10 Things To Do After An Attempted Break-in

Being robbed impacts you more than just losing something of financial value. Or even sentimental value. It can feel more like a violation. For many, it’s an emotional experience and a lot of people tend to end up feeling traumatized.

burglar how tries to break in

We are going to share with you what you need to do in the case you arrive home and there's been an attempted break- in. Most people know they need to call the police, but what else?

After a robbery attempt, you want to remove yourself from the scene, so you don't corrupt any potential evidence or put yourself in danger. If you have a home security system or security camera, don't worry about it for now. Just call the Police and wait.

They'll come, make the property safe and start the police report. You might need to go to the Police station where a Police officer will take your statement. You need the case number, that is going to important for your insurance claim

Make a list of things that have been stolen, include all credit cards and valuables, even take time to check your medicine cabinet, robbers like to break in, and steal pills with street value, they're easy to sell. The Police will be busy checking security cameras in the area, your job is to focus on taking security measures to ensure your home is safe right now.

It can be stressful, you won't be thinking straight so just slow down and go through it slowly. After the place is secure, you have your list, you 'll want to start making your claim on the insurance. Try to dig out as many receipts and proof of purchase you can. Expect an adjuster to pay a visit from the insurers to record the damage done to the property.

Also, you'll want to think about contacting a local security company, maybe looking into security cameras and a home security system. Look into smart home resources that you can control from your mobile device.

Burglars are looking for easy targets, they know you'll be insured and they'll likely pay you another visit in a few months time now that you've replaced all the stuff they stole. Tell your neighbors too, because burglars like to work in areas, so if it happened to you, homes close to you are at risk too.

There's a lot to think about. Don't worry, we've got your back. We've listed down everything you need to do and we've sectioned it into what you need to do immediately, what to do in the first 24hrs, the first week and the first month. Let's start with what you need to do right now.

Immediate action plan

Finding out you’ve been the victim of an attempted robbery is very hard. You arrive home to find broken glass everywhere, your possessions could have been thrown around and it feels like everything you own has been violated. 

The sheer carnage can make you start to feel a little disorientated and without thinking you could start touching things and disrupting the crime scene. It’s completely natural and you shouldn’t beat yourself up. 

But, you want to increase your chances of catching the burglars and hopefully recovering some of the stolen possessions. 

police man and women with car

Step 1 - Leave it to the professionals

Great advice from experts is to leave the property immediately, to preserve the crime scene. Once you’ve left the scene, you should call the police immediately. Your car or your neighbor is ideal.

This makes sense for two reasons:

You won’t contaminate the scene.  As we have already mentioned, we want to catch the people who have done this and want to recover your stolen possessions. The burglars could have left evidence at the crime scene. For example, the Police might want to dust your home for fingerprints. You could potentially lose or corrupt potential evidence so it’s better to play it safe and leave the Police to it. 

You won’t put yourself in danger. You can’t be 100% sure that the robber has definitely left the scene. Statistics suggest the idea of you disturbing the robber is as scary to them as it is to you, with over 75% saying they’d just drop everything and escape as quickly as possible. 

But equally, that means 25% of robbers wouldn't. That's a big enough number to make the sensible option just leaving the crime scene and letting the Police deal with it. 

What if they’re armed? How are they going to react if they feel trapped, what are you going to do to stop them? Things can escalate, and quickly. 

The safest strategy is to let the Police deal with it. 

Step 2 - Get your Police case number

So, you wait for the Police to arrive. Let them know what you know and step back and let them take over. They will clear the area and will let you know when it’s safe to re-enter your home. 

The Police will most likely ask you a series of questions, you will probably have to make a statement and will have to list and describe the bigger ticket items that have been taken. These will be tracked, which makes it possible they’ll be returned and could be used to catch the robbers. 

As part of the official report, you will be given your case number. It’s important you keep that number safe because you’re going to need it later. 

The first 24 hours

After you've called the Police, kept out the way until the home is safe and you're not corrupting any evidence, and you've made your statement and officially reported the break-in. You'll have some tasks you need to do pretty much immediately. Here's what you need to do, just approach them one at a time, don't get overwhelmed.

Step 3 - Call the insurance companies

You need to put calling the insurance company high on your to-do list. Don’t even think about making any repairs to your property until you do. Many policies include cover from broken windows, doors and other structural damage to your home. 

If you are in a rental property then it gets even more convoluted because your landlord’s insurance company might want to get involved. So pause before you do anything, make sure you let your landlord know so he can get in contact with his own insurance company. Otherwise, either you or the landlord will have to pay for the repairs you make. 

Whoever’s insurance company you ring will probably want the case number that was issued by the police when they took your statement, so make sure you have that handy. They’ll want to know you’ve officially reported it to the Police so any lost items will have a chance of being recovered. 

More and more often these days, insurance companies will employ adjusters. Their role is to come out to your home and they’ll assess the damage. If that’s not the case with your insurance company you can expect that they’ll ask for photographs of the crime scene especially the areas of the home that were damaged. 

Make sure to follow any instructions you’re given, they love to find reasons to stall and hold up paying out on the insurance so be a stickler and do it by the book.

Step 4 - Make a list of what's missing

You need to find the time to sit down and make a list of every item stolen. Sadly, your word is not always good enough. You might be required to provide any evidence you have that you bought the items that are lost. Of course, that’s not always possible and there has to be some leeway given but any receipt of proof of purchase you can muster up will go a long way to helping.

Expect forms, plenty of forms. Insurance companies love them. Take the time to fill them in full and double-check to ensure you’ve understood the form sections properly because some insurance companies will use it as an opportunity to hold up your payment. 

