“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” says the old saying, but sometimes disaster happens no matter how prepared you are. In the event that your property is stolen or vandalized, it’s important to know how to proceed. Here’s some step-by-step advice for recovering stolen property, getting reimbursed for items not recovered, and ensuring that the perpetrators can be identified.
It may sound silly, but the first step upon realizing that important property is missing is to make sure that you don’t lose your cool. Getting carried away with worry, anger, or other strong emotions increases the likelihood that you will forget something important, or make mistakes that can make it difficult to recover your property. Take a moment to work through your emotions before rolling up your sleeves to deal with the problem.
- Leave everything as-is
If you’ve discovered that your home has been burgled or that your space has been violated, it can be tempting to try and clean up, organize, and otherwise make things feel “like home” again. However, it is crucial that you leave everything like it is until the police have had a chance to investigate (and document) the crime scene as it was found.
- Call the police
Whether you’ve been burgled at home, or lost important property (such as a phone, laptop, or wallet) while you were out, it’s crucial to report the crime to the authorities and file a police report. Call the police and provide any information they need, in as much detail as possible. Filing a police report can not only help locate the stolen property, but it’s often necessary for insurance claims as well. Going through the evidence of the break-in together can help you report stolen items, and gather clues.
- Review the evidence
If you have a security system, be sure to mention it to the police. They may want to review your camera’s footage to help identify the criminal and to establish more clearly what was stolen.
- Re-secure your home (and identity)
Once you’ve figured out what’s missing and the police have had a chance to review the scene of the crime, be proactive in securing yourself, your family, and your property. Repair any damage caused by forced entry, and change the locks if any keys have been stolen.
If you discover that the burglars took smart devices, laptops, or other technology with sensitive data, be sure to change passwords and alert mobile carriers. If mail was stolen or financial documents are missing, contact your bank and contact an identity monitoring service, as the data contained in documents like credit card statements can be used for identity theft. Cancel any credit or bank cards that may be compromised or missing.
- File an insurance claim
Damage to your property, as well as stolen items, should be covered by your homeowner’s insurance — so, you’ll need to know how to claim stolen property. Prepare a list of stolen items and any evidence (such as video footage of the theft in action) you may have before contacting your insurance company. Provide them the list of damages and stolen items, your police case number, and any evidence that can help establish the value of stolen items (such as receipts and product registrations that indicate the model, age, and original value of the item).
If you have photo evidence of your belongings, that’s helpful, too. This all helps ensure that you obtain the maximum value of your stolen property, and makes it easier to replace what’s missing.
- Reevaluate your home security plan
After you’ve taken the immediate steps to recover what’s been lost, get proactive about preventing the same thing from happening again. Consider a full home security system — if only for your peace of mind. Even just the presence of security cameras can be a deterrent for would-be thieves. Today’s systems, like Xfinity Home, offer convenient features that allow you to monitor your home and manage the system remotely from your mobile device.
If you have a system already in place, speak with a professional to evaluate any opportunities to enhance your home security setup. Even if you did everything right, re-evaluating and double-checking your system can help you regain peace of mind after a potentially traumatic experience.
Following these simple steps can go a long way in helping you recover your property and your peace of mind. Learn how Xfinity Home can help prevent break-ins before they happen.