Burglary is a very stressful, confusing and emotional experience for victims. Through all of the commotion, it can be difficult to think of the best way to handle the situation. Practicing good security will help to reduce your chances of being burgled, but if you should become a victim of this terrible crime, here are some tips on what to do next:
- If you’ve come home to the awful realisation that you have just been burgled, as difficult as it may be, don’t touch anything. By picking items up or tidying things away, you run the risk of accidentally tampering with crucial evidence.
- Contact the police. It is usually a good idea to wait for them outside of the home or in a neighbour’s house. There is always a possibility that the burglar is still inside.
- Whilst waiting for the police to arrive, you may wish to contact your bank, building society or other card providers to explain the situation and cancel your cards. Doing this within 24 hours will usually mean that you can get your money back if they have been used by the thief. However, every case is treated individually.
- Once the police have arrived, you need to compile a list of what has been taken. Add as much detail about each item as possible, including any identifiable marks and serial numbers if you know them.
- The next step is to contact your home contents insurer. Usually, they will either take details over the phone, send an assessor to visit your home or send a claim form to you in the post. They will require your crime number and list of stolen items.
Following a burglary you may feel vulnerable or frightened, so it is important to remember that victim support is available to help you return to normality.
Once you’re back on your way to normality, conduct a security review of your property to see how you can protect your home in the future. Some things that you can look at are:
- Your home security routine – before you go to bed at night, or before you leave the house, you should always be carrying out your home security routine. This should include locking all doors and windows, putting valuables away out of site, and making sure that your burglar alarm is set.
- The age and reliability of your burglar alarm system (if you have one). Over 90% of surveyed burglars say that they would completely avoid a home with an intruder alarm system.
- Whether the locks on your property are sufficient for securing your home. If you’re unsure about this, ask your local locksmith for advice on what types of locks meet your requirements.
- Your grounds. Is the area around your property well lit? Illuminating the outside of your property will remove the cloak of darkness which burglars often rely on.
- Social media – are you giving away information on your social media profiles that can make it easy for someone to determine when you are away from your home? You can find out more information about this by reading out post on how burglars use social media.