Step 5 - Think about your personal data

As if break-ins aren't bad enough, you also have to think about your personal data. Just think about what damage someone can do with your passport, bank statement, birth certificate, and bank card.

They can take out loans in your name and do all sorts of damage with your identity. 

Make a list of what kind of data could be stolen and report it to all the authorities.

Here are some tips of what you can do if you are worried that your personal identity has be stolen:

  • Make sure you place fraud alerts with the three major U.S. credit reporting agencies (CRAs), also popularly better known as the credit bureaus.
  • You are going to want to get copies of your credit reports from all 3 CRAs.
  • Look into putting a security freeze on your credit. 
  • Try to obtain all documents relating to fraudulent transactions or documents for accounts opened using your personal information.
  • Don’t avoid debt collectors, let them know what’s happened and ask for documentation of what they’re collecting.  
  • Try to block damaging information getting to the CRAs, you don’t want it appearing on your credit reports. 

When you find out that identity theft has taken place, meaning that the robber has committed an act of fraud, then you’ll want to contact the company and bank where the fraud took place. Get ahead of it, don’t put it off because there are systems in place if you act quickly. 

Report the theft of your identity officially to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) as well as with the relevant local law enforcement. 

If fraud has taken place as a result of identity theft, it’s not a bad idea to contact the IRS. Just to cover all bases. 

Don’t forget to contact your healthcare insurers and medical providers and finally, put a flag on your driver’s license and ID. 

Preparing for the worst: this all sounds pretty heavy and for most people scary. Identity theft is a real nuisance but there are systems and laws in place, if you follow the right steps, so it’s important you are informed and proactive. 

But, having said that, many robbers are not after your identity or would not know what to do with it even if they had access to the information needed to commit identity fraud. So, there’s no need to panic just yet, we’re just covering our bases.

Step 6 - Starting repairs

So, you’ve reported it to the Police, the insurers and you’ve reacted to potential identity theft. Now you need to start to make your premises safe and secure.

Make sure again that you have approval, but now you need to make window and door repairs and any other point of entry to make your home secure. If you need a temporary solution because it’s not possible to call out specialists, or you don’t have the money to call out experts, then you can secure it with some plywood. 

A cheaper solution is to secure the building yourself, with some well-placed plywood, and then you can call a handyman. For a start, it’s not an emergency call out, so you won’t be charged a call-out rate, and generally, a handyman charges less than a specialist. 

There’s the emotion of being robbed and then being exposed. Making the property safe tends to help people start to relax a little. It also keeps out opportunists. Plus, the last thing you want is to be rained. That just ends up creating more problems and that’s the last thing you need right now. 

Step 7 - Check the medicine cabinet

With your home sorted, that’s one major thing ticked off the list, but here’s something that might not seem important at first, but it needs dealing with. 

You need to go check your medicine cabinet. 

Some thieves see the medicine cabinet as a potential gold mine. They’re looking for expensive or powerful drugs that have some street value, drugs they can sell, or plenty of robbers are junkies and they’re looking for a fix. 

Take an inventory of what’s there and if anything is missing. There could be some drugs missing that you rely on. Also, be aware that some doctors don’t take prescription theft likely. They have been known to refuse to replenish a prescription early, so there’s that to deal with.

Again, take your case number from when you officially reported the break-in, that should make the doctor take you seriously and give you a new prescription or refill. 

Step 8 - Call the bank

Regardless of whether your identity was stolen, you need to get hold of your bank and let them know so you are in a strong position to refute any charges against your account. The Police will help with the time of the attempted break-in which will help you identify and get protected against any disputes.

Within the first week

Now you have done the most important things to protect yourself against the fall out from this crime against you, it’s time to start thinking about how you can protect yourself against it happening again. 

A little known fact is that often, criminals come back a second time. They know that homeowners have insurance, they know that you have to jump through hoops but eventually, you’ll get the money and replace the possessions that were stolen.  

So, you’re primed for a second visit from them. 

Step 8 - Quick security hacks

You need to upgrade your security system. If you don’t have one, you need one. Choosing and installing the right security system takes a little time, probably longer than a week, but you should definitely start the process as soon as you get through dealing with the Police, insurance companies, and making your house secure.

Home security has developed so much in recent years, thanks to the availability of new technology. Here are just some of the things you should be considering to make your home safe:

Smart locks

A smart lock is an electromechanical lock that locks and unlocks a door when it receives instructions from an authorized device, normally a mobile phone.  

Video doorbell

Again, it uses your mobile device to have control of your home when you are not at home. This time it’s connected to your doorbell so you know when someone rings. Often robbers will ring the doorbell to confirm no one is home before they break-in.

Automated lights

Having lights with motion sensors that get activated when they detect movement is a great deterrent. Robbers get concerned about neighbors and it makes them look for easier targets.

Fence locks

A good modern fence lock makes the back of the property less of an easy target. Robbers like the back of the home because it is normally more secluded. 

In the first month

Step 9 - upgrading your security system

As the memory of the break-in starts to fade you can continue to think about your general safety. It’s time to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

You need a robust security system. It’s an expense, but it’s completely worth it. Most robbers don’t even bother with security systems. Especially those that are smart and are reinforced with some kind of security or hooked up to local law enforcement. 

If you work with a good company, you can provide them copies of your robbery report and they will use that to understand some of the weaknesses in your current property and can design your security system to turn those weaknesses into secure points. They will use your negative experience of the break-in and turn it into something positive.

Step 10 - speak to your neighbors

Research suggests that up to 2 months after the break-in has taken place those within 600 yards have an increased chance of being robbed. 

Speak to them, let them know what happened, how the robbers got in, because many properties have the same design in the neighborhood, plus there is every chance the same robbers will hit the area again and they like to use the same M.O too.

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