Having your home or office burglarized is terrifying. It can leave you feeling vulnerable and violated, in addition to the sadness and anger that often accompany losing some of your most treasured items. In the aftermath of a burglary, channel your feelings into productive actions. Here are 5 steps to take after a burglary.
Call the Police
As soon as you realize you have been burglarized, it is vital to call the police. If you were not home when it happened, do not enter your home. Call from your cell phone or a neighbor’s phone, and wait for the police to arrive. It is possible that the burglars may still be inside, and even if they are long gone, touching anything could destroy crucial evidence.
Ensure that everyone in your family or workplace is safely accounted for. Take care of anyone who is obviously distraught, and shower kids with extra kindness. Then start taking pictures and making lists of everything that was stolen or damaged, along with each item’s approximate value. If you have serial numbers, gather them into a single list and make copies for the police and the insurance company.
If you have security cameras, consider reviewing the footage, but be sure you have someone supportive with you. Watching your home or business being burglarized can be emotionally traumatizing. Regardless, make copies of the footage for the police and insurance company.
Call the Insurance Company
As soon as possible, and definitely within 24 hours, call your insurance company. If you have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, you should be able to recover a significant portion of the monetary value of your loss. They will likely need a copy of the police report, as well as copies of your list of items, serial numbers (if available), and security camera footage (if applicable).
Clean Up the Mess
Burglars are not known for being neat, so there is probably quite a mess. Get approval from the police and the insurance company, in case they need to gather more evidence, and then start the process of cleaning up. Although it can be emotionally tough, cleaning is the first step in regaining your sense of personal power. Ask someone who was not involved to help you if needed. Consider repainting or rearranging furniture in the rooms that took most of the damage, giving those spaces a sense of newness that can help you emotionally reclaim them.
Upgrade Your Security
Without beating yourself up, use the burglary as an opportunity to review and improve your home or office security system. Replace any doors, windows, or locks that were damaged during the break-in, and consider upgrading them to a higher level of strength. Take a look at different smart locks and integrated security systems to see if they are right for you. Resist the urge to start buying products out of fear, and instead focus on your needs. A professional security expert can help you sort through the various options and find those that are truly right for you.
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