If you become the target of a home burglary, it’s perfectly normal go through a wide range of feelings: violated that an intruder broke into your home, angry at the criminal, upset that your prized possessions have been stolen or tampered with, scared that it could happen again and more. However, it’s important to keep a clear head and follow these easy steps to help catch the intruder, recover what you’ve lost and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Call the police
The first thing you should do upon finding out your home has been burglarized is to evacuate and call 911. If there’s a chance the burglar could still be inside your home, it’s smartest to get to safety first and let the professionals handle it rather than try to be a hero against a startled criminal. In addition to the potential danger of surprising a criminal, you also risk contaminating any evidence left behind. Once the police arrive, let them clear the house for safety, investigate the scene and help them file a detailed report.
Check your home inventory
You should create a detailed list of everything that was stolen or damaged, including the estimated value of each item. It’s best to have prepared a home inventory in advance, so you can refer to a comprehensive list of all the contents in your home and be able to present photographs and receipts that prove ownership.
File a claim
Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible and file a claim for any lost or damaged property. If the burglar smashed a window, broke a sliding door, picked a lock or otherwise caused damage by forcing entry, an adjuster can help estimate the repair costs. Provide detailed information about each item that was stolen and present your home inventory to help speed up the process. Your insurance agent should help guide you through the rest of the process until you receive the settlement you deserve.
Take preventive measures
Finally, help make sure it doesn’t happen again by installing a home security system, deadbolt locks and other safety features. Even having a “No trespassing” or “Beware of dog” sign could help deter potential intruders. Keep a light or two on at all times to make it seem like someone is always home, and arrange with your neighbors to pick up mail and newspapers while you’re out of town. Never talk about your comings and goings on social media. The easiest way to help prevent crime in your home is simply to make it a more difficult target.
It will take time to overcome the fear and other emotions you experience after a break-in. But dealing with the immediate problems and then doing some long-range planning can help you feel more comfortable. Peace of mind will once again be in your grasp.