An estimated 3.7 million burglaries occur every year in the United States alone.
If your home is now one of them, then you already know what a scary, confusing time a house robbery can be. There are so many steps to take before you can even think of beginning to repair your life and home, and it can be difficult to know where to start.
What to do after a home invasion: Take a deep breath, and start with these 6 important things to help you handle your recent house robbery.
1. Call the Police
After a home burglary, many hesitate as to what their first move should be--put things back together? Call the insurance agent?
But the truth is, every household that finds itself subject to a robbery should, before anything else, call the police.
If you walk into your home to find that it's been robbed, you should leave the house immediately, go back to your car or to a neighbor's home, and call the police.
Calling authorities immediately after you discover your home has been robbed gives them a far greater chance of catching the thief and recovering your stolen items; it's also the best way to ensure you and your family are removed from any lingering dangers as soon as possible.
Contacting the police is a completely necessary step following a robbery if you plan to make any sort of insurance claim or work to reclaim any stolen items.
Don't hesitate. You aren't being dramatic or emotional. Call the police.
2. Keep Your Paws Off
When the police have arrived to survey the area, stand by. Don't touch anything.
Cancel any plans and commitments you've lined up, and spend some time taking photos of the affected areas in your home; carefully document any damages the burglar may have inflicted, as well as any areas where items seem to be out-of-place or missing.
While you're taking your time surveying your home, snapping photos of damages, you'll want to take inventory of what, exactly, is missing. Keep a list of missing items; be as detailed as possible, and track down any receipts for big-ticket items.
It's important to ensure nothing is tampered with or put back in place before the police have arrived and you've had the chance to file a victim's report and insurance claim.
Remember, fingerprints can be a super important element in a robbery investigation. So it's important to, well, keep your paws off until you've taken plenty of photos and the police have given the go-ahead.
3. File the Right Reports
Like we mentioned earlier: if you hope to receive any damage reparations at all following your house robbery, it's totally necessary for you to file the right reports following the incident.
The authorities who report to your home following a robbery should help get you to get started on filing a victim's report. Here, you'll be able to report all stolen items, as well as any identifying information you may have gathered through security tapes or other modes of witnessing the crime.
You should also file an insurance claim. Immediately after a police report has been filed, you'll want to take the report, along with your itemized list of stolen goods and damages, to your homeowner's insurance company.
After you've filed your report with the insurance agency, they should send a claims adjuster to your home to evaluate the situation in person. Be ready to explain the break-in, demonstrate proof of the crime, as well as your personal financial details like current savings and income.
While these reports are still being filed and you're waiting on the claims adjuster's assessment of your home, it might be a good idea to stay with a friend or in a hotel. You'll want to keep the home in as close to the same condition as you found it after the robbery.
4. Repair the Damages
Once the police and insurance officials have given their go-ahead, you can start to restore your home to its original state.
It's probably no surprise that most burglars aren't exceedingly respectful of your home's wellbeing, and you'll probably find damages to your home following a robbery. Take the time to repair scrapes and dents and other broken fixtures.
Board up broken windows and busted doors until the right professionals can come by to make proper repairs. Take care to sweep up broken glass and other debris.
It may be difficult on both practical and emotional levels to begin repairing your home after a robbery. No one budgets the time or money to deal with a break-in. But repairing the damages done to your home over the course of a home robbery is the first and most important step to moving forward from the unfortunate circumstance.
5. Consider Your Emotions
No one really knows how to handle a home robbery before they've been forced to do so.
It's important, as you rebuild your home and your life following a robbery, to consider the emotional toll such an event can have on a person.
Aside from the obvious losses of valuable and personal items in a robbery, victims often also lose a distinct sense of security. Families whose homes experience break-ins commonly struggle with the impact of such events; they feel violated and vulnerable to future break-ins, and it often takes some time before victims feel genuinely comfortable in their homes again.
Keep in mind the fact that, while the physical damages from your house robbery may have been repaired, it may still take some time for your emotional healing to complete. This is perfectly fine and expected.
Just remember to maintain a positive attitude and continue to live life to the fullest, refusing to let your home's robbery to define your family moving forward.
6. Prevent Future Occurrences
A positive attitude and careful consideration of your emotions can take you a long way toward healing from robbery--but perhaps nothing can provide greater peace of mind than taking actual, physical measures to prevent future break-ins.
Maybe you already had a surveillance system set up before your home's robbery, or maybe you'd been putting it off. Whatever your situation at the time of the event, stepping up your security game in the weeks following a break in can serve as a huge comfort and practical investment moving forward.
Consider investing in a more complicated lock system for windows and doors alike, a burglar alarm system, or another in-home security system. Invest in security signage for doors, windows, and yards, warning potential robbers of your home's new security.
Not only will the addition of a great new home security system provide your family with fresh peace of mind, but it'll also work wonders in the way of preventing future break-ins and robberies.
Ready to Move on from Your House Robbery?
We thought so.
A house robbery can be an extremely tolling experience that most are eager to move past. You've already taken a great step in this direction by educating yourself on how you ought to proceed following a break in.
While you work to repair and rebuild your life, consider stopping by our blog to learn about more ways you can protect your home.