How To Handle The Aftermath of a House Robbery

Secure your home with Trellidor to help avoid a robbery

What to do after a house robbery.

Crime hot spots seem to behous on the increase again, most notably in and around Durban. All of the incidents have been traumatic, and some have involved extreme violence.

It emphasises the point that no matter how well prepared we are in terms of home security, sometimes the criminals do manage to get in and cause mayhem.

So, with this in mind we thought we should list some useful pointers on what to do in the event of a robbery. These have been compiled using advice from experts in the industry. Take a look and let us know if you find them useful or have some to add.

Action to take after a robbery:

  • Contact your nearest police station. You need to have this phone number handy in advance, so visit the SAPS website to find your area on their map and the relevant contact details.
  • Don’t touch anything after the robbers have left wait until fingerprints and statements have been taken. This is a laughable statement in some areas where SAPS can take days to get around to fingerprinting, but not all areas are like this and some get there quickly.
  • Don’t allow the crime scene to be disturbed by people walking around, e.g. private security staff. Most of them know not to stomp all over possibly vital evidence, and sometimes the cops are more likely to do this than the security providers, but remind them all of the importance of preserving evidence if you have to.
  • If there has been sexual violence, don’t wash until you’ve seen the District Surgeon because again, vital evidence could be lost. This is probably a very difficult thing to do, but is necessary.

Note down essential details after a robbery:

While waiting for the police to arrive, try to make notes of the following:

  • What the robbers were wearing
  • What type of weapons they used
  • Any physical characteristics you can remember e.g. height, weight, hair, memorable features such as tattoos, scars
  • If they arrived in a vehicle, what type, colour, registration
  • The direction they left in, if you saw them leave
  • What language they were speaking

It’s worth getting everyone present that witnessed the home invasion to write these things down separately. We all remember things differently, and each one’s recollections could add up to very useful information.

Be prepared before you have a robbery

It may seem a real hassle, but it is sensible to do some record keeping in case you have a burglary. Make a list of the make, model and serial numbers of electrical appliances, computers, vehicles and other valuables so that you have them ready for investigation and insurance purposes. Take photos too they can all help in identifying your stuff if it’s found in someone else’s possession after a robbery.

Consider indelibly marking valuable items in some way, either with an infrared pen or with data dots that contain a unique ID number identifying you as the owner.

Take PTSD seriously

A robbery is a shocking experience, even if there was no violence involved. It’s advisable to get expert trauma advice and/or counselling afterwards, even if you feel you’re handling it well. There are many organisations such as Lifeline that can help. Phone them to talk through your experience or to make an appointment for trauma advice through their Trauma Debriefing Unit.

For loads of ideas on how to help make your home more secure visit our website or other blog posts about how to avoid a house robbery. Knowledge is power so understanding house robbery tactics and trends can help minimise your risk.

Contributor: Lindy Barry

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