Discovering your home has been burgled is a real shock. Losing possessions is only the beginning, too; the reality that your home has been invaded can wreck your confidence in society and security alike.
If this should ever happen to you, it is vital that you follow a few essential steps as soon as you discover the burglary. We’ve highlighted the most important steps in this article, so you’ll know exactly what to do if you ever find yourself in this situation.
This should be done straightaway, before doing anything else. Try not to touch anything – on some occasions, the police can get fingerprints from the scene to help them narrow down the culprits and hopefully catch them as well.
Make sure you are given a crime reference number. This will be required by your insurance company if you are going to claim for any items that were taken.
Some items might be obvious, such as a television for example, or a collection of jewellery. Make sure you are aware of everything that has been stolen before contacting your insurance company. This will ensure you make a full and complete claim for everything that has been taken.
The police will also want to know what has gone missing, in case they are able to recover any of it. This is particularly important in the case of any family heirlooms or valuable jewellery you might have.
If you have contents insurance, this should cover the items that were stolen during the burglary. Find your policy details and call the number provided for claims. They will let you know what information they need.
You will need to repair any damage that has been caused by someone breaking in. It’s well worth calling in a locksmith and getting all your locks changed, just in case the burglars have found a spare set of keys. Some properties are burgled twice in a short space of time. Make sure you limit the chances of this happening to you. You may also need to get a window repaired or replaced, if this was the point of entry.
It might also be worth considering improving the quality of the locks you have for your property. Some are far easier to break through than others – both for windows and doors. By asking a locksmith for advice, you can take the opportunity to get stronger locks that will provide greater protection in the future.
You will also need to think about beefing up your existing security measures. For example, a high-quality safe is a good idea to have to protect and hide your valuables. Safes can be fitted into a wall or floor in some instances, and hidden from sight. The harder they are to break into (if the thief even finds them in the first place), the less likely it is a burglar will bother with them at all.
Don’t make it easy for a burglar to break into your property under cover of darkness, or to lurk around unnoticed. Install security lights around the perimeter of your property. These will detect any motion in the area and come on automatically, bathing the area in light – just what the criminal doesn’t want.
CCTV is a good idea too, as no one would want to be caught on film trying to gain access to a property in order to steal from the owners. Most burglars are opportunists. That means they choose properties that are easy to break into and don’t have CCTV or security lights in place.
What else can you do to protect your property from future burglaries? You can lay gravel on your paths and your driveway, so anyone approaching cannot help but make noise. You can also plant prickly bushes underneath windows, making access painful if they try to get in that way. Avoid planting bushes people can hide behind, in order to try and get into a property without being seen.
Finally, you could also think of having timers inside your property, to ensure lights come on and go off at certain times. This gives the impression someone is in even when you are out. It might also deter opportunist thieves from trying to break in, since most of them would rather no one was in when they tried to gain access.
By following these pointers, you can protect your property much more effectively both now and in the future.