There is probably nothing worse than the gut-wrenching feeling that you get when you come home to find that your house has been burgled.
Drawers have been emptied all over the floor, ornaments may have been smashed or stolen, paintings and pictures gone, flat screen TV’s and DVD’s gone, money, jewellery and credit cards – all gone.
All of this can take place in as little as two or three minutes, leaving your home and your life in ruins.
What to do if you’ve been burgled
If you should ever find yourself in this unfortunate position, there are a number of things to do.
Alert the Police
First, rather obviously, call the police. However, if you suspect that the intruder may still be in the house, do not enter. Call from a mobile phone, a neighbour’s phone, or a telephone box if there is one nearby. Whether or not you suspect the burglar is still on the premises, use the 999 service. He may still be in the vicinity.
Leave everything alone…
Next, do NOT touch anything. You may have an overwhelming desire to start cleaning the place up, but the police will want to see exactly what has happened and may also want to send a fingerprint expert in dust for fingerprints. This applies to inside and outside the house; there may be footprints.
Make a list
Start to make a list of all items stolen or damaged. Go through each room. Both the police and your insurers will want a list. Don’t feel tempted to add items that were not there in the first place.
If any credit cards, debit cards, or cheque books are missing, you will need to inform your bank immediately. Don’t wait until the banks open in the morning; telephone their helpline straight away so that they can block your cards and issue replacements. You also need to do this if any digital devices containing financial data have been stolen, such as PC’s, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, and so on. In addition, you need to inform family or friends if any sensitive information about them is stored on a laptop or mobile device that has been stolen so that they can take appropriate steps by changing passwords and usernames where necessary.
If your passport or driving licence has been stolen, you will also need to notify the appropriate authorities, but this can wait for a day or two.
The police will issue you with a crime report number which you need to make a note of as it will be needed by your insurance company. You need to keep any damaged items if you are going to claim on your insurance, as the loss adjuster appointed by your insurers may want to see them.
Kent Police also offer a downloadable pack to help you through this difficult time.
Make your home secure
You need to get any doors or windows that have been damaged fixed immediately. Your insurance company may have a helpline and instruct you to use a particular company, but if not, keep a copy of the details and invoice of any repair company so that you can claim on your insurance later.
You may wish to contact Victim Support for help to overcome the emotional shock that burglary can cause. Police should be able to help with this. If the burglar is caught and convicted the court may order compensation to be paid, but even if it does, the realistic chances of it ever being paid are very slim.
Get an alarm
Of course, the real answer to the problem is to do everything you can to avoid it happening in the first place. If you have a good burglar alarm system installed, along with CCTV and perhaps security lighting, you have a 90% less chance of being burgled than a property which does not have such a system.
Call us for a FREE site survey
At Spy Alarms, we have been working in the industry for over 30 years. In this time we have helped to secure thousands of businesses and homeowners. For a FREE site survey, please get in touch with our team today.