Coming to your home and realising it has been broken into has to be the scariest thing that anyone can go through. Not only do you lose valuable items and suffer property damage, but you must also deal with the emotional turmoil that comes with the process. But how do you know how to navigate the situation?
When you arrive home and realise that your home has been broken into, it can be difficult to think appropriately as your emotions can be overwhelming. It is essential to handle the situation practically as so much will be required from you. To assist with the process, we have offered some security measures that you can take to simplify the process for you.
- Leave the house and call the police
The first thing you are to do when you realise that your home has been broken into is to call the police. The criminals might still be in the house, and you might be walking into a burglary. For this reason, you should contact the police from outside your home.
Even if you have not fully confirmed which items have been stolen, you should still call the police while waiting outside. It would be best if you chose a safe place to wait until the police arrive, such as your car or a neighbours house. It would help if you made a note of any unfamiliar faces or vehicles that you see near your home as this could assist you and the police in tracking down the criminals.
- Cancel any stolen bank cards
If you realise that your home has been broken into and you suspect that your bank cards have been stolen, you should call your bank to cancel them. Alternatively, if you have banking apps on your smartphone, then you can cancel them from there.
In this day and age, most people conduct their banking from their devices like cellphones, tablets or laptops, so if you realise that those devices have been stolen, you should inform your finance providers. Your devices could contain bank account details and logins on them that can be used by criminals to gain more money from you.
- Call your mobile phone provider The moment you realise that your mobile phone has been stolen, you should immediately inform your mobile phone provider so that they can block your account and your phone if possible. Your mobile phone contains important passwords, which can be dangerous if they fall into the wrong hands. For example, your mobile phone might have a password manager that fills in your username for different accounts and the password for those accounts. The best option in that situation would be to change the passwords that you had stored on your phone.
- Take note of stolen items
Once the police arrive, you can write down all the items that were stolen during the break-in. If possible, include the description of the items as well as the estimated value of those contents. If you were lucky and you had created a home inventory list with pictures before the break-in, and then you can include the images of those stolen items. However, if you had not done so, you can even draw pictures of the stolen items and add unique identifying marks that the items had.
In most break-ins, there will probably be a lot of damage that occurs, especially to your property. Therefore you can take pictures of the damage. The damage that happens could be to windows, doors, tables and lamps. Taking note of the damage that occurred will make it easier when you make an insurance claim.
- Change door locks It is essential to change your door locks after you have experienced a break-in. Firstly, the criminals might have made copies of your keys, and they might try to gain access to your home again. The criminals might also have damaged your door locks and not only does this lead to your door lock malfunctioning, but your home is more susceptible to more break-ins. Invest in door locks with more tamper-proof versions if possible.
- Hide valuables The key to avoiding another break-in is by ensuring that all valuable items are not in clear view. Break-ins usually happen in 8 to 10 minutes, and criminals look for items that they could quickly turn into cash and that are easy to carry. For this reason, things such as cash, guns, jewellery and small electronics should be well hidden. The most common places to hide valuables include the safe. However, the best places to hide valuables are the last places that anyone would think you would hide them, like behind the drawer, spare paint cans and in potted plants.
Experiencing a break-in is a horrible and traumatic experience, even if you do not lose too many valuables. It is essential to take the necessary measures to keep you safe after this happens. It would be best if you remembered that the feelings of anger and anxiety you experience afterwards are expected as it might take you a while to recover.