f you’re like many homeowners, you probably think a break-in will never happen to you. Unfortunately, thieves enter homes and steal property on a daily basis.
In 2017 alone, an estimated 1,401,840 burglaries occurred in the United States. That number points to a need for homeowners to take every precaution they can.
When your house is broken into, it can make you and your family feel extremely vulnerable. You’ll want to take steps to put the incident behind you as soon as possible.
Keep reading for eight things you need to do directly after a burglary.
1. Contact the Police
When you discover a break-in, calling the police should be your first move. It’s a good idea to remain out of your house until they’ve secured it.
In addition to securing your home, the police will assist you with filing a report. This is necessary when you make an insurance claim. A report could also help you retrieve your belongings in the event the thieves get arrested.
If you enter your home before the police arrive, don’t touch anything. You don’t want to risk destroying evidence that could help them catch the thieves.
2. Inform the Neighbors
Many thieves scout out neighborhoods beforehand and determine which houses they want to hit. There’s a chance that if your home got broken into, others in the area will too.
That’s why it's important to inform your neighbors of the incident. Let them know they need to take extra security precautions and keep a lookout for any suspicious people or vehicles.
If you’re a member of an HOA, they need to know about the break-in so they can circulate the news to residents. It may also be beneficial to start a neighborhood crime watch to reduce the chance of break-ins occurring in the future.
3. Take Pictures of the Damage
Once the police have secured your home, take pictures of all the damage. This will help when filing an insurance claim.
Make sure you’re exhaustive when taking photos. Document the damage thieves created at the point of entry within your home.
Some burglars destroy and vandalize property during a break-in. While the police may take pictures for the report, make sure to take your own as well. Get photos at multiple angles so the extent of the damage is clear.
4. Make an Inventory of Stolen Items
This step is challenging but necessary. You’ll need to go through your home and make a list of everything the thieves got away with.
The police will need this information. If they make an arrest and find your possessions, they can connect a burglar to your break-in.
An inventory of stolen items will also help you determine the overall value of your losses. This is important when obtaining the proper insurance payout.
Creating this inventory is difficult, especially if the thieves got away with sentimental items. However, it’s critical you perform this step right away in order to assess the extent of material loss.
5. Contact Your Insurance Provider
Once you have a police report, pictures of the damage, and an inventory of stolen items, it’s time to call your insurance provider. Depending on your policy, you may be able to recoup a large amount of what you lost.
It’s important to call your provider as soon as possible. They’ll need to send out an adjuster to examine your home, which means you shouldn’t start cleaning up right away.
Calling sooner rather than later also gets the claim process underway quicker. Your insurance company will need to assess all the information you provide along with the adjuster’s report. Waiting only delays you getting back on your feet.
6. Start the Cleanup Process
Once the insurance claim process is underway, you can start cleaning up your home. This is the first step to getting your life back and will also allow you to start making plans for tighter security.
If doors or windows got smashed out, you may need to board them up until you can have replacements installed. Make sure you thoroughly clean up the glass so you or your family doesn’t sustain injuries.
If the cleanup process requires a financial investment, ask your insurance provider if they’ll cover it. You may be able to get some of this money back.
7. Replace Windows and Doors
If thieves kicked in a door to gain entry to your home, there’s a chance the frame sustained damage. In this case, you’ll need a full replacement.
When replacing a door, look into installing heavy-duty locks. In fact, go ahead and replace all the locks in your home for added security.
When replacing windows, consider investing in reinforced locks. You can even get windows that trigger your home security system when broken.
8. Enhance Your Security Features
Now that things are getting back to normal, it’s time to start thinking about beefing up the security in your home. This will replace the peace of mind you lost after the break-in.
Consider the way the burglar gained entry to your home. This is a perfect way to pinpoint areas of vulnerability.
Installing security cameras will allow you to keep a close watch over your entry points. Even fake cameras will deter criminals from attempting to break in.
You may also want to consider a driveway alarm. These will alert you of someone approaching your house.
Other security measures to consider are motion-activated lights around the perimeter of your house. You may also want to install track lighting. This type of nighttime illumination makes it hard for thieves to hide in the shadows.
Act Fast if Your House Is Broken Into
Recovering from a break-in can be an emotionally draining process. However, the faster you act, the faster you can get you and your family’s life back to normal.
In order to recoup money for damages and enhance the security of your home, take the steps discussed above if your house is broken into.
We provide door chimes and security cameras to home and business owners. Contact us today for more information.