SHERLOCK LOCKSMITH / FEB 10, 2021
8 Big Steps to Take After a Home Burglary
Whether you like it or not, it is an undeniable fact that home burglaries happen more frequently than most homeowners care to admit. It could be a very distressing and jarring experience when you come back home to the space you expect to be safe, only to find out that it has been broken into and some of your most prized possessions are missing. These kinds of experiences often make a homeowner question their security and safety inside the home, and fosters a deep sense of distrust for the state of things around them.
Have you been burglarized in your safe space? These are the basic emergency steps that you should take immediately after a burglary has occurred in your home. It might look like a lot of steps at first glance, but each of these processes can be started swiftly, and it is very imperative that they are done with a sense of urgency for the sake of your security. We at Sherlock Locksmith have outlined 8 of the most important steps to take immediately after a break-in:
1. Contact the Authorities
The first thing you should do as a homeowner after a home burglary or intrusion is to immediately contact the authorities and enlighten them in the situation. It is important that you do this immediately after you realize that your home has been broken into. Find a space where you can call the police or the authorities once you realize that you have been victimized by burglars.
Once you contact the authorities, you should try your best not to touch or move anything until the authorities arrive. Although we do understand that this is a hard thing to do, especially when you are under duress and it dawns on you that something about your home doesn’t feel right.
However, as we reiterated earlier, contacting the authorities should be your sole priority as of this moment. The best scenario for these situations is to exit your home and call the police in order to alert them that someone broke into your home. This is because the fact that you arrived home does not necessarily mean that the burglars have left. In fact, they might still be hiding in there because you arrived while they were breaching your home.
A criminal in your home increases the chances of them being caught, and calling the police in your home further increases the probability of them being found and the crime being solved. So while you are waiting for the authorities to arrive, it is imperative that you sit tight and wait.
Once the right authorities arrive, it is very important that you give them all the necessary information that they need, sparing no detail. If you have any security protocols such as surveillance systems in your home that could provide evidence, you can hand the information over to them and it will prove to be very useful.
2. Find a Safe Place to Hide
This tip specifically applies to homeowners who might be on high alert because the burglar is still inside the home. Burglary statistics imply that a majority of residential burglaries happen during the day where homeowners are not inside their homes. However, this doesn’t mean that burglaries and break-ins during the night do not happen, they just happen to be occurring less frequently.
In most cases of break-ins, homeowners come home after the crime itself has already been committed. But in the rare case where you come home while the thief is still making moves in your home or you are inside the home while they broke-in, it is imperative for you to call the authorities immediately, and focus on finding a safe space to hide. It is generally not advised for you to face the burglars head-on, as they might carry weapons such as guns or knives which can endanger your life.
Guns can also be considered to be a form of security, but homeowners with firearms shouldn’t take this as a golden opportunity to engage in a shootout with burglars. Firearms could or could not give you an advantage in the first place, so it becomes more reliable for you to keep hidden and wait until the authorities arrive.
Homeowners have the option to benefit from using DIY panic rooms that could keep them safe, secure, and hidden from any burglars during a break-in or a residential robbery. However, being able to use panic rooms means that you should have had the forethought to build it in the first place prior to the robbery. This is advantageous in robbery situations though, as you can stay out of harm’s way while waiting for the authorities to arrive.
3. Review Your Security Protocols
Immediately after a burglary in your residence, it is imperative for you to review your security protocols. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should conduct a full home security assessment, but rather pay attention to the security protocols that you currently have in place, and see which ones can tell you about the entry and exit points of your burglars and see what points of your home are the most vulnerable. Any possible information from these will be able to give you and the police some insight as to how the break-in happened.
Many homeowners have invested in surveillance equipment that could help them whenever a break-in in their home occurs in this modern era. This could range between complex camera gear, to DIY security cameras. Regardless of what security mechanisms you have, you should be able to review your security to see what kind of information they can provide about the burglary itself and the perpetrators.
However, it is important to keep in mind that you can only do this once you have successfully completed the first emergency tasks that were described beforehand. It’s important to finish the first two steps before you move on to the next one and look at your security mechanisms.
4. Take Stock of What You Have
Once the authorities have arrived and made sure that you, and your home, are in the clear and there are no more burglars hiding or lurking in your property, you should start to assess the state of your personal belongings and take stock of what you have and what was stolen. Not only does this help homeowners get an idea as to why they were targeted for a break-in in the first place, but it also helps law enforcement get a better idea of what was stolen.
This step is usually a hurdle for homeowners to handle because most of them are still in a state of shock or duress from finding out that their home was broken into by criminals. Not only were they robbed of their personal belongings, but they were also robbed of their security and peace of mind, which could make it hard for them to view things in their home the same way as before.
Regardless of what state you’re in, however, it is important for you as a homeowner to carry this task out sooner rather than later. This is because some of the next few steps are dependent on you being able to correctly assess the state of things that your house is currently in after the break-in.
