What to Do If You’ve Been Burgled | A Victim’s Guide
For most, the idea of being burgled is a terrifying thought. The idea of someone entering your home while you’re sleeping or on holiday and rifling through all your belongings and taking things is just unbearable and incredibly violating.
The knock-on effect of a burglary is ongoing and can be felt for months or even years after the crime has taken place. From a criminal investigation — click here for the burglary legal definition — to an arrest, a whole court case, potential personal injury claims, insurance issues and not forgetting personal issues such as counseling and even help with trauma. But what about the immediate aftermath? Do you know what to do if you find your home has been ransacked by a stranger?
Read on to find out what to do if you’ve been burgled.
What to Do If You’ve Been Burgled
- Get in touch with the police
The quicker you do this, the better. It sets the wheels in motion and makes it more likely that the culprit will be caught. The police will be visiting your premises as soon as possible to assess the situation and begin their investigation. You’ll also be given a crime reference number to give to your insurance company.
Discovering that your home has been burglarised is devastating and it’s tempting to start the cleanup process once you’ve contacted the police. However, you must preserve the crime scene so when the police arrive, they can gather evidence etc. If you need evidence for your insurance company, consider taking pictures of the scene instead.
It’s important that if you notice any of your credit or debit cards have been stolen or are missing that you cancel them immediately. If your smart devices have been stolen and you have bank details on them then you should also inform your bank and financial providers.
As best you can, and without potentially disrupting the crime scene, try to ascertain what items have been stolen and create an inventory that you can then pass onto the police and your insurance company. Make sure you check for your passport and other forms of documentation that could have been stolen. Don’t forget to check your garage and other areas of the house too!
- Get in touch with your insurance company
Once you have spoken with the police and you have all the details you need from them, you need to reach out to your insurance company to get your claim rolling.
- Consider updating your home security
After a burglary, it’s important to get your locks changed and reassess your home security. Consider installing CCTV, having deadbolts on doors and windows, outdoor lighting, or a home security system that’s linked to your mobile device. If in doubt, consult a home security expert.
- Come to terms with what has happened
Experiencing a burglary is incredibly violating and upsetting. You may feel vulnerable and if you have young children they too may be frightened of it happening again. Consider seeking counseling and don’t be afraid to express your emotions. Time is a great healer.