in, the sooner police can begin searching for the culprit. The longer you wait, the longer the burglar has to get further away from the scene.
If your neighbors may have been home at the time of the incident, check with them immediately to see if they witnessed anything unusual during that time period. The longer you wait, the more distant their memories will become, so time is of the essence.
Collect Pertinent Information
If you happened to see the burglar, write down anything you can remember about them, including:
- How they entered and exited the property
- What time they broke in
- Whether or not they were alone
- What method of transportation they used
- Anything else that could aid police in identifying them
If you know right away what is missing from your home, write this down while it is fresh in your mind. If you have a camera or smartphone handy after the burglary, take pictures of the scene of the crime — but don’t touch anything! If you haven’t entered your home yet, remain outside while you make your report to the authorities.
Fire Reports and Contact Your Insurers
Taking pictures before you’ve been burgled is a great way to prove to your insurance company and to the police exactly what has been stolen. Keeping the scene exactly how the burglar left it is critical to allowing law enforcement to collect evidence and assess the true nature of the situation. File an official report with the police, and contact your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance. Use your filed police report to help them work on your claim and compensate you fully for your stolen property. They can also help you with emergency repairs, in the event that the break-in has left your home unsecured.
Tips for the Future
Whether or not you have found yourself a victim of a burglary, there are steps you can take to help prevent theft in the future. Take some time to protect yourself and:
- Always keep receipts for big ticket items you purchase
- Take pictures of your home for proof to insurers of what’s been stolen
- Keep personal and financial information in a home safe to prevent identity theft
- Keep guns in a gun safe to keep guns away from criminals that may enter your home
- Get to know your neighbors and helping each other keep an eye out for unfamiliar individuals on your properties
- Upgrade door and window locks and reinforce any weak entry points into your home
- Install a home security system and install motion sensor lights
- Make your personal property identifiable. Add custom marks or unique numbers to your items so that you can identify them if they leave your possession.
Burglaries can make you feel exposed and vulnerable, but there are steps you can take to help prevent them and also repair the damage should you find yourself a victim. Keeping a locked safe on premise, getting to know your neighbors, documenting your expensive items, and upgrading your alarm systems can all help you keep your home secure.