How to recover from a burglary

Posted September 23rd, 2020 by SimpliSafe

Being a victim of burglary can bring unwanted chaos into your life. Your focus shifts from your daily routine to dealing with any loss of valuables and any damage to your property or home. During this stressful time, it’s important to bookmark a no-nonsense guide on how to deal with and recover from a burglary. Follow these important, clear steps to get you through the recovery of a burglary and to put some order back in your life.

1. Reporting your burglary

First, you need to know which type of burglary it is to know which police line to report to. If you think the burglar is still in your property, you need to call 999 - if you have hearing or speech issues, a text phone is available on 18000. If police are available, they will call out immediately. If you know the burglar has left your home or premises, and you aren’t in danger, call the non-emergency line on 101 (or text phone 18001 101).

If you have professional alarm monitoring, police will have already been dispatched from intelligent surveillance systems and you will have been notified regardless of where you are.

2. Double-check security

You will need to check your perimeters to see what security breaches have taken place as well as locking up any unsecure entry points if possible. Be sure to check any security camera footage to pinpoint exactly where the security breaches occurred and to not miss out on any damage that may have occurred.

When checking any damage after a burglary, do be mindful of anything that could be of valuable evidence to help with the police’s investigation. For instance, a footprint, a piece of clothing or unrecognisable items that have been left should be untainted and shared with the police.

It’s important to also be practical and if anything is a safety hazard, be cautious of any evidence left behind. For example, if a window was broken into, take care with the broken glass and keep an eye out for pieces of evidence. Take photos of anything that you think can help with the investigation too, this will especially be useful if you need to clean or dispose of anything that infringes on the safety of you or others.

Board up any broken windows or gaps if you can. A little bit of wood goes a long way. If you have suffered from a bad break-in and need an instant, temporary security solution, nail some planks to cover most of the gaps to give some peace of mind, especially if late at night. If any locks have been damaged or broken, get in touch with a locksmith as quickly as possible.

3. Dealing with stolen goods

Make a list when you’re checking your premises - your garden, shed, vehicle etc. - of any items that have been stolen. You will need to get this info quickly to make sure you know which items may be tracked or if you need to report anything stolen to specific places, e.g. if a passport was stolen, you should contact the passport office to report and order a replacement or if a credit card has been stolen, you need to report this to your bank.

It’s also crucial to get an audit on valuables quickly to see if any items were stolen that could lead to further accident or injury. For instance, if you find your car keys have been taken but the car is still there, the thief may have taken them in a rush with the aim of coming back and taking it later. Prevent further loss of possessions by changing your car lock system (some garages can reprogram electronic locks to a new code) and putting the vehicle in a garage if possible.

Check out this smart thief checklist that takes you through how to deal with many essential, stolen items to help prevent further loss and to keep you on top of the situation.

4. Recovering stolen goods

Use your digital track apps straight away if you have any. You can track mobiles, tablets and laptops either with the Android ‘Find My Device’ tracker or the Apple ‘Find My’ tracker. Depending on your device and software, use tracker or the Apple ‘remote data protection and remote lock control’ to do full wipes, resets and locks for lost or stolen devices. To further protect your accounts from misuse, set up two-factor authentication to provide another level of security and identification.

It goes without saying to hand over the list of stolen items you’ve made to the police and to report them as missing as soon as you can. It may be difficult but if you have any receipts for the valuables stolen, share them with the police and keep records of unique serial numbers, manufacturer and model information to help police track items and prove they’re yours. ‘Registering your belongings’ will also help police with identifying you for owning any recovered items.

Keep a lookout around local pawn shops, online listings and places like eBay to see if any recent items have been stocked or listed that look like your property. If you think you’ve found your item, ask the seller if they can hold for you and contact the police. Don’t let the seller know you’re onto them as you may jeopardise the lead or chance to recover the item.

5. Claiming on your home insurance after a burglary

If you’re on a home insurance plan, once you’ve got all the urgent checks out the way, put your claim in as soon as you can. Have the crime number at hand to pass on to your claims handler. You will need to recall exactly what happened and provide your insurer with as much information as possible. This is also where any photos taken of the aftermath of the burglary will come in handy to give proof of damage and help give evidence of how the burglary happened. Consider ‘backing up your photos’ to avoid loss of evidence.

Again, just like it will help police, if you have any receipts, bank statements and records of items (unique serial numbers etc.) you should pass these details onto your insurer to help with proof of purchase and with identification.

6. Making your home more secure

Improving your home security after a burglary all starts with reviewing how effective your property is at deterring burglars. Installing security cameras will greatly decrease the chance of thieves intruding into your property as the threat of being caught on camera alone is something enough of a deterrent.

You also need to remember your garden when it comes to improving home security - think of it as your first line of defence against unwanted intruders. See our ‘guide to garden security’ for handy tips.

7. Coping with a burglary

Not only can a burglary hit you hard financially but it can leave an emotional impact. Being one of the most common types of crime, it’s important to have somewhere to turn to. ‘Victim Support’ is one of these places that can help when it comes to emotional support.

No matter where the burglary lies on the severity scale, there is a ‘support line’ for anyone who has experienced a crime. Whether you’ve been a victim of burglary numerous times or it’s happened for the first time, they are there to give great advice and support.

It’s also important to contact family and friends to share your worries. You may find a friend or family member who has been in the same situation who can give you brilliant advice on how they coped.

Together with checklists, updated security systems and opting for smarter alarm systems, you will soon have more peace of mind and a more secure home.