You come home from a long weekend on the lake to the horror that your home has been broken into and numerous valuables have been stolen. Naturally, your first call is to the police to report the crime. And while the likelihood of the police ever catching the thief that did this to your home may be slim, you’re still going to have to eventually regroup and move on from the incident.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, up to 3.7 million home burglaries occur in the United States each year. Furthermore, it’s estimated that in about one-third of these burglaries, there is evidence of forced entry into the home. Coming home to see that your home has been broken into can be a very troubling experience. You may feel like you’re not in control of the situation or of your family’s safety. It may cause mental instability, as you’re now living in fear that it could happen again. But as we said in the opening, it’s important to pick up the pieces and move on from the incident.
With that being said, here’s a look at what to do after your home has been broken into:
- Call the police and wait for them at a neighbor’s house: It’s best to always let the police secure the scene before you reenter the home upon discovering the break in. You never know how recent the home invasion is and if burglars may still be lurking in the home, potentially armed with weapons. After the police have secured the scene, you’ll be tasked with leading them through the home and identifying valuables that were taken. The police will document the information that you’ve given them in the police report they’ll file about the incident. They’ll likely also talk to neighbors and check any security cameras that may be positioned nearby to seek clues and leads as to who did it.
- File an insurance claim: After the police report has been filed, you can then file an insurance claim to seek reimbursement for all of the items that were stolen. For insurance reasons – and to receive reimbursement for everything that was taken – it’s very important to accurately identify all items that were stolen, even the little things. Take your time putting together your list on what was stolen.
- Pick up the pieces: You can’t move on if you don’t get your home back in order to the way that it was. While this will likely be a difficult, emotional part of regrouping from the incident, it’s a necessary one. Consider asking family and friends to help you with this part.
- Take measures to ensure it won’t happen again: You’ll never be able to 100 percent burglar-proof your home, no matter what you do. But you can learn from the incident and take measures to greatly minimize the chances of a home invasion ever occurring again on your property.
Here’s a look at some things to keep in mind when determining ways to better protect your home:
Check the door and door frame for damage: If forced entry was the case in your incident, it’s likely that the thieves came through the door. Be sure to check the doors and door frames for damage and have them replaced if need be.
Change the locks: After a home invasion, it’s always best to call on a reliable, experienced locksmith to change out the locks on the house. Why? Because a locksmith will be better able to analyze your situation and ensure that your doors are equipped with the best type of locks for your situation – much more so than your local hardware store clerk would be able to. Locksmiths can also recommend additional safety and security measures that can enhance protection as well.
Consider a home security system: Home security systems have come a long way over the years and have also come down in price to be more affordable than ever before. Today’s home security systems won’t just monitor your home, but can also be programmed to turn lights on and off at set times, detect carbon monoxide and act as smoke detectors.
Keep landscaping neat and trim: Large, overgrown trees and bushes by your windows and entryways are somewhat of an open invitation for burglars to hide out in while they’re plotting how to get into your home. Don’t overlook your landscaping when you’re analyzing your home security.
Motion lights: As the name implies, these are exterior lights that detect motion – and light up when they do. When positioned on front porches or garages, they can be enough of a deterrent if a crook gets caught in their cross hairs before they even have a chance to get to the door.
While a home invasion is never something that you want to think about – or ever something that you hope you have to deal with at some point – the reality that it could happen to you is there. In that case, it’s best to be prepared to know what to do in the event of one. From contacting the police to creating an itemized list of stolen goods to contacting your local locksmith to analyze your security situation, these are all parts of putting the pieces back together.
If you’ve been the recent victim of a home invasion, or if you just want to be proactive and have a professional, experienced locksmith analyze your home lock situation, contact Great Valley Lockshop today at (610) 644-5334.