According to the FBI, thousands of home burglaries occur every day in the United States, leaving many families to deal with the aftermath: trauma, cleanup, expenses, and a mess of paperwork. If the worst does happen, there are several steps you can take to limit the financial and emotional toll of a home invasion and to protect yourself and your home in the future.
Step 1: Call the police
This may seem obvious, but a surprising number of home break-ins go unreported. Even if the damage is minor, it’s still worth reporting if your house is broken into. Your missing garden hose could be a clue in a larger string of thefts in your neighborhood.
If a home burglary has taken place or is in progress, your first instinct may be to call a loved one. But you should call the police or 9-1-1, as the perpetrator may still be on your property. If you’re not sure the perpetrator is gone, get out of the house immediately (or don’t enter it at all). If you’re sure the house is empty, call the local non-emergency number for your police department, then call your partner, parent, neighbor, close friend, or family member to get much-needed emotional support.
Step 2: Assess the situation
Figuring out the extent of the damage and loss of your property needs to be done quickly and effectively, so you and the authorities can determine the next steps to take. Walk through your home and take pictures of everything. Try not to touch anything and make a detailed list of what’s missing. According to statistics, a small percentage of break-ins are solved, but the more information you share with the police, the better. Keep in mind you’ll need all this information for any insurance claim you may make.
If you have any smart security equipment installed, such as a video camera, door and window sensors, or a smart door lock, immediately access and save the footage and activity logs for those devices. These could help the police identify the perpetrators and can be used as evidence in any criminal proceedings. These features may also help your insurance company assess the damage.
Step 3: Report the damage
Have the local authorities help you obtain a police report and contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Depending on how extensive the damage is, they may want to send a claims adjuster in person to your home. Until this happens, you may want to consider staying in a hotel or at a friend’s house, allowing the scene to remain as undisturbed as possible. While you wait, try to gather any proof you have of items that are lost, such as serial numbers or purchase receipts.
Step 4: Allow yourself time to heal
The emotional trauma of a break-in, even if little of value was taken and there’s minimal damage, should not be underestimated. It can be hard to know how to feel safe in your home after a burglary. The feeling of violation can be difficult to erase. This can be especially true for children and the elderly. An important step in the healing process is for everything to return to normal—as quickly as possible. Members of your family may wish to seek counseling if needed. You should also consider addressing the security weaknesses in your home to provide peace of mind and protection against another incident.
Step 5: Secure your home
Installing a monitored security system, like the one from Xfinity Home, can dramatically increase the safety of your home. Statistics show that homes with security systems are significantly less likely to be broken into. A full security system can provide a sense of closure for your family.
A system with professional monitoring includes wireless sensors to help secure many vulnerable areas in your home. With Xfinity, you can also add on to the system at any time, including multiple cameras, door/window sensors, and motion detectors. Use a camera to record video when you are away or pair lights to turn on when motion is detected, all based on rules you can conveniently set in the mobile app. For example, program a rule to capture a video clip when a door is opened or motion is detected.
Added protection can bring peace of mind after the traumatic experience of a break-in. Put yourself on the right side of the home invasion statistics and help to prevent a break-in by further protecting your home and loved ones with a home security system.