You've been burgled: What to do next
With over 422,000 burglaries in England and Wales in 2019 alone, the threat of home break-ins is as real as ever. Despite that, many people still don't know what to do in the aftermath of a break-in.
Acting quickly and knowing the best next steps increases your chances of recovering lost goods. With this in mind, Izzy Schulman atKeys 4 U offers advice on getting back on track after a burglary.
Call the police
Discovering you've been burgled can give you a horrible sinking feeling. Take a moment to accept it's happened, calm down and act.
It's important to call the police straight away. This helps them gather evidence quickly to increase the chances of recovering your lost items and finding the culprit while they’re still in the area.
Don’t touch anything and resist the urge to tidy the property. Forensics teams and crime officers look for foot and fingerprints or signs of unique or specific items used to break in, to give them a greater chance of finding the criminal.
Make a list of the items that have been stolen or damaged during the burglary. If possible, note down any useful or unique details about the items, like engravings or personalization, as these will make them easier to identify.
Get in touch with your bank if any cards were stolen so they can freeze the account and stop them being used. Online banking gives you instant access to your account so you can look for any recent activity that may help with the investigation.
People often overlook their medicine cabinet when checking their home but pharmaceuticals are increasingly being stolen to be sold on. Plus, you may not realise medication is missing until it’s too late, so make this part of your checks.
Alert your insurance company
Let your insurance company know you've been burgled as soon as possible. You can speed up the claims process by digging out any product receipts or proof-of-purchase documents to send over to them.
If you have home insurance cover (which is recommended) check the policy and see what’s covered. Typically, you’ll be covered for home damages and theft, which should give you a bit of peace of mind in a stressful time.
Upgrade your security
In the wake of a home break-in, it’s a good idea to secure your property's weak points, to prevent a repeat attack.
A police inspection will typically reveal vulnerable areas around the property. However, it’s also worth investing in CCTV, alarms and outdoor motion-sensor lights as a rule of thumb.
Burglars are more likely to target homes that look easy to access and where they can be in-and-out quickly. Making your home look secure and removing any outdoor hiding places, like areas covered in shrubbery, may be enough to put burglars off running the risk.
If burglars have taken house keys or garage fobs, you should have a locksmith replace your locks – as you’ll be unable to claim on your home insurance for a repeat attack if there‘s no sign of forced entry.
Looking after yourself
Burglary can have an impact beyond just lost possessions. It’s a violation of privacy and a potential threat to your family and can leave you feeling overwhelmed and emotionally vulnerable.
A recent survey found 35 percent of burglary victims suffered some form of depression or anxiety, while another revealed around 1 in 8 people never fully recover from the emotional impact of a break-in.
One of the best ways to reduce the emotional impact of a home break-in is to ease yourself back into a normal routine. It may seem tough but isolating yourself only increases stressful thoughts.
Keeping busy can help. Regular exercise and getting enough sleep helps reduce the effects of stress and anxiety.