5. Call Your Insurance Agent
After you’ve taken the liberty of checking which items have been missing or stolen from your residence, and which items are still intact, it is best for you to reach out to your insurance agent or company and notify them of your recent break-in. Homeowners are often required to apply for homeowners insurance before they can be approved for a mortgage, so rest assured that a majority of homeowners have an insurance agent they can approach in the unfortunate event of a break-in.
However, things might be a little different when it comes to people renting or living in apartments, who are often advised to get their own insurance. Calling your insurance agent requires the same level of dedication, attention to detail, and meticulousness that is needed when you were taking stock of your property.
Even if the burglary happens in the odd hours of the night, you should still make an effort to your insurance agent or company and leave them a message so that they can get back to you the day after. Once they respond, you will have to provide your insurer with a detailed and comprehensive list of all of the items on your property, and a separate list when entails which items were missing, stolen, or damaged during the burglary.
When you file a claim for home burglary incidents, the information that you provide your insurance agent is extremely important. Another benefit of calling the police immediately after the break-in is that you will be able to take advantage of their comprehensive police report, which you can use for verification with your insurer, and helps you remember little details you may have forgotten in your account.
6. Clean Up Around Your Home
This kind of step may be quickly dismissed by homeowners as an emergency step, but we at Sherlock Locksmith would like to advise them to keep an open mind and read to see why this is one of the most imperative steps once your home has been burglarized. Home break-ins and burglaries are rarely clean and neat endeavors, especially if your home has robust security protocols that make it harder for your burglars to stage a break-in in the first place.
It is very likely the case that your window might be broken, or that your door has been kicked down, unless both of them are burglar proof. Violent, forced entries from break-ins often cause damage to integral parts of your home’s structure and structural integrity, like the door locks and the door itself.
Unfortunately for a majority of homeowners, though, although the police will come and assess the crime scene, the rest of the decisions that are taken fall squarely on your shoulders alone. This means that in the wake of your home being broken into, you will have to clean up any and all damage that occured.
Once you clean up your home successfully, it will give you a better idea of how things currently stand in your home. It should be noted, though, that this step should only be done after the police and authorities have arrived at the crime scene, and it has been effectively declared as cleared. This is important as law states that you cannot clean up an active crime scene.
7. Reassess Security Measures
Aside from contacting the authorities and letting them know about your recent unfortunate home burglary situation, one of the most important emergency steps to take is to take the time to fully assess the security measures of their home. This is an integral step in making sure that such an event never happens again, and this will define the future of the safety and security of your home.
Of course, it should go without saying that being victimized by a break-in means that some aspects of your home security will have to be revisited and reassessed. Sometimes, it could be that you never really had a robust and high-quality form of security in the first place, which could mean that this specific breakin is more so a call to action more than anything else.
Homeowners should take care of this security reassessment immediately after you have been given the all-clear by the authorities to clean and fix your home which was the crime scene (if you haven’t called them by now, then you really should). Simply put, the point of this is for you to identify any vulnerable spots in your home security and get them fortified so that these once easily tampered spots can kiss those days goodbye.
For instance, if your door locks happened to be damaged during the home burglary, it is common sense that you shouldn’t leave them be, unless you want to be victimized by another burglar. Doing so will only leave your security more vulnerable than it already is, and that is a risk you cannot afford to take as a homeowner. If the burglary occurs after business hours, you shouldn’t lose hope thinking that you will not be able to get the assistance you need. This is why 24-Hour locksmiths, like us at Sherlock, exist; to help customers who need high quality locksmithing services at any hour of the day.
8. Repair Damaged Security Precautions & Implement New Ones
This final emergency step requires to be carried out in two distinct stages. The first stage should be handled immediately after the home burglary has occurred, and the second stage will be executed and maintained regularly over time. This is the most recommended, and in fact, most ideal way to handle any damaged security mechanism that was affected heavily from your home burglary, as well as install new ones. However, the ideal isn’t the only way, and homeowners can choose to strengthen their damaged security precautions and install new ones at the same time.
If the steps above have been carried out, then the homeowner should be able to pinpoint and assess which parts of their home are the most vulnerable to forced entry. For example, if your door was kicked in by burglars to gain forced entry, then you will most likely need new door locks installed, as well as a new door if it was damaged to the point of being rendered unusable. This gives homeowners the chance to install higher security security mechanisms and door locks, and also word on improving the security of their front door.
Calling an emergency locksmith to handle all your door lock repairs, or to install a new, secure lock should be your prime focus if your front door security has been severely compromised from the break-in. It is not always the case that your door locks will be the only thing damaged, though, as it highly depends on the entry point of your perpetrators. If the burglars entered through the window or your sliding glass doors, then those, along with their accompanying locks may be damaged.
However, in the odd event that the burglar(s) entered your home without breaking any security mechanism, then it is often a sign for you to upgrade into higher security and burglar proof security deterrents that can negate the flaws present in your current ones.
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