It’s never a nice thing to think about, but sadly over 267 thousand burglaries happen in the UK every single year – and one of them just might be you. You might think it would never happen to you, that you’re careful, or you didn’t have anything worth stealing. But to burglars, any home is a potential target, and one day you might find yourself one of the unlucky ones. If this is you, it can be an incredibly scary time, and you might not know how to react or what to do next. So, here are 9 steps to take if you come home and discover you’ve been burgled.
Call the Police
The very first thing you should do once you realise you’ve been burgled is to call the police. Do it right away, as soon as you can. The quicker you report the crime the faster the police can start working, and statistically the more likely they are to catch the criminals responsible. However, there are a few different options for reporting, depending on the circumstances:
- If you think the intruder is still in your property – don’t go inside! If you’re already inside and they don’t know you’re there, try to stay under the radar and don’t attract their attention. Call 999 right away from a safe place, and the police will attend very quickly.
- If the intruders have left the property, call 101 (the non-emergency police line) to report the burglary. Police will visit you as soon as they are available.
- If your local police have an online reporting system, you can also use this to report the burglary, and police will visit you as soon as they can.
Once the police have visited you they will give you a crime reference number. Make sure you note this down and keep it somewhere safe, as your insurance provider will need it in order to process your claim.
Don’t Touch Anything
As soon as the intruder broke in, your home became a crime scene. So as much as you want to go around checking everything you can, try to avoid touching things as much as possible. Anything you touch could disturb the investigation, as police may be able to gather evidence from things like fingerprints, footprints, or toolmarks left on doors and windows.
Make a List
Without touching things where you can, go through your home and make a list of everything that has been stolen or damaged. Check in on all of your valuable items, and where you can try to make a note of their rough value as you go. While you’re going around, keep an eye out for any missing keys – house, car or window. Some intruders take these so that they can try their luck a few months later, once all of the property they stole has been replaced.
Inform the Relevant Bodies
If your wallet, handbag or anything else you keep cards or information in has been stolen, you need to call the relevant bodies and report it. The first call should always be your bank, as they will be able to put an immediate block on your cards so they can’t be used, and send you replacements. But you will also need to do this for other documents – stolen passports, driving licenses, mobile phones. In short, anything that stores your personal or financial data needs to be reported, blocked and a new one issued.
Contact Your Home Insurance Provider
Your next call should be to your home insurance provider. Get in touch with the claims department and report what’s happened to them. Make sure you have that crime reference number from earlier on hand, as they will ask for it in order to process your claim. You might be asked to gather receipts or fill in forms as part of the process, but your insurance provider will guide you through and help you start the claim.
Secure Your Home
Depending on how the burglars accessed your home, you may need to do some work to secure it. If your doors or windows were damaged, you will need to get these repaired or replaced as soon as possible. At a bare minimum you will need to call a locksmith and have all of the locks in your home replaced – inside and out. A good locksmith should be able to come out same day and do this as a priority.
Take Care of You
With all of the official bits out of the way, it’s time to take care of you. It’s a horrible thing knowing an intruder has been inside your home, and you may well have gone into shock. Even if nothing was taken, just knowing that someone else has been in your home is incredibly distressing. Call your friends and family for support, stay with them a while if you can, or just surround yourself with people while you recover. Children can find the loss of security particularly difficult to adjust to, so it may be worth asking a friend or family member to look after them while you tidy their belongings. Practice some self-care, and take some time for yourself to recover.
Invest in Home Security
Finally, we recommend you invest in a good home security system. If you don’t have one in place, contact a security company to start the process of evaluating your needs, and if you had one already in place, contact your provider to find out why it wasn’t adequate, and what needs to be changed in the future. Your home security should make you feel safe in your own home, so take some time and choose wisely.
At Securifix, sadly we encounter a lot of people who have had their homes broke into as first-time customers. We can guide you through the process of handling the break-in, and help you choose the right security system to meet your needs. If you would like to know more, or if you have some questions, just get in touch with the team today.