A home burglary can be a stressful time. Besides the damage and material loss, you can feel violated and unsafe and vulnerable in your own home. And because of the stress and fear associated with a break in, it’s unsurprising that a lot of people don’t know what they should do.
To help, we’re going to run you through what you should do if your home has been broken into and give you some tips about how to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Contact the Police
Regardless of the situation, the first thing you should do in the case of the break in is call the police. There are a number of ways to report a crime in Victoria.
If you hear any noises or suspect that someone might be inside, don’t enter the property. Call triple zero (000) immediately and report it to the police.
If the burglary has already taken place and you’re sure that everyone is safe and there is no further danger, then call the Police Assistance Line on 131 444 and make a report.
Even in situations where it seems like nothing is missing, you should always contact the police and make a report. For one thing, a police report will be needed if you have to make an insurance claim.
You should try to leave things as they are until you’ve spoken to the police in case they need to inspect the premises or collect evidence. The police will advise you when it’s fine to start cleaning up and making repairs.
Secure your Home
Once you’ve spoken to the police and they’ve given you the all clear, you should work to secure your home. Lock all doors and windows. If windows have been broken you may need to temporarily board or patch them until a glazier can repair them. If keys are missing or locks are damaged you will need to call a locksmith to make repairs or change the locks.
Make a thorough sweep of the house and check for any other damage. Before carrying out any repairs, you might want to contact your insurance company to find out if your insurance will cover the damages and necessary repairs or replacements.
Determine what’s Missing
Do a thorough check through the house to determine what has been taken. Once you know what’s been taken you can take the appropriate action. Anything missing should be included in the police report. Even missing paperwork, like bills or account documentation, should be reported to the police, as these can be used for identity theft.
You may also need to contact banks to cancel credit cards and notify them if any cards have been stolen.
For electronic devices, you should check finder apps if you have them to help track the location of the devices. You may also want to pass this information on to the police, as it could be useful for tracking the offenders. You may also want to change passwords for your email and social media accounts in case the offenders can access those accounts through your stolen devices.
Once you’ve worked out what’s missing, you may need to contact the police again to update the incident report to ensure they have the full information about what was taken.
Document any Damage
If anything has been damaged either while the burglars were gaining access to the property or while inside the house, it’s worth photographing the damage. These pictures may be useful for the police and could help you when it comes to dealing with your insurance company.
Contact your Insurance Companies
Contact your insurance company to notify them of the break in and give them information about what’s been stolen and the police report information. At this point, you can find out what documentation your insurance company requires in terms of proof of ownership, receipts, serial numbers and anything else that can help process the claim.
Talk to your Neighbours
If you’re been the victim of a break in, it’s worth discussing it with your neighbours for two reasons.
Firstly, out of neighborly courtesy. If there are burglars working the area, alerting your neighbours will give them a chance to tighten up their home security and ensure their homes aren’t robbed as well.
Secondly, there’s a chance your neighbours may have seen something suspicious that they can pass on to the police.
Conduct a Home Security Audit
Learn from what has just happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Conduct a home security audit to determine what are the vulnerable security points around your home. You may want to call in a security company or consultant to make recommendations regarding a security system or even a home security camera system.
Homes that have been broken into are often hit more than once if the burglars know they can get inside. So, once you’ve strengthened all entry points, it’s also worth taking some preventative security measures. This could include:
- Not leaving house keys or car keys near the front door
- Installing deadlocks on all doors
- Storing any valuable items like jewellery or watches in a hard to find place
- Investing in a home safe
- Minimise the view into the house from the front yard or street
- Get to know your neighbours
- Install a monitored home security system
Remember, just because your home has already been broken into, doesn’t mean that it won’t happen again. Take the lessons you’ve learned from the first break in and strengthen your home security today.